Italy Travel Guide

Italy’s great food, long history, beautiful architecture, and stunning countryside make it an irresistible destination for any traveler.

Cities in Italy run offer everything from ancient history and ruins in Rome, to Renaissance art and architecture of Florence, to intrigue and romance in the canals of Venice. 

Beyond its cities, Italy is also home to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world, from the rolling hills of Tuscany’s wine country to the clear alpine lakes in the north like Lake Como, Lake Garda, and Lake Maggiore.

Italy quick facts

  • Population: 60.5 million
  • Language: Italian
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Capital city: Rome
  • Country size: 116,000 square miles
  • High season: Summer (June through September)

Top 10 things to do in Italy

  1. Explore Rome’s ancient ruins like the Colosseum
  2. Toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain (it means you’ll return to Rome someday!)
  3. Get lost exploring the canals of Venice
  4. Attend the famous Carnevale festival in Venice
  5. Visit the colorful cliffside villages of Cinque Terre on the Ligurian Coast
  6. Eat and drink your way through the towns of Tuscany 
  7. See the ruins of Pompeii, preserved after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius
  8. Enjoy Italy’s food capital Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region
  9. Hit the beach at Positano on the Amalfi Coast
  10. Relax on the shores of Lake Como in the foothills of the Alps

Getting around Italy

The best way to get around Italy is via its extensive train network. The main train operators are Trenitalia and Italo. Trenitalia operates the high-speed Frecciarossa train, which connects most major cities in Italy. Both train lines operate slower regional trains as well.

Within cities, public transportation is widely available – even in Venice, which operates the vaporetto water bus system throughout the city’s canals! In more rural areas, public transportation (usually buses) is also a viable option.

Another way to get around Italy is by renting a car, although this is typically a more expensive option than taking the train, and Italian drivers are notoriously aggressive. 

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5 Comments on “Italy Travel Guide

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  1. Hi Amanda! I am a great friend of your awesome M-I-L and getting ready for a June trip to Europe. She has told me that Como may be overrated vis a vis Lago, Maggiore or Garda. We have 4 days in Milan, coming from The Swiss Alps first. We want quaint! Less crowded and natural beauty. Just a day trip from Milan, and maybe en route to Venice. We will be relying on public transport. What are your thoughts?

      I have not been to the Italian lakes yet, so I don’t have any personal opinions or knowledge I’m afraid! Based on some research I did earlier this year for a trip, though, I do know that Lake Como gets very busy in the summer, so I’m not sure that the main cities there (like Bellagio) would feel quaint or uncrowded in June. I think it probably depends on what public transit options are available to/from Milan, though; I believe Como and Maggiore are easier to reach by train. But you could potentially look for a guided day trip to Garda.

    Photos are awesome! I just found your blog today. I read your blog about The Rocky Mountaineer Train.

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