Italy is home to some of the most important cities in modern civilization. Many cities, like Rome, Florence, and Venice date back thousands of years and offer visitors art, architecture, culture, and history. Don’t forget about the food and fashion!
Whether you’re traveling overseas for the first time or traveling to your 100th country, Italy is the perfect country if you love big cities. With hundreds of things to do and see in each city, you’ll never get bored, but you might get overwhelmed. Before you embark on your next Italy city break, check out our 12 tips to make your trip incredible.
City Breaks in Italy
Tip #1: Staying longer than just a weekend? Travel between cities!
If you want to spend a bit longer in Italy and visit multiple cities, you can opt for a longer tour. Most people will want to visit Venice, Florence, and Rome with a day trip or two. While you could easily spend months on end exploring Italy and never getting bored, you’ll want a minimum of a week to see the major highlights of this ancient country.
Tip #2: Leave some extra space in your suitcase.
Italy is the ultimate destination for fashion lovers, and you’ll be amazed by all the beautiful goods you can find in the boutique shops, markets and malls. Florence is especially good for artisan crafts and luxurious fashions, shoes, leather, jewellery, and perfume. For high quality leather goods, head to Michelangelo’s Florentine Leather on Via Giovan Battista Zannoni. Make sure you leave extra space in your suitcase so you can bring back souvenirs, gifts, and clothing!
Tip #3: Choose the right time to go.
Italy has something for everyone year-round, but just like anywhere in Europe, there is a high and low season. Summer, especially the month of August, can be an unpleasant time to visit Italy. It can be extremely hot with the average temperature in Rome being 30 degrees Celsius (about 85oF). Many Italians take a few weeks off in August for their own holidays so smaller boutiques, restaurants, and hotels may be closed.
The best time to visit Italy is from April to June and September to October. The temperature and weather is mild with sunny skies making it ideal for sightseeing. Most of the popular attractions are less crowded and hotels and airfares are cheaper.
Tip #4: Travel off the beaten path.
Visiting the Colosseum or the Leaning Tower of Pisa is incredible, but if you’re trying to get a real feel of a city, skip the major tourist attractions and get into the smaller neighbourhoods for a taste of daily living. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path to explore the local side of the cities. Don’t over plan, enjoy the experience! You never know, you might just find the best pizza in Italy on some narrow, cobblestone back alley.
Venice is a romantic city with a rich history and culture. Home to miles of canals and car-free cobblestone roads that wind through ancient colourful buildings that just beg to be photographed, Venice is picturesque. But, it can also be very crowded as it is one of the most visited cities in all of Italy.
Tip #1: Bring a GPS or use your phone.
Venice is a maze of canals and small cobblestone alleyways, so it’s easy to get lost. Grab a map from your hotel and ask the front desk for directions. Better yet, purchase a local SIM card or use an international data plan so you can get directions for the things you want to see.
Tip #2: Explore the Outer Islands.
Most people only visit the island of Venice, but the city also has smaller outer islands worth visiting. Venice itself is built on more than 100 small islands! Many of the city’s outer islands are an easy boat ride from Venice, are very photogenic and have less crowds.
Lido has a great sandy beach perfect for sunbathing. Murano is well known for glassmaking and the Glass Museum. It’s the perfect destination if you’re looking for a unique souvenir or gifts. Burano is an island of fishermen and colourful houses. You can easily spend an afternoon exploring the local neighbourhoods and devouring the delicious fresh seafood. Discover both Murano and Burano by a half-day semi-private boat tour from Venice.
Tip #3: Take a private or small group tour to see more.
Venice can be very crowded, especially during high season during Carnival and summer. There are long queues for many of the popular attractions so you might have to wait two hours before you can even step foot in the Doges Palace. Instead, take a private or small group tour, explore the attraction at your own pace and skip the long lines