We love Italy, and want you to have the best experience on your trip!
Our number one tip is to learn a few basic phrases and always say hello in Italian "Buongiorno" or Good Evening "Buona Sera". For a quick phrase guide click here.
- Please book your flights as early as possible. The closer you are to the date, the more expensive flights will be! Cheap Air does a study every year on when to buy flights for the best price. Read more here. They say 99 days in advance, but budget airlines such as Norweigan Airlines may sell out well before the time. If you find a good price on a flight, we recommend purchasing and not waiting.
- Planes are germy, and we don't want you to get sick on your trip! We recommend putting a couple of Clorox wipes in a bag and bringing them on the plane with you. When you first sit down, wipe down your tray table, arm rests and seatbelt. These areas are rarely cleaned by the airline, and are usually the dirtiest. Don't forget to pack enough for the flight back, as well!
- Please remember that Italian rooms are typically smaller than US hotels, especially in the bigger cities.
- Tripadvisor is a great resource for booking and looking at reviews of hotels.
- When booking hotels in larger cities in Europe, look at some of the outer areas of the city. As long as you are near a train station, this can be a great way to save money and get more of a local feel for the city.
- Italy has a tourist tax that varies per city. It is usually anywhere from 3-5 Euros per night. Most hotels require this is paid in cash, as the credit card fees are not worth it for such a small amount. To see a breakdown of the tax click here.
-Our venue is tucked between several beautiful hill towns in Italy; Terni, Spoleto, Narni, Orvieto and Assisi - and that's only a few! The best way to see all these small towns is in a car. Driving in the larger cities is not recommended, but the countryside is easy and a very scenic drive.
-We HIGHLY recommend you use Hertz when renting a car. In our experience, they regulate their overseas companies very well. Other companies (Avis/Budget etc.) are more likely to have hidden fees. Low prices on the internet can often be a bait and switch. Trust us! We almost got swindled on our last trip by a Budget in Rome, but had a lovely experience with Hertz.
- You must carry an International Drivers Permit and your license to drive in Italy. They strictly enforce this, and you may be refused a car if you do not have one. It's quick and easy to get! We recommend using AAA. Please find their application form here. Please note that the permit is only good for 6 months, so don't apply too early!
- Most cars are manual, and automatic cars are more expensive. European cars also tend to be smaller than American cars. Please keep this in mind when renting!
- If you do rent a car to our wedding, we highly recommend getting a GPS with Italian maps or getting an international plan on your phone so you may use Google Maps. Renting a GPS through a rental car company can get expensive and take a few weeks to process and ship, so make sure to look at your options far in advance of your trip, or be sure to rent a car with a GPS built in.
- For more tips on driving in Italy, click here.
- Italy has a great train system, and if you are looking to explore more than one city, we highly recommend the trains. They are inexpensive, well run and sometimes faster than driving.
- There are many 3rd party booking sites that are easy to use. Please be aware that these sites may add on extra fees. To book directly with Trenitalia, click here.
- Before you get on the train, please make sure to validate your ticket. Someone will check your ticket and you will get fined at least 50 Euros. See a picture of the ticket validation machine below. Print at home tickets do not need to be validated.
- Dinner in Italy is typically 8pm or later. So if you show up at 6pm, the restaurant may not be open yet. If you are hungry before then, check out a local bar as most have aperitivos (pre-meal drink and snack) or find a local bakery or cafe to grab something to tide you over.
- Try to avoid touristy restaurants right in the heart of an attraction. These places are usually over-priced and not that great.
- Trust your waiter, as they always tell the truth on their recommendations.
- Reservations are suggested for most well rated restaurants. You can call and ask "parli inglese?" which means do you speak English. Most restaurants do, but it is very rude to just assume all restaurants speak English. If you need help making a reservation, you can always ask your hotel to call and make one for you.
- American Italian and Authentic Italian food can differ in a lot of ways, so please keep that in mind when ordering. Ex. "Pepperoni" mean "Peppers" in Italian, not spicy sausage. Here's a helpful site on Italian Food to help you navigate the menus.
- Italians traditionally have a multi-course meal structure. Although you do not have to follow this at every dinner, and the full course meal is usually reserved for special occasions. Usually people have an Antipasti (Appetizer) and a Primi (usually pasta) or a Secondi (heavier meat focused meal). For a breakdown of these different courses, click here.
- Most restaurants have wifi, so make sure to ask for the PW!
- There are SO many churches in Italy to see, and most of the are free! If you have the Kindle app on your phone, Rick Steve's has some great informative tours to read through. He also has an app that has audio guided tours, click here.
- Please note that most churches have a modesty rule. That means no bare shoulders or mini shorts/skirts. If you plan on visiting churches, it's a good idea to bring a super light sweater or shawl that is easily rolled up and takes up little space in your bag.
- It's very easy to over pack when travelling, so remember to look at the weather the day you pack, to make sure you can plan what you need. Try to pack clothing that can be re-worn, and will mix and match with each other for different outfits.
- Packing cubes are a great way to save space in your bag and make travel easier. Simply pull them out of your bag and put the whole cube with the clothes in the drawer. They also help keep your suitcase organized during travel, as items do not shift as much in your bag. See some listed on amazon here.
- Bring a foldable bag like the ones here and here. It takes up little space, is extremely light, and can be unfolded into a duffel bag. This is a great thing to throw in your suitcase before your trip. If you buy too many souvenirs, simply unfold it and bring it as a carry one. You can also use it as a checked bag for less delicate items.
- Please be aware of pick pockets and thieves. While Italy has a very low violent crime rate, petty crime is common especially in large tourist attraction areas. Wear a cross body purse, put a mini lock on your backpack zippers, don't put your wallet in your back pocket, don't leave your things unattended etc.
Also be aware of bait and switch schemes. The guy with the rose is not going to give it to you for free, he is going to hand it to you and refuse to take it back until someone gives him money.
- Bring an adapter to charge your phone! You can easily find these on Amazon. For more info on it, click here.
- Coffee is very different in Italy, so don't order a Latte unless you want a full glass of milk! See a coffee guide here.
- If you plan on vising some of the top tourist attractions, try to buy your tickets online. Most museums will have a website where you can buy tickets, and it will save you several minutes if not sometimes hours of standing in line.
- Public bathrooms often cost a few cents to 1 Euro to use. Make sure you always have some change with you.
- Google Translate is a great app to have while traveling, as it can translate menus and signs for you on your phone.
- Talk to your cell phone carrier to make sure you understand your international options. Especially if you want to use your Google Maps if driving. When in Europe, it's usually best to keep your cellphone in airplane mode, to avoid costly data fees.
- Use your Google Maps app without data while on airplane mode. When you first arrive, connect to wifi and zoom out to save the map area on your phone. When in airplane mode, you can use the map and track you location without data. For instructions click here.
- Italy is mostly a cash country, but most restaurants do accept credit cards. However, American Express is rarely excepted, and Discover is never accepted. Make sure you bring a MasterCard/Visa and try to bring a card with low or no travel fees. Also be sure to bring an ATM card with a pin, as many tickets machines require a pin when using. This is due to all European CC having a pin.
- Withdrawing Euros - Check with your bank to see if they have any partners in Italy. For Example, Bank of America partners with BNL, so using a BNL ATM for withdraws will save you fees and give you a better exchange rate. Try to avoid money exchange centers, as they tend to have a higher exchange rate and charge you extra fees.