Are you interested in backpacking Italy but overwhelmed by the amount of beautiful destinations this amazing country has to offer? Can’t decide between Venice’s winding waterways and Rome’s awe-inspiring Colosseum? You’ve found the right place! Our Euroventure experts have traveled all over Italy and have compiled this guide to help you find which Italian city is right for you.
What better way to kick off our ultimate Italy travel guide than with Milan? Known for its fashion, food and sports, it’s the perfect place for anybody looking to soak up some authentic Italian culture whilst traveling in Italy.
Good news for all the foodies out there, Milan is bursting with delicious cuisine. Every dish in this vibrant city comes with its own tale of invention, making the food extraordinary in both flavour and history.
One of Milan’s most renowned dishes is undoubtedly Risotto alla Milanese, a velvety-soft blend of risotto rice and diced onions covered in melted butter. Pair this with a michetta, a crumbly bread which a staple of many Milanese meals. Got the craving for something deep-fried? Don’t worry, we get the urge too and know exactly how to satisfy it. Mondeghili. An old peasants dish originally created to avoid wasting food has become a favourite of locals and tourists alike. Beef, sausage, salami and eggs covered in golden breadcrumbs and cheese, all before being deep fried in butter. This is one you don’t want to miss out on!
As with anywhere in Italy, tourist attractions are not hard to come by in Milan. With such an extensive history comes a lot of things to see and do. Here are our selection of things to check out when in the city:
After a bit of sunshine in those cold winter months? Milan might just be the place for you. At a temperate 7-9°c between December and February, their winters are fairly mild; perfect for staying comfortable when wandering around the city. For those serious sunseekers, we’d recommend visiting in one of the summer months where temperatures generally sit around 30°c.
Between the subway, bus, tram and train you’ll never be stuck for ways to get around in Milan. Public transport systems are everywhere and link even the farthest corners of the city to the centre for some of the lowest costs in the country. A subway, bus and tram ticket costs €1.50 one way, €4.50 for an unlimited day pass or €11.30 for a weekly pass.
Capital of Italy’s Tuscany region and the home of renaissance art and architecture. A beautiful city full to the brim with beautiful sights, sounds and smells, Florence is the perfect destination for anybody hoping to immerse themselves in traditional Tuscan culture.
Florence is a city that goes far beyond traditional pasta and pizza (although you can definitely find these too). Steak lovers take note, Florentine steak is amongst some of the worlds best!
If you’re hungry for beef, head straight for a florentine steak house and order Bistecca Fiorentina. This rich cut of meat is taken from between the sirloin and tenderloin and is often served with potatoes. Top tip! Tuscans measure their steaks in ‘fingers’ rather than inches, with a steak which is 3 – 4 fingers thick serving a group of 3 – 4 people.
Not a meat lover? No problem! How about Ribotilla? A hearty soup made of cannellini beans, cavolo nero (black kale) and unsalted Tuscan bread. Follow this with Pici, a traditional thick-cut spaghetti made with black pepper, garlic and pecorino cheese.
Culture lovers, this section is for you. Florence’s streets are lined with picturesque buildings and world-famous works of art you simply won’t be able to pass-up!
A little cooler than other destinations, Florence enjoys its warmest weather between June and August, where temperatures are generally between 22 – 24°c. Likewise, the winters there are slightly colder than the likes of Venice or Rome. Between January and April the temperature is usually between -1 – 7°c. Because of this, winter is often the cheapest time to visit.
Buses are by far the most popular way of travelling around florence. Although there are trams, these are limited in comparison to the city’s extensive bus network. Most tourists will use Le City Line de Firenze, a collection of 4 buses which cover the radius of the city’s historic centre. A 90 minute ticket bought in advance is €1.50, on the day is €2.50 or purchase a book of 10 90-minute tickets for just €14.00.
Ah Rome, the home of aqueducts, the colosseum and (most importantly) great pizza! There’s tonnes of cool things to do in this ever-changing city. We think Rome should be on everybody’s bucket list.
Roman cuisine is world-famous for being simple, satisfying and flavourful! Full of character and priced for a range of budgets, Rome is the perfect city for any foodies out there.
For those after a light bite grab a fritti, a deep fried rice ball mixed with ragu and mozzarella! These tasty snacks can be found in many of the city’s restaurants and street food stalls. In the mood for some pasta? The Romans know how to do a classic carbonara extremely well. You can usually find this relatively cheap at any place selling pasta dishes.To cool off after filling up on delicious savoury dishes, why not visit one of Rome’s many gelato shops for a few scoops of silky smooth ice cream.
As one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations with a rich and detailed history, it comes as no surprise that there is lots to see and do in Rome. What’s even better, most things can be done on a budget or for free. This makes it the perfect destination for anybody looking to take a backpacking trip where daily spending is tight.
Since it is in-land, Rome benefits from some beautiful sunny weather during the summer months, with temperatures ranging around 28 – 33°c. However, as you may expect, this is also the most popular and expensive time to visit. If you want to avoid the crowds (and the heat) we’d recommend considering the winter months, where temperatures generally sit between 12 – 15°c.
Rome has some great public transport links, especially useful for anybody traveling by train. Roma Termini Station is situated right in the middle of the city and has efficient metro and bus links running to all corners of Rome and the Vatican City. Tickets cost €1.50 for 100 minutes or €7.50 for a 24 hour pass. If you’re flying into the city, small car rentals can be found as cheap as €14.00 a day.
Our Euroventure travel experts have traveled the world and spent extensive time backpacking Italy. Time and time again, Venice is pointed out as being one of their favourite destinations- and it’s easy to see why!
Eating at restaurants in Venice can be expensive, and we mean really expensive. Horror stories of tourists being charged over 100 euros for a sit-down meal are not uncommon. But fear not! There are plenty of places you can grab some fresh venetian cuisine on the cheap.
For a cheaper bite to eat, look out for your nearest trattoria, these traditional eateries serve filling plates of pasta, meat and seafood dishes to crowds of locals. Eating at trattorias is a great way to save money whilst visiting Italy. We’d recommend trying Sarde in Saor, a classic venetian dish consisting of fried sardine fillets marinated in vinegar onion and pine nuts.
Although Venice is much more famous for its seafood, it is also possible to pick up a cheap slice around Venice. Hunt down your nearest pizzeria.
Make no mistake, Venice is a sensory city- there are new smells sights and sounds around every corner with no shortage of things to do. As with anything in this crazy city, eating, drinking or buying souvenirs can be pretty expensive in these areas, so be mindful of the tourist traps. That being said, Venice rewards you for trekking off the beaten path, so explore and see what you can find!
Venice is generally a little more temperate than a lot of Italy’s inland cities, sitting between 21-28 degrees celsius for most of the summer months. That being said, this is also the city’s busiest and most expensive time of the year. If you don’t mind it being a little cooler (0-5 degrees) we’d recommend heading out during the winter months to beat the tourist rush.
How do you travel around a city built on water? It turns out it’s super easy! Eurail trains pull directly into Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia on the northern edge of the city, right by the grand canal. Those who are happy to splash some cash can travel the waterways on one of Venice’s infamous gondola rides. Prices for this are usually around 80 euros for 40 minutes, with every additional 20 minutes costing 40 euros extra. If you’re looking to save money but still want to get out on the water, it’s a good idea to take a vaporetti. Tickets for these water buses cost €7.50 for 75 minutes of unlimited travel.
Interested in Italy? Check out our Whole Hog, Italian Escape, London to Rome, Sicily to Spain and Around Europe in 80 days trips, or check out our Italy Group Tour! Most itineraries are available in a range of durations.