Top Tips When Visiting Italy

Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world. On the one hand, it’s very much a routine tourist destination that we all know a lot about, but that also begs the question of how many people visit each year and do the same thing, despite having different preferences. This guide will cut through how to balance tourism with authenticity when visiting Italy.

Balance Major Cities with Hidden Gems

Italy’s iconic cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice are truly spectacular and worth every bit of their hype. It’s not good advice to say avoid these busy tourist traps, because they’re incredible. Make sure to experience the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, and St. Mark’s Basilica. It will be a lot of walking, but you’ll be surprised about what you can see in a single day. Head off early to beat the crowds and pack some lunch to keep costs down (the cafes near the sites are not good quality and are overpriced).

However, to get a fuller picture of Italy, divide your time to explore lesser-known places in search for authenticity. Discover coastal villages in Cinque Terre, the medieval town of Siena, or the picturesque region of Puglia. If you have to stay in Rome, then just find less touristy suburbs like Pigneto. 

There’s always going to be a compromise, and so don’t feel bad about “rushing” through a long day of sites in order to free up the next day – the next day will be all about slow, leisurely walks and getting lost.

Discover Scenic Walking Routes

Italy is a paradise for walkers. It’s not always talked about much (besides the Alps), but there are many routes that have some of Europe’s most stunning nature. Sicily is the perfect example of a walking holiday, where you can scale the coast, stopping off at authentic cafes and eateries while enjoying the Mediterranean.

There’s also the Sentiero Azzurro in Cinque Terre, the Path of the Gods (Sentiero degli Dei) along the Amalfi Coast, and Via Francigena in Tuscany for some vineyards. 

It’s a great way to see Italy because you avoid the crowds, you see amazing architecture and history, and you’re fully immersed in the local nature and culture. It will also be cheaper than taxis and city center restaurants.

You can even come across some local festivals such as the Palio horse race in Siena, Venice’s Carnevale, or the Alba White Truffle Festival.

Don’t Forget The Trains! 

Italy’s train routes offer breathtaking scenery, but they’re also incredibly affordable and efficient. They can get you across half the country in an afternoon, even heading directly into the Alps. They hit two birds with one stone given the great views along the way and can have some local snacks and a drink or two.

It also ties in with what many people forget that is true to Italy: Regional cuisine. Although we often consider the Italian way of cooking certain dishes to be the “proper” way, often there’s no even agreement within Italy. With different preferences and their own dishes, a train is a great way to experience a broader spectrum of cuisine. 


Italy has it all, and it’s important not to forget that when admiring the sculptures in Rome. Fortunately, it’s very much possible to experience a little bit of everything should you go for a week. It’s possible to see Mont Blanc, the museums of Florence, Pisa, and undergo a lengthy multi-day hike along the coast thanks to the exceptional rail network. Or, perhaps Rome, Naples, and Parco Nazionale del Cilento would suit you better.

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