The Affordable Way of Holidaying in Italy

If you think that Italy is too expensive, think again. I’m a living proof that you can have a wonderful holiday in Italy without burning a hole in your pocket. The secret to having a budget holiday anywhere in the world is this: find the right places to stay and eat. But first, let’s build your itinerary.

My (affordable) 8-day Italian Bliss

Depending on your budget you can stay as long as a few months or as short as a week in Italy. Time is also essential here as Italy offers all kinds of things – art, culture, history, food and wine, entertainment, shops, you name it!, and many people find that no matter how long you stay it’s never enough (ask the Italians and they will probably tell you the same). My husband and I didn’t have a lot of money and time so we decided to stay there for eight days only and made the best of our time with well-researched and low-cost itinerary. We decided to go to Rome, Florence (with excursion to Cortona, Siena, and Chianti), and Venice. Eight days is certainly not enough to cover these places thoroughly but as first timers we only wanted to focus on visiting the important and famous sites that include the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Borghese Gallery in Rome, the Vatican City, Uffizi and Academia galleries in Florence, the Basilica and the Doge’s Palace in Venice. Overall, we spent three days in Rome, two days in Florence, and three days in Venice. You can skip the excursion but it was one of the highlights of our trip so I strongly recommend it. When doing your research for places to visit in Italy, remember to check the ticket prices to include in your budget. Some tickets can also be reserved or purchased online to avoid a long queue. In addition, I recommend you to get a Roma Pass while in Rome as it can save you some money when used effectively, even if you only stay there for three days. The Venice Card, another discount card for transport and tickets, is more expensive but if you plan to visit a lot of museums and churches in Venice then it is worth buying. If you are under 30 years old you can get another card called Rolling Venice (we got this while in Venice) at a cheaper price. For information on the prices, benefits, and how you can get these cards, check out their official sites: www.romapass.it and www.hellovenezia.com

Where to stay

Forget about luxurious five-star hotels. If you want to have a first-class experience with the Italians, then opt to stay at their homes. We stayed in bed and breakfast homes during our trip and we never missed our home. Not only do you get personalized service from the charming owners, you also get to eat home-cooked Italian meals that are nicer and more affordable than the ones served in many restaurants. There are many bed and breakfast homes in each city to choose from but we loved the homes we stayed in and strongly recommend them to you.

  • Rome: Il Colle degli Ulivi – located slightly outside the city in Zagarolo (30 minutes away from Rome by train), this bed and breakfast is owned by Ivano and Tehri who will go beyond your expectations to provide a truly first-class service that you will not forget and will cherish for the rest of your life.
  • Florence: Agriturismo Savernano – this one is also located outside the city (20 minutes away from Florence by train) but the trip to the beautiful farmhouse is worth every second and penny.
  • Venice: Villa Casanova – this charming old villa is located in Lido Island, away from the crowded part of Venice. You will appreciate its quiet surroundings after a long day of seeing the major sites in Venice.

Where to eat

Meals in Italy can be expensive if you don’t know where to eat. My advice is to look for a place where you see many locals are having their meals. Places that are crowded with tourist are best avoided (unless you are very hungry and don’t know where else to eat) because they tend to overcharge. My favorites include Da Corrado (Rome), Trattoria Toscana Gozzi Sergio (Florence), and Trattoria Africa (Lido, Venice).

They say you should travel to Europe at least once. I say you should travel to Italy at least once in your lifetime. So yes, start planning that trip already, and share with us your experience when you’re back! In the meantime, please leave a comment on this post if you have any questions.

Helpful resources:

  • www.tripadvisor.com provides useful insights about places to visit and low-cost accommodation from fellow travelers.
  • www.travel.nytimes.com offers expert travel advice from The New York Times, including restaurants and holiday tips.
  • www.virtualtourist.com gives you travel tips, reviews, and photos from real travelers.

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mandarinmint
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