The most visited country by tourists in the entire world, Italy, boasts something to discover just about around any corner. So, in order to simplify your trip preparation process, on this page we've put together some handy tips for your upcoming Italy travel, including what weather to expect, which things to pack in your suitcase, some recommendations on tipping, money, language, and more.
Weather & clothing
What to pack and when to travel
Generally, the weather in Italy all year round is favorable for travel with hot summers, warm spring and autumn, and mildly cold winters. Of course, the temperature differs depending on the location of the city.
For instance, the weather in Florence Italy is usually warm with average summer temperatures of around 25°C (about 77°F) and winter temperatures of about 7°C (45°F). The same pretty much applies to other Tuscany towns. What's for Rome weather, it is usually a couple of degrees warmer than the northern cities. Southern Italy, regardless of the coast, has quite high temperatures all year round, and there's similar weather in Sicily and Sardinia too.
Based on which month you decide to travel to Italy, pack your suitcase according to the expected weather. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes and some headwear. Also, it is advisable not to go to Italy in the burning hot months from mid-June to mid-August to avoid unpleasantly boiling outside temperatures and large crowds of tourists. In any case, if you’re going in the warmer months of the year, take some sunscreen with you. If you’re going in the winter, don't forget your an umbrella and pack warmer clothes.
Weather averages in Milan
Weather averages in Rome
Weather averages in Palermo, Sicily
Money & ATMs
Situation with currencies & cash
The official currency in Italy is Euro since it is a European Union country that’s part of the Economic and Monetary Union. The banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 Euros are in use, as well as the coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and 1 and 2 Euros. Italy's currency before the Euro was the Italian lira, which was replaced in 1999.
Of course, you don’t need to pay by cash all the time as cards are very popular in Italy as well. However, we advise having at least 40-50 Euros per person just to stay worry-free and avoid rushing in order to track down the nearest ATM.
In Italy, ATMs are called Bancomats and can be found almost on every block in big cities and on the main squares in smaller towns. Usually, they are clearly marked with the blue Bancomat sign, so you won’t come across any difficulties in finding one. However, be aware of some fees you may be charged withdrawing the money which depends on the type of your card or your bank. In order to avoid unpleasant situations and additional costs, you’d better consult your bank prior to your Italian vacation.
As a rule, debit cards are more widespread and commonly accepted in Italy so if you pay with Visa and MasterCard you’ll have no particular difficulties. When it comes to credit cards, you should bear in mind that, firstly, not all establishments can accept credit cards and, secondly, you may face such an upsetting thing as a foreign transaction fee.
If you’ll need to exchange cash to Euros, you can head to any official currency exchange office or a local bank. Bear in mind though that you may be charged a bank fee for the operation.
Average cost of meals
Italy is not the most expensive country in Europe in terms of dining yet the prices for meals depend on many factors, including seasonality, the class of the chosen restaurant, the location of the cafe or restaurant, and what you're ordering, especially if you're dining with wine.
On the whole, the average price for dinner with no alcoholic beverages for two if you're eating out will be about 50 Euros or more. As such, a pizza, lasagna or pasta for one usually costs around 8-15 Euros, a cup of coffee or dessert - about 4-6 Euros each. A bottle of wine in a restaurant usually starts from around 15 Euros, but of course, if you order only a glass, it'll cost you less. If we're talking about street food, you can count on a large slice of pizza or sandwich to be around 4 Euros and a portion of famous Italian gelato ice-cream for about 3-4 Euros.
Giving tips to guides & drivers
First thing's first, you need to know that tipping is not obligatory in Italy and is totally up to you. If you're satisfied with the service you may leave a small tip of several Euros or 5-10%, say, to your driver, waiter or guide. The common norm is simply to round up your bill to the next Euro. What is more, when you're having a meal in the cafe or restaurant make sure to take a look in the menu as the tip might actually already be included to your bill. Such a service charge is called "servizio" in Italian.
How to blend in with the locals
If you're concerned that no-one will understand you when you arrive in Italy, rest assured, most of the locals, especially the ones working in tourism or providing services, speak at least some English. You surely won't have any trouble communicating in English with the hotel staff, waiters in restaurants and etc. In any case, knowing a few words in Italian wouldn't hurt, so here are some Italian language tips for first timers traveling to Italy.
If you want to greet someone or say "bye", simply say one same word for both: "Ciao" (pronounced "chao"). When asking someone for something, don't forget to add "Per favore", meaning "please". And thank people by saying "grazie" (pronounced "gratsie"). "Yes" and "no" are easy ones too - "si" and "no". And don't be worried to pronounce any of them incorrectly, the locals will surely appreciate your effort regardless!
Charging your phone & devices
In order to charge your phone or have your appliances work in Italy, it is important to know that the electricity in Italy may differ from that in your home country.
Italian sockets are of European standard with the voltage of 220V, for this reason, you might need a European plug adapter if your devices have, for instance, American plugs with flat pins for 120V.
In any case, the Italy plug and socket can be used if you have a converter with round pins.
Of course, it is advisable to have at least one Italy power adapter before the beginning of your trip to avoid any rush and inconvenience, but it also won’t be a problem to buy one upon arrival to Italy.
Continue planning your trip with Firebird
Explore places to see & things to do in entire Eurasia on a Firebird map of sights.
We recommend to use services of our trusted insurance provided, Travel Guard.
Easily access all of your bookings, invoices and your personal itineraries.