Italy may be one of the world’s most-visited countries, but finding your way around Venice’s canals, choosing the best place for a gelato in Rome, and knowing your agnello from your agnolotti are skills best learnt from locals. It’s all about strolling down cobbled lanes and past ancient ruins to city backstreets and rural walled towns in search of the essence of Europe. Once here, the opportunities are endless – tasting balsamic vinegar in a traditional acetaia in Modena, sailing past pastel-hued cliffside villages on the Amalfi Coast, visiting vineyards in Tuscany to sample the local wine and admiring lesser-known Renaissance art in Florence. One thing's for sure: you won’t be going hungry.
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport – which usually have less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Italy, you may find yourself travelling by:
Whether it’s riding through fields of grass scattered with wildflowers or past quaint buildings down cobblestone lanes, taking a quick spin around town or tackling the towering Dolomites, two wheels open up so many options.
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in Italy you may find yourself staying in a:
Your time in Italy is further enhanced with an agriturismo, or farmstay, experience. Immerse yourself in a picturesque setting overlooking the countryside, with food and relaxation the main focus.
Italy enjoys a temperate climate most of the year, with June, July and August the warmest months. Popular tourist spots get very busy and crowded during the European summer, but don’t let that deter you – the sun will be shining, and the gelato will be served icy cold.
The shoulder seasons of April–May and September–October offer great conditions for travel, with milder temperatures and fewer crowds at main sights and beaches. Even though it’s not as hot, you’re still set for some warmer conditions and more pleasant temperatures to walk around the cities like Rome and Florence.
It can get quite cold in the winter months, especially in the north, with cities like Milan, Turin and Venice often seeing snow, fog and rain in December and January. Major coastal tourist spots like the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre can be very quiet during winter with many establishments closing at this time, so it might be best to visit in the warmer months if these places interest you.
Generally, you will not need a visa to travel to Italy for a period of up to 90 days. Some citizens of a select few nationalities may need to obtain a Schengen visa before travelling to Italy. For more information, contact the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Check the Essential Trip Information section of the itinerary for more information.
Tipping isn’t customary in Italy, but it is appreciated. Feel free to leave a small amount if the service has been particularly good. Some restaurants will add a cover charge or ‘servizio’ to your bill.
Italy, like the rest of Europe, is well connected. Wi-fi is almost always available at larger hotels and guesthouses, either included in your room price, or for a small additional fee. Some smaller accommodations, such as rural guesthouses and homestays, may not have wi-fi available, or the signal may be patchy.
Many fast food chains, bars and restaurants also offer wi-fi connectivity, often with an access code located on a purchase receipt. Look out for the international wi-fi symbol, or politely ask a waiter if the option is available. Some major Italian cities also offer public wi-fi hotspots with registration.
If you do not have your own device, there are still some internet cafes in Italy’s major cities.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Italy. Your best (and often cheapest) option is to purchase a local SIM card when arriving in Italy if your phone is compatible and unlocked.
There is also the option to activate global roaming with your service provider before leaving home. Check the roaming charges before you leave home, as this option can often be highly expensive.
Western-style flushable toilets are the norm in Italy.
Public toilets are not in abundance in Italy, so your best bet is to use the facilities in museums, galleries, department stores, train stations and restaurants. You may have to pay a small fee to use public toilets – ranging from around EUR 0.50 to EUR 2.
Italy’s unit of currency is the euro (EUR). Prices here are approximate and shown in US dollars for ease of comparison.
Drinking water from taps in Italy is generally considered safe.
For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
Major credit cards are widely accepted by stores in Italy. Smaller cafes, shops and markets may not accept credit cards, and smaller museums or galleries may charge an entry fee in cash only, so ensure you carry enough cash to cover small purchases.
ATMs are common in Italy, so finding one won't be a problem in most towns and cities. Beware of transaction fees that ATMs charge and the conversion rates they may offer, as they are often much worse than what your card offers.
As you can tell from a world map, Italy is a pretty long country compared to its European neighbours. This gives it one of the more diverse climates in Europe, with mountainous zones in the north and dry arid landscapes in the south graced with all different types of weather.
Much of the inland northern regions have harsh winters and hot summers, while coastal areas of Liguria, Tuscany and the south of Italy generally fit that Mediterranean stereotype, with hot and dry summers and mild winters. The east coast of the Italian peninsula is not as wet as the west coast, but in winter, the east coast is usually colder.
Generally, Italy’s hottest month in the south is August and can reach upwards of 40°C, while the north hits its peak in July and has slightly milder maximums. January is the coldest month throughout the country.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
For a current list of public holidays in Iceland, go to worldtravelguide.net
Italy is mostly a safe destination for travellers who identify as LGBTQIA+. Same-sex relationships are legal and are largely accepted, with civil unions entrenched in law since 2016. Same-sex marriage is currently not legal. There are some anti-discrimination laws to protect sexual orientation and gender identity.
In more rural and regional areas, overt displays of affection can attract negative responses in smaller towns, which tend to be more conservative. Rome, Milan and Bologna have the largest gay scenes, and Florence and Naples have a handful of LGBT-friendly venues too.
If you are travelling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travellers who do not wish to share a room.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, whatever physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help choose the most suitable itinerary and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
Despite Italy’s charm and old-town feel, travellers with mobility and sight or hearing impairments may find it difficult to travel around the country independently. Old cobbled streets and pavements blocked by parked cars are the norm, making it difficult for wheelchair users.
Despite this, much of Italy’s public transport system is mobility friendly. The service ‘Sala Blu’ (Blue Hall) is provided to travellers who require assistance at the 14 main train stations around Italy. These services include providing a wheelchair, a representative to accompany you to your train, another to meet at the other end, lift service to get on and off the train, and free use of baggage trolleys.
Many of Italy’s most-visited attractions, like the Colosseum, Vatican museums and the Uffizi Gallery, are almost entirely wheelchair accessible, with ramps and lifts available. Venice may be considered the least accessible, but it is possible. Bridges between canals should be avoided, but vaporettos (or water taxis) can be used, especially the routes along the Grand Canal.
If you do live with a visual, hearing or other impairment, let your booking agent or group leader know early on so they’re aware and suitable arrangements can be made. As a general rule, knowing some common words in the local language, carrying a written itinerary with you and taking to the streets in a group, rather than solo, can help make your travel experience the best it can be.
You’ll need to consider the time of year you want to travel, plus the places you’re travelling to so you can work out what you should wear in Italy.
In summer, loose-fitting cotton clothing like light t-shirts and shorts or light trousers, is recommended no matter what part of the country you’re in. During the transitioning seasons of April-May and September-October, packing a jacket and long pants is encouraged so you can layer, if needed.
Winter brings snow and sub-zero temperatures to the north of the country, so if you’re travelling in Milan or the Piedmont region, pack warm clothing, such as thermals and thick jackets. A scarf and gloves are encouraged too. For the south, you may not need all the heavy stuff, but having warm, windproof and waterproof gear is advisable.
If you wish to visit the Sistine Chapel and other churches and religious sites in the Vatican City and beyond, it is highly recommended that men and women wear clothing that covers shoulders and knees, any time of year. If you are found to be wearing immodest clothing by security guards or staff, you will be denied entry.
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
In Italy, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally-run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.