If you ask someone what the most romantic destination in Europe is…they would probably answer “Paris”.  Nothing against Paris (J’adore France…so much so that I’ve spent the last two years learning *beginner* French).  However, I would absolute argue that it is Italy.  Is there something romantic about gladiators fighting to the death? About townsfolk being frozen in ash? About mass burial sites created by the plague?…..Well no.  But if you can look past some of the dark history, you will find rich culture, gorgeous art, ancient architecture, incredible food, and sweet wine.  (I can be honest here: I might be biased because food is my love language)

Fontanelle Cemetary – Naples


This is absolutely not an all inclusive list, whatsoever.  If I went into everything to see, then we would be here all day 🙂 

Grand Canal & Rialto Bridge
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Valley of the Temples
Amalfi Coast
Milan Cathedral
Turkish Steps


Accommodation – Like anything, the cost of accommodation varies dramatically.  My personal goal for myself is sticking dead in the center – somewhere between the Ritz Carlton and Motel 6.  We are by no means fancy people, but I also want to stay in clean and safe accommodations.  This is also my goal for my clients (unless they tell me otherwise!). 

Like any country, the city and tourist locations are going to be more expensive then the countryside.  Furthermore, it is going to be slightly more expensive if you go peak tourist season versus off season.  Personally, I think there are somethings that I would not compromise on – such as being able to see a canal from my Venetian window. Given all off that, and assuming 2 people.  I would budget about $150-250 per night for the top cities (i.e. Venice, Rome, Florence, etc.).  When you venture south into Sicily, the prices drop to about $100-$150 a night. 

Food – I could probably spend my whole budget on food, especially in Italy.  Not because it is an expensive place to eat but because every time you turn around I was stuffing some sort of coffee, gelato, or carb in my face (even being gluten free! side note: Italy is FANTASTIC for those of us that eat GF – you can even have McDonald’s fries!).  For a couple, I would plan about $50-100 a day on food.  Of course, if you look for hotels that offer breakfast then this price will drop.  It is also possible to grab just light lunches and then spend most of your budget on a nice dinner.  In Italy, it is easy to eat on a budget and spend comparable to what you would spend at home.  Also, in most of Europe, tipping is not accepted when eating out and taxes are included in the price of the meal.  So you don’t need to worry about adding on that 20%.  

Transportation – Ah, another one that is quite subjective to the mode and time of year you go.  For basic economy flights from a gateway location I would expect to see $1200-$1800 per person.  If you see under $1000 (including tax), then you are winning in my opinion! 

For the mode of transportation between the cities, I highly recommend the train.  Parking in the cities is a nightmare to an American, and you normally have to pay per day to park it (even at your hotel, if they offer parking).  When you are in the city, the easiest way to get around is walking or public transport. 

We made the mistake of renting a car and then parking it on the outskirts of town for the first 3 days we were in Venice.  There went a couple of hundreds dollars wasted.  So if you do rent a car, pick it up on the way out of town! 

If you decide the train is the best way to go, then buy your tickets ahead of time, they are pretty cheap!  For example, you can get a ticket from Venice to Florence for about $20 per person.  



Get the menu of the day When you go out for dinner, ask if they have a special. First of all, this can save you money. Secondly, it lets you branch out and try some local dishes!
Use public transportation Public transportation is way easier in Italy then it is in the states. It is significantly cheaper and way easier to get around, especially in the cities.
Get city passes Several of the cities have what they call "city passes". This allows you admission to certain tourist attractions without having to buy an additional ticket. Plus, it is cheaper then buying individual tickets to each place! Sometimes it gives you special perks such as "skip the line"
Buy tickets ahead of time Most tourist attractions have "online" pricing and "day of" pricing. Normally you can save a few dollars if you purchase your tickets ahead of time. Bonus: it can save you some time in the line as well!

I hope that you find yourself inspired and more prepared for an Italian vacation.  Check out related articles linked in the right column 🙂 

As always, Happy Travelling 


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