We have been planning a trip to Italy for a long time, a country I have always wanted to visit. Before getting there, we spent a lot of time doing research for the sightseeing spots, accommodation and transportation to make sure everything fit as efficiently as possible. It was definitely worth our time to set a rough itinerary, so that we keep our trip worry-free! We spent 19 days travelling in Italy and visited most major cities such as Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Venice, Milan, Lake Como.
Our accommodation summary:
Rome (4 nights) > Florence (3 nights) > Riomaggiore (3 nights) > Florence (2 nights) > Venice (2 nights) > Milan (1 night) > Como (1 night) > Milan (3 nights)
Before the trip
1. Get a lonely planet or any guidebook first
2. Book your flight ticket
Personally I prefer to take Emirates from Hong Kong to Europe as they offer 30kg baggage allowance and their aircrafts are new and comfortable. If you want to visit more cities, try to get an open jaw ticket so that you arrive and leaving Italy in different cities. In our case, we booked a ticket arriving in Rome and leaving in Milan.
3. Plan your itinerary
Either try to go in one direction, North to South or vice versa. There are some suggested routes and itineraries in lonely planet which we found quite useful.
4. Book your accommodation
Airbnb is a good choice for staying in a prime location with a lower budget but a lot of the owners have a strict cancellation policy. Try to book early as well as most of the nicer apartments are booked a couple weeks in advance. Compare the price difference of staying in a hotel and staying at airbnb apartment. If the price difference is not that big, I would recommend to stay in a hotel to avoid the check in problem and luggage storage problem, though staying in an apartment with a nice kitchen is definitely an added bonus.
5. Book your train ticket
Book your long distance train ticket online and try to book it well in advance to save money and secure your seat for the train that runs at certain time. Long distance train includes Rome to Florence, Florence to Venice, Venice to Milan in our case. For details of how the train ticket works, go to Train Travel in Italy
6. Popular museum/ sight seeing that requires advance booking
Official ticket seller for The Last Supper:
Official ticket seller for Vatican Museum Ticket:
7. Download Italy sight seeing apps with offline map, yelp, four square.
You won’t be carrying your heavy lonely planet all the time and those apps will help you to find nearby sight seeing & restaurant information. Once you get the above list of things done, you are almost good to go!
Packing checklist for Italy
– money belt (there are enough pick pocket horror stories around Europe and we didn’t want to add our own anecdote to this list)
– a pair of very comfortable sneakers or hiking shoes (You will walk a lot more than you think and I have to admit a pair of Converse or Toms aren’t comfortable enough for a full day of walking)
– sunglasses and sunblock
– print out of your online tickets for museum, train tickets, accommodation details
– extra battery for your camera (I usually charge my camera every night)
– moisturizer for the dry weather