Have you ever wondered how much does it cost to go to Italy? With stunning landscapes, vineyards, historical monuments, picturesque cities, and delicious food, who wouldn’t want to go? However, as much as Italy may be a dream vacation for, well, pretty much everyone, it’s also a destination where your budget tends to get in the way. Italy is popular, very popular, and prices often reflect that. However, with a few tips and tricks, it is possible to explore Italy without breaking the bank.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to suggest a ten-day itinerary in Italy to hit the highlights. This includes three days in Rome, four days in Florence (for which I suggest including a day trip to somewhere in Tuscany and a day trip to Cinque Terre), and three days in Venice. I’ve purposely excluded Milan and Sicily since they’re out of the way. The Amalfi Coast is worth it, but if you only have 10 days, it’ll be difficult to include. Please remember that this budget for Italy is designed for one person. If you are travelling as a couple, you will need to double all costs except for hotels.
Accommodations $1,500 ($150 per day)
Local transportation $200
Food and drink $430
Random spending $100
TOTAL $3,130 USD
The above estimate is in American dollars, so please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency.
Note that the above is just an estimate. Italy isn’t necessarily a cheap travel destination. However, savvy travellers can reduce their costs by using some of the tips and suggestions shared in this article.
As for when to go, March, April, May, and October see fewer crowds, so prices are a little lower. You can go in the winter months of November, December, January and February which also have fewer tourists but it tends to be cold and not the best weather. That being said Italy and Christmas can be beautiful with the markets and some of Italy’s best festivals such as the Venice Carnival which takes place in the winter. Additionally, if you love skiing the winter is the ideal time to visit Italy’s ski resorts.
June, July, August, and September are the peak season, so you’ll pay more at that time. But, it’s the best season if you want to visit the Mediterranean coastline and beaches. Of course, holidays like Christmas Day, Easter, and New Year while not peak season will be more expensive.
It is possible to purchase Italy vacation packages through airlines and tour operators, but the savings might be minimal. You’re likely better off planning your own adventure. That said, a group tour, including small groups, can be good for those who don’t want to plan.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Platinum Card gives you a generous welcome bonus that’s often worth more than $900 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees, and it comes with airport lounge access.
Rome is a popular enough hub in Europe that you can probably find a decent deal if you look early enough. Your best bet to find airfare deals is to avoid travelling during the high season. Average fares during the shoulder season (April or October) are approximately $750 return.
If you’re flexible with your departure date, you could save a little bit of money. Generally, airfare is cheaper when departing on Tuesday through Thursday.
Insider tip: If you have a couple of extra days to spare, you may also want to consider flying to one of the major international airports in Europe, such as Amsterdam, Paris, or London, which often offer cheaper deals. From there, you can catch a smaller flight with Ryanair or Easy Jet. These small flights can usually be purchased for under $100 each way, including paying for checked luggage if you book early enough in advance.
Accommodations really range in price in Italy depending on where you are located, the type of accommodation, as well as the time of year that you visit. That being said, there are a number of options available for all budgets. For the sake of an estimate for this article, I have chosen mid-range hotel pricing during the shoulder season (approximately $150/night). To be honest, there are cheaper options for accommodations, but I wanted to give you an average price for budgeting purposes.
Personally, I recommend not getting too caught up on location in Rome. As long as you are near a metro station or bus stop, you will easily be able to get around. Versus in Venice, it is absolutely worth paying a bit more to stay in Venice proper rather than on the outskirts.
Looking for recommendations? I suggest the following:
- Rome: Generator Rome or The Yellow
- Florence: Plus Florence or Hostel Archi Rossi
- Venice: The Academy or Silk Road
- Rome: Hotel Serena or Hotel Paulo II
- Florence: Hotel Balcony or Hotel Delle Nazioni
- Venice: Hotel Gorizia a La Valigia or Hotel Al Vagon
- Rome: Rome Luxus Hotel or Harry’s Bar Trevi Hotel and Restaurant
- Florence: Hotel Lungarno or Hotel Bernini Palace
- Venice: Hotel Londra Palace or Hotel Danieli
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn up to 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and $300 back at U.S. restaurants as a welcome bonus.
Canadians should consider the Marriott Bonvoy American Express, which gives you up to 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That’s enough points for a few free nights at some hotels, which could easily have a value of over $500.
Getting around Italy is very easy, thanks to the train system and public transit in the major cities. Since this itinerary is for the main highlights, I recommend using the train service rather than renting a car. Driving in Italy’s tiny streets can be pretty daunting.
For trains between cities, the easiest and often cheapest is to purchase your ticket the day of or even the day before. Don’t bother with a rail pass of some sort; it’s a waste of money. Italy has two types of trains: the fast trains, which are more expensive, or the slower local trains, which are a fraction of the price and quite scenic since they stop in the smaller towns. Since you don’t have huge legs on this journey, I suggest the slow train if you enjoy train travel. Save money and get an enjoyable, more local journey. Tickets for the slower trains depend on the tip, but you can average about $20 per ticket. If you want the fast trains, expect to pay up to $50.
In terms of getting around cities, walking is by far the best way to explore Italy. However, while Florence is pretty easy to do by foot, Rome is quite a large city, and you will absolutely need to use public transit if you’re not staying in Ancient Rome. Using the subway and buses is an easy way to get around Rome, and tickets are quite affordable. You can get a 3-day pass for under 20 euros (about 22 USD). In Venice, there are no cars, only the Vaporetto, which is a public boat that goes along the canals. It is quite expensive, with a 2-day card costing about $35 USD. You can walk from one end of Venice to the other in about 20 minutes, so don’t bother with the Vaporetto unless you’re going to one of the surrounding islands.
Since you are likely flying in and out of Rome, you will also need to get back to Rome the night before you leave. In this case, I would take the fast train, which will cost more but it is the longest journey, and you don’t want to spend your final day on a train. The fast train is about 3.5 hours and tickets can be purchased for about $80.
Attractions in Italy are one of those areas where it’s really easy to go over budget, depending on what you are looking for. If you are a big museum and art enthusiast, you will want to make sure you allocate extra for this part of your budget. Italy has plenty of museums and galleries that can keep you busy for days.
I think most of Italy’s charm lies in exploring the cities on foot and sightseeing the architecture and the landscapes. In the Italian cities, there are many free things to see, such as ancient ruins, the Spanish steps, Trevi Fountain, and churches. If this is more of your type of travel, then you can count on having a smaller budget.
You want to buy your tickets in advance so you can skip the line whenever you can, as the lineups for the attractions can be quite long, even during the low season. Here are some of the tickets you’ll want to pick up before you depart.
- Pompeii day trip from Rome
- Uffizi Gallery
- Academia Gallery
- Best of Cinque Terre
- Venice gondola ride
- Guided Murano, Burano, and Torcello day trip
- Doge’s Palace and Saint Mark’s Basilica guided tour
For the basic attractions, I’d say allocate $150. If you are keen on museums and renaissance art, you will probably want to double that.
Keep in mind: I’ve also included two-day trips on this itinerary. Both Cinque Terre and Tuscany (Pisa, Siena, etc.) can be visited as a day trip on your own using the trains from Florence. However, if you would rather do a guided tour then you need to allocate extra in your budget for that as well.
Food and drink
Let’s be honest, you can’t come to Italy and not eat. Food and drink are one of the main highlights of a trip to Italy, so do yourself a favour and know in advance that your food and drink budget in Italy may be a bit higher than in other destinations. That being said, keeping it reasonable with a few tricks is easy.
Almost all Italian hotels offer breakfast of some sort included in your stay, which is a huge help. Plenty of vendors will sell you delicious paninis or slices of pizza for only a few euros to take away. Dinner is the best time to enjoy a big sit-down meal but to get the best deals (and meals!), but stay away from the main tourist attractions. Ask your hotel for recommendations for somewhere smaller and local. You’ll be surprised how many places you can get a delicious meal with a glass of wine for 20 dollars.
With this type of arrangement in mind, your daily meal costs will look something like this:
- Breakfast – $5 (if not included in the hotel, for coffee + pastry)
- Lunch – $10
- Dinner $25
Which equals $40 per day, though I’d add another $3 daily for gelato or other snacks. That’s $43 a day you should budget.
First-time visitors to Italy should know there is a charge for sitting and eating in a restaurant, so don’t be surprised if you see an extra charge for a couple of euros on your bill- this is normal. Italians also tend to eat much later than we do in North America, so have a late lunch or grab gelato as a snack so you can hold off until local dinnertime.
Italy is a mecca for shopping, and it’s easy to find something to want to bring home. Even if you aren’t typically a big shopper on your travels, I recommend you budget a little extra just in case. There are fresh olives, olive oils and bottles of limoncello which not only make great souvenirs but also great gifts. Not to mention the quality leather, Venetian masks, Murano glass…the list goes on.
Needless to say, you will probably be tempted by at least something here so, to be safe, I’d budget at least an extra $100 for shopping and random spending (more if you are coming specifically to shop). Even if you don’t use it shopping, you’ll probably use it on gelato or Aperol Spritz on the patios.
If you plan on doing a quick day trip to the ruins of Pompeii in Naples, you’ll need to budget a bit more.
Italy trip cost
So how much does it cost to go to Italy? For ten days in Italy including three major cities and two day trips, you can expect to pay about $3,130 USD which is actually more than a month long trip to Southeast Asia. While this may seem like a lot, if you plan to visit Italy, you should budget accordingly. Trying to save money for the sake of saving money may lessen your experience.
Frequently asked questions
When is the best time to visit Italy?
Typically late spring (May, June) and early fall (September and October) are the best for weather, costs, and fewer crowds. You might get a little rainfall but will avoid the steaming hot days, which makes it better for exploring.
What are some of the big events in Italy?
Italy has lots of festivals and events. Venice Carnival is a huge one as is the Venice international film festival and Milan Fashion Week. Holidays like Easter and Epiphany are also important.
What should you not miss in Italy?
This really depends on your interests. Some will tell you not to miss a gondola ride in Venice, whereas I don’t really care about that and would say don’t miss the Colosseum in Rome. I would say don’t miss Venice or Rome in general. Both are incredible cities that are very unique and have so much to see and do. A couple of other “don’t miss” I would add to my list: trying authentic Italian gelato (stay away from bright colours!). If you are a food lover and can work it into your itinerary, I also highly recommend an Italian cooking class. Taking home the recipes is always good, but the experience itself is a ton of fun, and it’s a great way to have more of an authentic experience and chat with some locals.
Where should I go for my first trip to Italy?
I suggest using Rome, Florence, and Venice as your bases for your first trip to Italy. These three cities are considered kind of the ‘classic’ stops and also have several day trip options that will allow you to see smaller areas or other towns without having to worry about moving around so much. Trying to fit in Lake Como, Capri, Palermo, and Milan is not a good idea as they’re out of the way.
Is Italy expensive to visit?
Italy is definitely not considered to be a cheap destination to travel to, and I wouldn’t recommend it as a budget destination. That said, Italy doesn’t have to be expensive. You can choose to explore Italy on a budget. If you are worried about an Italy trip cost, look at the suggestions in my article on how to explore Italy on a budget.
What city is the most expensive in Italy?
Milan is quite expensive for an Italian city. Although Venice, Florence, and Rome can be pricey as well. If you want to save but still have incredible travel experiences, try Piedmont, Bergamo, or Trieste.
How much does it cost to fly to Italy?
There are several factors that come into play when figuring out how much it costs to fly to Italy. However, based on my calculations above, the average price from North America is about $750 USD.
Is a rail pass in Italy worth it?
I would say no, especially if you stay in one country. Italy has so many train options, including fast trains and slow trains, and the train passes can be very limiting. Doing it on your own will allow for more flexibility and, especially if you choose the slower local trains, will save you a lot of money as well.
Do you need a rental car in Italy?
There is no need to rent a car when in Italy unless your plans are taking you far away from the main areas. A car will give you more freedom, so if that’s what you are going for, then by all means, go for it. However, you might find it intimidating (especially when it comes to parking) in the main cities.