Where to take a first trip to Italy and what to know before doing it

Visiting Italy for the first time can be overwhelming, but not if you know where to go and what to do before you get there.

To say that traveling to Italy for the first time is overwhelming would be an understatement. That being said, it is also a thrilling, thrilling and amazing experience, especially if one knows where to go when first time there. Each city brings with it pros and cons for a newcomer to Europe, and Italy, in particular, is full of attractions for those looking for a true cultural experience.

Rome is rich in history while the Amalfi Coast is rich in luxury and decadence, and Naples offers cuisine in spades with a bit of tradition on the side. So how do you decide which city is the best and friendliest for the first time?

Where should a first-time traveler visit in Italy?

When visiting Italy, it is recommended not to overload the itinerary. Italy is a big country with a lot to see and do and first-time travelers can get so caught up in the fact that they are rushing around and trying to accomplish too much in one trip. The best part of the trip is that it can be done multiple times – and the second time a traveler returns to a beloved country, they will rely on knowing the things they saw the first time around. The Bell Journey recommends sticking to no more than three locations during the trip, all close to a traveler’s base.

rome with tourists around a fountain

Victor Malyushev on Unsplash

For example, choose a city like Rome, from which the Amalfi Coast and Tuscany are easily accessible. The same can be done with the city of Florence, which is also within walking distance of Cinque Terre and Bellagio. These four accessible cities are small enough to be seen in just a few days, while Rome and Florence will take up most of a traveler’s time. Tip: They are also very user-friendly for first trips.

Related: One of Switzerland’s Most Beautiful Places Easily Reached From Milan, Italy

Tips for visiting Italy

Although Italy is a popular European destination, it is also a destination that brings its own unique characteristics that travelers should know before they set off. These tips will help any potential traveler navigate this great country and make the temporary transition easier, even if it’s only a week-long adventure.

What to look for when booking and what not to forget

It probably goes without saying that when booking accommodation in Italy it is good to first consider the weather before doing so. Rome and Florence, in particular, experience very hot temperatures during the summer. The first sign of a very hot day will be that locals will be heading to the beach to enjoy the coastal breezes – the second sign will be a traveler who is sweating profusely. With such long days of sightseeing and just walking around, booking a place with AC (they’re not as easy to find as you might think) is a necessity for comfort alone.

When it comes to taking a nap or resting at midday, as Europeans call it, having a comfortable place to come “home” makes all the difference. both a nap and air conditioning is recommended for novice travelers. Speaking of air conditioning (a bit), travelers shouldn’t forget an AC adapter. Even if that means buying a small fan overseas – it’s nice to be able to plug it in with an adapter that fits a European outlet.

What to know when dining in Italy

Rumors are true – wine is cheaper in Italy than a pitcher of water. The price difference is also quite large; eight euros for water against three euros for a carafe (small portion) of wine. That being said, it’s best to buy bottled water or get it at a hotel or resort (some Airbnbs may even stock their fridges for guests). This way, at dinner time, travelers will be well hydrated, as it is also a good idea to drink water during tours. A small portion of wine at dinner is a great way to unwind, all without breaking the bank by ordering glass after glass of water. If wine isn’t an option, it’s just good to know how much to budget.

eat on italian food and wine in italy

Liubov Ilchuk on Unsplash

Restaurant patrons should also be aware of coperto fees. This is a small fee that diners pay just to eat in a restaurant, mostly a cover charge. The maximum that a traveler will likely pay for a coperto is three euros per person, which is not that expensive, but can be if restaurant meals are often held throughout the trip. This coperto is also separated from a tip and appears as a separate charge on the dinner bill.

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