Tips in Rome

Lodgings in Rome

A six-bed dormitory room in Rome's Des Artistes hostel

Go beyond Rome hotels to B&Bs, rental apartments, farm stays—even ways to sleep for free

 
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Where to find inexpensive hotels in Rome

 

Dining in Rome

Focaccia panini (sandwiches) (Photo by Marco Verch)

Where to grab a quick, cheap meal—Pizza rustica, street food, and fast food in Rome

 
The tartufo

The best of the great caffés and bars in Rome

 
★★☆
Who doesn't love gelato in Italy? (Photo by Robyn Lee)
Gelato
Rome

A gelato crawl to some of the best ice cream parlors in Rome, Italy

 
Italian road sign for picnic area (Photo by Gigillo83)

Where to get picnic pickings in Rome

 
Aperitivi at Meo Pinelli (Photo courtesy of Meo Pinelli)

Bar hopping for free stuzzichini (snacks) and canapés during the aperitivo Happy Hour

 
☆☆☆
Via del Portico d'Ottavia, the "main street" of Rome's medieval Jewish neighborhood

Where to eat and shop Kosher (Kashèr) in Rome, Italy

 

Topics in Rome

The Imperial Room, with Bernini's Rape of Persephone

The Early Bird gets the Papal Audience—yes, there are some museums, monuments, and sights in Rome for which you really need to reserve admission tickets ahead of time

 

Sights in Italy

Sometimes, you just get overwhelmed (Photo by Andrew Stawarz)

Saving yourself from sightseeing overload

 

A surefire method to make sure you get to see and do everything on your list

 

Tips and advice for how to get the most out of seeing the sights, museums, and monuments during your Italy vacation

 

The minimum amount of time takes to see Italy's major cities and destinations

 

Lodgings in Italy

From hotel savings to better booking engines, alternative accommodations to lodging rip-offs, here is the best lodging advice around

 

Don't use the most famous booking engines; use the ones with the largest selection and lowest rates

 
This Italian hotel is officially five stars deluxe (the "lusso" part). Sounds great, but that doesn't mean it's the best place in town—or the right one for you. (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Hotels' official star ratings have nothing to do with how clean, central, comfortable, or charming a hotel is—just how many (often pointless) amenities it offers

 
Those peanuts in the minibar don't cost just peanuts—they cost €7! And since when was a bottle of water worth €4.25? (Photo by Rick)

Avoid the scandalously high prices of the hotel minbar

 
 (Photo courtesy of Trivago.com)

Comparison-shop dozens of booking engines at once

 
 (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Hostels, B&B's, apartments, farm stays, castles, university dorms, campgrounds...there are so many of these budget options I needed to create a whole separate section on this website just to fit them all in

 
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How far in advance do you need to reserve a hotel room in Italy?

 
Many hotels will guarantee the lowest rate if you book directly with them, or an advance-booking discount (Photo )

Hotel sites often feature special sales and promotions you won't find on the booking engines and aggregators

 
 (Photo by Reid Bramblett, created with Wordclouds.com)

From B&Bs and farm stays to cottages, castles, and campgrounds, here are Italian lodging alternatives to the traditional hotel

 
 (Photo by Dave Dugdale)

Shop around, ask lots of questions, even haggle, and you can often get a room for much less

 
No, the hotel breakfast isn't terrible—but it's not worth $15–$20, either (Photo by Karen Bryan)

Breakfast at a B&B can be lovely—but at a standard hotel, you probably won't be getting your money's worth

 

A dozen ways to lower your hotel costs in Italy

 
 (Photo Public Domain)

User review sites are handy, but take their advice with a grain (make that a shaker) of salt

 
 (Photo by Thomas Hawk)

All the steps you can take to find the lowest price on the perfect place to stay in Italy

 
A basic continental breakfast is not worth the added expense (Photo by Karen Bryan)

I don't mean don't eat breakfast—just try to avoid overpaying the hotel for it

 
Those peanuts in the minibar don't cost just peanuts—they cost €7! And since when was a bottle of water worth €4.25?

Hotels try to pad your bill with overpriced extras and ancillary fees; here's how to avoid them

 
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A room with "external facilities" (shared bath down the hall) always costs less for this minor inconvenience

 
A family room can house the whole clan (Photo by John Hickey-Fry)

Crowd the clan into one room rather than renting two

 
Staying in a nearby, smaller city—lovely Prato is just a 20-train ride from Florence—can be cheaper (and more interesting) than in the big city (Photo courtesy of Trivago.com)

Get a hotel in the suburbs or next town over to save money

 
 (Photo courtesy of Priceline and Hotwire.com)

Opaque rates can save you up to 60% if you book a bit blindly

 
 (Photo by Images Money)

Offer euros rather than Visa, and sometimes you can get a slight discount

 
The room might be... cozy... but it really is just a place to sleep between long days of sightseeing and dining, so as long as it's comfy, who cares?

Ways to sleep for free in Italy

 
Getting to know some locals is a bit part of staying with a fellow hospitality club member (Photo courtesy of The Affordable Travel Club)

Hospitality networks gather folks who are willing to put up fellow members in their homes for free or for a small fee

 

A quick guide to Italian hotels and what to expect from them

 
The room might be... cozy... but it really is just a place to sleep between long days of sightseeing and dining, so as long as it's comfy, who cares? (Photo by Patrick Stahl)

How Italian hotels differ from American ones

 
A typical European hotel bathroom (Photo Public Domain)

A few notes on bathrooms in Italian hotels

 

Dining in Italy

 (Photo by Pete the painter)

Picnic like a king on the budget of a pauper in Italy

 
 (Photo by Roberto Trombetta)

Tips for finding great restaurants in Italy

 

Tips to save money on dining in Italy and eat better for it

 

Planning for a trip to Italy

 (Photo Public Domain)

The most important things to know before booking a rental car in Italy

 
Speed limits in Italy (Photo by Gigillo83)

Obey the speed limits of pay the (high) price

 
 (Photo by Andrew)

A cheat-sheet of the most important things to know when riding the Italian rails

 
Save money on your France vacation (Photo by 401(K) 2012)

Top traveler tips for dealing with money and shopping in Italy

 
 (Photo Public Domain)

Hints, tips, and advice for renting a car in Italy

 
Different kinds of moneybelts (Photo collage by Reid Bramblett; images courtesy of vendors)

This wearable safe for keeping your passport, credit cards, and spare cash secure is the one indispensable accessory every traveler loves to hate

 
Yes, this is a real road in Italy—the Stelvio Pass, highest in the Eastern Alps, kissing the Swiss border on the SS38 from Meran to Bormio (Photo by unknown)

Italian road rules are similar enough to North American ones that you'll get by fine; here are the important differences

 
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How to decide if a rental car is the best choice for your Italy vacation

 
Italian ticketing machines in the Venezia-Santa Lucia train station (Photo by Richard, enjoy my life!)

How to get the cheapest fares on Italian trains

 
Traffic in Italy can be insane (this bit of Via Toledo in Naples is actually mild) (Photo )

A rental car is not always the best choice for a Italy vacation

 
Keep right, except to pass (Photo by Unknown)

Stay in the slow lane (the rightmost one) on a European highway unless you are actively passing another car

 
Explore all of Italy-or all of Europe—with a rail pass (Photo by Akwa)

Unlimited train travel in Italy, or Italy and some neighboring countries, or even all of Europe—Is a Eurail pass worth it?

 

Major festivals in Italy and public holidays (so you'll know when things will be closed)

 
 (Photo courtesy of Drivethedales.com)

How to get the most out of renting a car in Italy with the lowest cost and least hassle

 
Touring Club Italiano makes the best maps of Italy (Photo courtesy of the publisher)

A good road map of Italy can save you time and help you discover places and things not in your guidebook

 
Shopping advice (Photo )

Top shopping tips for a trip to Italy to help you bring home the best gifts and souvenirs from your Italian travels at the best price

 
Do not overpack! (Photo )

Assorted packing and luggage hints and hacks

 
Every country in green is on metric; the yellow and orange ones are in the process of converting (yellow is closer to the goal). Only the U.S., Myanmar, Libera, and North Korea have not gotten with the program. (Photo by Thespaceface)

Get ready to do some math in your head

 
Discounts on Italian trains (Photo courtesy of FS)

Young adults, families, seniors, and couples can get 25%–50% off all trains

 
No one ever says "I wish I'd packed heavier!" (Photo by Unknown)

A traveler's guide to learning how to pack light and love it—or, how to fit everything you need for a six month trip into a single, carry-on sized bag

 
Gas in Europe is expensive (Photo by Images Money)

Prepare for REALLY expensive gas—like $7 per gallon—in Italy

 
Roma Termini train station (Photo by Ingolf)

Like the trains themselves, Italian train stations tend to be clean and user-friendly—with tourist info, hotel booking service, left luggage lockers or offices, and decent snack bars (in case you forget to pick up train picnic supplies in town)

 
Fly into London cheaply, and then elsewhere on a low-cost carrier (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

London is the cheap airfares turnstile of Europe, so fly cheaply into here and then elsewhere in Europe or North Africa on a no-frills airline for far less

 
Stuff sacks for packing (Photo courtesy of REI)

The traveling closet: Packing techniques to keep clothing wrinkles to a minimum

 
Most of Italy's cities now how ZTL limited traffic zones (Photo by Mattes)

Many Italian cities are now closed to non-resident cars

 
 (Photo by Unknown)

You do not technically need a IDP for Italy, but consider getting one

 
 (Photo by Unknown)

Don't leave anything visible in the car

 
Be smart. Don't leave your bag on the bar; some places have purse hooks (just be sure you keep it between your knees as you sit, and take it with you when you use the bathroom) (Photo collage by Reid Bramblett, using images from David Mezzo and Kimmy T.)

Advice for female travelers in Italy

 
Checking out the frescoes in the historic cemetery in Pisa (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Advice, tips, resources, and tours for disabled, handicapped, and physically challenged travelers who want to take an Italy vacation

 
Racial concerns for travelers (Photo )

A traveler's guide to race matters in Italy and a frank rundown of what to expect if you're black, Asian, Arab, Indian, or otherwise not visibly of European descent

 
This moment at a Milan Gay Pride parade doesn't really show a particular concern, but it sure is cute (Photo by cristian)

Information and concerns for gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual travelers in Italy

 

Topics in Italy

How to get an Italian codice fiscale for filling out forms

 
Useful links
Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for rail travel

English (inglese) Italian (italiano)  Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...train station la ferroviaria [or] la stazione lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah [or] lah stat-zee-YO-nay
ticket un biglietto oon beel-YET-toh
first class prima classe PREE-mah CLAH-say
second class seconda classe say-CONE-dah CLAH-say
one way solo andata SO-low ahn-DAHT-tah
round trip (return) andata e ritorno ahn-DAH-tah ay ree-TOUR-noh
Just the supplement Soltanto il supplemento soul-TAHN-toh eel sou-play-MEN-toh
Just a seat reservation Soltanto una prenotazione soal-TAHN-toh oo-nah pray-no-tah-tsee-YOH-nay
I have a Eurailpass Ho il Eurailpass oh eel YOO-rail-pahs
sleeping couchette una cucetta oo-nah koo-CHET-tah
berth in a sleeping car un posto nel vagone letto oon POH-sto nell vah-GOAN-nay LET-toh
track binario been-AR-ree-yoh
train treno TRE-no
car (carriage) carozza ka-RO-tza
seat posto PO-sto
departures partenze par-TEN-zay
arrivals arrivi ah-REE-vee
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay
left luggage deposito bagagli day-PO-zee-toh ba-GAHL-yee
     
punch your ticket timbrare il biglietto teem-BRA-ray eel beel-YET-toh
Is this the right platform for the Rome train? E questo il binario per il treno à Roma? ay KWAY-sto eel been-AR-ree-yo pair eel TRE-no ah RO-ma? 
delayed in retardo een ree-TAR-do
strike sciopero SHO-pair-oh
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
City / Train station names
English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Main station
Rome Roma Termini
Florence Firenze Santa Maria Novella
Venice Venezia Santa Lucia
Milan Milano Centrale
Genoa Genova Porta Principe
Naples Napoli Centrale
Leghorn Livorno Centrale
Turin Torino Porta Nuova

Useful Italian for air travel

English (inglese) Italian  (italiano)   Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is... Dov'é doh-VAY
the airport l'aeroporto LAHW-ro-port-oh
the airplane l'aereo LAIR-reh-oh
terminal terminal TEAR-me-nahl
flight volo VOH-lo
gate uscita d'imbarco oo-SHEE-tah deem-BARK-oh
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
keep going straight sempre diritto SEM-pray dee-REE-toh
departures partenze par-TEN-zay
arrivals arrivi ah-REE-vee
delayed in ritardo een ree-TAR-doh
on time in orario een oh-RAH-ree-yo
early in avanti een ah-VAHN-tee
boarding imbarco eem-BARK-o
connecting flight la coincidenza la ko-een-chee-DEN-za
check-in accettazione ah-chet-ta-zee-YO-nee
immigration controllo passaporti cone-TRO-lo pah-sa-POR-tee
security check controllo di sicurezza kohn-TRO-lo dee see-kur-AY-tzah
customs dogana do-GA-na
shuttle la navetta lah na-VET-tah
boarding pass carta d'imbarco kart-ta deem-BARK-o
baggage claim ritiro bagagli ree-TEER-oh bah-GA-lyee
carry-on luggage bagaglio à mano bah-GA-lyo ah MA_no
checked luggage bagalio bah-GA-lyo

Useful Italian for car travel

English (inglese) Italian  (italiano)  Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
car automobile ow-toh-MO-bee-lay
scooter/motorboke un motorino oon mo-tair-EE-no
gas station stazione di servizio stah-zee-YO-nay dee sair-VEE-tzee-yo
gas benzina ben-ZEE-nah
diesel gasolio [or] diesel gah-ZOH-lee-oh [or] DEE-zell
Fill it up, please al pieno, per favore ahl pee-YAY-noh, pair fa-VOHR-ray
Where is... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the highway l'autostrada lout-oh-STRA-dah
...the state highway la statale [written "SS"] lah sta-TAHL-eh
...the road for Rome la strada per Roma lah STRA-dah pair RO-mah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
keep going straight sempre diritto SEM-pray dee-REE-toh
to cross attraversare ah-tra-vair-SAR-ay
toll pedaggio peh-DA-jo
parking parcheggio par-KEH-jo
road map carta stradale kar-ta stra-DA-lay
where can I pay the fine? dove posso pagare la multa DOH-veh Po-so pag-GAR-ray la MOOL-tah


Typical road signs / terms » more

English (anglais) French (français) 
Stop Stop
Exit  Uscita
Staffic light Semaforo
One-way Senso unico
Dead-end Strada senza uscita
Parking prohibited No parcheggio or parcheggio proibito
Pedestrian zone Area pedonale
Limited Traffic Zone (you pay to drive in) ZTL or Zona Traffico Limitato

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).