Italy is a fantastic country to visit. With its rich history, beautiful scenery, and delicious food, it’s no surprise millions of tourists from around the world flock to the country each and every year.
If you’re looking to experience a couple of the most famous Italian cities, then a two-week break is just enough to scratch the surface of the likes of Rome, Venice, Verona and Florence – but how much do two weeks touring the country cost?
Those looking to experience Italy on a shoestring could spend two weeks here for around €1,320 ($1,420) excluding flights. However, if you’re looking to avoid hostels & dine at the occasional restaurant or two, a €2,000 budget per person (excluding flights) is likely a more realistic figure.
We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Italy multiple times over the past decade. We’ve had three-day getaways here and spent over a month touring the country.
Therefore it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about how much a trip here can cost and, perhaps more importantly, how you can cut costs without compromising on your experience.
Table of Contents
- Domestic Transport
- Attractions & Entertainment
- How To Save Money on Attractions and Entertainment in Italy
The cost of your flights to Italy will vary dramatically depending on when you travel, where you travel from and how you travel.
I’ve broken down the average cost of a return flight from major cities around the world to Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport as an example below;
|London, England||$130 – £100 – €120|
|Boston, United States||$600 – £450 – €550|
|Dallas, United States||$750 – £550 – €650|
|Los Angeles, United States||$600 – £450 – €550|
|Toronto, Canada||$600 – £450 – €550|
|Sydney, Australia||$1,200 – £900 – €1,100|
Flights Per Person: €120 – €1,100 ($130 – $1,200)
How To Save Money On Flights To Italy
Depending on where you’re travelling from, your flight to Italy may be the most expensive component of your trip.
Therefore, any money you can save on flights could significantly impact your overall travel budget.
Luckily, we have a few tried and tested methods when it comes to saving money on flights that might help;
Setting Up Travel Alerts
You can set up alerts with most flight aggregation websites (Google Flights, Hopper, and Kiwi, to name a few) to send you an email when flights to your particular location hit a specific price point you’re cheaper than average.
Alternatively, you can look at deal providers such as FareDrop by Youtuber’s Kara and Nate to provide alerts on the best flight deals to/from anywhere in the world directly into your inbox.
Consider Alternative Airports
Saving money on flights usually comes down to one of two things;
1. Being in the right place at the right time and finding a deal
2. Being flexible
One way to maximise your flexibility is to consider flying from or to an alternative airport.
However, you must do the math to ensure you’re really going to save money and that your time spent on the additional travel is worth it.
For example, if you’re based in Dallas, TX but find that it’s $200 cheaper to fly to an airport in Italy out of Houston, then it might be worth calculating the cost of time and the additional gas and whether or not the savings are worthwhile.
This is often an incredibly personal choice and comes down to how much you value flying out of your local airport or how far out of your way you’re willing to travel to save isn’t.
Look For Layovers
Alternatively, you can look for flights with layovers.
Fares with layovers can often save you $100+ if you find the right combination.
However, much like saving money by flying to / from different airports, the cost and hassle aren’t always worth it.
Something to consider if you’re looking to save money on flights when travelling to Italy is how much time this might take out of your trip.
For example, if the layover is six hours and you only have three days in Italy, that six hours in an airport is a significant time commitment.
Meanwhile, if the saving is $50 and you’re on a ten-hour layover, then the $50 you save on airfare will likely just be spent on mediocre airport food and probably won’t be worth it.
Whether you’re flying domestically or internationally, one of the best ways to save money on flights remains to travel midweek.
Research has shown that flights are cheaper on a Wednesday or a Thursday because fewer people can travel mid-work week.
Of course, this isn’t always suitable for everyone; however, if it is, then you could easily save $50 per person doing so.
Travel In The Off-Season
In the United States, flights generally become more expensive during peak travel times. These include the likes of Christmas, New Year, Spring Break & Thanksgiving, to name a few.
However, Italy also has a peak season from March through August.
This is when the weather is the nicest (generally dry and sometimes sunny) and when most children in Europe have their summer break.
Travelling outside of this peak season helps you save on the cost of flights, hotels and even spend less time in the queues at major attractions since fewer travellers are visiting.
Much like the cost of flights, your accommodation in Italy will vary dramatically depending on a few key factors such as;
- The city you’re visiting.
- The hotel’s star rating
- Where you’re staying in a private room or a dorm
Major cities such as Rome, Venice and Milan are incredibly popular with tourists and therefore have a vast array of accommodation options to suit all budgets.
Meanwhile more off the beaten path locations such as Tropea and Saturnia have fewer options and, therefore, more affordable options often sell out significantly quicker.
Here’s the average price of one night in different styles of accommodation in some of the most popular cities in Italy;
|Dorm Room||Private Hostel Room||Three-Star Hotel||Five-Star Hotel|
|Rome||€30 – $30||€80 – $80||€130 – $140||€450 – $480|
|Milan||€25 – $25||€80 – $80||€100 – $110||€250 – €270|
|Venice||€40 – $40||€100 – $110||€150 – $165||€300 – $330|
|Florence||€40 – $40||€80 – $80||€120 – $130||€450 – $480|
Ultimately, when it comes to finding a great hotel in Italy, it comes down to balancing fantastic reviews with a great price with a good location.
After all, the cheapest hotel with the most five-star ratings won’t be worth it if it takes you 30 minutes to get to the Italian cities your visiting the most popular attractions.
Hotel Room: €2,000 ($2,200) – Price based on two sharing a double room
How To Save Money On Hotels In Italy
If you’re on a budget, then you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a range of ways you can save on the cost of your accommodation when in Italy.
After all, if you’re visiting the city for a week, then the cost of accommodation will likely be your most significant expense, and therefore saving just $10 or $20 a night can quickly add up.
Book In Advance
One of the most tried and true ways of saving money on travel is by booking in advance, and this continues to be true when booking accommodation in Italy.
That’s because booking in advance gives you the most options as the most popular, most affordable places haven’t yet been booked up.
While more options can mean more research, spending the time doing that research can provide you with some real bargains in return.
Book A Vacation Package
Booking a vacation package online with the likes of Expedia is a great way to quickly and easily save money on your trip to you’re
A vacation package, at a minimum, requires you to book a hotel and a flight in a single booking. However, you can also add car hire, transfers to / from the airport and tickets to major attractions.
That being said, booking this way isn’t always cheaper. Therefore it’s essential you compare the cost of the vacation package with the cost of booking each item individually to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
Stay In A Hostel
Another fantastic option for saving money on accommodation in Italy is to stay in a hostel.
Booking a bed in a hostel dorm room ranges from $25 to $50 per night, with private rooms often costing as much as a night in a budget hotel.
We find that staying in a hostel comes with three key benefits;
1. Allows you to save money on accommodation
2. Most hostels have a large kitchen allowing you to cook and save money on food
3. Great place to meet likeminded travellers
There are two types of domestic transport you’ll want to budget for when visiting Italy.
The first is travelling between cities in Italy and the second is travelling around cities during your trip.
Travelling Between Cities In Italy
Travelling between cities in Italy is going to come in three forms;
Trenitalia is the most popular train operator in Italy and provides the quickest and easiest way to travel between cities.
However, it’s not necessarily the cheapest option since several budget airlines also operate in the country.
For example, a train from Naples to Milan costs roughly €50 per person, while flights between the same destinations can cost as little as €5.
However, given that most airports in Italy are outside of the city centre, you very well may spend all the savings you made by flying on transportation to the airport, so be sure to factor in all costs (and any associated hassle) before making your decision.
However, planes and trains aren’t the only way to travel across Italy since several bus companies also operate within the country.
The most popular service provider for coach travel in Italy and, in fact, Europe as a whole is Flixbus.
However, given how uncomfortable and long coach travel is, it’s not often the cheapest, with the best deals often being snapped up months in advance.
Travelling Within Cities In Italy
Once you’ve travelled between cities in Italy, you’ll then want to travel around the city you’ve travelled to, and in this case, the method(s) of transport could vary dramatically.
For example, in Venice, expect to travel a lot on the water taxi, while in Rome, expect to walk or take a bus between the city’s most significant locations.
While the transport cost in each city will vary, most cities offer a travel pass for tourists that allows unlimited journeys on public transport for a set number of days for one fixed price.
Domestic Transport: €100 – €500 ($80 – $675) per person
How To Save Money On Domestic Transport In Italy
While the cost of travelling around Italy can be expensive, there are a vast number of ways in which you can reduce the cost.
Buy A Travel Pass
The best way to save money on domestic travel in Italy is to purchase a travel pass for the duration of your stay in each major city.
For example, purchasing the Roma Pass in Rome gives you unlimited access to public transport and entry to two museums or archaeological sites.
While the Firenze Card in Florence offers free or discounted entry to many of the city’s top attractions as well as unlimited use of public transport for a set amount of time.
Book In Advance
If you know you’re going to be travelling between cities during your two week trip to Italy, consider booking your longer, more expensive journeys in advance.
While this limits your flexibility, it can often result in significant savings.
For example, booking a train from Rome to Florence one month in advance can save you up to 50% on the standard ticket price.
Use A Ride-Sharing Service
In recent years ride-sharing services such as Uber and BlaBlaCar have become increasingly popular across Europe, with Italy being no exception.
If you’re travelling with other people, then sharing the cost of a ride can often be cheaper than taking the train, bus or flying.
Just be sure to factor in any additional costs such as parking before making your decision.
While hitchhiking isn’t as popular as it once was, it’s still possible to hitchhike around Italy if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.
Of course, this isn’t for everyone, but if you don’t mind waiting by the side of the road for a lift, it’s certainly worth considering as a cheap way to travel.
Attractions & Entertainment
The amount of money you’ll spend in Italy on attractions and entertainment will ultimately depend on what type of traveller you are and what type of trip you’re on.
If this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you’ll no doubt want to experience all of the country’s most popular attractions.
If, on the other hand, you’re likely to return to Italy in the future, you may choose only to cover the attractions that fit within your budget – saving other, more expensive attractions and experiences for a future trip when hopefully, your budget has increased.
How To Save Money on Attractions and Entertainment in Italy
Seeing some of Italy’s best sights doesn’t always have to come at a high price.
As such, it’s very easy to cut the cost of your attractions & entertainment budget without significantly impacting your experience in some cases.
Get A Attraction Pass
If you want to see many different sights during your trip to a particular Italian city, then it may be worth picking up an attraction pass when available.
While each attraction pass varies, the majority provide you with access to a variety of top and less discovered museums and attractions for a fixed fee based on the number of days you have access.
I’ve found that picking up an attraction pass allows you to experience the best of what a city offers without compromising your budget and experiences on the fly.
Go On A Free Walking Tour
In most major Italian cities, you’ll find a walking tour that takes place a couple of times a week.
While these tours are labelled as free, you’ll often provide your guide with a tip based on your experience.
We enjoyed going on a fantastic free walking tour during our first trip to Rome, and while the website suggested the experience would take two hours, the guide went above and beyond.
If this were something we’d have booked and paid for, it would have easily been upwards of €30 each; therefore, we opted to give the guide a €40 tip for the pair of us.
Of course, our budget on this trip allowed us to do this, but it’s more than okay as a solo traveller around Europe to tip less if you have to.
Book Online, In Advance
Many museums offer discounted entry to those who book their tickets online ahead of time, while some theme parks offer similar deals for those willing to plan their visit in advance.
In fact, booking in advance for some of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions is mandatory to gain access.
As such, it’s well worth researching the cost & booking requirements of each of your ‘must visit’ attractions during your trip.
Visit Free Attractions
Admission to some of Italy’s most famous and prestigious churches and cathedrals is free.
Sprinkling these free attractions and experiences into your trip is a sure way to stay on budget while also experiencing Italy’s authenticity.
Check For Student, Senior & Family Discounts
The majority of attractions in Italy will offer discounts for students, seniors and families.
Again it’s worth looking at each attraction in advance online as to what discounts are available and for whom to ensure you’re bringing any identification you might require.
Go On Days With Reduced Entry Fees
Select attractions often have certain days of the week or the month in which they allow visitors to enter for free or at a reduced cost.
Italy is home to some of the finest restaurants in the world, serving incredible Italian dishes and delicious wines.
However, it is possible to find excellent food without spending a lot of money.
The most significant factor in how much you spend on food during your trip is not what you eat but where you eat.
If you’re happy to grab a pastry from the grocery store and eat fast-food / street food for dinner, you’re going to spend around €30 a day on average.
However, if you’re looking to dine at some of the country’s finest restaurants and stop for a coffee and a cake regularly, you could just as easily find yourself spending up to €200 per day instead.
Food & Drink: €400 – €2,800 ($430 – $3000)
How To Save Money on Food and Drink in Italy
While food and drink during your trip are essential, it doesn’t have to take up a signification portion of your budget.
Instead, you can do plenty of things to keep costs down.
Eat At Your Hotel, Hostel or Airbnb
I’d estimate that by purchasing breakfast options from the local grocery store and eating at your accommodation, you can save roughly 20% on your food budget while having a very minimal impact on your trip.
If you’re willing to increase that to the occasional lunch, then the savings you’re able to achieve could easily be increased to 30%, maybe even 40%.
For this reason, it’s always worth assessing the facilities you’re accommodation has.
In some cases, it’s well worth paying an additional €5 a night for a hotel that has a refrigerator & a microwave or an additional €1 a night for a dorm room in a hostel with a kitchen.
Opt For Street Food & Fast Food Over Restaurants
Opting for street food and fast food instead of restaurants and cafés is an excellent way to keep your food costs low while you’re travelling.
I’m not saying you should eat pizza every day (although it would be pretty hard to get bored of), but you can save some money by limiting the number of formal sit-down restaurant meals you have during your trip.
For example, on our most recent trip to Rome, we actually opted to grab a slice of pizza from this incredible ‘hole in the wall’ place and take it back to our hotel for dinner instead of eating out.
This still allowed us to eat incredible Italian food, albeit in a different location, for €20 to €30 less.
Research Budget Restaurants In Advance
As we’ve gotten older, both our travel budget and style have increased, and therefore when we travel today, we eat at far more restaurants than we did during our travels ten years ago.
However, we still try to research restaurant options in advance to ensure that we’re heading to ones with fantastic reviews that offer great value for money.
The likes of TripAdvisor are a fantastic resource for this. Alternatively, our friends Daryl & Mindi at 2FoodTrippers have the best food in most major Italian cities pretty well covered.
Avoid Eating Near Major Attractions
The restaurants and cafés that surround the most popular attractions in Italy are almost always overpriced and sadly often don’t offer some of the best Italian food.
Instead, take a short walk away from the main square, piazza or attraction to find somewhere local where you can get an authentic experience for a fraction of the price.
Cut Back On The Alcohol
Wine is cheap in Italy, and it would be easy to spend a small fortune on Aperol Spritzes, glasses of wine, and beer bottles if you’re not careful.
We love Italian wine as much as the next person.
However, during our travels, we’ve found that by limiting ourselves to one or two drinks on selected evenings, we not only save a significant amount of money – we’ve also found that we’re less likely to suffer from a hangover the next day too!