Traveling tips for Italy – what you should know before a trip to Italy

With so much history, culture, and delicious food to look forward to, organizing a vacation to Italy may be an exhilarating undertaking. However, a pleasant and pleasurable trip may be ensured by navigating the complexities of travel planning, comprehending local traditions, and knowing the basics to carry.

Before delving into the enchanting streets of Rome, the rolling hills of Tuscany, or the picturesque canals of Venice, there are essential steps every traveler should take. From ensuring you have the necessary travel documents to understanding visa requirements and travel insurance, thorough preparation is key to a hassle-free entry into Italy.

This article will cover a variety of topics, including how to organize a first-time vacation to Italy, what to pack, what not to forget, and much more.

What do I need to do before traveling to Italy?

Before traveling to Italy, here are the key requirements you should be aware of:

1. Travel Documents: Depending on your country of origin, the documentation required to enter Italy varies:

  • For EU citizens and citizens of countries that have signed the Schengen Agreement, a valid identity card is sufficient as an alternative to a passport.
  • For non-EU citizens, you may need a passport valid for at least three months after the planned date of departure from the Schengen Area.

2. Visa Requirements:

  • You may require a visa to enter Italy. This can be requested from the Italian Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence and is generally issued after 90 days.
  • To check if you need a visa based on your nationality and country of residence, visit the official website.

3. Declaration of Presence:

  • If you’re staying at a hotel or other accommodation, the manager will fill out a Declaration of Presence for you, which they will then send to the Police Headquarters. Carry a copy of this declaration with you.
  • If you enter Italy from a non-Schengen country, the uniform Schengen stamp in your passport replaces the Declaration of Presence.
  • If you enter from a Schengen country and are not staying in an accommodation facility, you must submit a Declaration of Presence to the Police Headquarters within eight days of entering Italy.

4. Travel insurance:

  • It’s recommended to have travel insurance to cover potential delays, flight cancellations, or health issues.
  • Keep a screenshot or PDF copy of bookings for flights, hotels, or other documents on your phone for easy access if requested.

5. Passport Validity:

  • Your passport must have a ‘date of issue’ less than 10 years before the date you arrive and an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave

Do and don’ts Italy?

When visiting Italy, it’s important to be mindful of local customs and etiquette. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you enjoy your trip and respect Italian culture:


  • Use your hands to communicate: Italians often use gestures to express themselves. If you’re struggling with the language, a few hand movements can go a long way.
  • Keep some cash on hand: While card payments are widely accepted, there are still places that may only accept cash.
  • Take care of your belongings: Be vigilant against pickpockets, especially in crowded areas or on public transportation.
  • Dress appropriately for places of worship: Shoulders and knees should be covered when entering churches.
  • Relax and enjoy the Italian culture: Embrace ‘la dolce vita’ and take the time to experience Italy at a leisurely pace.


  • Avoid taking gondola rides in Venice: They can be overpriced and are considered a tourist trap.
  • Don’t be put off by stereotypes: The Mafia is not a concern for tourists.
  • Validate your train tickets: Failing to do so can result in fines.
  • Learn some Italian phrases: It’s appreciated and can enhance your experience.
  • Refrain from putting ketchup on pasta: It’s a culinary sin in Italy.
  • Don’t drink cappuccino after midday: It’s typically a morning beverage.
  • Avoid sitting on monuments: It’s disrespectful and sometimes illegal.
  • Don’t ask for spaghetti bolognese: It’s not an authentic Italian dish.

What not to forget when traveling to Italy?

When traveling to Italy, it’s essential to pack smartly to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free trip. Here’s a list of items you should not forget:

  • Travel Documents: Passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, and copies of your reservations.
  • Money: Euros and a credit/debit card. Inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any issues with your cards.
  • Clothing: Pack according to the season. Italy has a varied climate, so check the weather forecast before you pack. Include comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunglasses, and a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.
  • Toiletries: Remember your personal hygiene items, but keep in mind liquid restrictions for carry-on luggage.
  • Medication: Any prescription medications, along with a copy of the prescription.
  • Electronics: charger, power adapter (Italy uses Type C, F, and L plugs), and a portable charger for your devices.
  • Safety Items: A money belt or anti-theft bag can be useful to protect your valuables.
  • Miscellaneous: A water bottle, travel guidebook, and a basic Italian phrasebook or language app.

What not to bring to Italy?

When traveling to Italy, it’s important to be aware of items that are prohibited or restricted to avoid any legal issues upon arrival. Here’s a list of what not to bring:

  1. Counterfeit Goods: Any items that infringe on intellectual property rights are prohibited.
  2. Drugs and Psychotropic Substances: The importation of drugs, narcotics, and psychotropic substances is strictly forbidden unless prescribed for personal use.
  3. Doping Substances: These are also not allowed into the country.
  4. Weapons and Ammunition: Authorization is required for any firearms, weapons, and ammunition. Without proper authorization, these items are prohibited.
  5. Endangered Animals and Plants: Items protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) may require special permits.
  6. Cultural Goods: Certain cultural goods may require a declaration to the customs office and an import certificate issued by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.

There are also limitations on the quantity of tobacco and alcohol that you are permitted to import into the nation.For instance, you can only bring 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars, 250g of smoking tobacco, or a proportionate amount of these items when you travel from outside the EU.

For personal items of a non-commercial nature, there are value limits depending on your mode of travel. When traveling by air or sea, the limit is up to €430, and when traveling by land, the limit is up to €300. For travelers under 15 years of age, the limit is €150

What to pack for an Italy trip?

Italy is a country brimming with culture, history, and stunning landscapes, so choosing where to visit first depends on your interests. Here are some top recommendations:

  1. Rome: Best for history, with iconic landmarks like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and Vatican City
  2. Tuscany: For a Renaissance fix, offering beautiful countryside and cities like Florence
  3. Amalfi Coast: Known for classic beauty, featuring dramatic cliffside views and picturesque towns.
  4. Venice: A fairytale city with its famous canals and unique architecture
  5. Milan: Best for a real city break, fashion, and the impressive Duomo di Milano.

How to plan a first-time trip to Italy?

For planning a first-time trip to Italy, consider these steps:

  1. Determine the length of your trip and what you want to experience.
  2. Pick the right season; spring and fall offer good weather and fewer crowds.
  3. Research and book your accommodations, transportation, and must-see attractions.
  4. Consider local spots and hidden gems beyond the tourist trail.
  5. Learn some basic Italian phrases and familiarize yourself with the local culture.

What is the best month to go to Italy?

The best month to visit Italy is typically April to June when the weather is pleasant and tourism isn’t at its peak. However, if you’re interested in specific events or avoiding crowds, other months might be more suitable for your needs.

For instance, September to November is great for food and wine enthusiasts, while December to March offers good deals and opportunities for snow sports.

What currency does Italy use?

Italy uses the euro (EUR) as its official currency. Each euro is divided into 100 cents. When you’re buying currency for Italy, look out for the currency code EUR. Once you’re in Italy, you’ll see the symbol € used to show prices. Euro banknotes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500, although the 200 and 500 EUR notes are seldom used.

Additionally, there are 1 and 2 euro coins, and cents come in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50. So, when you’re exploring Italy, keep an eye out for the euro symbol and enjoy your Italian adventure!

How do I dress appropriately for visiting religious sites in Italy?When visiting religious sites in Italy, it’s important to dress modestly to respect the local customs. Here are some guidelines for appropriate attire:

  1. Shoulders and knees should be covered at all times inside churches.
  2. For women, skirts or dresses that go past the knee, pants (jeans are acceptable), and tops that cover the midriff and shoulders are recommended. A shawl or cardigan can be used to cover bare shoulders if needed.
  3. Men should wear pants and shirts that cover the shoulders; tank tops are not advisable.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Italy?

When it comes to using credit cards, Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted in Italy. Except in large cities and popular tourist destinations, American Express and Discover are less frequently accepted. Bringing cash is also a smart idea because smaller businesses can require it.


What should I do in case of an emergency while traveling in Italy?

In case of an emergency while traveling in Italy, you should:

  1. Dial 112 for immediate medical attention or to call an ambulance. This number can be dialed from any phone without a country code if you’re within Europe.
  2. Keep the contact information for your embassy handy for assistance.
  3. Check if your health insurance covers international travel and consider having a plan for medical evacuation if necessary.
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