Map of Italy - Italian Cities to Visit
Use our map to pinpoint the best Italian cities
Our map of Italy shows some of the cities of main tourist interest in Italy. You'll find lots of Italy travel information below the map.
Italy Cities Map
Italy Map © 2007 by James Martin, licensed to About.com
Italy Travel Destinations
General Italy and Malta information is found in our Italy and Malta Directory, where you'll find information on Italian Festivals, pictures of Italy, driving in Italy and pretty much everything you need to know before your trip.
Italy's Big Three Travel Destinations
Everyone knows them: Rome, Venice and Florence. While you're in Florence, you'll want to make your way to other destinations in Tuscany. One of the big mistakes travelers make is to try to see this triumvirate in 10 days. While you can certainly travel to each of them within ten days, you won't really get to experience any of the depth of these diverse and interesting places. If you only have a very short time, I'd recommend a tour--one that whisks you from place to place efficiently. You don't want to spend your time waiting for trains if you've only a short vacation. The fix is, of course, to ask for more vacation time. Even if you have to take it without pay, it'll cost you less to go once and see more than to go twice but see less each time. It's those fixed costs, the airline tickets and the jet lagged days lost, that get you in the end.
Looking to hit the big Italian cities and the Island of Sicily? Try our Venice to Sicily Travel Itinerary.
Don't Miss Italy's Smaller Cities and Rural Areas
But the Italian traveler shouldn't forget the smaller cities and rural places. The Italian region of Tuscany is popular, but it doesn't consist entirely of Florence and its suburbs. Think of Lucca or Sienna. Just a short trip down the train line is Pistoia. The Rural life in Tuscany can be relished in the Lunigiana, far northern Tuscany near the marble mountains of Massa and Cararra, where you can tour the marble quarries. You'll save money out there in the sticks; where a three course lunch with wine will only set you back 10 Euros at my favorite Lunigiana restaurant, Spino Fiorito.
For my money, the best way to explore the rural areas of Italy is by renting a vacation house or apartment in a rural area or small Italian city. HomeAway losts almost 20,000 rental properties in Italy.
Accommodations in Italy
Italy has a wide range of accommodations. There are usually abundant hotels near train stations, many budget, a few seedy. You may inspect a hotel before committing to it.
The hotels in Italy are rated by a government system that does not take into account the "charm" of a place. To understand this system, read Hotels and their Star Ratings--What do they Mean?
Many travelers to Italy use a booking agent to find hotels. Hipmonk, a hotel price comparison engine, can show you the best rates on user-rated hotels in Italy. See prices for Rome, Florence or choose one and use the search for other cities.
Have longer to stay in Italy? Renting a house or apartment for a week is an interesting option. See our article Self Catering - Vacation Home Rentals in Europe for more.
We have a variety of online maps of that can help you plan your trip to Italy, including a rail map and a region map. You'll find them in our Italy Map Directory. The major Italy maps found on the About network are:
- Italy Rail Map
- Italy Region Map
- Italy Geography Map
- Interactive Map of Italian Travel Destinations
- Italian Airports Map
- Italy Distance Calculator and Map
Italian Festivals and Sagras - always a way to see more than the average tourist sees, find a sagra (a blessing of such things as porcini mushrooms) and just dive in. You're likely to find great food served in the open air at communal tables--a great way to meet Italians. See also Italian Festivals by Month.
The Language in Italy
The language spoken in Italy is Italian. However, you will often hear local dialects spoken (that's why your high-school Italian seems irrelevant sometimes). English is widely spoken in heavily touristed areas. Sardinians speak Sardo, although most are bilingual in Italian and usually speak the local dialect as well.
If you only learn one word of Italian, let it be this one: sciopero. Pronounced "SHO-per-o" it means "strike." Labor issues in Italy are often pushed into the public consciousness by short strikes, often lasting a day or less. If you see papers hastily posted on the walls or windows of a train or bus station, look for this word. Since they are of short duration, strikes seldom cause too many problems for tourists who are flexible.
Foreign Languages for the Tourist gives a list of resources for learning just enough language to get along (and includes hand signals, important in Italy!). Page two of that article is an account of going to language school in Perugia, Italy. I recommend such an experience if you're interested in the Italian language and people.
For some travel words you should know before you go, see the Italian Travel Glossary.
Transportation in Italy
Italy is served by an extensive rail system. Buses sometimes duplicate the rail routes, and many small cities in Italy have access to the larger cities close by through a twice-a-day bus trip. Bus stations are often found near the train station.
Trains and buses are subsidized, making Italian transportation slightly cheaper than most of the rest of Europe. Train passes may not offer much advantage over just buying a ticket at the station, especially for short trips. Since local train routes and times are planned so that workers can get to their work destinations cheaply, be aware that there are often fewer trains on weekends and holidays.
If you have several long legs planned for your Italian itinerary Italy Rail Pass can indeed save you money. Remember--you need to take longer trips to make a pass worthwhile. Don't use valuable pass days for short trips, save them for legs like Venice to Rome, or Rome to Sicily. Find out more about the Italian rail system with or Italy Rail Map and guide.
You can often avoid lines at the ticket window by buying a ticket at train station kiosks using your credit or debit cards.
ES, or Eurostar Italia denotes the fast trains of Italy. Besides the cost of a ticket, a reservation fee is charged. Here are some typical travel times:
Milan - Reggio Di Calabria: 11h
Milan - Venice: 2h45
Rome - Turin: 6h11
Rome - San Remo: 6h39
Rome - Venice: 4h33
See our Italy Rail Map for major routes and information.
Bus tickets for local buses can usually be bought at a tabbachi (tobacco store) or sometimes at a newsstand.
Weather In Italy - When to Go
Italy enjoys a moderate climate. In the south, rain is infrequent in the summer. In alpine regions quick thunderstorms are frequent, even in summer. At or near sea level the average low temperature seldom dips below freezing (remember, that's average. It does freeze occasionally in winter).
Summer can be dreadfully hot. In August, Italians head to the beach and stay there. A wonderful time to visit Italy is in the Autumn. It's when the porcini and truffles start appearing. It can be cool at night and there is more rain than the summer, but it's worth it.
For an overview of historic climate with temperature and precipitation charts plus the current weather in some of Italy's most popular destinations see Italy Travel Weather.
Italy in Pictures
There is also a separate Rome Picture Gallery.
Eating Out in Italy
In the summer, Italians eat lunch at around 1 in the afternoon and dinner around 8 in the evening. Lunch (pranzo) is often the main meal. Stores close at 1 for a long period and many shopkeepers and shoppers alike flood to local restaurants, so to get a table I try to get to a restaurant before 1 pm.
A small trattoria may not have a wine list, but will always have a house wine (vino della casa). Water is safe to drink, but Italians prefer mineral water (acqua minerale) which is generally cheaper than it is in the US.
Generally a service charge is included in the bill. There is often a small charge for bread as well. It is customary to leave small change for a tip, or up to five percent of the total bill if the service is good (some say 10 percent in a fancy ristorante where the service is impeccable).
When ordering a coffee at a bar it is customary to leave a small coin for the person who makes and serves your coffee.
For learning the structure of an Italian meal, and how to dine in Italy, see Eating Out in Italy. For some interesting commentary on eating in Italy (and why your pepperoni pizza is meatless), see Guido Veloce Explains Europe to You: Salad Dressing to Pizza to Lattes.
Currency in Italy
The currency in Italy is the Euro, pronounced OO-roh in Italian. At the time the Euro was adopted, its value was set at 1936.27 Italian Lire. [More on the Euro]