Tips in Venice

Travel tips, hints, and advice

Lodgings in Venice

The Lista di Spagna, the main street leading from the train station towards the heart of Venice, is lined with cheap hotels (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Where to find inexpensive hotels in Venice

 

Dining in Venice

Cicchetti and wine

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

 
A menorah in the window of a venue catering to Jewish tourists in the former Ghetto in Venice

Where to eat and shop Kosher (Kashèr, or lecito in Italian) in Venice

 

Planning a trip to Venice

 (Photo )

The most useful hints, tips, and advice for a Venice trip

 

Topics in Venice

The mosaics of the transept

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

 

Surviving the acque alte ("high waters") periods when even the streets of Venice become canals

 

Venice can sometimes seem like a crowded terrbile tourist trap—but you can also still find the Venice about which besotted visitors have been raving for centuries

 

Sights in Italy

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

Saving yourself from sightseeing overload

 
 (Photo by Bill Gracey)

General tips, hints, and recommended photo and video gear

 
Sailboats

Sights and experiences you can get for free in Italy

 
 (Photo by Thomas Hawk)

12 travel photography tips for capturing great shots on the road

 
 (Photo )

Be a sightseeing V.I.P.—Sightseeing passes grant admission to dozens of sights, avoiding the lines and saving money

 
 (Photo )

Release your inner Scorsese and shoot better holiday videos to take YouTube by storm

 
 (Photo )

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

 
Take the audio tour (Photo )

A guide to getting the most out of visiting Italy's museums

 

A great picture is worth a thousand travel miles—Tips, hints, and recommended photo and video gear

 

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

 

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 &quot;lusso&quot; part). Sounds great, but that doesn&#039;t mean it&#039;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&#039;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

 
Beware the hotel in-room telephone (Photo by Mark Hills)

Avoid the scandalously high cost of making a phone call from your hotel room

 
 (Photo )

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 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&#039;t terrible—but it&#039;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

 
Hotels make it easy to drop off your laundry—and then charge an arm and a leg to wash your shirts and pants (Photo by ERiKA)

Hotel laundry services are obscenely overpriced

 
 (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

 
No, the hotel breakfast isn't terrible—but it's not worth $15–$20, either

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

 
 (Photo )

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

 
Sometimes, you just get overwhelmed

Ways to sleep for free in Italy

 
Hotel garages are expensive in every country

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&#039;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

 

A sampler platter of the different kinds of restaurants, cafes, trattorie, and other eateries you'll find in [[thisnat]

 
 (Photo by Roberto Trombetta)

Tips for finding great restaurants in Italy

 
A cheap menu turistico (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Menu à prezzo fisso, tourist menu, lunch menu—a fixed-price or set tourist menu may not be the best meal you could have at that restaurant, but it's certainly often the best budget option

 
I Fratellini is a classic Florentine fischetteria, a hole in the wall selling excellent panini along with glasses of wine

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

 
Don&#039;t tip is the service is already included (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Do not leave 15% when the gratuity is already included

 

General Italian dining tips

 
 (Photo by Nate BW)

If you cannot avoid the breakfast charge, make the most of it

 

Italian culinary stereotypes & gastronomic misconceptions

 
 (Photo by Unknown)

Be your own chef and you can save money and add an extra cultural experience to your trip

 

Lunch at a fancy restaurant will often cost less than dinner

 
Tripe sandwiches are a classic Florentine street food (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Become a street food gourmet

 
I Fratellini is a classic Florentine fischetteria, a hole in the wall selling excellent panini along with glasses of wine (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

From tavole calde( mini-cafeterias)_ to pizza rustica (by the slice) to tripe sandwiches, there are many excellent (and inexpensive) Italian versions of fast food to try

 
Go for an appetizer sampler, a first course, and a dessert—skipping the steak—and you&#039;ll have a much more filling and interesting meal (Photo by Quinn Dombrowski)

Skip the big slab of meat and order two starters instead—more variety, lower cost

 
A sampler gets you lots of variety and a full meal for the price of a single dish (Photo by Foodie Buddha)

Eat less; save more

 
 (Photo by Unknown)

Bottled water costs $2–$10. Aqua dal rubinetto (tap water) does not.

 
 (Photo by Didriks)

Pick the Chianti My-Brother-In-Law, last-year's vintage

 
A cassoulet

How a meal in Italy differs from a meal in America (whatever you do, don't ask for a doggy bag)

 

Planning for a trip to Italy

Camping Panoramico Fiesole is in an Etruscan town in the hills right above Florence

Advice, resources, & tours for families traveling in Italy

 

Advice, resources, & tours for female travelers to Italy

 

Advice, resources, & tours for mature travelers in Italy

 
A sampler gets you lots of variety and a full meal for the price of a single dish

Advice, resources, & tours for student travelers in Italy

 
Hotel garages are expensive in every country (Photo )

The hotel garage will often be far costlier than a nearby public garage or other parking option

 
A gay pride event in Rome's Piazza Navona

Advice, resources, & tours for gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, and queer travelers in Italy

 
Checking out the frescoes in the historic cemetery in Pisa

Advice, resources, & tours for handicapped travelers in Italy

 
 (Photo Public Domain)

Sightseeing discounts for children, students, seniors, families, and teachers

 
You can stay at the medieval Tuscan Santuario della Verna, where St. Francis received the stigmata

Advice and tips for single travelers in Italy

 
You can stay at the medieval Tuscan Santuario della Verna, where St. Francis received the stigmata

Advice, resources, & tours for pilgrims, Christians, and spiritual travelers in Italy— and how to attend mass in an Italian church

 

A traveler's guide to how to approach drugs, prostitution, and other illicit pursuits that are as illegal in Italy as they are back home

 
Jewish delicacies (and kosher ones) at a bakery in Venice (Photo by SpirosK photography)

A travel guide to Jewish Italy, from kosher restaurants and hotels in Rome, Florence, and Venice to historic synagogues and other jewish sights in Italy, as well as Jewish tours, schuls, mikvahs, and more

 

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.).