Backpacking italy 101
Italy was by far one of my favorite countries while backpacking Europe solo for a month. I'm going to share with you how I traveled Italy for around 60USD a day and still was able to have some memorable experiences of my own.
How to get around
With Italy being so packed within major cities I would suggest trains and mopeds. You can get around via train for 30-60euro, yes for the affordable traveler this is kinda pricey, but you’re guaranteed amazing views and this is probably the fastest mode of transportation.
The slower trains are all around 10-20euro – now we’re talking affordable travel! Subway tickets within cities are only like 2euro so this could be an alternative if you’re staying in one location. As far as longer distances, inner-country travel via plane can be very cheap – check out RyanAir for prices before you travel. To get a better idea on how much it would cost between cities, check out Rome2Rio or read my “How to Travel Like a Local 101” blog here.
What to do
Florence was by far the most amazing location while I was backpacking Europe. Be sure to check out the Duomo, an amazing cathedral that sits pretty much in the city center – don’t worry about your pocketbook, it’s not expensive for regular entry (only if you want to go into exclusive parts of the cathedral). Like any temple or cathedral, be sure you’re dressed the part – no legs or shoulders should be visible, this is where your pashmina. The Florence Cathedral is also a sight for sore eyes, it’s an ancient church connected to Duomo that features Gothic style art and architecture. Palazzo Vecchino was also an incredible sight to tour and see, be sure to get some awesome pictures.
Don’t forget to visit Pisa, the leaning tower is magnificent and if you’re smart you’ll also visit Piazza dei Miracoli. Beware; it’s a construction zone, but totally worth the trip. Be sure to stop by and see famous statues and works of art like; Michelangelo’s “David” and the Fountain of Neptune.
Rome is a must for anyone, be sure to visit the Coliseum early, as lines are extremely long. Not too far a walk, bike, or taxi away is the Sistine Chapel – a bucket list must-see.
What to eat
- Duh, PASTA! Any kind, any flavor, any color – ALL OF IT. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed here. I feel like every detail of every meal is considered, and the portion sizes are perfect!
- Gellato. Beware, you’ll never want ice cream again. There was a popular gelato shop across the street from Duomo that I got two scoops for very little euro – it was incredible.
- Pizza! C’mon, do I really need to sell you on this? Don’t bother splitting it with anyone – you’ll want to eat the entire thing by yourself lol.
- Wine, wine and more wine! Definitely take a few wine tasting classes and tours, they’re cheap and so much fun. And if you’re smart you’ll look for a few groupons or online deals. Check with your hotel or hostel for deals on tours and tastings.
- Baked goods, everywhere you go in Europe you’ll find small mom & pop bakeries that always offer fresh baked breads, cakes and lunch items. This is how I ate so cheap and never left hungry. For 10euro I could get an entire meal (and fresh!).
- Tiramisu, this coffee-flavored dessert is an Italian must when trekking solo or with friends. It’s layered with a delightful whipped mixture of eggs, sugar and cheese and flavored with cocoa. You’ll sink right into this delectable treat!
What should I budget?
To get into most museums, budget around 10-20euro for each place you would like to visit. What I did was make a list of 5-10 places I just HAD to see, then I planned out my financials accordingly. Wine tours are around 60euro and can go up depending on where you are trying to do the tour and the time of year of travel. If you’re like me, then you’ll want to do a cooking or pasta making class, but expect to pay upwards of 200euro, maybe you’ll get lucky and find something cheaper, but I would suggest asking your hostel for tour information and discounts.
For food, you’re looking at about 15euro if you go outside of touristy locations and 25-30euro per meal within the city center (expect to pay more if there is any entertainment in the restaurant; piano, music, performer etc). Street food like; sandwiches, pizza, or other quick bites will be under 10euro. If you want to grocery shop that could also be an option, but I prefer to try foods the country is known for – just budget out according to your own interests.
What's next on my list...
Lake Garda is also on my list, it just seems extremely picturesque and peaceful – I may even do some kayaking or canoeing.
- The Spanish Steps
The Grand Canal
The Vatican Museums
Yes it’s a lot but hey there’s a lot to see in this beautiful country!
The Amalfi coast is where you’ll get the best pictures and view of Italy and the coast – Google and Instagram, I heard pictures just don’t seem to do it justice.
The Trevi Fountain – I heard it’s truly impossible to get a picture or place to sit here, so go early and try to beat the crowds.
- The Roman Forum, an excavated area of roman temples, squares and government buildings.
- Piazza Novona