Looking for the definitive 2021 Italy travel guide? Check out our guide for practical tips and ideas for the best experience.
Your passport is begging you to add another stamp, so you better pack your bags and book your flight. Okay, before you board your plane, answer this question. Where are you going to jet off to?
How about heading to the beautiful, exciting, and historic country of Italy? A must-see destination for all travel lovers, Italy—especially Rome and Milan—is the ideal vacation to take this summer.
Start planning your trip with this 2021 Italy travel guide, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by delicious food, beautiful art, and historic ruins. Here is everything you need to know about visiting Rome and Milan, Italy.
Where Are Rome and Milan?
As one of the most recognizable and oldest cities in the world, Rome is a must-see travel destination. This city that seamlessly mixes the ancient and the modern is located in central Italy.
Fun fact: it’s the third most populous European city, following Berlin, Germany, and Madrid, Spain.
Travel north, and you’ll find Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region. Milan is the northernmost major city in Italy, with over 3 million in the metropolitan area. It is the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome.
Fun fact: Milan is closer to Switzerland (about 80 km or about 50 miles) than the nearest major Italian city, Venice.
What Should You Pack?
With any traveling, you want to strike the balance of packing light and being prepared. Italy is no different. Here are the essentials you’ll want when visiting Rome and Milan.
A backpack is a great option, especially if you’re going to spend the day exploring. You’ll want to include your own water and an umbrella as well as any daily necessities like medication.
Most likely, you’ll be doing a lot of walking, so you’ll want to pack comfortable shoes. Whether you’re on a tour or exploring on your own, this is not the time for five-inch heels or open-toed shoes.
As true for many large cities that see many tourists, you can find pickpockets in both Rome and Milan, especially in crowded areas. Combat this with anti-theft accessories, bags, and clothes.
You’ll want to bring a few clothing options. Modest clothing will allow you to enter the Vatican, Christian sites, and the Catacombs.
But you’ll also want to bring one or two elegant outfits if you want to try a fancier restaurant or an Opera.
Lastly, you’ll want to bring a travel adapter to charge all of your electronics, a guidebook and map, and any travel documents and identification like a passport or driver’s license.
How Long Should You Stay?
No matter what you plan to do, you should plan to stay at least three days. This will allow you to see all of the major attractions and destinations.
However, many travelers tend to stay a week to give themselves sufficient time for sightseeing and a few day trips. A longer trip allows you to take your time rather than feeling rushed to see only the highlights.
When Should You Visit Italy?
For the best weather, you’ll want to visit Italy in the summertime. Remember that June and July are the peaks of tourist season so you won’t be alone. Late spring and early fall have fewer crowds while still offering good weather.
In Rome, November to March can be cool and wet, which can be a good option for those who are heat sensitive.
If you want to immerse yourself in local culture, you probably shouldn’t visit in August. During this time, locals like to take their vacations, which leaves many family-run restaurants and shops closed for the season.
Annually, Milan’s famous fashion weeks occur in January and June for men’s fashion and February and September for women’s fashion.
These are great times to go for fashion lovers. But for anyone who wants to avoid the large crowds and higher prices, take caution traveling these months.
Where Should You Stay?
First-timer visitors to Rome would love to stay near the attractions in the city’s Historic Center. But if you want a more local vibe close to the dining and nightlight, you’ll love to stay in Trastevere.
Both of these areas are ideal for pedestrians and close to both attractions and food.
For your first visit to Milan, the area near the Piazza del Duomo features the best hotels, must-see museums, delicious food at great restaurants, and some of the best shopping in the world.
For nightlife in Milan, try staying in the Navigli district while anyone who wants to be immersed in local culture would love San Babila.
Where Should You Visit?
Both cities are full of attractions, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping. It can be overwhelming trying to plan where to go and what to see. Here are the essentials for Rome and Milan.
Rome Travel Guide
Rome is full of history and ruins, so you have to see iconic attractions like the Colosseum and the Pantheon while you’re in this city. There are also landmarks like the Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Spanish Steps.
Of course, you have to visit world-famous museums like the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and the Galleria Borghese.
Don’t forget to try fun activities like an Italian cooking class or gladiator school.
Milan Travel Guide
Milan is home to the found de Vinci painting “The Last Supper” inside the Santa Maria delle Grazie church. Other must-see locations include the Milan Cathedral, also known as Duomo and Castello Sforzesco.
Best known for its shopping and luxury fashion, if you’re in this trendy city, you must buy yourself some new clothes. Check out Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II for some of the most elegant clothing and makeup available in the world.
Getaway for a Day: How About Day Trips?
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Rome, take a day trip to the Amalfi Coast. This gorgeous seaside town features some of the bluest water and stunning cliffs.
A short drive from Rome, you’ll also find the historic ruins of Pompeii and the famous wine region, Frascati.
Need a change of scenery from Milan? Lucky for you, there are five Alpine lakes within a close drive to the city, about an hour’s drive. There are also guided tours for those who want to enjoy the ride.
Lakes Como, Garda, Iseo, Lugano, and Maggiore all make beautiful day trips because of their breathtaking views and charming little towns.
Your Ultimate 2021 Italy Travel Guide: Rome and Milan
It’s obvious you’re itching to get outside your home and immerse yourself in new surroundings. You’ve got the travel bug, and it’s time to give it what it wants: a vacation to Italy.
Use this ultimate 2021 Italy travel guide to plan the best vacation, surrounded by beauty, history, and delicious food. Take lots of pictures, but don’t forget to put down the camera and immerse yourself in this stunning country.