๐Ÿ’ฐ Trip to Italy Cost: 2023 Travel Expense Breakdown + Tips

A woman sitting in front of a fountain surrounded by marble sculptures.

One of the most popular destinations in the world, Italy is a semi-affordable European country that can be visited with a budget of $60 to $150 a day.

My 16-day trip to Italy cost a total of $2,651. Here, I share my Italy travel expenses, cost per day and budgeting tips. I also outline where and how much cash is needed in Italy.

On top of my overall Italy trip’s cost, this post compares and details travel expenses across 8 cities I visited: Rome, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Milan, Lake Como, Modena and Parma.

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Is Italy Expensive To Travel To?

๐Ÿ’ฐ Italy is a semi-affordable country to visit in Europe. Compared to other popular European destinations, Italy is not as budget-friendly as Portugal, Germany or Spain, but it’s more affordable, on average, than the UK, Iceland or Switzerland.

For comparison, here’s how much I spent per day in the European countries that I visited in the same year as Italy:

Italy is affordable compared to some of Latin America’s most expensive countries, but is still nowhere near as affordable as countries in Southeast Asia. I traveled to Italy in the same year that I visited these countries:

๐ŸŽ’ A budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $70 per day or $490 for one week of travel in Italy, not including flights. To travel on a budget in Italy, here are some things you can do:

  • Attractions: Buy the most basic ticket at attractions and be prepared to wait in long lines (e.g., the Colosseum’s basic $17 ticket requires waiting in the security line and doesn’t have access to all parts of the amphitheater). Skip some expensive attractions like riding a gondola in Venice (which starts at $87+ for a 30-minute ride if you don’t split with anyone else) or taking an all-day wine tour (which usually starts at $40 for a half-day tour).
  • Transportation: Get around via the budget bus, FlixBus, which can be $10-$15 cheaper than taking the train, but takes a lot longer and is much more inconvenient.
  • Food: Buy groceries or eat simple meals (like pizza), which can save you $100+ a week compared to dining out for every meal.
  • Accommodation: Stay at hostels for $30 to $40 a night during peak season, which runs from May to September.

๐Ÿ’ณ A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $150 per day or $1,050 for one week of travel in Italy, not including flights.

About My Italy Trip

To give context to the expenses below, hereโ€™s what you need to know about my trip to Italy:

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ 16 days. I spent 16 days in Italy and visited 8 different areas in the north and central parts of the country: Rome, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Milan, Lake Como, Modena and Parma. I broke down my expenses for each city below.

โ˜€๏ธ High season. I went to Italy in May, which is considered the high season. Italy’s peak season runs from May to September.

โœŒ๏ธ 2-3 travelers. I traveled with one to two other people at all times in Italy, so I was able to split accommodation, transportation and food costs.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Mid-range budget. I donโ€™t aim to travel on a budget, but Iโ€™m thoughtful about how and where I spend. I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler and these expenses reflect that.

A woman holding a glass of red wine against a field of grapes.
On a wine tasting tour in Italy.

Total Cost for an Italy Trip: $2,651

I spent $2,651 in Italy during my almost 2-weeks trip.

All costs listed here are per person and in USD, converted from the euro ($1 USD equaled โ‚ฌ0.92 at the time of writing).

Cost Breakdown for Italy

Here are my Italy travel expenses by category:

Cost% of Total CostCost Per Day
โœˆ๏ธ Flights$56421%
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$86833%$54
๐Ÿ Food$55621%$35
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$26510%$17
โญ Activities & Misc.$39815%$25
My Italy trip’s cost breakdown.

Cost per Day in Italy: $131

If I include my flight costs, my Italy trip came out to $166 per day.

A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend $150 per day in Italy. This generally means staying at a mid-range Airbnb or hotel, eating at primarily $ to $$ restaurants, taking Italy’s convenient trains, and booking group tours for some of the top attractions.

A view of many colorful buildings on a mountain by the ocean.
Cinque Terre, one of my favorite places in Italy.

Flight Cost to Italy: $564

Round-trip flights between Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) and the US east coast were $564.

From the US east coast, JFK in New York and EWR in New Jersey are the primary airports that offer direct flights to Italy. My flight from DC to Milan took 11 hours, where I spent 3 hours flying to JFK and 8 hours flying to Milan.

The most expensive months to fly to Italy from the USA are June and July and the cheapest month to fly to Italy is February, according to Kayak.

Accommodation Cost in Italy: $868

My average cost of accommodation in Italy was $54 per night.

I primarily stayed at mid-range hotels and Airbnbs, and was able to split my accommodation cost with one or two other people at all times.

AccommodationTotal CostCost Per Day
Florence Airbnb and hotel$273$55
Milan Airbnb$159$80
Rome hotel$157$79
Venice Airbnb$103$52
Cinque Terre Airbnb$89$44
Modena Airbnb$87$44

Italy’s accommodation prices are moderate. Mid-range accommodations in tourist areas will start at around $70 per night, but you’ll likely have to pay closer to $90 per night during the high season.

For cheaper hotels or Airbnbs in tourist cities, you’ll need to stay in locations that are less central (e.g., in Venice, staying in the less popular Cannaregio district will be significantly cheaper than staying in the districts of San Polo or San Marco.)

Food Cost in Italy: $556

My average cost of food in Italy was $35 per day.

My most expensive meals in Italy were:

  • $34 lunch at Ristorante Cocchi, a Michelin-star restaurant in Parma. Unsurprisingly, I had one of the best Prosciutto di Parma here.
  • $30 dinner at Ristorante La Posada, a seafood restaurant in Cinque Terre that was all-around solid.
  • $28 dinner at Uva D’Oro, an Italian restaurant in Modena that served one of the best panna cotta I’ve ever had.
A plate full of cured meat with a glass of red wine.
Prosciutto di Parma at Cocchi in Parma.

My most affordable meals in Italy were:

  • $2 pizza slice in Rome that was absolutely delicious.
  • $7 dinner at Sig.Riso Restaurant which serves solid Chinese food after I got tired of eating too much pasta.
  • $8 lunch eating at several fried fish and gelato stands in Cinque Terre.
Two people holding gelatos while taking a selfie.
Eating a lot of gelato in Italy.

Italy is world famous for its food, particularly its pizza, pasta and gelato. You can expect to spend approximately $40 a day eating in Italy which includes getting coffee, eating a snack, and having a meal at mid-range restaurants.

Be warned that you can end up with expensive, mediocre pasta in tourist areas if you don’t do your restaurant research.

Transportation Cost in Italy: $265

My average cost of transportation in Italy was $17 per day.

  • Total train costs traveling between cities: $243 (averaged $19 per train ride)
  • Ferry costs while traveling around Lake Como: $10
  • Bus and metro costs in Rome and Milan: $12

Italy has a well-maintained train system (primarily operated by Trenitalia) that will conveniently get you to many places in the country. An average train ticket will cost between $10 to $40 depending on how far you’re traveling and whether you’re taking a high-speed train.

Two woman sitting inside a foot-operated cart inside a park.
Renting a bike cart to transport around Rome’s park.

Activities and Miscellaneous Cost in Italy: $392

My average cost of entertainment in Italy was $25 per day.

Most of Italy’s top attractions will have a basic entrance fee price that ranges from $20 to $30, but this cost significantly increases once you pay for a guided tour and/or skip-the-line tickets.

Activity or Misc.Cost
Sistine Chapel guided tour (Rome)$96
Tuscany wine guided tour (Florence)$86
Colosseum guided tour (Rome)$66
Gondola ride (Venice)$45
Pasta-making class (Florence)$45
Uffizi Gallery entrance fee (Florence)$27
The Boboli Gardens entrance fee (Florence)$11
Duomo di Milano entrance fee (Milan)$6
Castello di Vezio entrance fee (Lake Como) $5
Villa Borghese bike rental (Rome)$3
Ruins of Doria Tower entrance fee (Cinque Terre) $2
Miscellaneous (laundry + souvenir)$6
Two women posing for a selfie in front of an ancient ampiteather.
Inside the Colosseum in Rome.

Cost Breakdown by City in Italy

Rome Cost Breakdown ($428)

My average cost in Rome was $214 per day. I stayed at a hotel and split it with a friend. I also paid for a guided tour of the Sistine Chapel and Colosseum, which significantly increased my costs.

Rome is the most visited city in Italy and is home to some of the country’s most famous attractions, like the Sistine Chapel and Colosseum, so expect to spend $20+ on attraction entrance fees here. Other top attractions, like Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, are free.

Total CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$157$79
๐Ÿ Food$65$32
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$40$20
โญ Entertainment$166$83
Two women standing outside with an ancient dome in the background.
Outside the Sistine Chapel since photos are not allowed inside.

Florence Cost Breakdown ($608)

My average cost in Florence was $122 per day. I stayed at an Airbnb in the center of Florence and split it with a friend. I also booked a Tuscany wine tour, a small-group pasta making class, basic entrance tickets to the Uffizi Gallery and the Boboli Gardens (which I didn’t enjoy as much).

Florence is a very walkable city so you likely won’t be spending much on transportation. It’s a place known for day tours and trips outside the city, so you might end up spending a lot on entertainment when visiting.

Total CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$273$55
๐Ÿ Food$146$29
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$15$3
โญ Entertainment$174$35
Two people holding a container with freshly-made pasta.
Pasta making class in Florence.

Venice Cost Breakdown ($255)

My average cost in Venice was $127 per day. I stayed at an Airbnb where I shared the living space with the host and paid for a gondola ride. Venice is one of the most touristy places you’ll visit in Italy, so you can expect costs to be high in general.

Venice’s iconic gondola rides start at $86 for a 30-minute ride if you’re not splitting with others (the price is regulated by the government, so you won’t be able to negotiate). You need to pay by cash, so make sure to bring some euros with you (more cash tips below).

Total CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$103$52
๐Ÿ Food$74$37
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$33$17
โญ Entertainment$45$22
A woman taking a bite out of a crepe while standing in front of a narrow water canal.
Eating in front of one of Venice’s many canals.

Cinque Terre Cost Breakdown ($240)

My average cost in Cinque Terre was $120 per day. Although I traveled to several tourist cities in Italy, I found the food to be the most expensive in Cinque Terre.

Hiking through the five towns in Cinque Terre is free, but the small attractions (e.g., Ruins of Doria Tower) along the way will often have a <$3 entrance fee.

Total CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$89$44
๐Ÿ Food$101$50
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$49$24
โญ Entertainment$2$1
A woman standing in front of a background with colorful buildings on a mountain by the ocean.
One of the Cinque Terre views.

Milan Cost Breakdown ($285)

My average cost in Milan was $143 per day. I stayed at a hostel-style Airbnb and paid to enter Milan’s Duomo.

In Milan, expect to spend a lot on accommodation and shopping if you’re interested in buying clothes from the fashion capital of the world.

Total CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$159$80
๐Ÿ Food$58$29
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$63$31
โญ Entertainment$6$3
The exterior view of an elaborate, white cathedral.
Milan’s Duomo exterior.

Lake Como Cost Breakdown ($62)

I did a day trip to Lake Como while staying in Milan. Despite the rainy weather, it was a beautiful day trip that’s easily accessible via Italy’s trains.

When traveling to Lake Como, you’ll need to account for the ~$5 one-way ferry rides between each area and the $14 round-trip train tickets to and from Milan.

Total Cost
๐Ÿ Food$33
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$24
โญ Entertainment$5
A woman sitting in front of a large lake with a mountain in the background.
A view at Lake Como.

Modena & Parma Cost Breakdown ($209)

I did a day trip to Parma while staying in Modena. Parma is a small, sleepy town that is known as the origin site for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Prosciutto di Parma.

I mainly traveled to Modena and Parma for the food and to experience a slightly less tourist area of Italy, so I didn’t pay for any attractions there.

Total CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$87$44
๐Ÿ Food$81$41
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$41$20

Do You Need Cash in Italy?

Italy, like many European countries, has a well-established credit card infrastructure, but still relies on cash transactions in certain places, so make sure to bring some cash.

Here are some tips on bringing and using cash in Italy:

Tip #1: Withdraw cash in euro.

Italy’s currency is the euro (โ‚ฌ) and shops in Italy do not take USD.

Avoid Euronet ATMs when withdrawing cash in Italy. You’ll see many Euronet ATMs, especially in touristy places. I withdrew cash several times in several places and Euronet ATMs consistently have high fees and use terrible exchange rates, so unless you’re in desperate need of cash, I would avoid them.

Tip #2: Bring >$10 worth of cash per day to Italy.

During my almost 2-week trip in Italy, I spent roughly $118 in cash (or $7 per day). I otherwise used my credit card whenever possible. I spent approximately the following amount in cash:

  • $59 on attractions
  • $47 on food, mostly at cafes or snack shops
  • $12 on accommodation since some places, like Cinque Terre, have city tax fees that must be paid in cash

I kept my cash in my crossbody phone pouch (it feels secure enough for me), but if you want extra protection against pickpocketing, you can carry a hidden money belt.

Tip #3: Certain places in Italy are cash-only.

In Italy, you’ll generally need cash for the following:

  • At cafes for a small coffee or pastry
  • Small and cheap attractions you may run into while hiking or exploring
  • Paying for a gondola ride in Venice
  • Tipping tour guides (which is optional, see tip #4 below)
  • Paying for accommodation city taxes if you stay at Airbnbs
Tip #4: Tipping in Italy is not mandatory nor expected.

Tipping is generally only done for exceptional service in Italy.

  • At bars and cafes, many locals will round up their total cost and that will suffice as a “tip.” Otherwise, tipping is not expected.
  • At restaurants, some people will give a small tip to cover the bread and oil that’s usually provided as appetizers, but a tip is generally not expected if a cover charge is already added to the bill.
  • For tour guides, tipping is more common in Italy and a 5-10% tip is common.

If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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