I have traveled to Italy five times and I have also planned about two dozen vacations to Italy for other families. Over the course of years, I have developed a really good sense of the prices of hotel rooms, tours, and transportation in Italy. So when someone asks me how much does a trip to Italy cost, I can rattle these numbers off pretty quickly.
Since budgeting is such a HUGE part of planning a trip, I thought I would lay it out for you and break down the average Italy trip budget to make it easy for you to plan — I’ve even included a helpful budget worksheet to get you started. Italy is a popular travel destination and while not as cheap as Ireland or Portugal, it isn’t as expensive as London or Paris. (See this post if you need help creating a family travel budget!)
How Much Does a Trip to Italy Cost?
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Before we jump into figuring how much a trip to Italy costs, let’s first dive into a few budgeting and travel tips to keep in mind when planning a trip to Italy:
- Summer is not only the most expensive time to visit, but given recent European heat waves in late June and July, make sure you are looking at accommodations that offer air conditioning;
- Honeymoon destinations like the Amalfi Coast (Positano, Capri, Ravello, etc.) or the Cinque Terre are going to be especially busy in the summer and family-friendly accommodations are hard to find;
- If traveling in the high season, plan on booking accommodations at least six months in advance for the best selection;
- Villas/houses in Tuscan countryside tend to rent for one-week minimums in the summer and rentals go from Saturday to Saturday so you need to plan your itinerary accordingly. You can always stay in hotels or smaller agritourismos that don’t have a minimum night stay requirement, but those will cost a bit more;
- If you want to stay in the Italian countryside on a budget, look for places in Umbria (near smaller cities such as Orvieto or Assisi) or Emilia Romagna (near Bologna) instead of Tuscany to get a similar feel at a cheaper price point;
- Main Italian cities like Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan are more expensive to stay in versus the countryside so consider limiting your time in cities and doing day trips to save money (see my tips for driving in Italy). Of these, Venice is especially expensive.
Italy Budget Assumptions
For this example budget, I have based these expenses on a family of four. This imaginary family consists of two adults and two children between the ages of 6-11 and lives near a major airport hub in the USA. When planning your own trip budget, make adjustments as needed to suit your specific travel companions and travel style.
I’m going to assume that this family is traveling in the summer months, since that is when most families visit Italy, and they aren’t strictly budget travellers, but they are comfortable with three to four-star accommodations. Of course traveling in the shoulder season would save money, but most families don’t have the flexibility or the budget for luxury hotels.
I’m also going to base this on a 12-day trip, with four nights in Rome and one-week in Tuscany, which is a great first trip to Italy with kids this age. If you plan on visiting Venice, the Amalfi Coast, the Dolomites, Lake Como, or the Cinque Terre, expect to spend even more on accommodations and food.
The budget for a trip to Italy is made up of the following elements:
I’ve seen Italy trip budgets out there that talk about traveling to Italy for $50-75 a day, per person, but I don’t think that is what a typical family vacation is going to look like. For my family, and others that I have worked with, we want our accommodations to be a little bit more comfortable, private, and centrally-located. Families don’t always have the option of doing things on a shoestring budget (nor do they want to!). Plus, the trip is much more enjoyable and memorable if you can splurge on things like a gondola ride or a private, kid-friendly guide that can engage children in sights like the Colosseum or Vatican Museums, vs. just paying for an entrance ticket.
So while this budget may sound a lot higher than others that you will find online, I also think it is much more realistic. Like everything when it comes to family travel, I’ve tried to strike a balance between budget and enjoyment.
Airfare to Italy
Airfare in the summer can get pricey with direct flights averaging somewhere around $1200 per person on ITA Airways (the Italian replacement for AlItalia.) If you wait too long to book your airfare, it can easily get up to $1800 or more per person. To find the cheapest airfare, I would recommend purchasing tickets six months before your departure date (Cyber Monday is a good time to purchase airfare) and using an app like Hopper to find the cheapest time to book.
Of course, if you have flexibility in when you travel (both time of year and/or days of the week), sign up for a flight deal service so you can jump on new sales when they happen. Generally you will find better deals if you travel in and out to Rome on a round-trip ticket and if you can travel midweek versus the weekend.
To save money, consider booking on a budget airline. Even non-direct flights can save you money, such as flying TAP Airlines through Lisbon or IcelandAir through Reykjavik. Sometimes you can also find cheap flights to London or Dublin and then you can hop on a cheaper European carrier like EasyJet or Ryan Air from there. Just be sure to always pay attention to those added fees and baggage weights/sizes when you are trying to find the best deal.
Of course, what we always try to do is save up our travel points that we earn on our credit card and use those to wipe out the cost of at least one or two of the airfares (see my favorite credit cards for earning points).
Total airfare cost: $4,800 ($1200 per person)
Accommodations can be pricey, especially in Rome and other major cities in Italy. Keep in mind that very few hotels can accommodate a family of four in one hotel room. This can often mean you will need two rooms or a pricey suite. I’ve found that it is usually cheaper to get two smaller rooms then to get a large enough suite to accommodate a family.
In Rome, a four-star hotel will run you about 500 euro per night, per room if you want to stay in the historic city center. If you are traveling in the summer, you will probably also want a Rome hotel with a pool to cool off in the afternoon. Five-star hotels will run over $1000 per night and the super luxe can easily be $1500+ per room.
However, if you want to prioritize budget over luxury, there are economical mid-range hotel options that DON’T require you to stay far from the city center or in a shady part of town. Simple boutique hotels like the family-run Daphne Inn in Rome has a family room that will sleep four for under $300 per night, and it includes breakfast!
Of course, you can also do what we did and go the Airbnb route. We found a three-bedroom, two bath apartment with a view of the Colosseum for under $250 per night.
Some other hotels that offer a family room or suite at an affordable price include:
- Hotel Albergo del Senato near the Pantheon
- Hotel Santa Maria in charming Trastevere
- Hotel Ponte Sisto in the historic center
Total Rome accommodations: $1,200 ($300×4 nights)
The price of accommodations can range wildly in Tuscany too. There are five-star resorts like Castello di Casole where you will spend well over $1000 per night. There are also plenty of budget-oriented, self-catering options like agriturismos or villa rentals.
With an agriturismo, you will have a self-catering apartment on a working farm. Generally there is a shared pool and they may even offer things like breakfast or an on-site cooking class. Kids usually love this type of accommodation because it is authentic and there is room to play and sometimes farm animals roaming around. Not every property has a pool so if this is important to you, be sure to read the descriptions carefully.
Just keep in mind that agriturismos and many vacation rentals in Tuscany require a seven-night, Saturday-to-Saturday night stay. So if you fly into Italy on a Saturday morning, you would drive right from the airport into Tuscany and then finish your vacation in Rome.
A popular and very conveniently-located agriturismo is Al Gelso Bianco. The furnishings are simple but the warm welcome from this family-run farm does everything to make you comfortable. Here an apartment for four can go as low as $2,000 for a week in high season.
When selecting an agriturismo, be sure to look into if room air conditioners or fans are available, as those are not typically found in these traditional farmhouses. Also learn what dining options are available. Does the stay include breakfast or is it entirely self-catered? If there is dinner available, does it need to be organized in advance? This is often the case because the meals are cooked by the owners and ingredients need to be purchased that day. Not many agriturismos offer a full-service restaurant, but some that focus more on the hotel portion of the property may have limited services.
Total Tuscany accommodations: $2,000
If you are spending a week in Tuscany, you are going to need a car. I recommend using Auto Europe to find the best rates across vendors. You should also book early as prices fluctuate and will continue to rise the closer you get to departure. Ideally, book by the end of January, especially if you want an automatic as the inventory is quite limited since most Europeans drive stick.
Just keep in mind that you are going to pay a premium for an automatic transmission and you may want to size up to make sure there is room for your luggage as European cars have small trunks. In my experience, an automatic station wagon that will nicely fit a family of four without being too big to manage the Tuscan hills, will cost about $800 for a weeklong rental. It may be tempting to rent a van or SUV, but you may regret it later when driving through small Tuscan towns or on narrow roads. Instead, encourage everyone to pack light and bring smaller luggage.
Since you don’t want to drive in Rome, I would recommend arriving on Saturday morning, picking up your rental at the FCO airport and driving to your accommodations in Tuscany. Then, on the following Saturday, drop your rental back off at the Rome airport and then catch a cab or arrange a car service into the city and then back out on your departure. A car service to/from the airport will run approximately 75 euro and a cab is closer to 50 euro. You can also take a train from the airport to the Termini station in Rome, but I wouldn’t really recommend staying in that neighborhood so you will probably need to get a cab from there anyway.
You could also take a regional train from Rome to Florence and get a rental car there. Train travel in Italy is pretty easy (just make sure you validate your train ticket before you board!) but when you are staying in the countryside, you are going to need a car. Just remember to beep before going around those tight, blind turns in Tuscany! Another transportation alternative is to fly into Florence and pick up a car there, and drop it off in Rome after your stay in Tuscany, but I find direct flights to and from Rome cheaper, at least from the USA.
When pumping gas in Italy, make sure you know if the car is diesel or unleaded. I’ve seen some disasters after people put regular gas into a diesel car!
Total transportation: $925
Tours and Activities
If you are traveling with kids, I highly recommend private tours. Whenever you take a group tour, you never know who is going to be part of your group and how that may disrupt your experience. There are so many family-friendly options, including some really fun and unique ways to explore Rome with kids. Private tours will usually run around $475 for a family of four.
In Rome, I would highly recommend tours for the following attractions:
- An intro to Rome walking tour
- VIP Colosseum and Ancient Roman Forum tour (or a treasure hunt tour of kids under 8 and a virtual reality tour for older kids)
- Vatican Museum / Sistine Chapel (Sistine Chapel Express Tour for young kids when the focus is on the Sistine Chapel or the treasure hunt tour if you want to see more of the art. For older kids, I would suggest the early entrance tours to get in before the crowd.)
If budget allows, I would add tours for the following:
Luckily, when you are in Tuscany it is easy to spend the week taking day trips to visit towns like Lucca, Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Montalcino, and Pienza. However, you may want to think about a family-friendly wine or food/cheese tour with a company like Tuscan Organic Tours or a bike tour with On the Road in Chianti.
However, at a minimum you will want to take a day trip into Florence and take a tour of the city or get skip-the-line tickets to the Accademia and/or Uffizi, as well as pre-book timed entry tickets to climb the Duomo.
Total tours: $1,425 (3 x $475)
The price of food can vary, but if you stay away from the highly touristic areas (this means walk a block or two away from any main attraction), there are plenty of affordable and delicious options. Keep in mind that a trattoria or an oesteria is less formal and less expensive than a ristorante. You can also usually purchase pizza or panini and take them to go for picnics or inexpensive, casual meals.
Also, if you order your coffee and pastry at a bar and eat inside, it will be much cheaper than ordering table service and sitting outside on a piazza. That said, sometimes it is worth the price, especially when eating tartufo and people watching in Piazza Navona.
We tend to overspend on food, but that said, I would still plan on budgeting at least $125 a day on food if you are happy with pizza and pasta. Foodies looking for fine dining experiences should budget a bit more. The good news about staying at an agriturismo is that you will likely have access to a kitchen and can prepare some meals at your lodging. This is always a great money saver and allows you to then splurge on those days when you are visiting cities or towns.
Total food: $1,500
Souvenirs & Miscellaneous Expenses
While we would rather spend our travel budget on experiences versus things, there are some items which make perfect souvenirs from an Italy trip. These include: wooden toys, leather goods, purses/bags, painted ceramics, blown glass, lace and linens, wine, and olive oil.
You will also want to set aside some budget for the little things including: tips for your tour guides, parking (remember to bring coins in Tuscany!), gas, and taxis. I generally use a rule of thumb of $50 per day.
Total miscellaneous: $600
I would recommend protecting your trip with travel insurance. Pricing varies depending on your level of coverage, ages, trip costs, and more. However, I would use $500-700 as a rough estimate (kids under 17 are usually free.)
If you follow this modest budget, your total trip to Italy cost would come to a grand total of…
Average total Family trip to Italy cost: $12,950
Bottom line, a trip to Italy costs about a $1,000 per day for a family of four (give or take.) Keep in mind that there are ways to do this for less including: using points for airfare, staying in Airbnbs/vacation rentals, taking small group tours, cooking your own meals, and limiting your extra spending.
Of course, if you have champagne tastes, you can easily triple this cost with luxury accommodations, private transportation, and fine dining. We try to land somewhere in the middle between budget and super-luxe and that is what this budget is based on.
|Tours & activities||$ 1,425|
|Souvenirs & miscellaneous||$ 600|
|Travel insurance||$ 500|
|Total cost of a trip to Italy for 4 people, 12 days||$12,950|
Download your Italy Budget Worksheet
Keep track of your expenses as you plan your trip with this downloadable Italy trip planning budget worksheet. Download the PDF worksheet.