I have traveled to Italy four times and I have also planned about two dozen vacations to Italy for other families. Over the course of the 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 to make it easy. Italy is a popular travel destination and while not as cheap as Ireland or Portugal, it isn’t as expensive as the United Kingdom or Scandinavia.
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. 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, 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.
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, or the Cinque Terre, expect to spend even more on accommodations and food.
How Much Does a Trip to Italy Cost?
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The budget for a trip to Italy is made up of the following elements:
Airfare in the summer can get pricey with direct flights averaging somewhere between $1200-1800 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 SkyScanner to find the cheapest fares.
To save money, consider booking on a budget airline like Norwegian or even Iceland Air. Even non-direct flights can save you money. 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: $4,000 (assuming you use a budget airline)
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.
In Rome, a four-star hotel will run you about 500 euro per night, per room. 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.
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 (up to over $10,000 per night for one of their gorgeous farmhouses). 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.
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.
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.
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.
Since you don’t want to drive in Rome, I would recommend arriving on Saturday morning, picking up your rental and driving to 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 48 euro.
Train travel in Italy is pretty easy but when you are staying in the countryside, you are going to need a car. One alternative is to fly into Florence and pick up a car there, and drop it off in Rome after your stay in Tuscany.
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 tour of Florence 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.
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.
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 trip to Italy cost: $12,150
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||$12,150|
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.