As the boot of Mediterranean Europe, Italy is a beautiful country to travel through. You could spend a lifetime here and still have more to explore! The Trenitalia railway system makes the country ideal for exploring by train, but some people prefer to drive themselves.
Many travelers find the best way to enjoy their time is to have a theme for their Italy trip, or perhaps a different theme for each city. This way, you can get the fullest experience based on your interests and passions. If your theme is food, you can spend hours a day sampling authentic Italian dishes such as pizza, tortellini, and spaghetti, and even visit the grocery stores to attempt your own pasta night at the hostel kitchen (or at least make an authentic Nutella recipe). Other recommended Italian themes are architecture, wine, art, religion, and history.
The Veneto region in the northeast is a great place to start your journey. The capitol of Veneto is Venice, which is also the largest city in the area. The city built on water absolutely cannot be missed, even for those who abhor typical tourist activities. Italy hostels in Venice are cheapest off the island, but staying on the island for at least one night is highly recommended, as the nightlife provides a completely different atmosphere. Although these Italy hostels typically cost a little more, you may break even, as you'll be able to walk through the maze of streets instead of taking a boat. Other suggested cities in Veneto are Vincenza; Padua; and especially Verona, the historic town that served as the setting for Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."
From any Veneto city, it's just a few hours by train to arrive in Tuscany. As Tuscany caters to both students and travelers, hostels are diverse and abundant. Florence is a location friendly to the budget traveler. From art like Michelangelo's David, to architecture such as Brunelleschi's Dome, Florence is a visual treat. From there, you can explore the rest of the Tuscan region. Many people enjoy touring the vineyards, but you cannot miss the town of Pisa, best known for its Leaning Tower.
South of Tuscany is Rome, the capital city. Here is where you'll find icons such as the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. Encased in Rome is the smallest nation in the world, Vatican City. It's worth several day trips to explore the Vatican Museums featuring the Sistine Chapel, entering Saint Peter's Basilica, and attending a meeting where the Pope speaks. Italy hostels in Rome are all across the board, so choose one that best caters your needs, location, style, and budget!
From Rome, you can explore further down the peninsula to well-known areas such as Napoli or Pompeii, or go to the islands of Sicily or Capri. Italy hostels can be found in larger cities, or if you'd prefer to set up a home base in Rome, there are many tourism services that escort you from Rome to Southern Italian attractions. When your time in Italy comes to an end, you can head to one of the many international airports, or go east to Bari and continue your journey by taking a ferry ride to Greece.
Handwritten by local expert for Italy hostels Jessica Lippe