Best Travel Booking Resources for Italy
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I like to use these companies when I book travel to and within Italy.
Book Flights to Italy
From getting the best deal to working with loyalty programs, booking directly through an airline is your best bet. Airlines with good connections to Italy include:
ITA. Italy’s flag carrier airline can get you almost anywhere in Italy that has an airport.
Air France is a French flag carrier airline that offers direct flights to Italy from many major cities in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The airline has a good reputation for its service and amenities, including lie-flat seats in business class and Wi-Fi on all flights.
British Airways is a British flag carrier airline that offers direct flights to Italy from London Heathrow Airport. The airline has a long history of flying to Italy and offers a variety of classes of service.
Emirates operates out of Dubai and offers direct flights to several cities Italy. The airline is known for its luxurious amenities, including lie-flat seats in business class and a full bar in the premium economy cabin. (NB: It is a truly fantastic airline; I’ve flown it multiple times between Italy and Asia.)
Turkish Airlines provides connections from Istanbul to several Italian cities including Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, and more.
Qatar Airways provides connections from Doha to Italian cities like Rome, Milan, and Pisa.
If you’re not going directly through an airline, try these sites:
Expedia. Good ol’ Expedia has been around for a while, which is why I keep coming back to them — especially when I need to book a flight or package deal (flight/hotel/car). Members get reward points that they can use toward future purchases. Also under the Expedia Group umbrella are the booking websites Hotwire, Orbitz, and Travelocity—so they have got you more than covered.
Momondo. A newer travel search site with an eye-pleasing interface, Momondo lets you search 900 travel websites at a time to find the perfect deal on flights, hotels, and more. You can also use filters to find flights that don’t charge a change fee.
Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights). This membership site sends you cheap flight alerts for your preferred destinations. Some flights are up to 90% off! Going is the best place to find out about “mistake fares,” which could mean, for example, that you score a $100 ticket for $10.
Best Sites for Booking Hotels in Italy
As it is with airlines, so it is with hotels—booking directly with a property often means a better deal for you. They will often offer you deals that are equivalent to or less than what is quoted on hotel reservation sites. This is particularly important for small, family-run hotels so that they don’t incur all the extra costs associated with listing their properties on hotel reservation sites.
Meanwhile, f you have a hotel brand that you love and trust, book with them directly to make sure that you are getting loyalty points for your stay. Here are some quick links to popular hotels brands in Italy:
US and International Hotel Brands in Italy
Best Western Hotels. This well-known budget- to mid-range hotel chain operates hotels in 12 Italian cities.
Hilton Hotels. Hilton brands in Italy include Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Doubletree by Hilton, Conrad, Curio, Tapestry, and Waldorf Astoria. Book and earn points with Hilton Honors.
IHG Hotels. This popular hotel group includes 18 brands. The most common ones you’ll find in Italy include Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts, Kimpton, Hotel Indigo, Regent, and Six Senses. IHG Rewards members can earn points at IHG Hotels in Italy.
Marriott. Marriott has a big footprint in Italy and has many outstanding luxury properties to consider. Marriott luxury tier brands in Italy include Edition, Luxury Collection, St. Regis, W Hotels, J.W. Marriott, and Bulgari Hotels. Premium Marriott brands in Italy include Marriott, Sheraton, Delta Hotels, Westin, Le Meridien, Renaissance Hotels, Autograph Collection Hotels, Tribute Portfolio Hotels, and Design Hotels. “Select” tier Marriott properties in Italy include Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, AC Hotels, and Moxy Hotels. You can use and earn points as a Marriott Bonvoy Member at all of these properties.
NH Hotels. This Spanish chain is known for its premium hotels, particularly across Europe and South America. NH has several dozen properties across Italy.
OYO. This budget brand from India launched in 2013 and branched out to properties in Europe in 2019. OYO’s mission is to provide “affordable and good-quality hotels in the unbranded budget hotel category.” OYO powers the tech behind Belvilla holiday homes (see below).
Radisson. Radisson currently has hotels in seven cities—Rome, Florence, Milan, Naples, Venice, Ferrara, and Cortina d’Ampezzo. Choose from Radisson, Radisson Collection, and Radisson Blu properties.
Italian Hotel Brands
Not surprisingly, some of the best hotels in Italy are owned by Italian companies. Here are a few Italian brands to try:
COMO Hotels & Resorts. This family-owned Italian chain includes COMO Metropolitan urban hotels and adventure-focused Uma resorts. While most of their hotels are outside Italy, COMO has two 5-star properties in Tuscany.
Rocco Forte Hotels. Hotels under this Italian brand name are known for their exclusivity.
Hotel and Villa Booking Sites
Belvilla. Originally a place where Benelux travelers could find holiday homes, Belvilla has expanded to give UK travelers a selection of 40,000 competitively-priced holiday homes and villas across 20 countries, including Italy.
Booking.com. Booking is pretty much my go-to site for hotel bookings because it’s so easy to use and many places offer free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance.
Hotelogical. Based in London, Hotelogical is a hotel booking site that claims to offer travelers “across the globe “FREE access to exclusive, unpublished rates and discounts at brand-name and boutique hotels & resorts in the world’s top destinations.”
Hotels By Day. Use this site if you have a long layover. Hotels By Day currently works in 15 Italian cities—mostly in areas near airports—to provide last-minute, day-use hotels for travelers with long layovers or other changes of plans.
Hotels.com. Another good choice for browsing hotel choices for Italy or elsewhere. Thanks, Captain Obvious!
Top Villas. If you want to go big for your trip to Italy—and who doesn’t?!—you may want to search for a villa on Top Villas. The hideaways featured on Top Villas are often luxurious in addition to having ample room for a group. Great idea for a special birthday or anniversary trip or for a family get-together.
VRBO. Around since 1995, VRBO has less inventory than its name-brand competitor, but it makes up for it in the quality of listings. With VRBO, you always get to access to the entire house.
Transportation Booking Sites in Italy
Trains, Buses & Ferries
Trenitalia. Italy’s state-run rail company offers train service to locations big and small. Its fleet of Freccia high-speed trains provides quick service between Italy’s biggest cities.
Eurail. The easiest way to book train tickets for Italy for non-Europeans. Get an Italy pass and ride as many trains as you want within a certain time frame. Works with Trenitalia trains and some ferry lines, too.
Interrail. The same as Eurail, but for European travelers. Get a pass for Italy and ride the rails.
Italo Treno. This competitor of Italy’s national rail service (Trenitalia) has high-speed connections to main cities in Italy, often at a discount.
Save a Train. Book discount train tickets for Italy and Europe on the fly.
Trainline. Founded by the Virgin Group, this UK app has been connecting travelers with trains since 1997. It’s now a trusted app for bus and train travel across Europe.
Omio. A travel app based in Berlin, Omio lets you search and compare flights, train travel, and bus and ferry schedules. Omio “shows a range of transport options from the cheapest bus to the fastest train.” Omio would be a good site to use if you were planning a multi-country tour of Europe —perhaps a tour of Italy and Germany —since it was designed with intra-country European travel in mind.
Ferryscanner. Traveling to Sicily or Sardinia? Or maybe you want to visit one of the islands off the coast of Naples? You’ll need to book a ferry. Try Ferryscanner for timetables and online booking. Read more on boating in Italy.
Auto Europe. Auto Europe specializes in…renting out automobiles in Europe. They work with Europcar and other companies to get customers the best rates.
RentalCars.com. This site is like Booking.com for renting cars because it is owned by Booking.com. 🙂 They work with a variety of car rental companies like Avis, Hertz, Sixt, etc. to find you a car and a deal.
Best Sites for Booking Italy Tours
Walking Tours and Immersion Experiences
Eat With. Have dinner at a local’s house or organize a special home-cooked dinner for your group. Eat With help you find culinary experiences to enrich your trip.
GetYourGuide. Provides an easy-to-navigate website to help match you with the perfect guide for your travel interests.
The Tour Guy. What started out as “The Roman Guy” has branched out into a small-group walking tour company with tour options in Italian cities and beyond. See my reviews of The Tour Guy’s tours of St. Peter’s Dome and the Colosseum Dungeons.
Tiqets. Book tickets to your favorite museums and attractions, including skip-the-line tickets and combined attraction tickets.
Viator. Great way to find all kinds of tours and tickets, from guided museum visits to unique day trips outside the city.
Multi-Day and Package Tours
You can find full, multi-day packages on many of the conventional travel booking sites like Expedia and Kayak.
Travel search sites that specialize in package deals include TourRadar, Bookmundi, and Travelzoo. But there are also others like Great Value Vacations and eDreams that have a track record of good reviews.
Meanwhile, there are several well-respected tour companies that you can try for Italy package deals and all-inclusive tours. I recommend G Adventures, which specializes in active tours (e.g., their Ultimate Italy Tour); Insight Vacations, which focuses on cultural experiences; and Trafalgar, a trusted name in the UK.
Another traveler favorite is Perillo Tours, which has been hosting escorted tours of Italy for a mostly North American clientele since 1945.
Best for Booking Italy Travel Insurance
Travelex Insurance. A leader in the travel insurance industry for more than half a century, A great company to go with if you don’t want to spend time researching insurance for your trip.
TravelInsurance.com. This site lets you find and compare all sorts of travel insurance policies.
Read this post about why you should get travel insurance.