How to Choose a Place to Stay in Italy

a group of buildings next to a body of water
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a group of buildings next to a body of water

When determining what kind of lodging you would like to stay in on a trip to Italy, ask yourself the following questions:

With whom am I traveling? Am I traveling with family or friends?

If you’re traveling with a group, you may want to consider renting a self-service apartment or villa. This can be a more affordable and convenient option, especially if you’re staying for a longer period of time. Of course, if you’re traveling with a large group and you wish to stay together, book accommodations as soon as possible.

What is my budget?

Lodging in Italy can range from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. It’s important to set a budget before you start booking so that you don’t overspend. The folks at Afar have a beginner’s guide to creating an affordable travel budget.

What type of atmosphere am I looking for?

This is a big question—Do you want to stay in a lively hostel where you can meet other travelers or would you prefer a more private hotel? Your budget will determine many things, but you can find social or more sober accommodations at every price range.

What is important to me in terms of amenities?

Do you need a pool, fitness center, or on-site restaurant? Do you require air conditioning when it’s hot or would you prefer an eco-friendly retreat? Consider which amenities are important to you and make sure that the lodging you choose offers them.

How central do I want to be?

If you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing, you may want to stay in a central location so that you’re close to the main attractions. Hotels (i.e., real estate) in prime central locations tend to be more expensive because they can charge a lot for a great view of a famous monument. In recent years, it has become easier to find centrally-located accommodations because of the boom in self-service rentals like Airbnb and VRBO.

If your budget prevents you from staying in the heart of it all, you can also ask yourself, “Toward which site do we want to orient ourselves?” For example, if you’re in town for a specific exhibition or a football match, orient yourself towards the museum or the stadium where you will be spending the most time.

What type of experience am I looking for?

Do you want to stay in a traditional Italian hotel, or would you prefer something more modern and unique?

Types of lodging

Once you’ve considered all of these factors, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the perfect lodging for your trip to Italy.

Here are the most typical types of lodging available in Italy:

Hotels: Hotels offer a variety of amenities, such as pools, fitness centers, on-site restaurants, and concierge services. They can range in price from budget-friendly hostels and pensioni (typically 2-star properties) to mid-range boutique and chain hotels to 5-star luxury lodging. Most of big name hotel brands like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, etc., have points programs to encourage repeat stays.

Apartments: Self-service apartments are a good option for travelers who want more space and privacy. They can be rented for short or long stays.

And, yes, I know that these short-term city rentals are to blame for housing shortages and high prices throughout Italian cities (and the world). I’ve also known very kind families that have been able to make ends meet through renting out their farmhouse. So, use your best judgment when booking apartments and holiday homes on sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

Villas: Villas are a great option for groups or families who want to stay in a spacious and sometimes luxurious setting. Many villas have private pools and gardens, making them very popular for summer travel (Tip: Start villa research early (e.g., one year prior to your trip) if possible. Learn from my experience of renting a villa in Puglia.)

Ready to decide?

No matter what your budget or preferences are, you’re sure to find the perfect lodging for your trip to Italy.

Feature photo of the Venice – Molino Stucky Hotel Hilton – San Giorgio Tower