5 ways to discover Italy without breaking the bank

Be travel smart and explore all that Italy has to offer, for less, with these five tips.

Flexible flights

You can make big savings if you’re flexible about when you travel to Italy. Weekday flights are often cheaper than weekend flights. Travel outside the holiday season and you can find flights to Italy’s most famous citiesĀ at bargain prices. As well as avoiding the heat and crowds of high summer, you’ll see a completely different side of the country. Look out for special deals and offers, especially in January and just after the summer holidays.

A bed for the night

A stay in central Rome could be cheaper than you think, or even free. B&Bs generally cost less than hotels. If you’re planning a longer stay, consider renting a flat, which is even cheaper if you share with friends. If you own your own home, try a house swap holiday and stay in another family’s home while they spend their holiday in yours. For the truly cash-strapped, there are websites to match you up with offers of free accommodation in a spare room or on a sofa.

Getting around

Most Italian cities have a good public transport network. A daily or weekly pass will save you money, and you can sometimes save more if you buy this online before you leave. Smaller cities can be explored on foot, and you’ll see more that way. A romantic gondola in Venice is expensive, but the water bus, vaporetto, is cheap and more of an authentic Venetian experience.

Shoestring spaghetti

Italy prides itself on good food, and eating out doesn’t have to break the bank. Aim for small, family-run restaurants off the tourist trail. Remember that pizza is a snack food, while pasta is eaten as a first course rather than the main dish, so you shouldn’t have to pay too much for these. For lunch, why not buy fresh rolls from a bakery and fill with deli meat or cheese for an Italian picnic?

See for free

In Rome, you can find a monument around every corner. Admission to the Colosseum might be pricy, but you can see the exterior from all over the city. Churches and cathedrals often have splendid architecture and won’t charge an admission fee, although donations are welcome. Many museums, like Pontedera’s Piaggio scooter museum, are free to enter, and others offer a discount for students, or with a museum pass. Enjoy free tours and demonstrations at Venice’s glass-blowing shops and factories. For free entertainment, wander through a street market and look out for free music, theatre or film screenings in city parks.

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