After consulting a few websites that provide spending guides, we gave ourselves a rough budget of $200 a day for the 19 days in Italy.
This included accommodation, which thankfully we booked well in advance. This was particularly important for the 3 nights on the Amalfi Coast, where accommodation sells out months and months in advance (particularly budget ones during peak season).
Overall we ended up a little over budget, but that was to be expected.
We very much treated our first week in Sicily as a proper holiday, eating out every night and not thinking about it too much. Spending with a holiday mindset is great fun, but not advisable for a long period of time if you’re away for months on end! Holiday vs Travel, a different mindset needed.
We splurged a little on the Amalfi Coast, partly because you don’t really have a choice, and partly because we wanted to really enjoy it. We clawed back most of the deficit by eating in a few nights when we had kitchen facilities (Rome, Polignano).
Overall, a solid balance of trying the local cuisines at restaurants, trying to recreate it ourselves, and take away food. It certainly helps that in countries like Italy you can enjoy a nice beer in public places like on the beach etc, which is pretty common place (6 peronis for 3 euros, sold!).
Here’s the breakdown of the total spend:
Our total budget was $4,000 for the 20 days we spent in Italy (2,433€), but the terrible exchange rate had us having to cut back on expenses quite drastically very quickly.
In total we ended up spending $4,263. Good effort!
What we would have done differently
- Don’t even try to think of driving the Amalfi Coast. I really was confident about driving it and thought there was no big deal. I had driven Route 1 in California before after all. WRONG! It’s really dangerous for anyone not used to this type of road. Just hire a driver or make hotel arrangements close to the main road so you can catch the Sita bus or easily get there from the ferry ports. Not worth the hassle and parking nightmare.
- Probably worth spending more money and stay in a nicer area in Naples. Though unsure there are nice areas there (still not Naples advocates).
- Allocate more time in Puglia. It’s so gorgeous. A full week to 10 days would be well spent there. And get a car otherwise it would be too hard to get around the region without one.
- Ciuri e Amuri Palermo Suites was a great accommodation in Palermo. It was our own apartment, in the old town and near all the famous tourist spots. The host was very nice and helpful. Definitely recommend. We spent 84 euros for 2 nights.
- BB Porta del Re was a great accommodation in Taormina. Right next to the gate to the old town and near all the famous tourist spots without the price tag. We paid 125 euros for 2 nights.
- Le Camere del Poeta was perfect for our stay in Florence. Located just a few meters away from the old town’s gate Porta Romana and 1km away from the Pitti Palace. The host was really nice and the place was neat and tidy. We spent 88 euros for 2 nights.
- We loved staying at Casa Vacanze Li Galli! It is lost in the middle of the mountains with the most beautiful view over the sea. The host was so lovely and went out of her way to help us out as we were arriving by bus. Highly recommended on the Amalfi coast drive. We spent 62 euros for 1 night. Unbeatable price on the Amalfi coast.
- Polignano A Mare was a real highlight of our Italian trip and our accommodation was part of the highlight. Casa Immacolata was perfectly located, clean and tidy. Despite not speaking English our host was very helpful. We spent 175 euros for 3 nights.
For a bite
- Artale Giovanni in Syracuse for great Cannolli, pastries and ice cream. They also serve alcohol and have a few small tables outside.
- L’Antica pizzeria da michele in Napoli. Most famous pizzeria in Naples as it is meant to be the birthplace of pizza. The menu is very simple, it’s Margharita or Marinara pizza. Well worth the wait plus it’s sooo cheap! 6 euros for a monster pizza! Win!
- Ristorante La Rosa in Colli di Fontanelle. Nice family run restaurant on the Amalfi coast. worth stopping by if you’re around.
- Pasticceria Sal de Riso in Minori. Famous for its hundreds of small cakes available. Each cake is 5 euros and absolutely delicious!
- Grotta Palazese in Polignano a Mare. Unfortunately this restaurant was wayyyy out of our price range (Between 180 and 220 euros per person, excluding wine) but we highly recommend it as it looks amazing. Eating in a grotto is not something you’ll do everyday so if you can afford it, go for a meal there!
For a drink
- Il Palazzetto in Rome for a beautiful view over the roofs of the city and the Spanish steps.
- Caffe Wunderbar in Taormina on the Piazza IX Aprile 7. It is super touristy but the view from the terrace overlooking the sea is pretty magnificent. well worth stopping by for a cold beer.
Next destination –> Greece where we’ll be spending 2 weeks.