Holiday and Vacation Accommodation Options in Italy

Going on vacation in Italy? Information on finding the right place to stay: self-catering, bed and breakfast, hotel <em>pensione</em>, <em>albergo</em> or youth hostel, find out more...

Italy offers a range of places to stay, from converted farmhouses to city centre apartments. It welcomes over 40 million visitors every year (it's the fourth most visited country in the world) and has more hotel rooms than any other European country. Types of accommodation include hostels, hotels, day hotels, bed and breakfasts, affittacamere, religious institutions, agriturismi, campsites and alpine huts.

Accommodation is differentiated by a star system that is controlled by the government. The star rating acts only as a guideline and may not be consistent across regions as tax is levied according to the number of stars a hotel has and therefore some hoteliers may try to keep the number of stars low despite having accommodation of a higher quality.

Checking In

All guests must be declared to the local authorities and under Italian law it is illegal to have unregistered guests. On arrival, the reception desk will need to see passports/identity papers and may keep them for a limited amount of time to allow them to complete the legally-required documentation.

Many budget hotels require payment in full on arrival.

Types of Accommodation

Hostels

Hostels (ostello della gioventù) are competitively priced and ideal for those travelling on a budget. A feature of hostels in Europe is the shared, dormitory-style bedrooms and bathrooms.

Holders of an International Youth Hostelling (Associazione Italiana Alberghi per la Gioventù - AIG) membership card are eligible to stay at over 100 hostels throughout Italy. Membership is available to people of all ages, and families are also welcome. To obtain a card, contact the AIG.

  • A.I.G. (Associazione Italiana Alberghi per la Gioventù)
    At: Via Cavour 44, 00184 Rome
    Tel: 064 871 152
    Fax: 064 880 492
    email

Hotels

Hotels range from simple bed and breakfasts to top-end exclusive hotels. What were formerly known as pensions (pensioni) are now known as hotels.

Day hotels

Day hotels (alberghi diurni) are generally located near railroad stations and in city centres. They do not offer overnight accommodation, but instead offer a place to bathe, check baggage, make telephone calls, do laundry and nap, among other things. Operating hours are usually 06:00 to midnight.

Bed and breakfasts

B&Bs offer accommodation (and breakfast) in a private home. Most B&Bs have communal lounge and dining areas, and guests have a private room, though they may sometimes share a bathroom. Regional law regulates the number of rooms available per B&B.

Affittacamere

Similar to a B&B, though not always serving food, affittacamere are also regionally regulated. Affittacamere usually have a few more rooms than B&Bs. For extended stays of more than one week, the room must be cleaned at least once a week (and linen must be changed). Hot water and heating must be available at all times.

Religious institutions

Some monasteries, convents and other religious institutions offer accommodation. These institutions often have dress codes, curfews and fraternization guidelines as most are still operational. Reservations must usually be made through direct contact with the institution. Contact the local tourist information office for contact details.

Agritourisms (Agriturismi)

These are usually family-run farm estates offering accommodation to tourists. Camping is sometimes allowed and food is usually produced on the estate itself.

Camping and caravanning

The Italian word for a campsite is campeggio. There are campsites throughout Italy, with varying quality of facilities.

Camping "wild" is illegal in Italy unless you have the permission of the landowner. It is illegal to light fires when camping in the wild.

  • For a guide to campsites in Italy see website Campeggi (in English) or Camping.it (in English)

Alpine huts

The Club Alpino Italian owns and operates hundreds of alpine huts throughout the mountains of Italy, which offer accommodation and food for climbers and hikers. Most of these huts are only accessible by hiking trail or 4-wheel drive vehicle.

Private Rentals

There are many apartments, farmhouses, restored barns and villas available for private rentals.

Glossary of Terms

Italian English
pensione basic hotel/boarding house
albergo luxury hotel
ostello della gioventù youth hostel
agriturismo farm holiday
rifugi mountain refuge
locanda inn
camera doppia twin room
camera matrimoniale double room (double bed)
caparra deposit
ricevuta fiscale receipt
prima colazione breakfast