ITLY: How to Save Money on Your Stay in Italy (Hint: The Answer is Airbnb)

Airbnbs are the way to go when traveling abroad! For 10 nights, I spent less than $1,000 on some of the greatest places I’ve ever stayed… so I’m just saying you can get some incredible deals in unique places away from the crowds.

I still can’t believe it’s been a little over a month since we left for Italy. Where has the time gone?!

If you’re curious about where we went in Italy, check out my previous blog post.

It is important to note that I booked every Airbnb 9 months in advance. This will really make a difference in what is still available for a good price. I’m one of those people that would randomly search Airbnb to see what’s available and even 5 months out from our trip, a lot of nice, cheap places were booked and it was mostly the more expensive options that remained. Just keep this in mind as you’re thinking about when to plan your trip.

So let’s talk about where we stayed and why I loved each of them so much.

Venice: A Dreamy Little Room with a View

We only stayed in Venice one night and this was the perfect little spot for us. It was a 20- 25 minute walk to pretty much anywhere in the city center.

The room was a nice size for the both of us, but the bathroom was shared with the other guests at the B&B(so keep that in mind).

Early in the morning, I found a nice surprise that we had a small balcony that overlooked the canal and square below.

The hosts did not speak English, but this was never an issue (you are able to download the language book for Italian on the Google translate app so you can use it offline in a pinch).

I’m only dinging it 2 points because we didn’t have a private bathroom.

Link: Room with private terrace

Rating: 8/10

Dolomites: A Private Cabin in the Mountains

This. View.

I mean, come on!

The cabin was tiny but met every need we had during our time in the Dolomites.

The bed was a pullout couch, but the mattress was surprisingly comfortable and quite large.

We did have to park up the road a ways, which was never an issue in the morning. But, it was quite dark at night so it made for a bit of a creepy walk (more like jog) to the cabin.

We weren’t a far drive from anywhere we wanted to go, either. We were close enough to Cortina and any hikes we would like to embark on (about a 45 minute beautiful drive).

We never met our host in person, but he was very kind and quick to answer any questions via Airbnb chat.

Link: Mountain cabin in Selva di Cadore

Rating: 8/10

Florence: A Private Room Across from Galleria Accademia

Literally steps from the entrance to the Galleria Accademia, made it the perfect home base to explore all that Florence has to offer.

The furthest we had to walk was to the Piazzale Michelangelo, which was about 35 minutes away.

I did have to connect to WiFi in order to get our code to enter the door (a very tense 5 minutes thinking we may not be able to get our luggage inside before exploring), but once we got inside everything was great. We were met by our host who let us know our room wasn’t ready yet, but we could leave our luggage in the room while it was being cleaned.

We did have a private bathroom across from our room, which was very nice (even though there was another couple there and I felt a little weird crossing the hallway in my pjs).

The bed was large and very comfortable.

We were very close to many popular restaurants, bakeries, and sites.

Overall, for one night in Florence, it was a perfect place to stay so we could see all the sights the city had to offer.

Link: Apartment in Florence city center

Rating: 9/10

Tuscany: Renovated Hayloft on an Olive Grove

This place is what Airbnb was made for.

In the heart of the Chianti hills, we were greeted by our very kind host, Giovanni, who gave us a private tasting of the wine and olive oil from the grapes and olives they grow just feet from where we were sitting. He walked us through how they make their wines and olive oils and gave us a tour of the grounds (complete with an herb garden where we could take as many fresh herbs as we needed).

Giovanni was always on the grounds to give us local recommendations for restaurants and activities. It was always fun to come back to the winery to hear him yell “Eri! Jacob!” and strike up a conversation. Genuinely, I have never met someone with so much passion for what they do. Truly inspiring.

We were only 40 minutes from Florence, so this could be a great option if you want to stay in Tuscany and take a day trip into the city.

The furthest we had to drive for a winery visit was 40 minutes, but there were so many only minutes from where we stayed.

The hayloft itself was impeccable.

Upstairs was a kitchen and living room while the downstairs was the bedroom and bathroom.

The bathroom was nice and large (even though the ceiling in one area was a little low and we both hit our heads at least once…) and the bedroom had a large hayloft door that opened to the driveway.

There’s also a plethora of outdoor games available to play! Badminton was our game of choice.

A swimming pool was open to all guests, but it was a little too cold during our stay to justify jumping in.

There were many areas around the ground to just sit and enjoy the scenery. Our favorite spot faced the sunset and we got to enjoy the gorgeous view every evening.

Before leaving for our trip, I messaged Giovanni asking for some local recommendations for wineries and he was extremely helpful since, for the most part, you needed a reservation for a wine tasting. He was probably the best Airbnb host we’ve ever had. Plus, the wine was so well priced, we ended up getting 3 bottles and I’m sure we will ship more once we run out.

Also, this winery is on top of a hill, so you get the most incredible views of the surrounding countryside.

If the dates are open for this place, you would be a fool not to book it.

Link: Old Hayloft in the Chianti Hills

Rating: 10/10

San Marino: Attic room with a private terrace

We were so spoiled with all the views we had in Italy. We don’t get the same views here in Chicago…

This Airbnb was a bit of a struggle to find (I may have almost been in tears at one point trying to find it, love my husband for calming me down). You will get walking directions and directions from the bus before checking in. I would recommend using the directions from the bus even if you drove, they make much more sense!

After (finally) finding the house and meeting our hosts, we were pleased to learn we were the only one in the house that night. We were shown the house and given a map of the area with recommendations. Once the keys were handed over, we had the whole house to ourselves. This was not normal, so it may or may not happen if you chose to stay here.

Everything in San Marino was within a 20 minute walk from the house, including any restaurant you could want to go to.

The room was clean and very quaint, but the real star of this show was the terrace. It’s about the same size as the room and was the perfect spot to enjoy a bottle of wine as we watched the sunset.

If you’re an early riser, the sunrise is also incredibly beautiful.

If you actually find this place, it is a magical room to stay the night.

Link: Attic with private terrace

Rating: 8/10

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