Hotels in Italy are far from cheap, but competition has improved service and facilities at luxury properties and resulted in a wide range of options for budget-conscious travelers. Where you once just chose between traditional hotels and modest pensiones, you now have everything from bed-and-breakfastssurprisingly contemporary urban haunts with six rooms or lessto working farms offering agritourism vacations, which are a good value for countryside jaunts. Adding to that mix are Italy's luxury villa hotels, resort spas, and restored villages turned long-stay residences.
Italy's high season varies according to your destination: In art cities like Rome and Florence, it tends to fall in spring and autumn, while in rural parts of Tuscany or Umbria, June through mid-September is the busiest period. Most seaside areaswith the exception of hiking-oriented Cinque Terreare crowded only in July and August. If you're planning on coming at peak times, book as far in advance as possible. In low season, expect substantial discounts, and look out for special online offers.