Can Christmas in Italy be Inexpensive?

I have a dream of being in Italy for Christmas. Hopefully for 2013. I know the airfare will be high but does anyone have any tips on how to cut costs during Christmas week in Italy? I don't have any specific cities in mind yet so any help and suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks,
Robin

Posted by Robin
Brooklyn, NY
4 posts

Thank you Laurel. Had an opportunity to visit Rome briefly back in 2009 and fell in love. Now that the children are all grown up, hubby and I thought it's about time to give ourselves a gift. Just thought Christmas might have been too far a financial reach but since all of your tips were what we did the first time, it seems attainable. We'll travel from Rome to Florence and maybe one other city. Robin

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2197 posts

Same tricks and tips as other times of the year: B&Bs or apartments instead of hotels, don't rent a car, eat some meals in if you have an apartment, look for neighborhood trattorias, eat panini in bars (cafes) for lunch. In some cities, like Rome, the local transportation passes for a day, 3 days, or a week are a very good deal.

Posted by Claudio
Bergamo, Italy
117 posts

Laurel gave you good advices, remember northern Italy is generally more expensive than central and southern Italy. In addition to the great three, Rome, Florence and Venice, the other cities worth visiting are so many that it is hard to choose. P.S. A study of these days refers to the average price per night for a double room between Christmas and New Year considers the most expensive cities for tourists are in order Venice(130 Euro), Milan (120), Rome(109), Florence(105), Verona(100).

Posted by Robin
Brooklyn, NY
4 posts

Great info. Thanks so much Claudo. I'd think we'd much rather do Rome, Florence & Verona anyway. I'll begin my research for B&Bs for Florence and Verona. Robin

Posted by JS
Bay Area
2081 posts

Many convents have great lodging rates. However not all are the same. It takes some research and patience as many still do not have email or speak english. During holiday time also you would need to book way ahead. I recommend the Cortona(parking avail) and Orvieto convents for sure.They are spartan but very clean,roomy & comfortable. No phone or TV's. Meals if avail are better to skip.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2432 posts

Convent or monastery stays are a good option, but they usually have a curfew - don't know if there are exceptions for midnight Mass on Christmas, for example, or New Year's Eve - check with the individual property. If you decide to stay in one city, an apartment rental might be an option.

Posted by donna
roswell, ga, usa
994 posts

If you're really trying to do this economically, there are options to hotels, BBplanet.com has a lot of B&Bs to choose from, and there you won't have to worry about a curfew like you'd have to do with a convent; I've also rented apartments from VRBO.com which are a little more expensive than a B&B, but you have the option of cooking in, and using the local bakeries/delis for groceries. I know Rome would have an incredible Christmas, of course, and I was there at Easter this year and stayed across from the Vatican at a little 3 star, hotel Alimandi Tunisi, which I've stayed in before and LOVE the owners. It's inexpensive by Rome standards, which is like saying inexpensive in New York. I also understand Bologna is awesome at Christmas. I'd pick Florence over Venice because Venice isn't much fun in the winter, and either go to Verona or Bologna. ENJOY!

Posted by Robin
Brooklyn, NY
4 posts

Thank you all for the great suggestions. Now I have some direction at least and the planning doesn't seem quite as daunting. Convents though they may be cheaper won't work if there's a curfew. What I found for Rome at least is often things don't really get started until late. Hadn't even considered Bologna before - I will look into it. Thanks again,
Robin