Sleeping in Italy Cities

We're presently in Florence, and having trouble sleeping. For a relatively small city (in population), I have never heard so many loud, boisterous, obnoxious people on the streets until the wee hours of the morning. I also don't know how a city with cars running so slow can have so much street noise. Loud motorcycles don't help. In the mornings, it's the tour busses idling. Then, the church bells cut loose Sunday a.m. Last time we stayed in Venice, we had the same problem with Italian families arguing into the night. My wife broke up an argument by tossing a trash can filled with water out the window, and they got the message. Where's my trash can?
I'm moving to an agriturisimo tomorrow. I hope they don't have chickens to crow at sunup.

Posted by Susan
Kamloops, BC, Canada
248 posts

Try getting some wax earplugs (which you can mold into shape). They are much better at blocking out noise than the foam plugs and I find them more comfortable

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8667 posts

Bummer David, i am not good sleeping with city noises either so usually take earplugs too, but I don't like wearing them.

Posted by Zoe
653 posts

Sounds like you might be near the train station. For future reference, try to get a room on an upper floor with an interior window (usually around a courtyard) - that should take care of at least some of the noise.

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1463 posts

David, you just reminded me why I like to stay on the outskirts of a city or in the countryside. Yes, it's not always as much fun because we have to take public trans back to our hotel, however, I am able to get much needed rest. After all, I'm not a party girl anymore, lol.

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1704 posts

I use an app that generates a variety of background sounds: white noise, waves, wind sounds, etc. I find that really helpful. On occasion, I've also found that some of the lectures I download from iTune U are great sleep inducers.

Posted by Ellen
Centennial, CO, USA
1489 posts

Hate to say it, but noise is part of the Italian experience in cities. Out in the country, in hilltop towns, you will still get the church bells all night! As someone suggested, use earplugs. On bad nights, I'd just wear my earphones and listen to calming music on my iphone/ipod. Italians have no issues with noises.... what you are experiencing is exactly what we've been through in 7 trips to Italy. Heck, I've had to deal with trash pick up at the Peery Hotel in Salt Lake City at 5AM on several nights....our room's window overlooked the trash pick up for the Macaroni Grill. Nothing like being awakened by crashing beer bottles in to a metal container! Interior rooms in Italy, looking in to a court yard isn't always better, it actually can amplify the noise from all the windows from apartments and hotels facing that space. Our last experience in Siena, there were some German's have a good old time on their balcony next to our. I tried to put up with it, but finally got out of bed, went to the window and shouted out in Yiddish (as close to German as I can get) We're sleeping! they shut up immediately! Good luck, this experience will be one you will share with your friends when you get home. It will be a fun part of the story. Like we women say, it's like childbirth, you'll forget the pain and the joy and good memories will outweigh a few nights of troubled sleeping!

Posted by richard
Des Plaines, IL, US
89 posts

I learned many years ago traveling to Europe that the one thing I NEVER forgot is to take my sleep machine. It is a noise simulator that gives perhaps 10 different "noise choices" - we use rainful. It has never failed me. Been in many a noisy situation and have slept through them all. At Walmarts for about $12. Bet you can pick one up in Italy. Ours is battery operated so I don't have to worry about 220V. Good luck. By the way, passed this along to Rick Steve's company; they said they well might include it in future travel guides.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3994 posts

Who moved my trash can?!? (love it!) I use ( heavily) Google Street View to see exactly where my accommodations will be; unfortunately, many European cities don't allow the Google car-cams in their cities :-( Also, TripAdvisor reviews will tell it like it is. Leaving is good, too ;-) One of the reasons I cross The Big Blue is to hear the church bells, so that NEVER bothers me (sigh). Every night - at home or overseas - I use foam earplugs and a white noise machine (loves me some 'Yosemite Falls' LOL!). We actually recorded the sounds from our machine and made mp3 files that we moved onto our iPods...we have a pretty forceful travel speaker that we travel with (batts or dual-voltage), so I always make room for that in my luggage. Actually, my husband carries the equipment; HE'S the snorer. Also, as some others have said, we stay away from The Sights and any restaurants or well as we can. Sometimes, the front door to a raucous neighborhood bar is extremely nondescript in the daytime...:-(

Posted by Annice
Charlotte, NC, United States
6 posts

The Hilton Metropole has a shuttle that takes you from the hotel to town. So you get the best of both worlds. Quiet in the evenings and free transport to the center city.
Other chain/major hotels may do the same.

Posted by Jackie
92 posts

2 nights in Vernazza (pre-flood) were horrible for sleeping. I think those quaint narrow streets of old town areas that I so love to visit during the day are notorious for amplifying sound that are so bad for sleeping. Only suggestion would be to look for hotels that tout double insulated windows and hope that works.

Posted by Valarie
Miami, FL, USA
83 posts

I have to say, I am particularly anal about scouting out the noise level of a room I propose to book. We have never had a problem, but I always have booked rooms on inside courtyards or in Venice, with the heavy wood shutters that you can close. I am also picky about having dark drapes. So far, my plans have paid off. That won't help you now, but perhaps a guide for the future. It does take me a long time to research. Hope the rest of the stay went well.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
1159 posts

I still remember the cat serenade we got in in Bologna, we stayed with a fellow right on the main street by the modern art museum - I had the WORST sleep! Even with the metal shuuters drawn. But otherwise, things were good...

Posted by Debora
Sankt Leon, BW, Germany
5 posts

Have to say... y'all sound really American. I've lived in Europe for 4 years now and we travel extensively. It doesn't matter whether it's Italy, Holland, or Majorca... unless you're staying in the middle of nowhere you're going to have the noise. Europeans... especially Italians... live life on a different pace. Enjoy it while you're here and then go home and sleep. Or bring some Tylenol PM! It really is part of the ED-venture. Yup, an educational adventure. We just got back from Tuscany where we had a house, literally, in the middle of nowhere. Had a fabulous view of a city on a hill... like many of them in that area. But there was a train track next to the house and every night at 2 AM the train went by. My brother and sister in law still laugh about the apartment we love in Firenze (Florence). Great apt. 2 blocks from the Dom that has a little Tripe stand and a restaurant right outside the window. THey thought the people would go home at 1 AM when the torrential rain started. But, they went inside until it was done and then came out and had some more wine!