The Best Apps for Traveling in Italy

Picture of me on my phone in a subway

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. I will only recommend products and services that I would [or currently use] myself.

I’ve been traveling and living in Italy for over 7 months now, so I’ve come to have a collection of apps that I couldn’t do without.  Categories:

  1. General
  2. Accommodations
  3. Public Transit
  4. What to Do
  5. Eats and Drinks
  6. Social

General

Google Maps

This is an obvious one. Not only is Google Maps useful for finding restaurants and navigating by car or on foot, but it also incorporates public transit such as buses, trams, and subways – including pickup/drop-off times at stops. Pro tip – download the maps offline for your destination before departing on the trip. 

Google Translate

Another obvious one. Yes I speak Italian, but I’m by no means fluent (yes I’m an Italian citizen but I’ve only been learning for about a year). Like Google Maps, you can and should download Italian for offline translations.

Accommodations

Hostelworld (hostelworld.com)

If you haven’t stayed in a hostel yet, I highly recommend it. There is a pretty wide spectrum though, everything from bad to awesome, and everything from private rooms to shared dorms. The Hostelworld app makes it easy to browse hostels, see room types and amenities, and see reviews as well as manage bookings.

Booking.com (booking.com)

Another great place to find accommodations. For some reason, the prices in the app are often lower than the price in the desktop browser version. So I’ll usually do all bookings in the app. I also like to have the app to manage bookings and contact hosts if needed.

AirBNB

If you don’t use the AirBNB app yet, you should. While I still prefer using the desktop version for searching and booking places, the app makes it easy to communicate with hosts, get addresses, and see check in/out instructions. You will often see places listed on both AirBNB and Booking.com – keep this in mind if the review dates for a specific place are few and far between on AirBNB, as they may have been booked on Booking.com.

Public Transit

Trenitalia (trenitalia.com)

The amount of people I see still using paper train tickets is astounding. The only benefit of buying a paper ticket from the machine is that you can pay with cash. If you have a credit/debit card or PayPal, just use the app, as it makes buying train tickets incredibly easy. Plus, you can track the status of your train, see what platform to go to, and eliminate the need for validating a paper ticket. Additionally, it saves you time not having to wait in line at a machine and reduces pickpocket/unwanted interaction risk that often comes with standing at ticket machines. Keep in mind that Trenitalia only recognizes the Italian spelling of stations (ex. Rome and Florence won’t yield search results, but Roma and Firenze will).

Note: this is not for city metro (underground subway) systems, which will likely require buying paper tickets at a machine or using myCicero. 

myCicero (mycicero.it)

This app helps consolidate all the local transportation networks into one app. Meaning – local transport within cities/provinces such as buses, local trains, trams, and metros. It doesn’t include all systems, unfortunately. For example, the bus systems in both Florence and Bologna aren’t yet in a digital format. But myCicero goes a long way to reduce the amount of physical tickets you need to chase down.

Bikes and Scooters

There are seemingly dozens of companies with rideshare bikes and scooters (Ridemovi, Lime, Bird, Helbiz, Tier), but in my experience either Ridemovi or Lime is present in 90% of the major cities in Italy. I suggest setting up those two apps and adding apps for other companies only as needed. These all work by setting up a payment method in the app and scanning the QR code on the vehicle.

Ridemovi

Bikes only. E-bikes and regular bikes available. Use invitation code B291406F to receive a free 5 euro credit.

Lime

Similar to Ridemovi, but all electric, and includes scooters. These bikes tend to be a bit faster than the Ridemovi E-bikes. Sign up with my referral link to get your first vehicle unlock for free

Car

EasyPark (easyparkgroup.com)

Anywhere that you have to pay to park (i.e. most of Italy), if there is a machine to pay, there will be a pink EasyPark sticker with a zone number. The app is so easy to use. You just need a payment method and the license plate number. I’m a big fan of the dial interface that lets you easily set the amount of time needed. Sign up with my referral link to receive a free 4 euro credit.

Social

WhatsApp

Leave your SMS and iMessage habits at home. SMS is old tech, and only 30% of Italians use iOS devices. Everyone in Italy (and probably the better part of Europe) uses WhatsApp, which sends text messages over data/Wi-Fi, rather than using SMS technology. It’s also very common for Italian businesses to use WhatsApp for making restaurant reservations, hotel accommodations, renting Vespas, etc. If you and your travel group get international data plans and will only be communicating with each other, then you’ll probably get by without it, but I still suggest setting it up just in case. Additionally, if you’re lucky enough to make friends traveling, when exchanging contact information, you will be asked if you have WhatsApp or…

Instagram

No, not for becoming an Influencer. When exchanging contact information with someone, exchanging Instagram accounts is much quicker and has much less friction than exchanging numbers. Even if you’re not an active Instagram user, consider that it’s a really great way to stay in touch and is more casual than asking for their number.

That’s all for now. Suggestions?

That’s it for my favorite apps for traveling in Italy. What apps do you recommend? Write in the comments below. 

2 thoughts on “The Best Apps for Traveling in Italy”

  1. Have you used Viber? I know some of my Eastern European friends use it instead of WhatsApp.
    BTW, Great content so far. Makes me want to go back again. 🙂

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