BringFido's Guide to Italy

Posted by Billy Francis

From the truffle hunting Lagotto Romagnolo of the Delta del Po marshlands to the mountain climbing St. Bernard of the Western Alps, Italy has given the world some of its best-loved working dog breeds. But don’t worry, Fido! You don’t need any special skills to enjoy an adventure through the historical cities and beautiful backcountry of this charming region.

Mooch around Milan with your mutt in search of the latest style, sample a Neopolitan pizza in Naples or take a tour of Rome’s ancient streets in a Vespa during a pet-friendly tour of Italy. Here’s our rundown of the best things to do with your dog, “ristoranti” where you can sample local delicacies together and gorgeous places to stay in “Il bel paese,” the beautiful country.

Things to Do

“Touring the Capital of the World!” Photo by

Glide through ancient streets on two wheels, tour the incredible countryside by rail, and float down canals in a gondola during your Italian adventure.

Roam Around Rome

Dating back to 753 BC, Rome is older than Italy itself. This historic city may not have been built in a day, but you can tour some of its highlights in one during a Vespa Sidecar Tour. While small pups ride in your lap, bigger dogs are classed as separate passengers and can feel the wind flapping through their ears next to you in another Vespa. This unique tour visits “12 beauties in 12 miles” including the Fontana di Trevi, St Peter’s Square and The Colosseum. After you’re finished, buy a ticket for you and Fido to ride on Rome’s pet-friendly Metro to Villa Borghese. Visiting pups are welcome off leash in the Valley of Dogs, a beautiful tree-lined pathway through the gorgeous grounds, and they can join you in a rowing boat rental to get a closer look at the Temple of Asclepius before dining by your side at La Casina Dell'orologio. Next, head south on the metro to Park of the Appian Way, a huge urban park full of winding pet-friendly pathways that run alongside historic monuments like the Baths of Caracalla, the Tomba di Geta and more. Summer visitors can beat the heat and the city crowds at Bau Beach, a seasonal stretch of sand designated for dogs and their owners in the nearby coastal town of Fiumicino.

“I saved you a few seats.” Photo by

Take a Scenic Train Ride

One of the best ways to see Italy’s diverse beauty is during a pet-friendly scenic train ride. The Bernina Express whisks passengers away on a 4-hour journey from Tirano, Italy through the Swiss Alps, over the Landwasser Viaduct, through helical tunnels and alongside Lago Bianco to Chur, the oldest city in Switzerland. Big dogs require an official Dog Ticket and small dogs that fit in a carrier ride free. Ferrovia dei Parchi, also known as The Italian Trans-Siberian Railway, is a 12-hour round trip ride every Sunday from Sulmona to Isernia near Naples. The train climbs more than 4,000 feet into the Maiella mountains, stopping at five cities along the way so you and your pooch can stretch your legs. For a chance to see the five main coastal villages within Cinque Terre National Park, hop on the 90-minute Cinque Terre Express from La Spezia to Levanto. Sicilian Saint Bernards can circle Mount Etna by rail on the Ferrovia Circumetnea, while dogs doing the Dolomites can enjoy views of the mountain range on the short but sweet Ritten Train from the village of Klobenstein to Oberbozen which welcomes small dogs for free and larger dogs with a ticket.

Strutt With Your Mutt in Milan

Imagine you’re on the catwalk with your Poodle during a customizable excursion with Milan Private Tours. Build your own itinerary to include highlights like Duomo Cathedral, Theatre La Scala, the charming district of Brera, Sforza Castle and more. Afterward, hop on the nearest tram, bus or train with your pooch and start your tour of Milan by shopping in a city known for its cutting-edge fashion. Fido will be the trendsetter in the local dog park when he rocks up in a suave sweatshirt from Prince and Princess, located on Via Monte Napoleone, Europe’s most expensive street. Then, try on designer clothes of your own at the dog-friendly shopping mall, Il Centro. Once you’re both decked out in diamanté, visit Lake Como for a high-class holiday near Milan. Here, you and your furry first mate can rub shoulders with the elites in a rental from Newton Rent a Boat, which includes cuddles from the receptionist, fresh water and treats for dogs.

“I’m the only sleeping giant around here.” Photo by iStock/AndyEmel.

Wet Noses in Naples

There’s nothing quite like spending an afternoon with the whole pack at a museum, but exploring one dedicated to everybody’s favorite family member is even better. Foof Dog Museum explores the evolution of the relationship between canine and man. Outside the museum, there’s an off-leash recreation space and a picnic area. For a different history, join one of the region’s tour companies for an unforgettable experience in and around the historic city of Naples. Pompeii Tours explores the nearby ill-fated city on walking tours and helicopter excursions, both of which allow small dogs. Napoli Sotterranea - LAES invites you and your intrepid four-legged explorer on a magical tour through Napoli Sotterranea. This series of abandoned tunnels was first constructed in the 4th century BC and now covers 280 miles underneath Naples. Or, stay above ground with Napoli That’s Amore Walking Tours and learn about the city’s famous pizza, Pulcinella and more on a free tour through the old town.

“Turn around for one second and they’re gon…dola.” Photo by @cocothetravelingsamoyed

Vibrant Venice

If your Maltese fears the sound of revved engines, visit Venice, the city with no cars. Pups are welcome on the city’s water taxis, Vaporetto water buses and in most gondolas for a romantic guided tour down the Grand Canal. Afterward, go for a stroll together on dry land down the narrow paved streets of the city. First, pay a visit to the central area of Rialto for a wander around the bustling Rialto Market and take a picture together at Rialto Bridge, the oldest bridge spanning the Grand Canal. Fido can take a break from the sun on a shady walk through the gorgeous city park, Giardini della Biennale, or soak it up and dip a paw in the Adriatic Sea on the pet section of Lido Beach Venice which can be found on one of the two Venetian Lagoon barrier islands.

“This better be a treat-tasting tour and not another wine one. Photo by BringFido/Deb

“Fur-lorence” and “Bow-logna”

Share yet another scenic train ride with “il tuo amore” from Venice to Florence with ItaliaRail. Upon arrival, see the sights of the city on the Six Legs Walking Tour of Florence. This fun and informative pet-friendly tour is led in English and takes tourists to Brunelleschi Dome, Giotto Bell Tower, the Straw Market, the Republic Square and more Florence highlights. Small dogs can enjoy a different kind of tour along the city’s cobbled streets in a horse-drawn carriage operated by Made of Tuscany. When your time in Florence is through, make the short journey north to Bologna and wander through the ancient historic center, play off leash at Giardini Margherita and admire the Portici di Bologna in the old town. If you have more time in the region, take a day trip to Rimini Dog No Problem Dog Beach and stop at Museo dei Botroidi en route to wander along a geological pathway that tells the history of the earth through rocks.

Truffle Hunting and Wine Tasting

Fido can learn how to hunt for one of the most sought-after ingredients in the world from experts in the country where some of the best truffle hunters, the Lagotto Romagnolo, originated. The Piedmont region of Italy on the border of Switzerland and France is a prime location to find the precious fruity fungus. Alba Truffle Hunting Tours welcomes you and your pooch on an adventure in search of the allusive Alba white truffles. Truffle in Tuscany offers an experience for dogs and their owners through the forest in San Miniato near Florence. During your walk in the woods, you’ll learn how to find truffles, how to spot a good quality truffle and hear about one of the world’s largest truffles found in the area. If finding treats for yourself sounds like hard work, take your boujee Bichon on a wine tour departing from Siena, an hour south of San Miniato. Italy Unfiltered - Wine Tours for Dog People carefully curates tours for dogs and their owners through various Tuscan wine regions.

Places to Stay

“I can see why they call it The Eternal City.” Photo by Rome Cavalieri

Spend the night overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal, Mount Vesuvius and Rome’s ancient skyline at these pet-friendly accommodations across Italy.

Very Important Pups Only

Contessa of the Cavalieri is the canine mascot at Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria. She’s a pampered pooch who only accepts the very best for herself and your pet. Pups who come to stay at this 5-star hotel receive luxury treatment with a doggy room service menu and on-staff dog walkers who specialize in pooch personal training around the property’s 15 acres of parkland. While you relax in the Grand Spa, your pup’s new friend will be happy to take him to a nearby doggy spa for an afternoon of pampering. After a blow dry and massage, Fido can join you for a one-of-a-kind view across the city from the Tiepolo Lounge & Terrace and relax by your side as you sip on a cocktail at the bar of the Imperial Club.

Views of Mount Vesuvius

Vesuvio Wine Cottage is an affordable stay south of Naples. This pristine pet-friendly cottage boasts panoramic views of a delightful vineyard with Mount Vesuvius in the background. It also features tile and hardwood floors for easy cleanup, a shady patio space where you can enjoy outdoor time with the whole pack and a swimming pool to cool off in after a day of exploring. Be sure to take your Terrier on a morning walk down the rows of vines to watch the sunrise over the incredible volcano in the distance.

To Infinity and Lake Como!

Villa Maria Laura on the eastern shore of Lake Como is a stunning property that lives up to its luxurious surroundings where George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Madonna and many more A-listers live. Italian Greyhounds will look the part in a designer bathrobe from Milan while they admire the view across the lake from the infinity pool or seating area. Pups with good recall can sniff around the grassy gardens, sunbathe and soak up the outdoor atmosphere, before enjoying dinner cooked in the patio’s outdoor kitchen.

Watch the traffic float by at this historic hotel. Photo by Venezia Palazzo Barocci

Share a Historic Venetian Stay

Originally built in the 1300s, Palazzo Barocci is in a prime location along Venice’s Grand Canal. This historic hotel features a gorgeous walled garden with an ancient Venetian well that welcomes Fido to enjoy a shady afternoon nap under an umbrella while you sip an espresso. Or, you can both head to the rooftop terrace to enjoy an unrivaled view of the bustling canal below. The hotel offers a pet-friendly water taxi service to take you wherever you need to go in the city and has a special welcome gift waiting for small dogs who come to stay.

Fido, Fido, Let Down Your Fur!

Located on the site of an ancient Celtic village near Bologna, Tower House Gombola is a unique Airbnb with rustic features surrounded by rolling green hills and woodland. Outbound hounds will love having miles of land to explore outside. Mucky pups can clean up at the outdoor shower before spending an evening dozing in front of the log-burning fireplace in the historic stone tower or around the fire pit under the stars outside.

Here’s the trul-low down. Photo by Airbnb

True Love at the Trullo

A trullo is a traditional stone hut with a conical roof found most commonly in the Itria Valley region of Italy. A Piedi Scalzi nel Trullo in Latiano, IT is your chance to stay in one with your four-legged travel companion. Guests are invited to whip up meals in the outdoor kitchen while pups explore the large backyard, go for a dip in the inviting pool or hang out in the cooling cave-like surroundings of the traditional trullo together.

Scoot to the Boot

Villa Zingaro is situated in the Sicilian seaside town of San Vito Lo Capo at the tip of Italy’s boot, which is famous for hosting the annual Cous Cous Festival. Vines crawl up the stone walls of this magical Mediterranean home with a beautiful outdoor space overlooking the sea. Make an espresso for yourself and a snack for your pooch with couscous, a safe ingredient for DIY dog food.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants

“Photos are fun, but where’s the food?” Photo by @fiutorestaurant

Rome’s First Restaurant for Dogs

Fiuto invites furry diners to enjoy a three-course meal designed especially for them. Fido can start with a chicken, fish, beef or veggie bowl, then move on to chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes, cod with ricotta and boiled courgettes, or boiled eggs with pea cream and fontina cheese, and finish with a doggy cake for dessert. He can wash his meal down with a bowl of water with courgette and blueberry extract, green apple and watermelon extract or pear, strawberry and banana extract. You don’t need to just stare while your dog eats his dinner at Fiuto, enjoy something from the human menu which includes pasta, calamari and more.

Piazza Bellini and Pizza Street

There’s nothing quite like the simplicity of a Neapolitan pizza, and where better to try one than the city of Naples. Head to Pizza Street and take your pick from the rows of restaurants serving up their take on the classic with splodges of mozzarella and tomato sauce. Casa Capasso is known for serving up delicious pizza and welcomes dogs to beg for crust by their owners' side. Afterward, spend an evening sipping on negroni, Aperol spritz, and of course, bellinis around Piazza Bellini. Spazio Nea and Primo Maggio Cocktail Bar allow pups to join in the fun.

Palermo’s Restaurant With a View

Doba Restaurant and Terrace in Palermo provides a stunning setting for doggy date night in the Sicilian city. This centrally-located restaurant has an outdoor terrace that boasts views over the city and to the mountains beyond. The mouthwatering menu includes a variety of exquisite dishes like spaghetti with sea urchin, green risotto and pork neck cooked in beer. If you still have room, finish up with a rich and refined dessert of pumpkin strudel, choco cake or babamisu.

That’s for me, right?” Photo by

Europe’s Oldest Cafe

Opening in 1720, Caffè Florian in Venice’s Mark's Square is Europe’s oldest cafe. This lively spot is the ideal place to sip on a cappuccino and people watch with your pup. Visitors can combine expertly crafted drinks with a selection of cakes, parfaits and savory snacks at this famous eatery. The soundtrack is provided by live musicians and Fido will be treated to his own bowl of water poured especially out of a glass bottle for maximum freshness.

Elegant Food on the Terrace

Located in the commune of Sirmione which reaches out into Lake Garda, Ristorante Risorgimento invites dogs and their owners to share a delightful Italian meal on the bustling patio. Specializing in pasta and gnocchi, there’s a local delicacy for every diner at this popular restaurant. After your meal, walk it off at the Archaeological site of Grotte di Catullo, the remains of a castle built more than 2,000 years ago. Small dogs are even allowed inside the museum if they are carried.

Sip on a Drink in Lively Milano

Located in Milan’s pet-friendly Parco Sempione, Locanda alla Mano is a gorgeous outdoor bar and music venue with a huge canopy and plenty of seating. Beat the heat at one of the shady tables where you can enjoy live music, a nice aperitivo and good vibes surrounded by Milanese mutts playing on the grass and walking through the park.

Bakery for Your Best Bud

From gelato to cannoli and panna cotta, Italy is known for its sweet desserts. Biscottificio Innocenti is a family-owned and operated bakery that dishes up a selection of fine Italian pastries, tarts and more for humans, and even special cookies for canines. If you want to try one of the most delicious desserts of all, walk up to the window at Two Sizes instead and order one of five flavors of tiramisu or a Sicilian cannoli from the famous nook to eat next to the nearby Pantheon. Don’t be surprised if there’s a queue out the door and around the corner at this popular spot.

Where’s your favorite dog-friendly Italian destination? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by iStock/Fly_dragonfly.