In larger cities and tourist areas you’ll find a good range of accommodation, from top brand hotels to family-run bed & breakfasts and room rentals, but hostels are really few and far between. Camping is a good way to save money and campsites are generally well run, but especially in summer operators tend not to accept last-minute groups of young people (given the high risk of problems such groups of Italians cause) so it’s best to book in advance. Farm stays are an increasingly popular way to discover Italy, especially in the rural areas of Tuscany, Piedmont, Umbria, Abruzzo, Sardinia and Puglia. They offer an excellent combination of good quality, healthy food, beautiful views and low prices. If you prefer independent accommodation, it is quite easy to find it on the beautiful Amalfi Coast or on the less commercial and more authentic Calabrian coast.
The rating of a hotel can only be considered as a general indication of what you will get for your money. There are many wonderful 2-star hotels that you will want to return to every year and many 5-star hotels that you will never want to set foot in again. As in all countries, the star rating is based on a bureaucratic evaluation of the facilities offered and does not necessarily have anything to do with comfort. Often, the only difference between a 3-star hotel and a 4-star hotel is that the latter offers all meals, while the former only offers breakfast.