Standard practice is to book the hotel by the room - breakfast may or may not be included (check when booking). If you are a non-smoker, you should specify a non-smoking room before you book. While many Italian hotels offer non-smoking rooms or floors, there is still a considerable number of provincial hotels which do not consider the needs of non-smokers. Likewise, if you like a smoke, you should check that the hotel permits smoking in rooms (it is banned wherever food is served and in many public places).
Likewise, many provincial hotels still offer rooms without their own bathroom and toilet facilities; do not assume that your room is 'en-suite'. The regular hotel chains such as Best Western have this as standard although we have found that quality varies, depending on the age of the hotel. Again, you can easily check this with the hotel.
While the standard of northern Italian hotels has been very good in the past twenty years, it could not be said that southern hotels had the same quality. However, the Italian tourist board is constantly improving quallity and making improvements, particularly in respect of hygiene control. This is one area where Italians have different cultural expectations to those form other countries but with the increasing number of visitors, hotels had to change. Having stayed in nearly fifty Italian hotels over the past four years, I can state that only a couple had hygiene issues, ie., smelly bathrooms.
There are many budget accommodation options in Italy to choose from and you don’t need to compromise on quality. Hostelbookers.com offer cheap hotels in Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan and much more can be booked online at great prices.