We used Airbnb.com for our whole trip and highly recommend it. You can get great accommodation for cheap prices. Some are people’s own homes while they’re away and some are specifically for travellers. All the places were clean and reviews on the website show which places are ideal.
In Genoa, we stayed in a Baroque violinist’s house and became very fond of his cat, Gatto. I was quite sad when we had to say goodbye to him.