Italy Travel Tips
Italy is one of the most beautiful and most visited destinations in Europe, but just like any other country it’ll be best if you know a few tricks and tips of the land to ensure a smooth vacation in Italy! So here are 15 tips for your first trip to Italy –
1. Italians love their Siesta
Siesta is a practice followed by some European countries where the people head home to have lunch with their families and take a short nap between 1 pm to 3 pm. In Italy, most businesses and even some police stations in some of the small towns remain shut during these hours. So keep in mind to plan your lunch time accordingly!
2. Learn a few basic phrases in Italian!
In Italy majority of the people speak Italian. Apart from people in the larger more touristy cities who also know or understand English, the smaller villages may not necessarily have an English speaking crowd. So it would be very helpful for you and for them if you learnt a few phrases in Italian such as how to ask for directions, how to ask the price of something, the correct forms of excuse me, please and thank you, and perhaps even how to say you have an allergy to certain foods or medications in case of an emergency!
3. Try not to always get lost!
In Italy, many cities are best explored on foot. However, if you are driving, especially on narrow, curvy mountain roads like in Cinque Terre, it’s not quite as fun to get lost like you may have otherwise fancied! So definitely download an offline map on your smartphone to find directions through the narrow, winding streets of Tuscany or Venice!
4. No Cappuccinos past 11.30 am
Yes! The Italians consider cappuccino as a breakfast coffee and you won’t be able to order it post 11.30 am! Also, in Italy coffee is a pretty serious business, the Italians love to savor their coffee and hence you will not find any to-go paper cup coffees in most of the cafes.
5. Religious sites require you to cover up
Many religious sites require women to cover up their legs and shoulders. So when planning to visit a religious site, plan ahead and dress accordingly: D
6. Business hours
Apart from being closed from 1 pm to 3 pm for siestas, many businesses have shorter working hours on the weekends!On Saturdays, many businesses shut by 1.30 pm or 2 pm and may also remain closed on Sundays as well. Also, many restaurants take Mondays off, so we recommend that you confirm beforehand to avoid a wasted trip!
7. Remember to validate your ticket after buying it.
Most of the public transport authorities make money off of tourists who are unaware of the rules! While riding a train, tram or bus, once you enter the vehicle, you need to validate the ticket that you bought. This is important so that the authorities know that you aren’t using the same ticket for multiple travels! The authorities conduct surprise sweeps and if you get caught, you would have to pay a fine. To ensure that the fine paid doesn’t directly go into their pocket; do request them for the ticket to be mailed to your house in your home country.
8. Look both ways when crossing the street!
The drivers in Italy are not the most courteous or calm drivers in the world! Especially in the city of Rome, the drivers do not usually stop for the pedestrians to cross the streetand are notorious for not necessarily following the traffic rules! Since most of the tourists prefer to explore Italy on foot, as pedestrians please be aware and remember to look both ways before crossing the street!
9. Sturdy shoes go a long way!
An Italian travel essential has got to be at least one pair of sturdy shoes! As mentioned earlier, Italy is a location which is mostly explored entirely on foot! Now you wouldn’t want to be climbing over a 100 stairs in stilettos or take part in a walking tour in sandals that are simply not comfortable. So absolutely do not forget to pack in some good quality shoes!
10.Paying for Bread
Like in many countries where they do not charge separately for each slice of bread or it is complementary, in Italy however, some restaurants may simply place bread on your table without informing that it is going to cost you some extra bucks! So before diving right in, do clarify if necessary so that you’re not left surprised when you see your bill!
11.Travelling by trains
When in Italy, a road trip through the scenic countryside of Tuscany is definitely something that one must not miss; however, trains are definitely the next best alternative if you wish to not drive! The trains arrive on time and are a super easy and convenient way to commute between two cities!
12.It is illegal to purchase fake designer brands!
Although it is extremely tempting to purchase second copies at such a reasonable price, it is actually illegal to sell and buy fake designer brands! If you find vendors suddenly packing up and scurrying away, you must know that cops are in the area!
13.Try to not ask for substitutions for food items at restaurants
In Italy, food just like coffee is a serious matter, and hence asking for substitutions to be made in the menu might be perceived as an insult to the chef! So if you have some allergies, do mention it to the server, but otherwise try to avoid asking for substitutions!
14.Standing in queues is not a part of the Italian culture
Italians do not stand in proper lines, rather they prefer semi organized groups and hence, if you’re not paying attention, someone might just take your spot without you even realizing! This is quite common at café bars in the morning and even at train stations and airports. Do try to be patient, but at the same time do not be afraid to stand your ground.
15.Avoid the peak season!
There are more than 50 million tourists who visit Italy every year! That’s a lot of people and hence, if possible, do try and avoid the peak season between June to November. Try and plan your trip during April and May, which is after winter but before the tourists start arriving for Italian summers.
Bonus tip – For amazing pictures of your travel in the beautiful country of Italy, do book your travel and vacation photographers from Travographer. Our photographers are the best at what they do and are locals; hence they’ll know all there is to know about the best locations for an incredible photo shoot! So go on and hire one of our photographers to follow you around as you create beautiful memories in Italy!