Do you have aspirations to visit Italy? Perhaps your yearning to be in the presence of the Leaning Tower of Pisa or floating down a Venice canal or walking the volcanic streets of Pompeii. With so many well-known and unique attractions, Italy continues to be a top destination for tourists of all ages, from all over the World. This is why we wanted to give you some travel tips and helpful hints to ensure your Italian adventure is the best it can be.
Prepare to eat late
Step outside your comfort zone and amend your eating schedule. Italian cities and towns are filled with great restaurants, cafes, bakeries and bars, all with a rich menu to satisfy your taste buds.
Italian lunch is served around 1:30 pm, whilst a normal time to have dinner is 8:30 pm – 10 pm. You may need a late afternoon snack to keep you going, we suggest gelato.
To look like a local, order a glass of wine to accompany a pasta dish and a beer if you have pizza. Get stuck into your pizza by using your hands. FYI Bread is not free! So, If you are on a budget, say no to bread.
Stick to the dress code
Fashion conscious Italy, silently enforces a smart casual dress code for evening dining. Don’t fall victim to uncomfortable glances by wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Dress the part by covering your knees and shoulders. Comfy trainers are ok, as you will be walking around all day.
How to spend your money in Italy
While large establishments throughout Italy, accept credit and debit cards to purchase goods and services, this is not the case everywhere. Many popular and amazing local establishments still only accept cash as payment. Therefore, always have some cash on you for these occasions. ATM’s are widespread if you need cash to keep a lookout for a ‘bancomat’ which is the Italian name for an ATM.
Avoid museum queues
Throughout Italy, museums are popular tourist spots and as a result, queues are likely. Our suggestions on avoiding them are by arriving a few minutes before opening hours or 45 minutes before closing time. The opening hours can always be found on the museum’s website.
Also, booking tickets in advance will avoid you waiting in the ticket office line. This also often means you can walk straight in.
Unlike the USA, Italy is not a country where tipping is required. If there is a service charge, which is usually for large groups and fancy restaurants, it will be automatically added to your bill and is usually 10%.
However, if you do want to leave a tip, your loose change (silver coins) will be appreciated at bars and cafes for items like beer and coffee.
When to enjoy a coffee
Popping to a café, in the morning, for a coffee is somewhat of an Italian tradition. Italians drink their coffee before noon and then as the final course of a sit-down dinner. Stick to this, if you don’t want to be an obvious tourist. Cappuccino’s and Espresso’s are the most popular Italian hot drinks.
Not open all hours
Similar to Spain, shops close their doors for an afternoon break, between 1 pm and 4 pm. If you fancy going shopping its best to go after lunch as shops re-open until 8 pm or later. If you plan to get souvenirs or want to update your wardrobe plan ahead and don’t shop on a Sunday, as stores are not normally open. In major cities, this custom is slowly changing. But Sunday is traditionally a day for everyone to be at home with their family.
Learn a little of the local lingo
English is spoken by many people all over Italy, but it is best to have a few learned phrases to help you just in case. Here are three phrases to get you started:
- Do you speak English? Parla Inglese?
- I don’t speak Italian. Non-parlo Italiano
- Where is the museum? Dov’è il Museo?
We hope these tips help you to understand the Italian culture and will help you to feel like a local and aid your vacation to be stress-free.
We think you would also enjoy reading: