Italy is easily one of the most beautiful countries in the world, you could visit time and time again and never see the same thing twice, or get tired of sipping on morning coffee. My first trip to Italy was pretty indescribable, but I made small mistakes which made it easy to point out the fact I wasn’t from there. I did and still do things like, ordering a cappuccino after 10 am 😉 (sometimes I can’t help myself they’re so delicious).
I wanted to create a list of tips you should know before traveling to Italy, hopefully, this helps you blend in a little more than I did haha. Enjoy!
35 Tips You Should Know Before Travelling to Italy
- Get up early one morning and explore and otherwise overpopulated with tourist city.
- I can’t stress this enough, wear comfortable shoes, the chance of you wearing your stilettos or heels in Italy is highly unlikely. You will be walking and toting your luggage around cobblestone streets. Pack smart.
- House wine in Italy is extremely delicious. Drink the cheap stuff.
- “Happy Hour” is the best in Italy. Appetizers and small dinner items are laid out buffet style and as long as you’re purchasing drinks you are welcome to eat complimentarily.
- Dinner is from 7-9 pm. Restaurants close for a period and reopen for dinner. (Not just restaurants but all stores, the town may look like a ghost town from 1pm-5pm, Italians have a siesta period during lunch time to relax and enjoy lunch with their families.
- Don’t expect Italians to communicate to you in English, I mean you are in Italy.
- You must ask for your check. Italians like to take their time with dinner. They may start with drinks, appetizers, and go on to a few courses. Coffee. Dessert.
- Appreciate your time there. You are going to get lost, enjoy the feeling of being in a new place.
- You won’t see every single attraction, there’s just not enough time.
- Don’t stress out when you can’t understand something, laugh about it and love the fact that you’re in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
- Don’t touch fruit or vegetables with your bare hands at the market. Gloves are provided.
- Coffee is enjoyed after the meal not before. (Cappuccinos are a breakfast drink only, don’t order after 10 am).
- Dress modest, you cannot show your bare shoulder in churches. Carry a scarf or shall.
- Everyone will be dressed casual, yet extremely fashionable.
- Don’t attempt to drive in big cities or the South of Italy. Italians drive crazy, it’s a known fact.
- Eat away from the tourist attractions (it’s much more expensive).
- Order your coffee and drink it at the bar, some places will charge an additional fee if you sit at a table (especially in large cities).
- If you prefer to speak English, begin your sentence with “Parla Inglese?” It’s much more polite.
- BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE, don’t even think about purchasing them the day of.
- Eat the gelato.
- Try new food.
- Don’t use a fork to eat your pizza (fold it in half).
- Tipping is not necessary during your stay in Italy (but if you want 10% is appreciated).
- Make use of the fast trains in Italy. Utilize them for your travel. They are cheap, efficient, and the fastest method of travel.
- The North of Italy and South of Italy vary considerably. Food and culture may change drastically.
- It’s Prosecco, not Champagne.
- Use the restroom when you have the chance. In large cities, there is a fee for the public restroom. Even at some restaurants.
- Never ever leave your luggage unattended.
- Don’t take the flowers or bracelets from street salesmen, they’ll try to force you to take it and also force you to pay them.
- Smile, Italians are the most friendly and welcoming people in the world.
- Brush up on your Italian, learning a few words will go a long way.
- Don’t wear your cap in the restaurants.
- Drink the free water. Water fountains are all over the place provided by the city, it is clean and fresh.
- Stay at BnB’s (Bed and Breakfasts) they are extremely popular in Italy and provide beautiful breakfasts each morning already included in your rate.
- Use Ebates to get cashback on your hotels and flights.
I’m sure there are many more tips I’ll continue to discover, I’ll keep this list regularly updated. Feel free to drop me a comment and share some of yours if you’ve been to Italy and learned anything helpful. If you enjoyed 35 Tips You Should Know Before Travelling to Italy, make sure to check out my recent post 5 Foods you Must Try from the Emilia-Romagna Region of Italy.