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As 2015 draws to a close I want to thank each and every one of you for your constant support, motivation and love. Grazie mille, amici!

I also wanted to finish this year with something molto useful. We all need travel advice, hints, tips and suggestions to make our holiday the best. So I have compiled a list of travel tips that may help you when you visit Italy.

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Italy is a diverse country with Italian as its mother tongue and several regional dialects. So there is always a lot of good-to-know information that can help you manage your travel and also make the journey fun.

I have literally stood at a bar in Perugia to ask for a cup of coffee in my broken Italian. The owner waited till I correctly spoke the sentence. He was so kind and patient with me and when in the end I got my sentence correct he gave my coffee along with a bravissima (congratulations) for getting it right 🙂

Anyway, I hope these tips help to each of you traveling to the Bel Paese. This post isn’t exhaustive and there will be additions as and when I experience. For your convenience I have added these Travel Tips as a separate Page (check top centre)

In no particular order:

-Learn a few words to familiarize yourself with the country’s culture. This is definitely not limited to Italy but everywhere you travel. Small words of kindness such as Thank You which is Grazie in Italian could go a long way.

-There are regular transport strikes in Italy so be careful and alert. Always a good to know.

-When boarding a train in Italy it is important to remember to validate one’s ticket in a small machine on the platform. Just put your ticket inside the small machine and its done. Not doing so can lead to a fine of over EUR 100 or sometimes more. Yikes!

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-Flying to Italy generally from anywhere in the world is cheaper in the three airports of Milan, Rome and Venice. However, there are great deals on several other airports too. I once found a great deal from Delhi to Bologna and Delhi to Trieste. You just need to find the best permutation and combination!

Booking major sites in advance such as the Colloseum, Uffizi, Accademia or the Vatican totally makes sense. Not doing so may be a penalization to yourself because you will be standing in long queues. So go for convenience.

-Drink lots of house wine, its cheap and delicious. A bottle of wine could be as less as EUR 4.

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-Fill water from the fountains instead of buying water which isn’t cheap.

Pizza is not cut into slices in Italy.

Ordering a cappuccino after 11 a.m. is frowned upon in Italy. Although in India or anywhere else abroad I haven’t heard of this rule, I try avoiding it when I am in Italy to blend in the culture easily. Apparently, the cappuccino messes with the digestion after breakfast 😉

-Unless its asked for and you really want to, do not tip.

-Avoid wearing flip flops and dress properly. I know this is very personal and to each his own, but you don’t to be stared at.

-Do not assume that everywhere in Italy, shops and restaurants will accept credit cards. I especially faced this in the smaller towns. So always keep cash ready.

-Have caffe at the bar (and not sit outside) to save money. Its cheaper standing at the bar.

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Cover yourself well when you go to a Church. No short skirts and tank tops, please!

-Usually in almost all of Italy except maybe the bigger cities, shops close during pranzo (lunch) time from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Italians believe in having a relaxed lunch at home.

-You will never be asked to get up from a restaurant even if you are through with your food. Italians believe in enjoying the meal and will never rush you or ask you to get up.

-Please hold the wine glass by the stem 😉

-One can purchase train/bus tickets from a Tabacchi (local tobacco shop) which also has everything else such as newspaper, stamps, books etc.DSC03601

Wear comfortable shoes unless you want to get sore feet from walking all day on those cobbled streets.

-Don’t be afraid to try the regional specialties as every region in Italy is a country within itself- very unique and the food is to die for.

Buon Natale e un Felice Anno Nuovo 😀

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