Italy Travel: Things to Know

Italy is a country full of wonderful people who go out of the way to help you. I have so many instances where I have been assisted by complete strangers. Incidences like these make travel memorable and also makes Italy the prime reasons for return. But traveling to any country = understanding a new culture and if you are traveling to Italy, it is imperial to understand how your Italian travel can be made easier and enjoyable. That is why I’ve collated a list for you to read before you visit Italy. Also, check out some of the tours below for your travel to Italy!!

 

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Italy Travel: Things to Know

Know your Accommodation:

It is essential to choose the best accommodation for yourself wherever you are in Italy. There are many options of staying in Italy, some that you may not find anywhere else. Hence it is important to understand what YOU want. Right from a monastery to an agriturismo (farm house), to an Airbnb, hostel or hotel pick according to your needs and budget!
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Know the Culture:

Respecting the culture in any country you are traveling is of vital importance. For instance if you are in India, leave your shoes outside before you enter a temple. Similarly, in Italy cover yourself when you visit a church. Best thing is to carry a scarf at all times just in case.
In addition to that, Italians take their dressing quite seriously so generally dress well when in Italy. I know this isn’t for everyone but I love it personally not just in Italy but even at home. I love looking good in a crowd of already well dressed Italians because it makes me feel more confident and it is fun to be looked at in a nice way than be stared at!

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Italy Travel: Things to Know
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Italy Travel: Things to Know

Know Where You Are:

Italy is a unified country since 1861 so earlier it was just different regions and kingdoms. That is the reason you can see a lot of regionalism in Italy. No one will ask you to visit Italy, people usually end up taking names of their “regions” such as Sicily, Le Marche, Tuscany or Liguria. There are 20 regions in Italy!

Italians take pride in their region and their products. So remember where you are! Don’t order a food/wine in the wrong region. For instance, if you are in Sicily don’t ask for a Chainti Classico which is a wine from Chianti, Tuscany. Instead ask for their local wines and try new Sicilian food. Similarly, don’t ask for Roman treats such as cacio a pepe if you are outside of Rome. You will most certainly find them, but it is best to try something unique to the region you are in!

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Italy Travel: Things to Know

Know the Language:

This is not a mandatory tip but it pays well to know small words of the country’s language you are traveling in. If you are in Italy a Grazie (Thank You), Salve (Formal Hello), Per Favore (Please) are words that will give you a smile back in return. Ciao is used for hello and bye both, but it is an informal greeting which is not to be used to say to a complete stranger. Use these words!

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Know your Comfort:

As a solo traveler, one can sometimes feel shy and hesitate to chat with locals or make new friends. But I’d say take the first step!! Go to the local bar and have an aperitvo in the evening or visit a trattoria (family run eatery) to see the culture and way of living and eating.
You never know you might meet someone to chat with and end up enjoying more than ever. When I am in Italy, I love to observe the locals and catch a few extra words for my Italian vocabulary especially with the Barista at the bar. Italians usually are a friendly and curious bunch of people and will make you feel comfortable.

For More Reading:

What I love About Travel
Female Solo Travel Tips

Have you read these books on Italy??





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58 thoughts on “Italy Travel: Things to Know

  1. Just a note, Italy was officially unified in 1861 as the Kingdom of Italy. 1946 is the date of the beginning of the Republic of Italy (no monarchy). But it is, as you say, very regionally oriented.
    But on another note, I wish I had that cup of hot chocolate with the little elegant cookies in front of me right now

  2. Good tips. I would add the following
    1. Order capuccinos before 11 am. Its a giveaway if you have one in the afternoon. Italians think too much milk upsets your stomach.
    2. Remember to do your chores between 8 and 12 am ander after 4 pm. Italians love their lunch hours and. many places are closed then.
    3. Try to learn the polite 3rd peron singular to address people you dont know. Using tu to them is considered very impolite.
    4. Make sure you know your limit if you drink vino. Getting drunk in Italy. Is not considered funny like in some northern european countries.
    5. There are strict privacy rules in Italy. Do ask people before if they want their photos taken.
    6. Many other things but you will have fun picking them up….

    1. This tip about cappuccino is a bit of a myth to be honest. It’s true that we usually drink it only for breakfast, but when I go out with friends and family in the afternoon, it’s not rare seeing people ordering cappuccino. Someone actually takes advantage of the opportunity to order a cappuccino, as bars’cappuccinos are better than the home-made ones.
      The bit about upsetting the stomach is true if you drink it just after a meal: “true milk” (not the fake one made from dried milk) is not easy to digest and if you have it after a rich Italian meal, you can truly upset your digestion. You can order what you want, it’s not like we get offended if you drink it after 11am! I’ve yet to see an Italian checking his watch to make sure he can drink a cappuccino xD So order what you want 😉
      (Sorry for the long comment)

      1. No worries on the long comment. I like the local perspective. Of course Francis didn’t mean that ppl would stare at you if you ordered after 11 but these are still good to know points .. I love having it after lunch too 😉

        1. No worries, I wasn’t saying she wrote something “wrong”, I was just approaching the topic on a general level. I saw this tip written basically everywhere and lot of people said things like:”Don’t do that, the waiters will refuse the order” or something like that, which is wrong. (I know Fransis didn’t write that, no worries). I got the impression a lot of tourists felt ackward in ordering cappuccino in a “wrong timeframe” so I was just saying to not worry about this thing too much 😉

          1. Yeah, sorry…I always worry that my intention might get lost in translation, so that’s why I specified further ( it’s hard not being a native speaker sometimes, sigh)

          2. I can get it but you are so good with your English 🙂 I hope someday I can write and speak good Italian like you do in english

  3. Wonderful blog post I found thanks to Darlene (who tweeted it). I LOVE Italy and have visited it three times so far. Can’t wait to return. The first time, we visited our daughter, who spent her junior year abroad in Florence. She gave us an amazing tour of every museum and church in that city! We stayed in a small local inn, which was ‘okay.’ Second time we stayed in a villa in Tuscany with a group of friends, which was amazing. What is your favorite city/town in Italy? I didn’t like Venice because of the great amount of tourists – wish I could see the beauty of the place that so many people gush about, but too “Disney” for me.

    1. Thank you so much dear. I am glad you found the post (Thanks Darlene) 🙂 When do you plan to return again?? I agree about the Venice bit because I did not like it on my first visit either. But on the second visit, I realized its beauty after 6 p.m. when the tourists ran away on their day trips and the city was much more calmer and accessible.

  4. Great post Ishita!! It’s amazing how Italian always complain about Italy but everyone else loves it. I’m Italian and I started to appreciate Italy after I moved abroad. I’m lucky enough to be able to spend all my summers back home, in Italy 😍

    1. Grazie mille, Giulia. I agree about it, isn’t it everywhere?? I think I feel the same about my country when people appreciate it I realize that I am cribbing for nothing. Our cultures are one of the best in the world 🙂 Glad you appreciate it more now

  5. It’s great that you recommended agriturismi: they are great places to stay, peaceful and usually located in very quiet areas. They actually have better food too, as, at the time, they were regulated as to give more opportunities to earn to farmers. This means that the food they provide comes from their land and it’s genuine and less chemically treated 🙂

  6. A lovely post. When I was in Italy, I definitely found that talking to locals paid many wonderful dividends. And knowing some of the language helped even more. I I sat in many coffee shops and many bars and chatted to this person or that person and nobody laughed at my bad Italian. I try to reciprocate when people come to this country and strike up conversations but don’t have as much English as I do, because I think it’s just the nice thing to do.

  7. well said. Very important to know a few words in the language of the country we visit. I just mention it also in my last post !!! :-))
    Italy is great. My husband and I spent a few weeks there last fall. I hope to go back and see more of this beautiful country. And the food is great also.

      1. Aosta valley, Gran Paradiso , Torino, many places in Piedmonte ( did a walking tour) , Genova, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Firenze ( all this in 2016). other trips …Rome (2003), Venice (2012)..so much more to see Italy is a large country to explore. I want to see more of Tuscany..
        You can find many posts about my travel in Italy . Let me know if you read some of them and what you think.

          1. Torino is a great city to explore on foot. If you stay in the center of the city you can go anywhere. My friends and I took the metro to go to Eataly ( great food- amazing display of products). We only had 1.5 days to visit but we enjoyed very much.

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