Italy is a country full of wonderful people who go out of the way to help you. I have so many instances small and big where I was assisted by a complete stranger. Incidences like these make travel memorable and that is one of the prime reasons why I keep returning to Italy. But traveling to any country = understanding a new culture. 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.
Know your Accommodation: It is essential to choose the best accommodation for yourself wherever you are in Italy. There are many options of stay in Italy that you may not find anywhere else and hence it is important to understand what YOU want. Right from a monastery to an agriturismo (farm house), to an Airbnb, hostel or hotel!
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!
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 Marche or Liguria.
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 things. Similarly for food, try the local Umbrian delicacies when you are in Perugia and don’t ask for Roman treats such as Cacio a pepe.
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.
Know your Comfort: As a solo traveler, you sometimes feel shy and don’t want 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 food style.
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.
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