Traveling to a new country brings along its share of ups and downs which is why it is imperial to understand beforehand what makes travel easier and enjoyable.
Italy is a country full of wonderful people, they go out of the way to help you. I have so many instances small or big where I was helped by a complete stranger. It makes travel memorable and you want to keep returning to that place. But of course one should never be dependant on it. So just to add a bit of extra help from my end, here are some tips that I’d love to share with you to ease for your Italian travels:
Know your Accommodation: It is essential to choose the best accommodation for yourself wherever you are in Italy and one that fits your budget. There are many options of stay in Italy that you may not find anywhere else. Right from a monastery to an agriturismo, Italy will charm you. You can of course book an Airbnb, hostel or the safest bet- a hotel! But there will be no better experience than staying at a home in the Italian countryside. So go for it!
Know the Culture: Respecting the culture in any country you are traveling is very very essential. Just like in India, we have to leave our shoes before we enter a temple, 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 in my 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 say come to Italy, people usually end up saying come to Marche or come to Liguria- their own region. Italians take pride in their region and its 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. I try to talk to anyone I can especially the Barista at the bar. Italians usually are a friendly and curious bunch of people and will make you feel comfortable.