This post isn’t exhaustive and there will be additions as and when I experience. 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 transport strikes in Italy so be careful and alert. Always good to know by checking online beforehand.
-When boarding a train in Italy it is important to validate your 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!
-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 because you will be standing in long queues. So go for convenience even if you have to pay extra.
-Drink lots of house wine, its cheap and delicious. A bottle of wine could be as less as EUR 4.
-Fill water from the fountains wherever available instead of buying water bottles every time.
–Pizza is not cut into slices in Italy. You have to do that.
–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 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 want to be stared at. Be classy like the Italians.
-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 some cash ready.
-Have caffe at the bar instead of sitting outside to save money. Its cheaper standing at the bar and you get a feel of the place.
–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 😉
–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 specialities as every region in Italy is a country within itself- very unique and the food is to die for.
-Please don’t ask for Chianti Classico if you are in Puglia. Try the wine from Puglia then.