When you go to Italy When you travel to Italy these are ten things that you should know so you don’t look like a tourist.
Not Just Pizza and Pasta
Italian food is so much more than just pizza and pasta. If you plan on eating only those types of dishes when you go to Italy you’re going to miss out. Each region of Italy has its own typical dishes. They vary from steak to soup to seafood. For example, when you’re visiting Florence where I lived you have to try the Bisteca Florentina which is Florentine steak. In Milan they love polenta and Osso Buco. If you’re visiting there you have to try those dishes. Spread out from the pizza and pasta. You can still have that wine. They have wine in every single region
Let the Train Take You Around
The train station in Italy can get you to most places even though they’re sometimes strikes and delays, the trains in Italy operate very smoothly. If you’re thinking of travelling around the country I recommend looking into taking the train. You can buy tickets to the high speed train which is super nice, especially if you go first class. It’s really quick and it’s really comfortable. It’s much easier than having to go to the airport and get on a plane. When you use the train or a bus make sure that you validate your ticket. If you’re taking one of the slower regional trains or if you’re going on a local city bus you have to do what’s called “validating your ticket.” This is done by getting it stamped in one of the yellow or green boxes at a train station or getting it stamped on the bus at one of the yellow boxes. If you don’t get your ticket validated you could get a 50 Euro fine and they’re super strict about it so make sure you do it.
Speak Like the Locals
Now a couple of key phrases in Italian. So I think that if you’re in another country it’s polite to at least try to speak a little bit of the language especially things like “please” and “thank you.” In Italy they’ll really appreciate it and you might even get treated better. Three phrases that you should know before you go are “Please,” “Thank You” and “Do you speak English?” You can say please by saying “Per Favore,” “Thank You” is “Grazie” and instead of just assuming that everyone speaks English as a second language it’s very polite to say “Parli Inglese” which means “Do you speak English?”
Lift Life Like an Italian
Everything is much slower in Italy and you’ll know this well when you go out to eat. Make sure you pack your patience in your luggage. Unlike what we might be used to in America or in the U. K. you’re probably going to have to ask your server for everything whether that be extra water or to find out why your food is taking so long. There is no such thing as a quick meal in Italy so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to eat whether it be lunch or dinner. Instead of getting frustrated with the slowness just embrace it: you’re in Italy on vacation! Take a couple of hours to have lunch enjoy your wine and just have a good time. Dinner is eaten pretty late in Italy so don’t expect to be showing up at a restaurant at 6:30pm and eating a meal. Some places might not even be open until 7:30pm or 8:00pm. Italians will usually dinner at 7:00pm on the earlier side or more likely 9pm or 10:00pm in the evening so plan for later dinners. Skip the lines and go explore instead. Even if this trip to Italy is probably the last time you’ll ever visit Italy it doesn’t mean that you should wait in line to go into all the popular galleries and museums all day. You could spend your whole trip in line so why not get out of the touristy areas and just go wander around. You can find some really nice places to eat or beautiful gardens to explore it there’s just so much to see and a lot of it will teach you about Italy’s history anyway. Many shops and restaurants close between 1pm and 4 PM so plan around that. You’re not really going to be able to have a later lunch and if you need to talk to the shop or something it’s going to be closed to about 4:00pm. The reason is that the Italians actually let their staff to go home and have their lunch and enjoy it. Also some places will be closed on Monday since they’re open on the weekends so if you’re going any place special like a restaurant make sure you check to see if they’re going to be open.
Dress for the Season, Not the Weather
Italians dress for the season and not the weather. For some reason even if it’s 95 degrees outside in April Italians will still be walking around with their down jackets on just because it’s April and it’s not supposed to be warm. Keep that in mind when you’re planning to pack. Even if it’s meant to be unseasonably warm you’re going to stand out if you walk around in shorts or a sundress and sandals.
Hailing a Cab
You can’t actually hail a taxi. If you need to grab a taxi when you’re in Italy you probably won’t be able to just put your hand out and hail one you’re going to either have to call the taxi company to request one or you have to find a taxi stand where you can pick one. If you had only meal you want to grab a taxi just ask the hostess if there’s a nearby taxi stand. If not they’ll probably offer to call a taxi for you, but make sure you have cash.
Have Cash Not Credit Cards
You should always have cash on you when you’re in Italy. Do not expect to pay credit card for everything like we do in the U.S. or U. K. Make sure you always have a good chunk of yours on you, maybe like, 40 or 50 Euro just in case you pop into a shop or restaurant that doesn’t accept cards and don’t assume that any tours or excursions that you’re going to go on it will accept card too.
I hope you enjoy traveling to Italy. Let me know if you have additional tips that I missed. I look forward to hearing from you. Happy traveling!