Italy is a country like no other. Famous for its food, architecture and amazing gelato, you can never go wrong when you travel to Italy.
Ever heard of a disappointing trip to Italy? I can’t even imagine either.
But with that said, it can be nerve wracking to plan a trip to Italy for the first time. An overwhelming experience that tests your skills in a lot of ways. There’s so much to see and time and money can often be your greatest obstacles. On my first trip to Italy, I was absolutely delighted with what I saw and did. However, a part of me kept saying, ‘I wish someone had told me about this before.’
I thought it would go flawless the second time, but I returned with the same thoughts. In a country where there is endless to explore, your journey of discovery will probably never be over.
If you wish to travel to Italy, here are some things you’d be lucky to know!
From flights to Italy to the hotels, everything is expensive in Italy! However, booking early and avoiding the peak season travel months can help you to make savings. Instead of going for large chain hotels, stick to the smaller ones. It’s best to book the train tickets in advance because they get expensive closer to the time. There are plenty of free attractions such as the museums in Italy, don’t forget to explore them.
Lastly, in a country where everything is expensive, you’ll be served cheaper yet perfect cappuccino everywhere.
€1.30 for that wonderful cappuccino! What more could you ask for?
I mentioned this before, I’ll remind you of it again. Italy is a destination like no other. There are plenty of bars and cafes in the country, all delightful in their own way. It might seem awkward to see people standing inside bars and cafes, socializing and enjoying their drink.
In Italy, there’s a separate charge for the drink and another one for the table. For this reason, you may wish to order at the counter and stand if you wish to save a little extra!
Dining out when you travel to Italy is different in a number of ways. Firstly, you need to grab control of your hunger pangs because no matter how terribly they bother you, dinner time doesn’t start before 7:30 typically. It’s best to call before for a reservation and dress to the best for the dinner.
What was even more intriguing on my first trip to Italy was that the waiters serve you food and vanish for the rest of the time. This felt very wrong in the beginning, but I eventually realized that is how it works with the Italians. Once the food is served, you won’t see the waiters.
Right at the end, they’ll come to clear off the table and won’t bring the bill until asked to do so. What might appear as a slow service to first time travelers is actually a blessing in disguise. While you’re dining out in Italy, you don’t have to rush with the meals and conversations. Take your time, there’s no rush!
There is absolutely no concept of Italian food. Every city has its own specialties. While pizza and pasta might be your most obvious choices, ask for produces of the season to taste the best the restaurants in Italy offer.
Tipping is not required. You might be considered rude in certain places for this generous act because the service charge is already part of your bill.
And here comes a few words of caution, carry your bill! It might be surprising that even for a petty drink; you’ll be given a paper receipt. That piece of paper is big deal in Italy because taxes cost a dear amount and shop keeper can be fined heavily if the bill isn’t produced.
Europe is a diverse continent, and every country has its own identity. To blend well with the locals, it is best to know what each city is like. While the streets of Milan might appear to be a fashion parade, Rome is more towards the traditional side. In most of the parts of Italy, showing skin is not considered too favorable.
It’s best to avoid overly revealing clothes, especially on your trip to the churches. Carrying a scarf in your bag is a good option!
Riposo was a term absolutely alien to me until my first trip to Italy. Whoever asks me to guide them about the country, Riposo is definitely part of the conversation.
Italians are full of life, and while work seems to be an important part of their life they don’t sacrifice their relaxation over it. Riposo, a midday siesta in Italy is observed rather religiously in the country. Typically after 1 pm, the shops close down and the locals go home to relax and enjoy some family time until the evening.
If you plan to travel to Italy, you must make realistic plans and decide what you wish to do for these hours.
I’ll go by the very famous saying of what the locals say, Cash is King in Italy. This might be particularly hard for tourists coming from countries where the plastic money is the king.
The Italians are the friendliest locals when you present them a debit card for your payments. For card payments, anything under €10 and you might be refused altogether. Also, it’s best to carry a lot of change because you don’t want to see the frowns of those shopkeepers.
Let’s speak of another touchy topic in Italy. Fines. They are obsessed to fining over literally everything. Whether it’s a bus or vaporetto ticket, you must validate it. The validation machines are everywhere before you board, and stamp your ticket so that it can’t be used again.
Not surprisingly, you’ll come across machines that are out of order. Don’t take advantage of this and look elsewhere. If you board without a validated ticket, be prepared to get fined heavily.
It’s best to book your tickets long before boarding because like other destinations you might not spot the ticketing machines that easily. This can ruin the day terribly, so plan your best!
Whether it is your first trip to Italy or otherwise, a trip to the local markets is what must happen every time. These local markets have an abundance of freshly produced items and everything else you would wish to find.
There are two things to keep in mind here. Make use of the plastic gloves that can be easily found in the markets. Secondly, ASK before you touch anything. If they don’t allow, keep the hands to yourself. You won’t want to create a fuss in a marketplace at least!
The world is becoming incredibly fast-paced and you’re in a constant rush to tick off that never ending things-to-do. Sadly, travel is the same. You search on any engine for the attractions you must see in Italy and I assure you the list will be an endless one. So not surprisingly, the ten days (or however many) you spend there will be packed with a lot of stress to get from one place to another.
The best I could give you from my experience when you travel to Italy is to simplify your trip. Explore those ancient streets, even without a map and see how a typical day in Italy unfolds. Pause and take in the sights and smells. It’s best to slow down because you can’t see it all in a trip and that is perfectly okay.
It’s a country like no other, and you’re lucky to be there so change all those frowns into a smile!