10 Must-know Italy travel tips
Italy is a country that really does have something for everyone and is a must see destination on any travellers list. The country has wonderful food, fine wine and is simply steeped in history, and it boasts with some of the most beautiful cities in the world. If you have never been to Italy before, then here are ten travel tips to help you enjoy this wonderful country even more:
1. Travel light
The weather in Italy is, basically, hot in the summer but too cold for shorts in the winter. Whatever time of year that you visit though, only pack what you really need. Italian cities and towns are famed for their long stairways and cobbled streets, so wheeling around a heavy suitcase is not a lot of fun.
2. Know the mealtimes
No amount of banging on the door will get you into an Italian restaurant at the wrong time. Most restaurants have very specific opening times. Lunch time is around 1.00pm to 2.00pm and evening meals are not usually served until about 7,00pm. In between those times, many restaurants are closed.
3. You can’t hail a cab in Italy
If you want a taxi, then you will have to go to a taxi rank or phone and book one. You can stand on a street corner and wave your arms around if you like though; the locals love to watch tourists doing this!
4. Learn a bit of the lingo
We say this in all our travel tip posts, but it really is worth making the effort. Many Italians do speak English, bit it’s only polite to learn just a few words of the local language, when you visit someone else’s country.
5. Buy tickets for public transport before you board
In most Italian towns and cities, you can’t simply jump on board a bus or a tram and buy a ticket form the driver. Transport tickets are usually found at news-stands or in small shops and then validated when you board. Remember too that many of the shops are closed on a Sunday, so you might want buy your ticket for Sunday travel, the day before.
6. You will need to ask for you bill in a restaurant
Italy is a country where they like to relax after a meal. So you won’t be hurried away from your table the moment you have finished your food. This doesn’t mean that your waiter is ignoring you, but you will have to indicate when you are ready to pay and leave.
7. Dress conservatively
Although it is not as a strict as a Muslim country would be, the Italians do still tend to dress quite conservatively, unless of course, you are at the beach. Cover up when you are in the towns, restaurants or shops and, especially, if you are going to visit a church.
8. Don’t touch the fruit and veg with your hands
When you go shopping at a market or in a supermarket, it is considered very rude if you handle fruit and veg with your hands. In a market, the vendor will pick up the produce for you and in a supermarket, and you will usually find disposable plastic gloves to wear.
9. The bread with meals is not always free
Italian restaurants will often place breadsticks or bread on your table but, if you are looking to save a bit of money and you don’t want the bread, then send it back, because many restaurants charge extra for it.
10. Get off the beaten track
You can’t go to Italy and not take a look at some of the big attractions, but do leave some time to take a stroll away from the tourist traps as well. Often, it’s just a short walk to where you find the real Italy, where you can get away from the crowds and relax for a while.
What are your favorite Italy travel tips?