Italy is the country more than your expectation. Especially for culture, food, beautiful places, and safety. But it doesn’t mean that you do not need to pay attention to something. Here is the list of 10 important things that you should definitely know, and keep in mind before you visit Italy. Because it will minimize or reduce the cultural shock. It will prevent you from all these tourist scams, and most importantly some useful information that will save you both time, money, and lots of headaches. So, Let’s check which things you should know before visiting Italy.
10 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Italy
Italy is one of the most famous holiday destinations in the world. But it has also some own rules. So, here are 10 things you should know before visiting Italy.
1. Italian Foods
The first thing you should know before visiting Italy is that Italian food is a lot more than just pasta and pizza. And that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have your pasta your pizza, or your gelato, when you go to Italy, you totally should do that. But you should definitely research more on the region, where you be going. And just to give you an idea, usually, if you go closer to the sea then typical dishes will have seafood whereas if you go more inside the country then they will tend to eat more meat, and kind of hearty dishes.
For example, If you are in Milan city, you should definitely try Risotto Alla Milanese, Cotoletta Alla Milanese, Cassouela, or Polenta. If you are in Rome City, you should try Cacio e Pepe. If you are in Sicily, try cannoli. So, only try pasta or pizza in Italy, It will be better to try something more.
2. Transportation in Italy
The second thing you should know before visiting Italy that Always consider taking the train in Italy. If you are planning to visit big cities like Rome, Milan, Venice or Florence, It will be better to travel by train. Because Those cities are paired by fast trains called Frecciarossa. And trains usually have more affordable prices and are safe than renting a car. Always keep in mind that check your ticket twice, because the Italian railway system is more developed in the North than in South Italy. And it is very important to know that you should always validate your ticket before boarding the train.
Renting a car is a good option only when you are going to travel between small cities or travel to the countryside. It means if you are going more towards the south, or if for example you want to visit the Amalfi Coast or you are in the region of Puglia or Sicily, then in those places, the railway system is not as great. So, in this case, I would really suggest you renting a car instead.
But do not rent a car in two cases: 1. It is your first time visiting any country or place, and 2. if you are not familiar or do not know much about any country’s or place’s rules and regulations.
And most important: always keep driving related documents such as driving license, vehicle insurance etc.
3. Rules of Shops and Restaurants in Italy
Don’t be surprised if shops and restaurants close in the afternoon, usually their working time would go from 9 am to 1 pm. And then they would reopen in the afternoon around 3 pm and work until 7 pm. So, If you want to shop in Italy, it will be better to shop in the morning from 9 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm, otherwise, you will be disappointed.
The restaurants will also close in the afternoon, usually, they will open for lunch and after that, they will close in the afternoon and reopen for dinner. This means if you are going for lunch after 1 pm or for dinner after 7 pm, you may be definitely disappointed. So, it is best to complete your lunch before 1 pm and dinner before 7 pm. If you’re in a bigger city, you might find some things open, but it will be mostly the tourist trap kind of places, please keep this in mind and be very very careful.
4. Get a taxi in Italy
Do not expect just to be able to wave at the taxi, and it will stop. Yes, this is absolutely true, this thing doesn’t really work in Italy. You have to go to the specific taxi stand, sometimes you might also have to wait in a queue to get a taxi, and after that, you will be able to get into it. You can ask, the reception of your hotel or any local, and they will tell you which is the closest taxi stand.
And if you are in bigger cities like Milan or Rome, Uber service is available there. But don’t really think that it’s any cheaper than the taxi because Uber tends to be a little bit of a luxury in Italy. If you want to go for something cheaper than in this case you have to get up public transport, or just walk.
5. Learn some basic Italian words
Learn a couple of Italian words, and it will take you a long way. One of the most inspiring reasons to learn Italian words is to explore more the country’s places and foods. We all know how much Italian food is famous in the world? So, these words will help you to more enjoy some of those delicious Italian dishes.
Some basic words will also make your interaction with the locals a lot easier. They will appreciate it and it will be easy for you to be with them.
Some Basic and Common Italian Phrases:
- Si. – Yes.
- No. – No.
- Grazie. – Thank you.
- Per favore. – Please.
- Prego. – You’re welcome.
- Mi scusi. – Excuse me.
- Mi dispiace. – I am sorry.
- Buon giorno. – Good morning.
- Buona sera. – Good evening.
- Buona notte. – Good night.
6. Always keep some cash
MasterCard and VISA are generally accepted in most places in Italy. But Some small shops or cafes might not accept payment by card for less than five or ten euros, and you don’t want to run to the closest ATM machine. So it is better to keep always some cash with you. Moreover, if you pay cash, you are more likely to get a discount in an independently owned store or shop if you ask for it.
So, always keep in mind that you buy something which price is 10 euros and less than 10 euros, you will have to pay in cash. They will not accept cards for this money in Italy.
7. Dress up in Italy
You want to dress well but don’t overdo it. Of course, you are going to a pretty stylish country. Let’s be honest here, but at the same time, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to wear heels all the time. It will be better just to be elegant and stylish. Please don’t tell anyone that he told you this, but there were a lot of jokes about German tourists, Wearing sandals and socks. And Italians, literally hate that.
8. What kind of restaurants, you should avoid in Italy
First of all, if there is a guy already outside trying to invite you and get you into sitting into the restaurant. Definitely DO NOT go there. Or, if you see a plate in front of the restaurant where you can see what can you get, DO NOT go there. And if you see photos in the menu, literally stand up and go. Also, if you see a restaurant where it’s written, pasta and pizza, don’t go there as well because usually pizza is offered at pizzerias which specifically have only pizza, and pretty much nothing else as that embittered together, written in like big capital letters. That’s definitely a tourist trap.
9. You should know what is COPERTO?
If Italy is your next travel destination and if you are going there the first time, you should definitely know about what exactly Coperto is. Let us explain to you, The habit of Coperto has its own origins in the Middle Ages. Many people stayed at the inn at that time, but, to save money, they only ate food brought from home. Being unable to sell their food to these customers, these customers began to be charged for their occupied space and the use of cutlery and plates.
In short Coperto means cover charge in Italy. It can be only a few euros or it can be in double digits also. And always keep in mind that Coperto is not a tip or any scam. It is just standard practice at most Italian restaurants. You cannot reduce it, nor can you refuse to pay it. You should not argue about Coperto in Italy.
10. Just relax and enjoy yourself in Italy
When you book your tickets to go to Italy. You should just know that things will be slow, most probably something will go wrong at some point. But just try not to get angry and not ruin your holiday. Yes, the train might be late, you might miss some of the tourist attractions because something took longer than what it was expected to arrive after a long flight, and your Airbnb hosts are not there. So, really, don’t panic and try to enjoy the moment, have a coffee, have a gelato, and just think that everything will be alright, and small things should not get into you.
This list of the things you should know before visiting Italy wills serve as your guide before travelling to Italy. Trust me, you will love your journey!
A financial professional and a part-time blogger. Conquering the world shouldn’t be expensive, he believes.