There are several reasons why Italy is many people’s bucket list place to visit. This country in Southern Europe has world-renowned cuisine, fashion, architecture, Mediterranean coastline, and art. Many people revisit because of the people, language and there are also dedicated Italophiles for many centuries. Italy has its very own traditions, customs, and etiquette which are not the same as other countries. Below are 10 things to remember when traveling to Italy.
1. Different place, different eating habits
As the Spanish eat their evening meal a bit late but the Italians prefer it a bit earlier and it is normal for restaurants to start a little later from what you might be used to in the USA. Outside of the tourist places, many restaurants do not open until it is six or seven. They are more casual at their approach to running their business. Being free about when they open or close their restaurants. They may even visit their relatives in Naples after closing their restaurants for days.
2. Pizza in Florence
There is no doubt that you will find good pizza in Florence. You might think spaghetti with meatballs, risotto, pizza, and so on are one general cuisine. But that could not be farther from the truth. It has 20 regions and each of them has its specialty with great deliciousness fille with local methods and ingredients. This country is a place where the people hold serious opinions regarding their pasta shape and which sauce goes with it best. To get the most authentic experience of pizza, traveling to the birthplace of Margherita pie, Naples is the option you have. For risotto you will go to Lombardy, Sicily for cannoli, Bologna for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Rome for carbonara and Amalfi coast for the best Limoncello.
3. Art is the heart
Art is the heart of Italy. When visiting Italy, you will be easily distracted by all the ancient ruins, restaurants, shopping, etc. but missing out on the art will be a great disservice to your trip. Art from the Renaissance and art of the present day both have their attractions. The Vatican has over 100 art galleries. Peggy Guggenheim has a great collection of modern works by Magritte and Picasso in Venice. The birth of Venus by Botticelli is replicated often but never duplicated and stays in Florence the Uffizi Gallery.
4. The Vatican
If you wish to visit the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Vatican Gardens then you will have to show respect to the Catholic Church’s politics. You will have to follow some strict dress code and it does not allow you to wear cut or sleeveless clothing, miniskirts, hats, or shorts. In short, cover your knees and shoulders. Also, selfie sticks are not allowed. Among the things to remember when traveling to Italy, this is a bit strict one.
5. Cappuccino or Espresso
Italy has many thoughts and customs regarding its food. One of the biggest is the thought of not drinking cappuccino or any other coffee drink that has milk with it is for only breakfast. Italians do not fancy the combo of full stomach and milk. You can order whatever you want but get ready for some side-eye as a bare minimum, you might as well get a nagging about indigestion. Although, espresso is an all-day drink.
If you just spend 1 day in Venice which is considered one of the most romantic cities on this planet then you might get some bad comments your way. Do not get me wrong but hear me out for a sec. we are not saying to skip Venice rather one or two days is more than enough for you to enjoy the city ambiance, relish some gelato at St. Mark’s Square. You will see huge crowds and high cost in the summer while in the cold you will get the closed-for-the-season hotels and the same goes for restaurants. Thus, winter is not the optimal time for your trip.
7. The Metro
Since the ‘50s Rome had a metro and now it has three lines that serve 73 stations. Lots of visitors save money while staying at affordable hotels that are on the exterior of the city and travel by train into the city. But you need to know something before you take the train. Rome has labor strikes often which shuts the metro. Check the news to keep up to date. Remember to validate your tickets after buying them. Also, if you have kids under 10 years of age then they do not need tickets and can travel with adults.
8. Blessed public restrooms
The public restroom availability in Italy is overwhelming and it would be awesome if other tourist places do the same. One euro to relieve yourself in the public restroom instead of pretending to be a customer at a restaurant. The restrooms are cleaned with staff regularly and filled with toilet paper. Very awesome way to deal with this very human need. this should really help you more with the other things to remember when traveling to Italy
9. Confusing restaurant tipping
Waiters do not expect you to tip them because they get fair pay and are mostly members of the family that owns the restaurant. But the bill you get may seem unusual. The “Coperto” can confuse you the most. It is a per-person charge for sitting there. The price should be on the menu or somewhere in the restaurant and adds up for large groups. The “Servizio” charge is for places full of tourists. It also should be on the menu legally. The “Servizio” necessarily does not go to restaurant staff and it could be close to 10-20% of the bill.
10. Extra Day
Whether you want to cruise the Amalfi Coast or visit the Rome cathedrals or the wineries in Florence, enjoy the fashion in Milan, swimming in the Sicily shores, or looking for celebrities in Lake Como add one extra day to your Italy visit. Believe me, you will have many things to see and do with that extra 24 hours and enjoy one of the countries in Europe.
Italy is great for many things. From food, its traditions, cultures, fashion, people, places, and many more. The ambiance, the atmosphere all the things that Italy has to offer are plentiful. If you are getting a week-long vacation and want to get out of the country then Italy can be a great option for you. Visit with friends, family, or your significant other, you will enjoy it nonetheless. And if you come alone, it makes it more adventurous and easier to make new friends in this place. These 10 things to remember when traveling to Italy will help you in your visit to Italy.
Learn how to make great pizza even if you can not go to Italy because of Quarantine.