Italy is one of the best travel destinations in the entire world! Home of one of the planet’s finest cuisines, a multitude of luxury retail brands, and a vivacious nation that’s all about love and happiness.
Where else in the world will you find centuries-old traditions nestled within modern infrastructure and contemporary lifestyles. The country itself is a feast for the eyes—a postcard from all the wonders of the past to the hopes for the future. Italy is also home to “La Dolce Vita,” a famous cinematic lifestyle all about love and luxury.
With so many things to offer, it’s easy to get overwhelmed even by just the thought of visiting the country. Not to worry, as there are numerous tips you can follow in order to truly and easily experience the heart of the country on your trip.
Here are some Italy travel tips to living “La Dolce Vita!”
Pack an Umbrella
You might think that since Italy is in the heart of the Mediterranean, you won’t see much rainfall while you’re there. Well, think again! Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t summer all year round in Italy.
The country has its fair share of downpours, and a lot of it too. Northern Italy is particularly colder and wetter than Southern Italy, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t rain in the towns of Sardina and Sicily neither.
A great tip for traveling to Italy is to bring an umbrella at all costs. It doesn’t have to be a large one, but just enough to hold in your carry on so you’ll be prepared for any sudden rainfall.
Take the Train
No matter how much easier flights can be, taking the train within Italy, or within Europe for that matter, is a must! There’s no comparison to seeing the amazing landscapes—green meadows, fairytale-like forests, wide open seas—as your train goes past each and every one of them.
It’s also a relatively luxurious experience where anything can happen. Even though the trains today are more modern and less classically romantic than they were before, there’s no replacing riding one throughout Italy.
Think of all the towns, each with its own charms; you might pass on the way. Taking a train is getting to see the heart of Italy, making it a must-follow traveling to Italy tip. Isn’t that why you’re there in the first place?
Expect to See Transportation Strikes
Italians can be quite temperamental, a stereotype that they’ve lived with for many years now. They know what they want and are not afraid to fight for it.
With such integrity, it’s no wonder why strikes are common in the country, particularly within those in the transportation business.
Low wages, unfair treatment, and unequal business rivalries often lead many employees going to the streets and demanding fairness. If you have to catch either a train or a flight while a strike is going on, chances are you might miss it.
If you feel that a strike is going to happen, whether you see it on the news, hear it from the people around you, or you see the protesters preparing for it, a tip for traveling to Italy is to fix your traveling schedule as quickly as you can.
Restaurants Open Late
Italians have their own ways in life, especially when it comes to food. One specific to them is that they often eat meals later than others. While the rest of the world eat lunch at around 12:00 noon, they eat theirs an hour later at 1 pm.
Similarly, dinner time in Italy is rarely before the clock strikes 8:00 pm. Because of this, their establishments also open late. Another good Italy travel tip is to be aware of what time restaurants open.
Some open on the dot at 1 pm and 8 pm, while others serve meals much later. It’s best to pack along some snacks if you feel you can’t wait that long for a meal. But it’s also vital that you learn to adjust your body clock to those of the Italians when it comes to eating.
Stick to the Menu
Italians are especially particular when it comes to their food. It’s part of who they are, their family traditions, and a celebration of their love for their country. Why do you think the country has one of the best cuisines in the world?
With this in mind, another travel tip for Italy is to always stick to the menu. A vital traveling to Italy tip avoid trying to spice things up your way; it might just offend the chef. And if there’s one thing you don’t want in Italy, it’s an angry Italian fighting you over food.
Whatever is stated on the menu, whatever ingredients listed there, those are what you’ll have for lunch or dinner. This is all about being respectful, and despite the world having different tastes, none are as strong as the Italians’.
Cappuccinos Are for Breakfast Only!
It can’t be stressed enough that Italians have their own way of eating and drinking. When it comes to cappuccinos, they’re strictly for breakfast only! A rarely given Italy travel tip and advice is to not order cappuccinos after 11 am.
It’s extremely uncommon to see any Italian, or anyone who’s lived long in Italy, to be drinking the caffeinated beverage when it’s nearing lunch time. For them, it’s a sign of a hangover, sleeping in late, or simply a peculiar practice.
This is especially since their meal times are usually different from those of other countries. If you order one after 11 am, you risk becoming the talk of the town as the weirdo who drank a cappuccino after breakfast.
Water, Wine, or Beer Only!
If you think they’re strict when it comes to breakfast, just wait until lunch and dinner! For their meals of extremely rich and flavorful dishes, only wine, water, or beer can do. Always remember this as an important travel tip for Italy.
For Italians, there’s no such thing as sodas, soft drinks, and juices when eating lunch or dinner. Only the three recommended (some might even argue as required) beverages can truly complete the Italian cuisine experience. Similarly, they’re also particular to what you pair with the said drinks.
While water matches everything, Italian etiquette dictates serving red meat with red wine and white meat with white wine. Beer, on the other hand, is a must if you’re having pizza or pasta.
There’s arguably no other country as cinematic as Italy. The La Dolce Vita lifestyle is revered and admired by the rest of the world, and if you step foot in the country, you’d expect to experience it yourself. Now, you can if you follow any of the Italy travel tips mentioned earlier. As they say in Italy, “È meglio aver poco che niente” (Better to have little than nothing!).