Italy has always been my dream country to travel to since my childhood. The most romantic city – Venice – never fails to amaze me. I want to experience the in-land water city, and the boats around the streets of this beautiful city lure me more.
The beautiful art shown in many movies is a significant attraction in Italy. Ancient colourful buildings and narrow streets are other beautiful things to admire in the country. But I want you to know a few things beforehand while travelling to Italy. You must get a global card before leaving for the trip to avoid any inconvenience.
I would like to list some important things for you so that you won’t have to face the same problem as I had on my recent trip to Italy: –
Don’t order Pizza randomly in Italy
When you travel to Italy, that means delicious Italian food. But let me tell you that they have different food specialities in other localities. Naples is famous for its Margherita pie, which is Pizza. Rome is well known for Carbonara. Bologna is popularly known for lasagne alla bolognese and spaghetti bolognese.
You must understand that Italy is divided into 20 different regions, and all of these have distinct tastes and food preparation. They select the texture of pasta based on the sauce you have chosen for it.
We can’t have any pizza or pasta flavour anywhere in Italy. If you have tasted real handmade cheese in Italy, then you will only ever like the taste of packed cheese available in supermarkets.
Yes, you would love Italian cuisine but don’t expect any Italian food available everywhere. Every region has its own speciality pizza, pasta, and other Italian delicacies. I would recommend you to taste every kind of them in the different areas. And you will end up finding one of your favourite Italian food flavours.
New Makeover to your Salad
You would be amazed to taste your salad with olive oil and vinegar. Yes, you read it right, creamy toppings or ranch dressing on your salad will no longer be friends anymore.
Italians are health conscious and prefer to have salads in a healthy way. So, if you are planning to stay longer in Italy, then your waistline will thank you for this as you will find yourself wandering and walking in the streets of Italy and having healthy salads.
Strict No to Cappuccino after a meal
Not only Italians but rather Europeans love to have coffee without milk. You can have an exception before your breakfast. That means you can drink a cappuccino or espresso before breakfast, as they consider having milk coffee after a meal very weird.
Italians are very traditional in their approach and love to follow it as a legacy. So as per the Italian tradition, hot milk is not easy to digest when you’re full. That is why they restrict having hot milk shortly after having a full meal.
If you are one of a kind like me who loves to have a cappuccino after a full meal, you may be disappointed like me. I am making you aware of this beforehand so that you can prepare yourself accordingly.
Another amazing thing that you would like to know is if you order a latte in any Italian cafe, then you will end up getting a cup of hot milk. Italians don’t know what a latte is. That is not their kind of thing. So, I would suggest you only place an order for espresso or cappuccino. However, you can only have espresso throughout the day but cappuccino before breakfast.
On the other hand, you will be amazed when you see the rates of it. You can get a cup of coffee for €1-1.50 only. Moreover, it tastes awesome, and you can enjoy really frothy coffee at this price.
If you are the one who likes to have dinner around 7 or 7:30 pm, then you need to get yourself ready for late dinner scenes.
The restaurants in Italy don’t prepare early dinners. Some of the cafes and restaurants open after that for dinner. In such a scenario, I kept myself occupied by munching on some healthy and handy snacks to avoid hunger pangs. However, I also started delaying my other meals so that I could push my dinner time a little late.
I would have followed this routine beforehand if I had such information before visiting Italy. Now, it’s your turn to utilize this information and get yourself ready for travelling to Italy knowing these essential things beforehand.
Riposo – the Family time
Italian people are family lovers, actually. They love spending their precious time with family. So, they have a routine of closing markets and shops mid-day between 1–4 pm. They head back home to spend quality time and have lunch with their family.
This Riposo is strictly followed on long summer days. As summers are very hot in Italy, people avoid roaming around in the streets in hot weather.
The shops are open at night till late, even after 10:00 pm in summer when the sun sets later. So, to avoid an untended family, they follow this routine religiously. You may find the whole market closed in the mid-day because of the Riposo routine only.
I would suggest you avoid visiting the market nearer to your hotel or Airbnb to safeguard yourself from the midday heat in summer. You can schedule your shopping after 4:00 pm.
No Tip but a service charge
There is a tradition of no tips to be given in cafes and restaurants. You must be wondering what if we are willing to do it on our own. Then I must tell you that most of the Italian restaurants are run by family members.
That means they haven’t hired any employees to serve the dinners in their restaurant. Rather, the family members, close or distant, voluntarily do it.
So, they don’t accept any tips from the dinners. Or some of the restaurants mention it on the menu or board. But they charge you for sitting in the restaurant while dining in it. You read it correctly. There is always a shortage of sitting space in restaurants, so they have charges for it.
As mentioned above, most of the restaurants have already mentioned that on the boards or on the menu about the charges. It is usually 5-10% of your dining bill. This charge is known as “”coperto”” and is applicable in almost all restaurants. Even if you haven’t eaten anything, it is applicable if you are just sitting there, ideally for some time.
Visit in Winter
You must be wondering why I mentioned that the best weather to visit Italy is winter when everyone else suggests summer and spring. The answer is simple: avoid crowds and enjoy yourself fully while travelling to Italy. It is so crowded and hot in the summer and rainy in the spring. So, I myself prefer to visit there in winter.
Always carry a Camera
As you know, the whole of Italy is a wonderful place, and its scenic beauty and art are a treat to the eyes. You should carry a good-quality camera with more extensive memory storage so that you can capture beautiful scenes around you.
You can capture and refresh your memory of visiting Italy anytime in the future by watching the photos clicked. I am not saying to just invest yourself fully in clicking images and posting instantly on social media platforms. I suggest you just capture and collect memory, and you can sort it out afterwards.
Understand how Italians greet
People in Italy are very friendly, extroverted, expressive, and lovable. They greet everyone with a kiss on each cheek, regardless of gender and age.
So, if any stranger greets you with kisses on your cheek, don’t feel embarrassed. Instead, respond to that, and you may find yourself getting a new friend for your Italian trip.
I would suggest that you prefer public transport to commute to Italy. That is not only because of the budget constraints while travelling to Italy. Instead, that is the only reasonable option to do while considering the traffic in the streets of Italy.
There is an outstanding public transport facility in Italy. That will help you to reach any corner or street in Italy. But you need to understand the public transport schedule so that you can avail of it conveniently.
Not only the schedule, but you also need to do one more thing. That is, you need to validate your public transport tickets before boarding your journey. Yes, there are small machines on the bus or train station. And using those machines, you need to validate your tickets before boarding.
Otherwise, the ticket inspector will be angry at you and put you a hefty fine. That, as a traveller, you won’t be glad to experience while vacationing in Italy.
Final thoughts on travelling to Italy.
Boom! You have gone through the complete article to know essential things before travelling to Italy. I must consider you an expert now, who knows everything from head to toe about it. Now you can plan your Italian holiday accordingly and enjoy your trip to Italy to the fullest. If you find anything I have left on the list, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below if you have any queries regarding this.