What To Know Before Traveling To Italy – Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, even in the world, which is worth a visit! My love for this country is almost as deep as my love for anything chocolate-flavored, so I feel no remorse or reason to apologize.
Off the top of my head are the stunning cities of Tuscany, the beautiful Cinque Terre and the magical canals of Venice to name a few, although there is much more to consider than the awareness and excitement of wanting to see their famous cities. and watch as I planned my trip, which prompted me to share my tips before traveling to Italy.
What To Know Before Traveling To Italy
And no, getting lost in Italy (especially when driving through treacherous mountain peaks like the Cinque Terre) is not always as fun as you think! 🙂Even if you want to get lost in Italy, it’s always worth downloading an offline map to your smartphone (or using the offline feature in Google Maps). This will save you a lot of time trying to navigate the winding streets of Venice, Florence and almost any Tuscan village you visit.
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There’s a lot to explore in the “boot” that is Italy (that’s what Italy looked like to me when I was a kid, and now it’s a bit crowded), but don’t forget the many small (and big) islands you can discover! Head to Sicily, Sardinia, Elba and Levanzo to name just a few of the many Mediterranean islands waiting to be discovered.
Italian ice cream is the best in the world! (Bold statement, but true!) I have yet to find a place (or country) that does it better. Available on most high streets, gelato is a relatively cheap and tasty treat to pick you up after a heavy lunch.
In cities like Rome, Florence and Venice, there is absolutely safe, clean and free drinking water in the city squares. Grab a reusable bottle or refill a purchased bottle (shhh, not watermark) and save a lot of $$$.
In Italy, even further south, dinner is never rushed: it is a relaxed event to be enjoyed with family and friends. Immerse yourself in the culture and take it with you.
Essential Things To Know Before Traveling To Italy
Card payment is accepted almost everywhere. Just keep coins and small bills if you need change – some shops have minimal fees.
Italy is more than the cityscape of Florence, Milan and Venice! Don’t forget to visit one of the thousands of beautiful beaches that line the stunning coastline. Head to places like Terracina for gorgeous white sand beaches.
If you want to travel between cities, try taking the train! Italy has an impressive high-speed train between Rome-Florence-Venice (to name a few).
Speaking of trains, don’t forget to stamp your ticket at the machines on board buses and trains when you travel. You will be fined if the inspectors catch you…even if you didn’t know or weren’t told. There is a ticket validator on all public trains, buses and (most often) at the start of the platform.
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Northern and Southern Italy are almost like different countries! The north is an “industrialized” continental European region, while the south has a much more relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere – both are wonderful and very different.
Yes, Italy has some pretty epic (and still active) volcanoes worth exploring. You can also climb to the top of them, like Etna in Sicily.
Speaking of volcanoes, do you know Pompeii? A ruined city that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption many years ago? You can visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site and witness one of the most famous volcanic eruptions in history (after Iceland’s 2010 ash cloud, of course). 🙂
No one expects you to be fluent when visiting Italy, but it’s a huge plus if you are! Remember some words and phrases that will help you. A few words in your native language will surely put a smile on everyone’s face!
Italy Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go
Many sites ask women to cover their shoulders and legs when entering certain churches. Keep this in mind when visiting religious sites, especially the Vatican (not technically Italy, I know, but still…)
Truffles are big business in Italy, a prized ingredient in many Italian dishes and common in some regions of the country. If you are looking for truffles (read more about truffle foraging here) be sure to take them straight to the market, they can fetch thousands of pounds (price depends on size of course).
It’s really in the name… roughly translated to 5 regions/territory: this is one of Italy’s most beautiful regions. Be sure to check it out if you’re in the area.
N.B.: Take the train between cities…trust me! It’s only a few minutes by train or about an hour by car!
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Wine in Italy is cheap and of very high quality! Take advantage of the low prices and enjoy one of their fun exports! Good wines start at 3 euros per bottle!
Summers in Italy can be very hot with very cold winters, especially in the north. It seems obvious, but Italy has a lot of temperature extremes (unlike places like the UK), depending on the date you plan to visit, so it’s a good idea to arrive properly prepared.
Buy MASSIVE Steak Florentine in Tuscany and enjoy one of the world’s best steaks. It will cost you a little more time than regular food, but it will be worth it. The sizes are quite large, so I suggest sharing one…unless you’re in the mood for a lion.
Renting a gondola for 30 minutes will cost you pennies in Venice; there are standard prices, although it’s worth noting that you can get it much cheaper if you haggle with the gondoliers. Pricing for the gondola should be based on the boat, not the number of people on board. You can usually fit up to 6 people in one, maybe not as romantic, but just as fun!
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If you are from the EU, you should always make sure you have a completely FREE EHIC card; never pay for it. It is issued by the government of your country of residence and entitles you to the same or similar medical benefits as in your country of residence, but you should never consider it a substitute for travel insurance.
This is the only country where you can enjoy a freshly baked pizza without feeling guilty. Grab some pasta from almost any small kiosk in almost every town in Italy. The best places to get one are usually in quiet streets away from the main squares and tourist attractions.
The portion is cheap and usually very tasty. (Seriously, it doesn’t taste like what you find in even the fanciest restaurants in London – it’s way better than anywhere else).
Few people know that you can go skiing in Italy, because it is usually synonymous with long, beautiful summer days. If you like some noise on the slopes, check out the amazing pistes of the Italian Alps. Here you will find some amazing resorts that will rival even some of the world famous resorts in Switzerland and France.
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Traditionally for breakfast coffee, cappuccino is usually drunk in the morning in Italy. If you can’t do without a regular evening cappuccino, try a latte (warm milk, not skimmed milk like a cappuccino).
Yes, there are real countries in Italy itself. The Vatican is a state of its own, as is San Marino. Both are impressive and both are worth a visit.
Sparkling wine is very popular and a nightly treat for all of us…really (it can’t just be me)?!? Don’t forget to try the local prosecco and immerse yourself in a world of bubbles and joy!
– which means using your bread to mop up any leftover sauce from your plate. It is almost a dinner ritual in Italy and something of a tradition in many Italian families. This is why bread is often left on restaurant tables. (Put on that butter! 😉 )
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..and not just in the hip extension department. Restaurants usually put bread on your table without telling you there is a charge until you look at your bill after your meal, so be aware that you may be charged a small fee (always ask if you’re unsure or want extra charge) .
Italy has a reputation for being quite “enthusiastic” drivers and roads, but don’t let that put you off. If you can drive, you should definitely rent a car and discover some of Italy’s many hidden gems. Especially if you live in a big city like Pisa or Florence, because the Tuscan countryside is just as fascinating to explore as its big cities. 🙂
Puppy Protector of gastronomy Lover of chocolate and custard. Dip, coat or wrap anything in sugar and it’s yours!FacebookTwitterInstagramI first visited Rome in 1992 and my love for the city has grown ever since. I wrote my first book about the city in college, and that’s rare
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