Italy is the paradise for history lovers. With the museums, churches and archaeological sites, Italy feels like a lesson to be learned by everyone. It has a different story for every traveler. For some its pizzas, while for some it’s the art and paintings. You literally get lost in the beauty of art the country has to offer you. The Italian culture is distinctly different than that of the other countries especially, the United States of America.
So, here are the 10 things to keep in your mind before visiting Italy.
1) Pre Booking Your Tickets – Summertime is the most favorite tourist season to visit Italy. Therefore, it is advisable that you book your tickets 3-4 months prior your trip.
2) Learn Basic Italian - It is always good to know few Italian words which will help you communicate with locals easily. People in Italy are friendly and so they feel better when someone speaks Italian. Knowing words like “ciao” to greet someone or “gracias” for thanking someone will really help you get along with people.
3) Opera in Verona - Whether you are a big fan of Operas or no, but the experience of sitting in a Roman amphitheatre watching the show with thousands of people as per the tradition is a must do.
4) There’s time and then… there’s Italian time - Remember when someone says the show starts at 7, it actually will start at 7:30. Italian people are laidback people. It is the same for restaurants, museums and public transports, especially train. To avoid being stuck up in situations of waiting to make it a rule to be there a bit late.
5) Get a Tour Guide - Italy is a big country full of surprises. It has a variety of places, arts, restaurants, etc. If you are new to the country or visiting it for the very first time, it is advisable to take a good tour guide. There are also walking tours throughout the cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence.
6) Know and learn how to handle Alcohol - There is a huge difference in consumption of alcohol between Italy and other countries. The legal drinking age here is 16 for beers and wine while 18 for hard liquors. Italians also tend to drink a lot, but they don’t drink to get drunk.
7) Where to go in Italy? – There are numerous places in Italy to see. Capital city Rome is one of the main tourist attractions. Apart from that, there are beautiful cities like Florence, Sicily. Having Gondola ride in Venice is a must do a thing. Also, Italy is the said to be the birthplace of pizza. So don’t miss out on having fresh pizzas in Naples. Gelato is another thing you must have.
8) Afternoon Closings - People in Italy close the restaurants and go home to enjoy the lunch with their families and relax. You should always take this note. Many shops and restaurants will close down from 1-4 in the afternoon. This thing still surprises and perplexes Americans.
9) Beware of pickpockets - Roman pickpockets are infamous all over the world. And they especially pick people who are travelling alone and keep their valuables in their outside pockets. Therefore, it’s advisable to take care and put up your stuff in your bag while roaming on the streets.
10) Figure out public transportation – You need to know very well about the trains and buses that run throughout the day. And don’t forget the Italian time. Because the trains here are never on time.
Finally, slow down and relax. Accept that you can’t see all of it in one trip. To see such a plethora of arts, culture, food, vineyards, museums- a lifetime is not enough. So slow down, savour what you get and cherish those memories forever.