Famous for stunning scenery, rich history, incredible food and lively local culture, Italy is a must-visit destination. As with any new destination, there are plenty of things you need to know before you go. To help you, here are 10 basic Italy travel tips you need to know!
1. They eat later than you may be used to
In Italy, it’s normal to only sit down at the table after 7 pm to begin a slow-paced dining experience and, in some restaurants, food may not be served until after 9 pm. Be sure to immerse yourself in this new world of laid-back dining! Instead of rushing through everything, see your meals as a time to connect with those around you and be present for each bite or sip.
2. Don’t show up empty-handed
If meeting friends or family, it’s important to point out that you should never, ever arrive empty-handed. Even if it’s just a box of cookies, chocolates, a bunch of flowers, or a nice bottle of wine, in Italy, it’s proper to bring a gift when you are invited somewhere.
3. Learn the local language
While English is widely spoken in Italy, you may find the further south you go, the less easy it is to communicate if you don’t speak Italian. Be sure to brush up on your Italian before your trip! You may like to learn a few key phrases, have a printout with essential Italian or an app you can use offline to translate.
4. Enjoy a sweet breakfast
In Italy, a sweet breakfast is the norm! You’ll notice the morning rush starts a lot later, and Italians really take the time to have breakfast they can quietly enjoy with a cup of coffee and the newspaper.
Expect to enjoy decadent breakfasts with croissants, chocolate, and other sweets! You’ll want to try biscotti, cornetti, brioche, crostata e torta and more. Of course, in Italy, coffee is taken very seriously and you should expect to enjoy fantastic espresso at a local coffee shop.
5. Be respectful
Respect is very important to every Italian and it’s important to respect Italian culture wherever you go. When you walk into a restaurant or cafe, it is important to say good morning (Buongiorno) or good evening (Buona sera).
As you visit historical sites pay close attention to signs advising what you can and cannot touch, inaccessible areas and so on. So much of Italy is steeped in history, it would be a shame to accidentally damage or disrespect an important site. As visitors, it’s important to be mindful of residents by keeping the noise down when exploring local neighbourhoods and not intrude on anyone’s property, even if it’s the perfect spot for a photo!
6. Stay in touch safely
No matter how much you enjoy Italian culture, there’ll always be a need to check something you would normally do from home, online during your trip. To do that, we strongly recommend using a VPN, which will allow you to do it safely!
You can also use a VPN in cafes and restaurants where they don’t have a secure Wi-Fi connection. By connecting to foreign routers via a VPN, you can still safely surf the internet without hackers being able to intercept your identity or data. Before your trip, make sure to be prepared. A Free VPN download is an easy step to do, so do not forget it!
7. You’ll need comfortable shoes
Expect to do a lot of walking while exploring Italy! I recommend packing a few pairs of very comfortable shoes as even your most trusty pair may start to cause you pain after a few days and switching them out will do wonders. If visiting in the summer months, make sure your comfy shoes are very breathable.
8. Pack a water bottle
You’ll find free-flowing water fountains dotted all around Italy, especially in Rome. It’s a great idea to have a water bottle with you that you can refill as the water is fresh, free and delicious. The aqueducts in Rome have been supplying water this way for thousands of years.
9. Expect things to close
You may notice, in the afternoons, stores close in the afternoon right after the typical lunchtime. This delightful nap or rest time is known as riposino and sees local shops close until about 3 pm. Just something to keep in mind if you have plans to visit a specific store and find it closed!
10. Be vigilant
As with any big city, there are always those looking to take advantage of unsuspecting visitors. Be sure to keep your wallet and passport safely tucked away and be very mindful of pickpockets. It’s especially important to be mindful around crowded public places, on public transport and at bus or train terminals.
This post was written by Ulrike Niemann, a freelance copywriter, cybersecurity enthusiast, digital marketer, and content marketing manager. All advice and insight remain objective and genuine. Thanks, Ulrike for your support, allowing us to keep doing what we love!
Useful travel resources for your next adventure!
If you found this post useful, we’d be grateful if you used the affiliate links below. We’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Rest assured, these are the products and services we love and use ourselves. Thanks for your support! Phoebe and Matt x.
Read our disclaimer for more information.
Agoda – hotel (& home) bookings
Booking.com – hotel bookings
Cover-More – travel insurance
Motorhome Republic – RV rentals
RentalCars.com – car rentals
SimsDirect – prepaid travel SIM cards
Skyscanner – book flights
Surfshark – online security & VPN
TourRadar – book tours