Bella Italia! Top 5 Tips from Italy
Hey Travel Fam,
I am finally home from my Italian adventure. Italy was such a beautiful country and I learned a lot so here are my top 5 tips:
1.) LEARN A LITTLE ITALIAN.
I know this seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many people just didn’t want to try. Even if you don’t get every word right, people will respect you for trying and you will receive help. You will also get better deals in the open market. Have a cheat sheet or a few phrases on your phone like-
Good Morning & Good Night, Thank You, Where is the bathroom? How Much? , Learn your numbers 1-10 (feeling fancy try 1-20)
2. TRY NOT TO LOOK LIKE A TOURIST - (unless that’s your “ thang” #judgementfree)
When comes to wearing clothes understand each city in Italy is very different in style. But there are some things that are standard. Women wear dresses midi and maxi preferred. Even on bicycles, women wear dresses.
I noticed Italians don’t seem to wear hats, but if you are out all day during the summer months you will need a hat. A cute simple fedora will do. Leave the big floppy hats for the beach.
Tennis shoes/sneakers are a no-no. However, I totally understand walking all day in shoes is not ideal. However, there are so many comfort brands that are spicing things up. Check out sites like Born, Sketchers, and Aerosols. Bring a pair of (nude or black) tennis shoes as a backup, just in case there’s a day your feet just can’t handle it. Nothing screams tourist like big white Nike sneakers. For nights out I recommend a comfortable pair of heels or wedges (think of cobblestone streets) #Mary'sTravelTip: Never wear brand new shoes, make sure you break them in.
Only on really hot days, I did see Italians wearing shorts. But when wearing shorts they were well-tailored shorts with no rips or holes. Men, believe it or not, wore suits in 98-degree weather. However, gentlemen, if you're not handling business you don’t have to wear suits during the day. Side note: if you are going to a church, skirts, and pants must be at your knee and shoulders must be covered.
One basic tip: customer service is nothing like the service in the United States. As soon as you walk into a shop people will greet you and that’s’ about it. No one is on top of you, asking if you want to try a matching blouse. I personally don’t mind this. Sometimes I just want to look around without someone next to me every two seconds. Many stores closed around 3 p.m. and reopened around 5 p.m. Also, many stores are closed on Sunday. #Mary'sTravelTip Understand Italians work to live they do not live to work. So if the store is closing be respectful and leave. If you try to use money as leverage to keep the store open so you can buy your items, you will be told no. #byebye lol. It’s not personal it’s family time and that’s a big deal. Remember when in open air markets cash is usually the only option and you can get better deals.
In the States it’s very common we tip everyone for everything. In Italy tipping is common but it, not the 15%-20% we are use to. When leaving a cab 1-3 euro is good, unless you had a long ride from the airport 5 euro is fair. Depending on the scale of the restaurant 1-2 euro is good.
I say if you are traveling for 14 days or less bring a minimum 800 euro. Some people like to wait until they get into a country before getting the local currency. It's true ATM machines have the better exchange rates. However, when I travel alone I hate stopping at ATM machines
5. FOOD (My Favorite Topic … Yum!)
You never had gelato until you had it in Italy. My favorite while in Rome was Grom which is a chain, but hear me out. Each Grom partners with local farms and uses fresh fruit. If you are like me and are lactose sensitive Grom has some great dairy free options. If you want old fashion Italian Gelato another recommendation is La Romana in Rome.
MVR Bonus ***
Italians speak very passionately, especially as you get closer to Southern Italy. Just keep that in mind when you see to people using their hands, they are probably having a very happy conversation. Oh, I almost forgot, don't expect your hotel room to be large, the closer you are to city centers the smaller the space. However, you're there for the city, not the room.
Want more pics? Check out my Instagram @MarysTravelDiary. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter so you never miss an adventure. Have any questions leave them in the comment section.
Ciao for now,