As a native Italian, I could not avoid writing a comprehensive list of essential tips for anyone planning a trip to Italy. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, these tips will help you make the most of your time in this beautiful country.
From navigating public transportation to ordering at restaurants, my Italy tips will ensure you will have an unforgettable trip. So, before you pack your bags, check out my guide to tips for Italy!
Check out the things to know before visiting Italy for the first time and make your next dream vacation to Italy a success.
Italy is a famous holiday destination, and its popularity is growing exponentially.
The question is: Do you know all the tips for traveling in Italy and having a great time?
Well. That's precisely what you are going to learn in this article. Read it until the end to get all the insider tips and info.
*Disclosure: This article contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, I guarantee, if you purchase through my links. See it as a way to thank and support my travel blog for all the information I provide.
Are you afraid to visit Italy and end up ruining your vacation by not knowing some of the basic things that first-time travelers haven't a clue about??
Don't worry. I listed everything you need to know in this article, so your Italian holiday will be unforgettable.
I know a lot about Italy because it's my country, but when considering which tips I could give, I have to be honest with you, I had some difficulties.
All these travel tips for Italy are things that, for me, are normal.
I grew up in Italy, and I don't find any of these things weird or need to be told because they are, in fact, essential things about Italy that everyone I know knows.
So during my last trip to Italy, when I visited my family in Trieste, I also went for a day trip to Venice. I walked around both cities, imagined being a tourist, and tried to see everything with different eyes. Well, it worked!
As you will read, I found many tips to help you plan the perfect trip to Italy.
More Italy travel resources:
Learn all the tips & info before visiting Italy by checking my “The Best Guide You Need to Visit Italy“ as well as these popular articles:
Traveling to Italy is one of the most exciting things you can do. But what should you know before you go?
Read on to discover some helpful tips!
Planning a trip to Italy? Check out these helpful tips from an Italian traveler (hem..me!)!
They'll help you plan an unforgettable vacation!
European Travel Alert!
If you are from the US and want to travel to Europe, complete an ETIAS visa waiver form before your trip and pay the €7 ($7.25) fees. This easy-to-complete form should give you instant approval, but it's recommended that travelers plan and submit their forms a few weeks in advance of their departure date.
If you like this article, please comment below and share it with your friends. Maybe someone you know is planning to visit Italy!
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In this article, you will find all the answers to your questions, even those you haven't asked yet.
From when to visit Italy to how to move around Italy, from Italian restaurant tips to supermarket tips (trust me, you might need those), from avoiding losing your money to scammers to how to save money when traveling to Italy.
Traveling and trying new experiences worldwide and going out of your comfort zone can be as exciting as intimidation, but I got you covered! With all these tips for Italy, you will have a wonderful time!
Traveling to Italy for the first time? Read my tips to have the best experience when visiting Italy!
Read tips for traveling to Italy,
LET’S DIVE RIGHT IN...
Pre-travel essential tips
1. Check visa and passport requirements:
It depends on where you are from, but you might need to apply for a visa to visit Italy.
Never forget to check if you need a visa to enter your next destination to make sure to apply in advance.
To enter Italy, your passport must be valid for at least another 3 months from the day you plan to leave the country.
2. get good travel insurance:
Have you always been lucky while traveling?
Good for you, but trust me, not everyone can say the same, so book good travel insurance and sleep without worries at night.
3. Apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC):
If you are from a European country, you should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (even if you are from the Uk).
The EHIC is a free-of-charge health insurance card that gives free access to emergency medical care in any hospital within the EU/EEA. It is valid for up to 90 days after leaving the UK.
Travel Tip: you still need to get good travel insurance when travelling because this covers only a health emergency.
When to go to Italy?
Many asked me, "What is the best month to travel to Italy?"
My answer is ALWAYS that it depends on what you plan to do in Italy, which part of Italy you wish to explore, and how much budget you have for your Italian vacation.
Let me help you decide which season is the best for your needs...
4. Summer and Winter are two very extreme seasons:
If you want to visit Italy during summer, be prepared to explore the country with very high temperatures between July and August.
The temperature in Italy can rise over 40º C degrees/104 F during summer and get as lower as -20º C in winter.
It depends on which part of Italy you wish to visit. In both summer and winter, the southern side of Italy is always hotter than the northern one, so keep that in mind.
5. Avoid traveling to Italy during summertime and holidays:
Many ask me, "Is summer a good time to visit Italy?". Well, it depends...
I think summer is a good time only if you cannot book a holiday in the other months.
During summertime, Italy's cities are so overcrowded with tourists from all over the world that accommodations are much more expensive, restaurants are crowded, and you have to wait hours to get to the entrance of every museum.
I'm sure this is not what you expect from your Italian vacation time. So traveling to Italy in May and October is the best decision you can make when planning your trip to Italy.
If you dream about spending time at the beach, maybe in Puglia, Sicily, or Sardinia, June and September are the best months. They are cheaper, less crowded and the weather is not as hot as in July.
6. Spring season is the best one to visit Italy:
Visiting Italy in April and May is the best way to enjoy the beauty of Italy.
You will avoid all the summer crows; days are getting longer, and temperatures are rising, but they are still not so hot to spend your whole day sweating.
I took this picture on my last trip to Venice at the beginning of May, and as you can see, the weather was already fabulous!
7. But autumn is cheaper:
Autumn is a beautiful season for traveling to Italy if you want to travel on a budget and avoid the cold winter.
Visiting Italy in Autumn is not as cheap as in winter (unless you want to visit the Alps). Days are shorter and colder than in spring, but the cities are less crowded.
8. Winter is the cheapest and most quiet season for tourism:
When traveling to Italy, you must visit Italy in winter (unless you plan a ski vacation on the Italian Alps) to save as much money as possible.
Yes, it will be cold, and you need hot clothes but walking around the most famous Italian cities and enjoying them without all the crowds, trust me, is fantastic!
9. Don't forget that you can ski in Italy:
Ever heard of the Italian Alps? One of the best places to ski in the world from December to March (but keep in mind that some years there is no fresh snow in December). There are also some incredible Skii tours available you should check out, where they plan everything for you.
The best months to ski in the Italian Alps are January and February, when the mountains are covered in snow, and the slopes are perfect!
Don't forget that there are also some incredible Spa hotels in the Italian Alps with heated outdoor swimming pools, saunas, and jacuzzis to get pampered as you deserve after a whole day on your skis.
Tips for Flying to Italy
I've got some excellent advice for those planning their trip to Italy. Get ready to explore the country like never before!
10. Book your flight tickets to Italy in advance:
Like for almost everything, the sooner you book it, the better and cheaper!
Italy is a trendy holiday country with culture, art, and delicious food. Everybody wants to visit Italy at least once in a lifetime. So book your flight tickets as soon as you can!
Book your flight tickets in advance to ensure all the flights are available to be reserved, check when it is cheaper, and book it.
11. Book your flights to Italy on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays:
Flights on weekend days are always much more expensive.
If you can, try to fly to Italy at the beginning of the week and then back home at the beginning of the following week.
This way, you will save a lot of money to spend once you are there.
How many days is ideal for visiting Italy?
Italy is a vast country with 20 different regions that are very different from each other. They offer delicious regional food and wines and incredible museums, art, and culture.
To visit Italy as it should be, you must move there and spend at least one month in each region.
So, when wondering if it is enough to spend one week in Italy, think that you could neither scrape the surface of what Rome has to show you in one week.
12. Check all the airports near your destination before booking your flight:
Italy has 77 airports, and many major cities have more than one airport nearby.
That is why when I look for flights on Skyscanner, I always extend the research to all the airports nearby the city I plan to visit and see if I can find the cheapest option.
To visit Venice, for example, don't look only for a flight to Venice Marco Polo Airport. Check out also the International Airport Treviso A. Canova, which is used mainly by low-cost airlines. It is only 1 hour by bus or 30 mins by car from Venice.
13. Easyjet and Ryanair are the cheapest airlines to go to Italy:
Many airlines can take you to Italy from everywhere (almost), but the cheapest ones are Ryanair and Easyjet.
Click here to check Skyscanner and look for the cheapest flight to Italy. Book your flight as soon as you find a good deal.
14. In some Italian airports, you don't need to arrive 2 hours before your flight
Some tiny airports have fewer than 10 departures daily, meaning only one plane every two hours. In this case, arriving two hours in advance would waste time in an airport with only one costly coffee shop.
If you are flying back home from one of these small airports, make sure to arrive nearby two hours before (never risk the chance of losing your flight), but you don't necessarily need to enter the airport so early.
Check on Google Maps if there is a cafe nearby where to spend some time drinking a good espresso and enter the airport only 1 hour before the gate opens.
15. Always search in advance how to go from the airport to your accommodation:
This is not only a tip to plan a trip to Italy, this is something you should always do when planning a vacation.
You need to know how to reach your accommodation. Look for the cheapest or the most comfortable option before leaving for your holiday.
Travel to Italy with a travel mate and want to reach your accommodation as soon as possible? You should look for the cheapest airport transfer on my two favorite airport transfer search engines, Kiwitaxi and Holidaytaxi. I usually open both of them and book the cheapest option I find.
Travel Tip: If you arrive at your destination too early for your check-in or your departure time is too many hours after your check-out, and you need a place to store your luggage, check out Radical Storage, a website that shows you all the safe places to keep your bags while still exploring.
Packing tips for Italy
16. comfortable shoes are a must:
When visiting Italy, you might want to wear elegant shoes, maybe some high heels (you are in Italy, after all). But be aware that streets and pavements are mostly uneven, and you could twist your ankles.
One of the things to know when traveling to Italy is to pack comfortable shoes.
Stylish ones, but comfortable.
17. Italy has a different electricity plug, so bring an adapter:
Another thing to remember when traveling to Itay is that there is another kind of electricity plug like in every other country. I recommend buying a universal electricity adapter in every country you will visit in the future.
18. You won't be able to use your hair tools in Italy:
Unfortunately, only European hair tools will work in Italy. The Italian voltage is too high, and you will fry your hair if you don't have the right tools.
If you are from America or other countries, you may better buy an electricity converter or use the hairdryer provided at your accommodation.
Tip: If you are lanning to travel a lot around Europe, my advice to you is to purchase a travel hair tool. There are many available, all cheap and compact!
19. Pack light so you will have some room for the souvenirs (I mean food):
Leaving some free space inside your luggage is one of the first things you should do when packing for a holiday, in my opinion. I am not talking about magnets or keychains or other little things. I am talking about fresh pasta, tortellini, some delicious Prosciutto Crudo or Salame, local olive oil, or creamy balsamic vinegar.
Obviously, you can buy many other incredible souvenirs in Italy, like Italian clothes, leather jackets or bags, ceramics, handmade home decor, and much more.
Travel Tips: If you need help packing for your next travel, check out all my FREE packing checklists here.
20. Almost every hotel provides a hairdryer:
You won't find the latest version of the most expensive hairdryer, but it is still an excellent tool to dry your hair and save room in your luggage.
21. Never enter a church without covering your shoulders and legs:
We respect the church in Italy and would never enter one without covering our shoulders or legs.
22. Always carry with you a scarf or a cardigan in summer:
A good advice I can give you if you plan a trip to Italy is to add a light scarf to your luggage.
Remember that you might be asked to leave the church if entering wearing a short dress or having your shoulders exposed. Always carry with you a scarf to pay respect and cover your shoulders.
23. Bring with you a reusable bottle:
This is one of the most important rules to remember to save money when traveling to Italy.
Tap water in Italy is excellent, and there are many water fountains where you will refill your reusable bottle.
It will also save you money at the airport and on the plane because you can fill it out as soon as you pass the security check.
24. a mosquito spray will save your life in summer:
If you plan a trip to Italy in the summer, I can give you an excellent travel tip for Italy: purchase mosquito spray.
Unfortunately, mosquitos are everywhere in many parts of Italy and bite badly. So never forget to carry a good mosquito spray and tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil is one of the best remedies to cure a mosquito bite and a jellyfish sting (it saved me from a lot of pain when I got stung by a jellyfish in Malta). So never travel without one.
Do you need some Travel Tips?
Check out my Travel Tips section, where you will find all the help, tips, and tricks to plan your next adventure most efficiently!
Accommodations in Italy
25. Book your accommodation in Italy as soon as you book your flights:
Booking accommodation that satisfies all your needs is essential when traveling. Don't you want the perfect vacation in Italy?
Earlier the better because in this way you can see all the options that won't be available 1 or 2 months before your travel. Italy is a top-rated destination, and most places will be already booked. So book your hotel room early, get the best accommodation at the best price, and save money.
26. Italian hotels print a copy of your passport:
This is uncommon in other countries, so I thought you might get confused when you see your accommodation's receptionist make a copy of your passport. So I decided to add it to the hundreds of tips to know before visiting Italy.
There is nothing to worry about. Every hotel has to make a copy of all guests' passports. It's because the hotel has to report your details to the police.
27. Some big city like Rome or Venice has a city fee to pay:
You must pay a city fee in cash upon arrival at your accommodation, so remember. It is not very expensive, something like 4 euros per night, but every tourist must pay for it. If you plan to visit Venice, you cannot miss reading my Venice Tourist Taxes Guide. Learn how to book your entrance to Venice and where to pay for it.
If you want to know more about some famous Italian cities, check out these articles:
28. Not every Italian hotel has air-conditioning:
You might find it weird, but not every Italian hotel has air conditioning in its rooms, so you should avoid traveling to Italy in July and August if you travel on a budget.
Only more expensive Italian hotels provide air conditioning in their rooms because the heatwave in Italy usually lasts for only two months per year, and adding an air conditioning system is quite expensive.
29. You can leave your room key at the hotel's reception when you are not in the room:
Leaving your room's key at the hotel's reception is something that at least was very common in Italy when all the room keys were real keys with very heavy keychains.
Nowadays, many hotels provide a key card you can easily keep inside your wallet.
But, if you are staying in an old-style accommodation that provides big keychains for your room key, remember that you can leave it at the reception like Italians do.
30. If you rent a flat, you won't find a clothes dryer:
Italian flats (both private and rental ones) don't have a clothes dryer. We don't use it in Italy.
I honestly don't know anyone who has one in their home. That is why you won't find one in your accommodation if you decide to rent a flat instead of staying in a hotel.
Tip: if you decide to plan a trip to Italy in winter, and want to wash and dry your clothes, just look for self-service laundry service near your accommodation. We call them: "lavanderia a gettoni".
31. Italian beds are smaller than Americans:
If you have never been to Italy, you might think that beds are the same everywhere, but unfortunately, this is not true. Italian beds are smaller than American ones.
Sometimes you will find even two single beds pushed together to make a double bed (in that case, the bed will become quite extensive and more significant than a regular Italian double bed).
Italy tips to explore the country
32. Do all the necessary research in advance:
In my Italy travel guide, you will find all the things to know before visiting Italy and the cities I have written about so far (I am consistently adding content).
So, look at my Italian destinations and get all the info you need from my articles.
33. Always download an offline map from google Maps:
Unfortunately, some little town or part of some cities, like Venice for example, has so many little and narrow streets that you might (or surely, in case you visit Venice) get lost.
By downloading the offline city map on Google Maps, you will always know where and how to get where you are heading.
34. Not everyone speaks English in Italy:
Most Italians only speak Italian, so you might have issues asking for info or tips on the street, mostly when purchasing museums or transport tickets.
That is why I always purchase any ticket I need in advance when visiting a foreign country where I don't speak the local language, to avoid any kinds of issues
These are the websites I use to book anything I need to travel around Italy (and I never had any issues with them):
To see the best option between buses and trains, check out Omio
To buy train tickets, check out Trainline (you can use this website all around Europe)
To purchase museums tickets, the best one is Tiqets
To look for activities, my go-to website is Get Your Guide (it has a 24h policy cancellation)
Viator is an excellent website to book activities and museums tickets
If you prefer to purchase an audio guide to explore the city on your own, We Go Trip is what you are looking for.
For more than a day's tour, check out TourRadar, the world’s first Adventure Booking Platform. On TourRadar, you can find private, group, and tailor-made multi-day organized adventures from 160+ countries worldwide.
Tip: a handy thing to do is use the google translate app on the go (you can also use it offline).
35. You should learn some basic Italian phrases:
Learning some Italian phrases is very important before your trip to Italy because Italians appreciate it when tourists try to communicate, even if they know only a few sentences.
They will also help you if you are lost or need help and treat you like a friend.
So give it a try. It might be easier than you think:
Good morning: buon giorno
Good afternoon: buon pomeriggio
Good evening: buona sera
Good night: buona notte
Please: per favore
Thank you: grazie
Excuse me (for attention): mi scusi
Excuse me (to pass by): permesso
Do you speak English?: parla Italiano?
I don't understand: non capisco
Can I get the bill: posso avere il conto?
I'm sorry: mi dispiace
36. Do all your research in advance about the place you want to visit:
Be prepared before visiting Italy. Research what to do, what to see, where to go etc. It is always better to be prepared and avoid wasting time or money.
37. Always cross the road at the crosswalk
In Italy, if a car touches you and you are outside the crosswalk, it will be your fault, and you are going to end up paying for the car damage, and no one will pay for yours.
Especially in South Italy, be extra careful because they might not stop to let you cross even if you are on the crosswalk and the traffic light is green for pedestrians, so be aware of it.
38. Don't visit only the big cities:
Like my hometown, Trieste is a stunning city that offers everything you need for a beautiful Italian holiday.
Plan to stay a couple more days, get out of the main cities, and see what else is around.
Are you looking for a minimum of three days tour that starts from a big city, where you can see more of what Italy has to show you? Click here and see the tours available.
Taxis in Italy
If you like moving around a city by taxi or prefer to avoid public transport to get back to your accommodation late at night, there are some things you might need to know before exploring Italy.
These tips will help you plan how to move around a city.
39. You won't be able to get a taxi as you do in other countries:
If you are wondering how to get a taxi in Italy, you must know that you won't be able to do it as in America or other countries.
In Italy, to hail a taxi, you have to go where the taxi stops are or call to get a taxi, so keep that in mind while getting upset because the taxi is not stopping after you wave at the driver.
40. Taxis are more expensive in Italy than in other countries:
If you need to go from the airport to your accommodation, I advise you to book a car in advance. It will be much cheaper than hiring a taxi on the spot.
41. You may be charged extra for your luggage when traveling by taxi:
I don't like this about Italian taxis, but we can do nothing about it. Taxi drivers might charge you extra if you have luggage with you.
So think twice before packing your whole wardrobe for your Italian vacation.
42. There is no Uber in Italy:
You won't be able to book a taxi with your Uber app in Italy because there is no Uber in Italy.
The best way to get a taxi in Italy is to get one from the official taxi rank to avoid getting inside an unofficial and unregistered taxi.
43. Make sure to have some cash to pay your taxi driver:
Most taxi drivers in Italy don't have a card payment machine, so I advise you always to carry some cash. But avoid having only big notes like 50 or 100 euros, because the driver might not have enough change to give you back.
Italy Tips to avoid scams
It is terrible to say, but there are so many bad people trying to scam tourists in every big city in the world and, unfortunately, in Italy too, so be careful, Ok?
Read below what are the most common scams in Italy.
44. Avoid dressing up like a tourist to avoid scams and pickpockets:
Like in every tourist spot, the biggest cities in Italy have many pickpockets, so take care of your belongings and keep them safe at all times.
Carry an anti-theft purse or an anti-theft backpack to keep your belongings safe.
45. Don't take flowers from women you don't know:
You will meet some old or not-so-old women from east Europe dressed very poorly and trying to give you a flower. Don't accept it, because they will go after you until you give them money.
46. Don't sign anything (you don't understand what you are signing anyway):
You will probably see in some big squares a stand with people asking you to sign some paper for who knows what petitions.
Don't sign anything. Most of the time, they want your details to scam you.
47. Don't accept friendship bracelets:
If someone comes to you wrapping around your wrist a friendship bracelet, leave it, and don't let them do it, it's a scam.
They will ask you for money, and when you finally take out your wallet, they will grab it and run away as fast as they can.
48. Always carry an anti-theft backpack or purse:
49. Don't buy any electronics on the street:
If they are selling Ipads or Iphones at a very affordable price in the middle of the street, leave it. It's all a scam. They will give you a box with something else inside.
50. Don't purchase high-brand bags on the street. Buy them in a shop:
In some places, you will see some guys selling fake high-brand bags right in the middle of the street. They are 100% fake, and most of the time, you can see clearly how fake they are, so don't waste your money.
51. If a guy tries to get your attention by telling you: "hey, listen, come here," walk away:
Some guys (most of the time immigrants) will try to get your attention by speaking English, and as soon as you get close to them they will grab your phone or camera and run away.
Please don't talk to them. Just keep going your way and keep all your valuables safe.
52. Don't leave your luggage inside your rental car unattended:
If you plan to rent a car in Italy, please never leave unattended baggage or any other belongings inside. It is a rental car, so it is clear that you are a tourist and have luggage and expensive items.
Use your rental car to move your luggage between hotels (if you plan a tour), and once your belongings are safe inside your room, go to explore the nearby area.
This is a travel tip you should always follow in Italy and worldwide.
Tips for Italian restaurants
You might think, it's a restaurant; what kind of differences could an Italian restaurant have from other countries?
Well, we have some, so keep reading my tips to travel to Italy...
53. Accept you will gain some weight in Italy
The Italian food is so delicious! When are you going to have the chance to eat so many delicious Italian dishes, freshly made on the spot for you? So, enjoy it.
Walk instead of getting the bus, drink a lot of water, and do some extra exercises in the morning before breakfast. This is something that could help you feel less guilty but also satisfied.
Remind yourself that you can lose the gained weight once you return home, so eat!
54. In Italy, drinking your coffee at the counter is always cheaper:
In Italy, almost everyone drinks their coffee at the counter unless they want to eat something or have to meet someone to spend time with.
Drinking your coffee at the counter is faster, and you won't have to pay the "eat-in" price.
55. Italians don't take their coffee to go:
Italians drink a lot of coffee, as you probably know, maybe more than you know, actually.
For breakfast, mid-morning, after lunch, mid-afternoon to wake up a bit to carry on working till the end of their shift, and some even after dinner (and they go to sleep afterward without any insomnia).
You won't find many bars (coffee shops where you can also drink alcohol) that will give you a takeaway coffee cup because, in Italy, coffee must be drunk in one shot and at the counter (where it's also cheaper).
56. Eat a lot of gelato, even for breakfast:
You will be in the country of Gelato, and it will be delicious everywhere you buy it.
So eat geato in Italy, even for breakfast, as I sometimes do when visiting my family in Trieste. I always go in the best gelateria I know, Jimmy's Gelateria in Muggia (my hometown). That gelato is so good you can get addicted.
Tip: Don't forget to try the seasonal fruit flavors, like figs, melon, wild strawberries, persimmon, strawberry grape (a kind of very sweet grape), chestnut, etc.
57. When in Italy, eat when Italians do:
I'm not going to tell you when to have breakfast because you are on holiday and you don't have to wake up early to go to work, so have it whenever you wish.
Italians have lunch between 12 pm to 2 pm. Most restaurants close the kitchen after 2.30 pm, so don't pretend to have a late lunch because most kitchens will be closed.
We love having an aperitivo after work between 5 pm and 7/8 pm, and we usually have dinner between 7.30 pm and 9 pm.
Most restaurants are closed till 7 pm, and they will give you the devil's eye if you want to have dinner after 10 pm, so get there earlier.
58. Don't forget to book your table for dinner:
If you plan to visit Italy during the high season or some holidays, make sure to ALWAYS book a table a few days or even a week in advance.
For lunchtime, you might just pop into a restaurant without a reservation, but dinnertime is always busy with locals and tourists.
59. There is no Fast Food in Italy, so sit down, take your time and enjoy it:
You are on holiday, let's not forget that!
You are not supposed to run up and down the city like crazy, trying to visit as many museums as possible and do as many activities until the sun goes down.
Plan to have some time for lunch, even if it is just a light one, and be aware that Italians usually spend at least a couple of hours having dinner.
Tip: In Italy, no one will tell you that you have 1 hour and a half to dine as they do in London (for example), so take your time and enjoy.
60. Avoid tourist restaurants:
Let's clarify: finding a restaurant in Italy where you will eat lousy food is almost impossible.
With that being said, keep in mind that even in Italy, there are some tourist restaurants where the food is cooked fast because they have too many tourists to serve.
Avoid eating in central squares and too close to top attractions. The restaurants in those areas are always overpriced, even if they are good.
If I had been there, I surely wrote an article about where to eat in that area. If I haven't, ask locals where they usually go to eat.
Pssst! Looking for the best places to eat local?
Check these posts:
61. In Italy, there is more than pasta and pizza:
Pasta and pizza are lovely and also very famous dishes.
Still, in Italy, you will find different local recipes in every city you will visit, so always check out "My complete guide of what to eat" in that particular place (if I have already written about it, but don't worry, more content are regularly coming out) and take note of it.
Ask your waiter what are the local dishes, and you will never go wrong.
62. Do proper restaurants research if you are vegan:
Italian cuisine is full of meat, fish, and cheese. So it could be a bit difficult for you to find vegan dishes.
Look on HappyCow for vegan restaurants or restaurants that offer some vegan options on their menu.
Don't forget to research vegan restaurants, or you will eat pasta with tomato sauce for your whole holiday in Italy.
Tip: Don't forget to download the app Veganagogo which will help you communicate your needs in multiple languages.
63. You cannot smoke inside bars, restaurants, and clubs:
In Italy, it has been forbidden to smoke in public places since 2003, so don't try it because you will face a costly fee.
64. Book a food tour. They are great, and you will love them:
Every city has some excellent food tour guides you can book to learn more about the place you are visiting and its cuisine.
If you wish to try all the local dishes (remember that every region has different ones), a food tour is one of the best things to book for your holiday in Italy.
65. You will only find great food in Italy:
Italian cuisine is infinite. There are so many delicious things to try, from fish, meat, cheese, pasta, pizza, gelato, and tiramisu...I could keep name every single Italian dish but there are so many I could keep writing for days and I unfortunately have to finish writing this post and go to the gym to burn the lasagna I had for lunch.
Before leaving for your trip to Italy, research the local dishes in the region you will visit, or ask waiters to advise you on the menu.
66. In Italy, you must pay for the "coperto."
The "coperto" in Italy is a cover charge to pay per person (usually around 1-3 euros) that includes bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper that you receive at the beginning of your meal.
If the "coperto" is not stated in the menu, but you ask for bread, you will find it to pay on the bill under "pane"(Italian for bread).
67. Order a cappuccino only for breakfast:
When you have lunch or dinner in an Italian restaurant, order a glass of wine or a beer to enjoy your Italian meal. You will taste the difference!
You will feel the perfection inside your mouth while mixing a particular kind of cheese with the best wine that will look like they have been made to get paired.
68. Italian cafes' are called Bar, and they serve alcohol even in the morning:
It might be a big surprise for you, but in Italy, a Bar is a coffee shop where they serve coffee and alcohol. They are open from early morning till late evening, some of them even turn into a "party place" with DJ till 2 am.
Travel Tip: In an Italian Bar, you can have breakfast, lunch, enjoy a coffee with a delicious sweet in the afternoon and have a real Italian aperitivo with food included.
69. Don't order an American or English breakfast in Italy:
You are in Italy so you should eat like a local and enjoy all the delicacies Italy offers.
70. Every region and every Italian city has different local food:
Yes, it is correct. EveryItalina city has its own local food, and it can sound impressive if you love to try different recipes. What you will eat in a city might not be available in another one, the food from the north is entirely different from the south, so do your research, prepare your belly and enjoy.
71. Always order the regional dishes and eat like a local:
The best way to fully enjoy and explore Italy is by doing as locals do.
So avoid tourist restaurants, check the local recipes, and for the love of God, never ask to add ketchup on pizza or pasta. You are just going to ruin something perfectly made. And no, there is no cream in the carbonara.
72. You won't find North Italy dishes in South Italy and vice versa:
North Italy has completely different recipes from South Italy so that you won't find the same dishes in the local restaurants, but you might find them if you get invited for dinner from a local. Italians love to cook and eat delicious food.
73. Keep in mind that dishes come out in order. Not all together:
As you may know, in Italy, there are Antipasti (starters), Primi Piatti (first course), Secondi Piatti (second course) with the Contorno (side), and il Dolce (dessert).
If you want a starter and then the first course while your friend wants only a second course, you have to tell the waiter to bring the second course with your first course. Otherwise, your friend will wait for you to finish everything you ordered before getting his meal (most of the waiters will ask you about it).
74. Learn how to order your water in Italy:
In Italy, the ways to order water are as follows:
acqua di spina: tap water
acqua frizzante: sparkling water
acqua liscia: still water
75. Tap water in Italy is excellent; almost everywhere:
There is no need to order bottled water in Italy or even buy it at the supermarket. Tap water is pretty good almost everywhere, especially around the Alps, where it is so tasty and fresh you could not go back to drinking bottled water after tasting it.
76. Garlic bread is not Italian, so don't ask for it:
I only learned about Garlic Bread when I moved to London, and people started telling me that it was typical Italian. Well, it is not. I have never found Garlic Bread in Italy, but it is delicious; I love garlic bread.
77. Don't ask for spaghetti with meatballs in Italy:
I am sorry to break your heart. Spaghetti with meatballs (even if delicious) is not a typical Italian dish.
Its origin started with the Italian immigrants who arrived in the U.S. between 1880 and 1920.
If you find spaghetti with giant meatballs on the menu, you probably end up in a tourist restaurant where they don't care to give you authentic local food.
They ant to sell it to tourists.
Unless you visit the Italian regions of Abruzzo, Puglia, and Sicilia, where little meatballs with tomato are added to egg or oven-baked pasta.
78. Italian-American food is not authentic Italian food:
When I see some videos online with titles like: "real Italian recipe" and the cook doesn't have an Italian accent, I'm always scared to watch it.
Most of the time, people like to call Italian some food they just made up, and they probably have never been to Italy or a real Italian restaurant.
79. Don't ask to make any variation of a dish:
Italian food is perfect, so don't ask the chef to change a recipe that has been perfected by decades of knowledge!
Unfortunately, around the world, plenty of chefs are trying to sell Italian dishes made from recipes they found online. Probably written by someone who has never been to Italy and has no idea what is genuine Italian cuisine.
So keep in mind, when in Italy, eat Italian! Eat what you find on the menu and trust the chef. Ask for variations only if you have intolerances or allergies.
80. Italian customer service is one of the best, so ask for help:
If you are unsure what to order at a restaurant and need to know the ingredients inside a dish, ask for help, and your waiter will be more than happy to advise you about what to try.
And if you need some advice about the place you are visiting, ask your waiter; they know the area and will be more than happy to help you.
If you plan an Italian tour and want to try all the local dishes, ask your water what are the local dishes on their menu.
81. What about Italian cheese?
There are about 487 different kinds of Cheese in Italy. Can you believe it? And you are planning to go back home with empty hands? Seriously? I cannot believe you.
So leave some room in the luggage and make your family and friends happy. These suggestions can also make great souvenirs for your friends, that will probably appreciate a piece of fresh Parmigiano more than a keychain with the Colosseum, or at least I do.
If you want to taste some local cheeses paired with wines, here are the unmissable wine and cheese tasting tours in Italy.
82. Don't use a spoon to eat your spaghetti, and don't cut them:
Unless you are with your kids and they are having issues eating spaghetti (in that case, order another kind of pasta, like penne or fusilli), avoid cutting spaghetti. Using a spoon to help yourself is much better than cutting them.
Check out this video to better learn how to eat spaghetti.
83. Don't even think about adding ketchup to pizza or pasta:
I have seen tourists adding ketchup to delicious pasta with clams, and everyone around them was horrified.
I understand and respect if you have a different way of eating your food in your country, but when traveling, you should taste the local food as it is and don't try to change the taste of it.
84. A pepperoni pizza in Italy is not what you expect:
To warn you, when you order a pepperoni pizza in Italy, you will receive a pizza Margherita with red peppers. Peperoni in Italy means red peppers. If you want a pizza with "salame" you must order a pizza Diavola.
85. Every pizzeria has its own chilly oil. Ask for it:
One of the things I love the most is a good chilly oil on my pizza. If you like your pizza "hot," as I do, ask for the "olio piccante" to receive their homemade chilly oil.
86. The house wine in Italy is good and cheaper:
In many countries, if you order house wine, you will receive very cheap wine bought at the supermarket (this happened to me in Greece).
This doesn't happen in Italy. Italian wine is good, so order the house wine and enjoy it if you want to save money. Also, order it by the jar, which is way cheaper than ordering it by the glass.
87. Order only Italian wines when in Italy:
Another Italy travel tip is that you can't miss ordering Italian wines when in Italy. I understand if you like French or Spanish wine, they are tasty, I know that, but you are in Italy.
Italy is a country famous for its wines, so order locally now. You won't find the same wines back in your country.
88. Prosecco is not the only sparkling wine in Italy:
Everyone knows about the famous sparkling wine Prosecco, but do you know that in Italy there are also other fantastic sparkling wines at the same level as Champagne?
We call them "Spumanti" (that means sparkling wines), and the 5 most famous ones are:
Prosecco: Aromatic, fruity, sparkling, ideal for parties
Lambrusco: is a red wine produced in Emilia Romagna
Franciacorta: is a wine from Lombardy with Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, and Pinot Nero grapes.
Asti Spumante: produced with Moscato grapes, a sweet and aromatic sparkling wine
Alta Langa: it is white or rosé wine. It is a vintage Brut artisanal of great prestige. (but you can also find pas dosé and extra dry)
If you like Italian wines and wish to try only the best, you should check out all the wine-tasting tours in Italy.
89. Don't be afraid to ask for help while ordering the wine
Not everyone is a wine expert, but trying delicious Italian wine while dining in Italy is necessary.
Just ask your waiter or sommelier to advise you to choose something that goes perfectly with your meal.
Pssst! Looking for the best way to taste local food? Check out the most loved Italy Food Tours here.
90. Order an espresso and a liquor after your meal:
This is one of my favorite tips when traveling to Italy. We call them "caffè" and "ammazza caffè'. One is the coffee, and the other one is a liquor, which can be whatever locally they have, that we call "coffee killer."
91. You have to ask for the bill:
In Italian restaurants or bars, they wait for you to ask for the bill, because they don't know if after your dessert you wish to get a coffee or an "Ammazza Caffe" (a liquor after the coffee) so say: "Posso avere il conto, per favore?"(can I get the bill, please?)
92. Tourists get charged more in some tourist places:
Yes, this is true, it is not fair, and it is also illegal.
Please always check the prices on the menu before ordering and your bill before paying.
Some restaurants and bars are more expensive only because they are famous or near a top tourist attraction, so if you walk a little further, you will find the same delicious cuisine at a cheaper price, which is essentially the price we Italians pay.
93. A little tip is well accepted, but leave cash:
One of my traveling tips to Italy is always to leave a little tip at the restaurant, even just one euro. And if you are going to pay by card, leave some cash as a tip.
If you add it to the card transaction, that money will probably never get to the waiter who served it but straight to the owner's bank account, so keep that in mind when a waiter has done a great job.
94. Ask your waiter for tips and info about other places where to eat:
This is a great travel tip for Italy if you love trying all the local food and dining in the best restaurants (in terms of quality, not price).
Waiters live locally, and they know which are the best places where to eat nearby.
Italian Supermarkets tips
If you're traveling to Italy for the first time, there are a few tips to keep in mind.
One of the most important is to visit an Italian supermarket (you will love it if you love food as much as I do).
Not only will you find a wide variety of delicious and authentic Italian foods, but you'll also get a glimpse into daily life in Italy. And don't be afraid to ask for help or recommendations from the friendly locals!
95. Esselunga, Famila, Coop, Conad and Carrefur ar the most common supermarkets:
These are the most famous supermarkets in Italy, you can find them everywhere, from north to south. My mom was a cashier at Coop all her life (now she is a happy pensioner).
Remember that in every supermarket you will find their own food brand that is as good as the other ones, but cheaper.
96. If you travel on a budget, look for the cheapest supermarkets:
Lidl, Adi, and Eurospin are the cheapest supermarkets in Italy. My favorite is Lids, where I usually find everything I need for a cheaper price.
97. If you rent an apartment, cook some Italian food by yourself:
If you like cooking as much as I do and want to save money while visiting Italy, you should cook some of your meals at your accommodation.
You can buy some ravioli or tortellini in a supermarket (Giovanni Rana is the most famous brand in Italy for filled pasta). Add some ready made sauce, a bit of parmigiano and dinner is served!
Pssst! If you like cooking, you should attend a pasta-making class in Italy. The best way to learn how to cook fresh pasta and be able to make it when you get back home. Let's show off to your friends what you learned in Italy!
98. Supermarket wines are as good as those in the restaurants:
I can guarantee you that you can buy delicious wines in every Italian supermarket.
If you want to have dinner at your accommodation or, even better, enjoy a bottle of wine with local cheeses and cured meat while enjoying the sunset.
Don't forget to check the best wine tours in Italy to taste only the best wines available!
99. You won't find any plastic bags in Italian supermarkets:
I like this about Italy but haven't seen it in many other countries. Italian supermarkets only sell reusable bags or corn-made bags at a small price. If you have a reusable bag at home, bring it with you!
100. Always wear provided gloves when choosing your veggies and fruits:
At any Italian supermarket, you will see that fruits and veggies are sold loose. They are not in packaging, so you must put them inside a provided bag.
Before touching any fruits and veggies, wear the gloves provided and avoid touching them with your bare hands.
After choosing which fruit and veggies you want to buy and placing them inside separate bags, you must weigh them yourself at the provided scale.
101. Don't touch the items in street markets:
Whatever you want to buy in a street market, from veggies, fruits, and clothes, always ask the vendor to assist you.
They will shout at you if they see you touching their fruits with your dirty hands (and they are right to do so).
102. Some small towns have weekly farm markets:
Most small towns in Italy have their own weekly market. In my hometown, for example, it is on every Thursday.
In these markets, you can find everything: clothes, kitchen items, local food, and more.
Tips for shopping in Italy
103. Do Some Shopping While in Italy:
If you are considering shopping while visiting Italy, I suggest you leave some room in your luggage and wear what you buy while exploring Italy.
104. You can find an ATM almost everywhere:
If you are wondering if it is easy to find an ATM in Italy, I can assure you that you will find an ATM around every corner in Italy, so you have nothing to worry about.
105. You won't be able to pay by card everywhere in Italy:
Many shops and markets accept only cash, and even if they have a card payment machine available, they will tell you that it is not working (unfortunately, this happens very often), so always have some cash with you.
Also, not all credit cards are accepted in Italy. While Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted everywhere, American Express may not be as widely accepted in smaller shops and restaurants.
Remember to notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any issues with fraud alerts or card freezes.
106. Get an international prepaid card to save money:
A prepaid card is essential if you don't want to pay extra fees.
Travel Cards are easy to use and they will automatically exchange your currency for the local currency, and you will also be able to freeze it if you lose it and check what you are spending in real time.
I have been using Revolut Card since 2016, and it has been my best friend ever since. I always take it with me while traveling.
To learn everything about Revolut Card, see here.
107. Make sure to have a credit card with a magnetic stripe or a chip:
In many cities in Italy, you will see that you will have to enter the bank to withdraw money, and the doors are closed at night.
The only way to enter the bank hall is by swiping your card at the chip reader, and the door will open for you.
And to get out, you will see a green button at the side of the door with the writing "Apri"(which means Open).
108. Don't expect to find the Italian luxury brands cheaper in Italy:
Unfortunately, Dolce and Gabbana are still Dolce and Gabbana, even in Italy.
And also all the other famous Italian brands. You might find excellent discounts at the beginning of the year, like January and February, and from the end of July till the end of August, but don't expect so much difference during other months.
109. Buying fake designer brands is illegal:
Don't risk your holiday by buying fake Gucci bags on the street. I know it can be tempting, but most of the time, they are terrible fake ones, and if a police officer sees you, they can fine you for it, so watch out!