Traveling to Italy will likely be an eye opening experience for you if you haven’t been before, but that doesn’t mean you should head over without first doing your research. It’s a wonderful place filled with idyllic countryside, unspoiled territory, and very friendly people (depending on where you go), but there are still a few things you should be aware of. Read on for 8 things you should know before travelling to Italy:
The Coperto Fee Is A Thing
When you’ve sat down in a restaurant to eat and you’re handed your bill, don’t immediately think that you’re being scammed because extra charges have been added on to the bill. The coperto fee is something added on to the bill based on the amount of people served, and it may be anywhere from 1-5 euros per person. You’ll always have things like bread and breadsticks on the table, and this is something that is included, too.
Don’t Be Afraid To Get The Train
Train travel in Italy is actually far simpler than you’d initially believe. They tend to be on time, and all you have to do is make sure you validate your tickets.
Knowing Where To Stay
Here’s one of the best-kept secrets for traveling to Italy: the best places to stay in Italy are sometimes in the next town over from the big city or town you’re planning on staying in! It’s often much cheaper, a lot quieter, and you will probably have more room.
You’ll Want To Live Like An Italian
Italians have vastly different schedules to ours. Their shops and museums close at mid-day so that everybody can take their afternoon nap. One of the reasons for this is that the heat reaches its peak, and it can be too hot to work or be outside. To make sure you have what you need, you’ll need to head to the supermarket earlier on in the day. However, they also stay open much later than we’re used to – some are open till as late as 9.30pm.
Be prepared to hand over some change to use a public bathroom – they aren’t usually free.
Living like an Italian means getting used to the way they do things. They are often much more relaxed about getting things done, even if they are enthusiastic about it.
Learn A Few Key Phrases
Although many Italians speak English, it’s always going to be helpful to learn a few basic Italian phrases, such as: Grazie/Grazia (thank you) – add ‘mille’ (a lot) to the end if you’re enthusiastic!, Per favore (please), Si (yes), No (no), Prego (you’re welcome), Buon giorno (Good day), Buona notte (Good night), Arrivederci (Goodbye), Non copisco (I don’t understand), io parlo inglese (I speak english).
Not Every City Is Created Equal
Choosing an Italian city to visit can be tough. Venice is absolutely gorgeous and you can have an amazing boat road, but it’s super expensive. Rome can be a bit of a busy tourist trap, although there is lots of history to see. Choosing one of the multi centre holidays to Italy means you don’t have to pick just one place to visit!
Don’t Expect Perfect Wifi
Wifi in Italy will not be up to your usual standards. Over 30% of Italians have never been online. You may stay in a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb, but it doesn’t really matter – the wifi won’t be great.
Cafe Culture – What’s That?
Don’t expect a Starbucks in Italy. Head to a small coffee shop and enjoy a real Italian coffee instead!
Carry Your Money Safely
Many people choose to invest in a money belt before getting to Italy. You might not find this necessary, and that’s fine. It will probably be useful in the bigger cities such as Rome, but not so much in other places. You will likely be fine with a regular bag. It’s helpful to keep copies of your bank cards and any type of identification, just in case you lose yours. It’s also wise to keep money in different places. Keep some on you, but keep some back at where you’re staying too. This can make a huge difference to how safe you are – you should never be carrying your whole stash of cash with you.