Italy, a country in south-central Europe, is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a significant center of the European fashion industry and is home to an astounding 55 UNESCO World Heritage sites. With a population under 60 million, Italy has a rich collection of art, culture, and literature from many periods.
From museums to churches, statues to archaeological remains, Italy has around 100,000 astonishing monuments of various sorts. Apart from this, Italy has some of the most scenic landscapes and is mostly surrounded by water. Alongside the glorious towns and gorgeous coasts, Italy has delicious food, vast lakes, and smoking volcanoes.
It’s one of the most preferred destinations for couples and solo travelers. So whether you want to visit the finest vineyards in the countryside or explore the ancient ruins of Rome, Italy has much to offer. This travel guide will tell you all the dos and don’ts of planning your vacation to Italy and how to make your trip memorable.
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Travelers should follow safety precautions while visiting Italy. In crowded tourist hotspots like Venice and Florence, make sure to keep your belongings safe, as there can be a few thieves in the area. Beggars are common in Italy, don’t engage with them and follow safe routes throughout your tour.
Reasons to Visit
Some of the reasons why Italy is one of the top tourist destinations worldwide are:
- History and Culture: Italy is filled with ancient history and culture. Museums in Italy are made by the world’s best artists and have some of the greatest works of art. Even the small towns are charming and mesmerizing.
- Delicious Italian Food: Italy is like a paradise for foodies. From pasta to ravioli, Italian food will make you fall in love with it.
- Outstanding Wine: Let’s not forget about Italian wine! Wine in Italy has the perfect combination of taste and texture and goes perfectly with every food. Just one sip and you will wish to stay here as long as possible.
- Dramatic Landscapes: Italy is a peninsula that boasts the longest coastline in Europe. Except for Umbria, almost every other Italian region has access to the sea. Therefore, it would be best if you took advantage of the beach vacations in Italy.
- Fashion Centre: From Gucci to Parada, Italy is the kingdom of fashion where you will find many international brands. You can also find discounts on many brands during the sale season.
- Unique Festivals: Italian carnivals offer a unique experience that is truly worth your time. From Venetian Carnival to the historic Regatta, Italians always have something to celebrate.
Things to Avoid
Like every other country, Italy comes with its own unique habits, customs, and cultures. Here are some things you should know before traveling to Italy:
- Dressing Inappropriately: Wearing shorts or skirts is completely fine in less sacred sights, but when visiting churches and other religious places, make sure to dress appropriately.
- Ordering a Cappuccino in the Afternoon: Don’t order a cappuccino after 11 am, especially not with pasta. Italians consider cappuccino as a breakfast drink due to its high milk content. So, unless you want everyone staring at you, don’t order a cappuccino in the afternoon. Order a “caffè” (the Italian equivalent of espresso) instead to keep your energy levels high.
- Overtipping in Restaurants: Italians only tip for meals when they get outstanding service. Unlike in the USA, you don’t have to tip everywhere you go. It’s only common to tip when eating at a fine dining venue.
- Not Learning Italian: You might think that most Italians speak English and you can roam around without learning Italian, but it’s only partially true. You might get around in famous touristic cities like Rome and Milan, but if you’re planning a trip to small towns like Amalfi, then learning some Italian would be helpful.
- Not Validating Your Train Tickets: It’s essential to validate your ticket before boarding a train in Italy. Most train tickets in Italy don’t have a date or time for flexibility purposes. However, if you forget to get your train ticket stamped at one of the yellow machines in the station, make sure to tell the conductor instantly after boarding to avoid a fine. It’s recommended to validate your ticket every time you travel by train in Italy.
- Accepting Free Gifts: Don’t ever accept freebies from strangers on the streets of Italy. You might get approached by performers, artists, or characters and offered an item. Don’t assume it’s free; politely decline it to avoid arguments. It often happens in big cities like Rome where there are a large group of tourists in one place.
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