10 Things You Must Know Before Traveling to Italy

When it comes to traveling in Europe, Italy is truly one of those destinations that just has it all. From the gorgeous coastlines and pristine beaches, the ancient ruins of Rome, the incredible collection of Renaissance art in Florence, to of course the world-renowned cuisine and wine. Though, before you embark on your journey full of culture, amazing food, and incredible landscapes, these 10 things are must-knows before traveling to Italy.

10 Things You Must Know Before Traveling to Italy

1. Don’t Overplan Your Itinerary – Setting up a guide for travel and pre-planning your trip is always a good idea. Although, while in Italy, be careful not to over plan. Leave time to explore, get lost in neighborhoods, go off the beaten path, and enjoy “La Dolce Vita”.

2. Avoid Tourist Traps – A few ways to indicate tourist traps are a pre-fixe menu, displays of food outside of the restaurant, English menus, and staff outside beckoning you to eat at their restaurant. 

3. Don’t Expect Things to Work the Same as They Do at Home – The pace of life is a bit slower in Italy, so don’t expect the same level of efficiency as you would back home. For example, you may have to ask for the check more than once, or customer service may be slower.

4. Be Aware of Your Belongings – Although Italy is a relatively safe country, tourists are often targeted by pickpockets. For this reason, be mindful of your belongings to avoid theft. You definitely don’t want to deal with the headache that comes with having to replace your stolen credit cards and valuables on vacation. Most common places to be aware are on public transportation, train station, and at popular monuments and sites.

5. Be Prepared to Eat Late – Dinnertime is a bit later in Italy. Italians typically go out to dinner anywhere between 8 and 10 PM, so be prepared to eat later than normal.

6. No Spaghetti and Meatballs – Know that spaghetti and meatballs or fettuccine alfredo are not traditional Italian dishes, but rather American creations. Instead, ask locals for typical cuisine, as they vary depending on which city you are in.

7. Dress Appropriately – Italians are quite fashionable, so it is best to leave your flip-flops and sports jerseys at home. Another note for the ladies is to bring attire that covers your shoulders and knees if you plan to visit any churches, including the Vatican.

8. Understand Tipping Etiquette – Tipping is not required, but you will commonly find “coperta” or cover charges at restaurants. If you are pleased with your service, it is typically to leave a few euros as a gratuity.

9. Cash is King – Although more and more places are accepting credit cards, it is always a good idea to have a bit of cash on you while in Italy, especially to avoid high ATM fees.

10. Drink Your Espresso Standing Up – Coffee is drunk standing at the bar, not sitting down or to-go. Know that if you do sit down, you will most likely have to pay double the price plus a cover charger (coperta).

espresso near the vatican