10 Things to Know Before You Travel to Italy

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Headed to sunny Italy for a vacation? Lucky you! I've compiled my top tips that you'll want to know before you go. Also, be sure to check out my in-depth guides to larger cities in Italy like Rome and Venice!

1. The best gelato is not from shops boasting bright colors displayed in windows (although, it's hard to get bad gelato in Italy). High-quality gelato shops keep their gelati (plural for gelato in Italian) in large covered canisters behind the counter. Also, look for shops that have warm Nutella (nocciola, which means hazelnut) on tap to put into the base of your cone. It'll change your life.

2. Ask the price of the ride before you take a taxi. When I was traveling around Rome there were some eyebrow-raising pricing discrepancies. It's widely encouraged to ask before you ride to avoid getting taken advantage of- or "taken for a ride" if you will.

3. Unlike in the USA, water is not complementary with your meal and usually will be bottled and sparkling. Most waitstaff will know that "no gas" means flat water.

4. A reusable water bottle is helpful to have because the cities have many water spigots with free, clean, safe drinking water (thank you aqueducts).

5. Book ahead of time if you'd like to take a tour. I always use TripAdvisor because they are reliable, have user reviews, and tours are bookable right on the site!

6. It's nearly impossible to have a bad meal in Italy. While the restaurants further from the tourist attractions will be less expensive, I usually don't mind paying a little extra to take in a view of the Pantheon, etc. with my meal.

7. Usually, a service cost will be charged for each person sitting at a table. This is in lieu of a tip, although when great service is rendered I tip anyway.

8. Italian markets are exciting and part of the experience. If you happen upon an open-air market, don't be afraid to haggle on the price. The seller expects it and will likely enjoy the back and forth.

9. Aperol and Campari are quintessential Italian apƩritifs. While these can be a bit strong for some, I highly recommend trying them in a mixed drink like an Aperol Spritz or Negroni while in Italy.

10. In Italy, there are many beautiful churches and chapels that you will want to see. If your shoulders or legs are not covered by your attire, be sure to bring something to cover yourself up with, such as a small scarf, if you'd like to tour these areas.

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