Last week’s 25 Tips for Traveling in Italy was a huge success and readers, bloggers, Facebook friends and tweeters weighed in on the issue. Here are 25 more tips for traveling in Italy from some of the most experience Italophiles in the world.
– Tuscan Guest House manager, Martha of Friends and Family in Italy advises travelers not to rely on their GPS but to follow the directions from your hotel. As a B&B owner myself, I ditto her tip. We’ve had more than one set of guests get lost after ignoring our directions and following their GPS.
– NYC/Caribbean Ragazza recommends travelers carry small bills and coins when shopping in Italy. Many stores can’t-or won’t-break big bills and exact change is often appreciated.
– Christine from Miss Expatria advises travelers to call their credit card companies and write down a non “800” number. You can’t call a US toll-free number from Italy, so you will need an alternative way to reach your card company. For a detailed briefing on both of these tips, head to Why Go Italy-Jessica has already explained it!
– Katie at Olio di Oliva e Sogni di Vino encourages travelers to understand the differences among the Regional, Intercity and Eurostar trains. She’s written extensively about the differences and offers more train travel tips on her blog and in a two-part series at Venere.Com.
– Michelle of Bleeding Espresso recommends “lost” travelers take a poll, rather than follow the first directions they are given. Oftentimes, people won’t tell you they “don’t know,” and asking several people will save both time and stress on your journey.
– Vanessa in Messina adds that knowing some basic Italian hand gestures will help fill the language gap.
– Mark of Travel Wonders of the World advises you to venture outside of the Big Three (Rome, Florence and Venice) and plan time to enjoy the piazzas and a glass of wine or coffee.
– Speaking of coffee, Italians only drink cappuccino in the morning and they often stand up at the bar to drink their espresso. Feel like a local-if only for a moment-and drink your morning coffee at the bar.
– Context Travel urges travelers to walk, rather than take the bus, subway or taxi and get lost on some side roads, while my old Paris friend, Tony quipped in with “the bus will likely be late, anyway.” My Messina-based pal, Vanessa urges travelers to take the time tables “as a general guide.”
– Finding Peace reminds travelers that they are required by law to keep all receipts (even from bars and restaurants) until after they have exited the building. The Italian Guarda di Finanza has the authority to ask for your receipt and you could be fined if you can’t produce it.
– René of Venice Kayak reminds travelers that they are visitors in the bel paese and that a little respect will go a long way.
– Chowciao Linda keeps a pen and small notepad with her to jot down names, restaurants or contact information she gathers when she is out and about, while Anne in Oxfordshire thinks travelers should keep a small phrase book with them in case they get in a jam.
– Laura, a fellow American in Calabria advises travelers to buy their bottled water at the supermarket. It is a fourth of the price and you can refill it throughout the day at the water fountains throughout town. She also says if you don’t carry anything else with you-bring sun block!
– John at American Expat and Italian urges travelers not to tip, “because it isn’t expected and you’ll make the rest of us look bad.” Get more info on tipping in Italy at Why Go Italy.
– Jennifer from No Place Like It wants travelers to be prepared for volume and chaos, while Charlie at Fig and Lemon just wants you to be prepared! “Italy’s sea is not the pacific,” she says, “Amalfi is not an island and you won’t get to the beach by walking up a mountain!”
– Miss Expatria warns against over-planning and advises travelers to plan one major attraction per day. “Take it slow,” she says, “and you will enjoy it more.”
– I’d like to remind you that everything will take longer than you expect it to. I can’t quite explain why it does … but trust me, it does. Don’t try to pack too much into your trip.
– If you will be driving in Italy, it is legal for the police to stop you for no apparent reason. Don’t get upset about it-if you have all of your paperwork in order, you’ll get nothing but a good story to tell back home.
– Shorts and sleeveless shirts are often prohibited at religious sites. Plan ahead and wear long pants or a skirt (gals) and carry a light sweater for when you want to enter a church.
– For safety reasons, it is a good idea to blend in with the locals. That is not to say Italy is a dangerous place-because I don’t think it is-but it is always wise to avoid looking like a “rich tourist” and attracting unwanted attention.
– If you have an attraction, site or restaurant on your must-see list, confirm their hours of operation. Many places are closed on Mondays or are only open in the mornings. Get the information ahead of time to ensure you don’t encounter any big disappointments on your vacation.
What do you think of our list? Think we’ve covered it all? If not, let me know in the comments.
Until next time … Buon Viaggio!