Before experiencing the cafés, the canals, the godola rides, the museums, and the scrumptious Italian cuisine, here are some tips on how to survive and make the most of your Italy travel.
No arduous preparation or difficult planning is needed when one travels to Italy, but there are some pointers and pieces of advice that Italy visitors may want to have in mind when they’re visiting this lovely country.
Get yourself a guidebook. Sure, it looks a bit touristy having a tiny travel booklet with you, but having a guide book when traveling in Italy will definitely help you in situations when there are no tour guides. Guide books usually have maps in them, and this will come in handy if you find yourself in situations when the streets start to look the same.
Learn Italian. Or just a few sentences that will make you express yourself in everyday situations, like saying “Hello” (bwon zhor-no) or “Thank You” (Grazie), or questions like “Can you help me?” (Può aiutarmi?), and “Could you say that again, please?” (Puoi ripetere, per favore?). Also, learning Italian will make you so much more interesting than the other visitors who didn’t give the slightest effort to strike up a simple conversation with locals. Speaking their language will definitely give you an A+ with your new Italian friends.
Buses and trains instead of taxis. Taxis could be more convenient, but it’s more expensive than taking the bus or the train, which will definitely give you more of a genuine experience of transport. Try not to hop on taxis all the time, especially if you’re on a budget. Also, keep in mind that you must have euros after stepping out of the airport—most of the time, taxis do not accept any other currency.
Dealing with Italian men. Not all Italian men are like this surely, but most of the time, female travelers may get shocked at the way they give compliments. Lots of Italian men are more open about their opinions on the opposite sex, so don’t get instantly insulted when they express their admiring comments towards you.
Observe dress codes in churches. You will surely have to visit the churches in Italy, such as the The Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome or St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Big or small, the Italian dress code for churches are different, so just to be safe, wear something decent (meaning no shorts, no sleeveless shirts, closed footwear) when you know you’ll be doing church visits. You wouldn’t want to miss the great architecture and frescoes inside just because you didn’t follow the Vatican dress code, do you?
When to visit. It’s around the months of July to mid-September that Italy gets most of its visitors, so if you don’t want to spend your vacation on long lines and queues, sharing them with thousands of other travelers, avoid these months. The best time to visit Italy is during the months of April to June and around late September to October, when the weather’s perfect and there are less travelers. Traveling during August is not really advisable, for the weather could get too hot, and some shops and hotels could be closed until the end of the month, because this is the time when people have their vacation.
Check the weather. The weather in different parts of Italy vary, so you must make sure that you check what the weather will be before flying there, so you could prepare what clothes or extra stuff you need to bring. Summer in Italy could bring most of the heat towards the south, and the high temperatures begin in Rome sometime around May stretching until October. It’s coldest up north in the winter, with a mix of snow and rain. In the south, it could get pretty warm all year round. Weather in Italy is always available online, so being updated will not be a problem.