50 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Italy

Italy is a beautiful country located in Southern Europe. With Rome as its capital city, Italy is the 5th most populous territory in Europe, with about 60 million inhabitants. Despite repeated attacks by German civilization, Italy has endured its rich history.

Italy has remained a city with the most significant number of travelers and vacationers. So far, there are no signs of decline in number. At present, the peninsula has more o less 46 million tourists every year. For voyagers, vacationers, students, and course takers, the following are the 50 Things you need to know before traveling to Italy.

  1. Italians are claimed to be the worst drivers in Europe. They are fast and furious.
  2. Mind dress codes at churches. Avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless. Always bring a scarf all the time.
  3. Italian women are fashion trendsetters. They wear lots of black and love to wear designer glasses.
  4. No cappuccino after lunch. This unwritten law is an Italian food rule. Italians believe that the milk in cappuccino impedes healthy digestion. So, do not be upset if waiters might refuse you to order a cup of cappuccino.
  5. Do not visit the Vatican on Sunday. Expect the onslaught of tourists from Sunday! Unless, of course, you consider the big crowd as part of the attraction.
  6. Florence is the best place to buy souvenirs — especially gold!
  7. Beware of ZTL zones. ZTL stands for zona traffico limitato. These are limited traffic zones where drivers with no permits are not allowed to enter. The majority of the cities in Italy are ZTLs. Expect cameras on these sites. While violators are unlikely to be pulled in ZTLs, drivers with no permits are still likely to receive tickets in their mailbox even a year after the violation.
  8. Extra caution is advised when visiting Florence and Rome. They have the highest reported cases of theft.
  9. Never miss the ‘Holy Trinity’ cities, namely Rome, Venice, and Florence.
  10. Be careful about using the word ‘Latte’ when ordering your favorite drink. If you order a latte in public places, you are most likely to get only a glass of milk. In case you don’t know, latte is Italian for milk.
  11. Cold drinks are often served without ice.
  12. GPS software doesn’t work accurately in most cities in Italy.
  13. The majority of Italians speak decent English. So, the language barrier is not a big issue.
  14. Fruits in Italy taste phenomenal.
  15. Italian drivers drive like maniacs. They switch to another lane without warning. In case you missed #1.
  16. Most Italians are even-tempered. They may be angry now, but 5 minutes later, they turn fine.
  17. Italy has the best gelato in the world. Try one.
  18. Dinner time in Italy usually happens between 7:30 and 9:00 pm. It is a late dinner for some people.
  19. In Italy, bread is not eaten with pasta.
  20. Many shopping sites close from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm to enjoy lunch with friends or families.
  21. Tipping in Italian restaurants is not necessary and uncommon.
  22. Italian men are romantic lovers, but they can also be cheaters and sex maniacs.
  23. Do not show up at someone’s house empty-handed. Always bring a gift; a wine or a bar of chocolate, for example.
  24. In Italy, table manners are formal. So, tasting each other’s foods is unceremonious. Also, never call waiters across the room. Wait for your turn, and be polite.
  25. Don’t take a bite until everyone else starts to eat.
  26. Always hold the fork in the left hand during the knife in the right.
  27. When greeting a friend, always start kissing on the left cheek then right.
  28. Soccer is Italians’ favorite sport.
  29. Florence is a dog-friendly place.
  30. Italian men are natural mammonis, meaning they are overly attached to their mothers.
  31. Beggars in Italy are not ‘pushy’ and aggressive. If you say ‘no,’ they usually do not insist. But still, you have to exercise caution.
  32. Most rape cases are recorded in Florence.
  33. ‘Accidental kissing’ pretty much happens in Italy.
  34. Beware of Gypsies since they are occasional pickpockets.
  35. Times in Italy are indicated in 24-hr format. It means 7:45 pm is shown as 19:45
  36. While most Italians speak and understand English, learn some essential Italian words and phrases before traveling to the peninsula.
  37. Italy is a pretty formal place. Avoid eating in or near tourist attractions.

    Related: 10 Tips on Staying Safe in Rome

  38. Do not imitate Italians exaggeratedly, such as hand gestures and kissing people. You will get noticed.
  39. Goods in Italy is expensive. Reports say that you even have to pay for a glass of water!
  40. Standing at the bar while drinking coffee is cheaper than sitting down. Table service is a separate cost.
  41. Go with cash ALWAYS. Some Italian businesses do not accept credit cards.
  42. Do not leave bars or restaurants without receipt. The tax police may look for it.
  43. Validate your tickets for buses and trains before boarding — plan on purchasing tickets ahead of time.
  44. Italy has condom vending machines.
  45. Taxis are cheaper in Rome compared to other cities.
  46. Top travelers to Italy come from Germany, France, the UK, and the United States.
  47. Do not use the term ‘ciao’ to greet people, especially strangers.
  48. Public drunkenness is uncommon and abhorred.
  49. In Italy, smoking is banned in all public indoor spaces, including bars, cafés, restaurants, and discos.
  50. Chrysanthemums flowers are only for funerals.

Italy is not only a beautiful place but a fascinating country. Their customs and etiquette vary significantly from that of Americans and the rest of cities around the world. In saying that, it is always best and wise to research on your own about the peninsula and know the everyday to-do things, traits, and unusual activities before taking a trip to Italy.

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