When dining in Italy, look for places that don’t have pictures in the menu and don’t have people outside of the restaurant coaxing you to come inside! Those places are tourist traps.
Stick to running shoes or comfortable flats. Italy is no place for heels of any kind, or even sandals if you plan on doing a lot of walking! There are cobblestones and uneven walkways everywhere, and it’s dirty. Want more shoe tips? Check out THIS post.
Always opt for the house white or red wine! It’s not like the States where the house wine is always questionable. The house wine in Italy doesn’t have any sulfites in it so it’s delicious and so cheap!
I recommend waking up really early and starting your day exploring the spots that are likely to draw the most crowds, then as the day goes on, exploring lesser-known areas.
Leave your athleisure and designer items at home. You’ll likely already look American, but wearing those items will just make you more of a target for pick-pocketers.
A quick guide to helpful Italian phrases:
Grazie – Thank you [pronounced grat-zee-ay, but the ‘-ay’ at the end is said very quickly]
Prego – You’re welcome [Italians will also say it as a way to say ‘please, come in’]
Mi scusi – Excuse me/pardon me
Non parlo molto bene italiano – I don’t speak Italian very well
Parla inglese? – Do you speak English?
Saluti! – Cheers!
Potrei vedere il menu? – May I see the menu?
Quanto costa? – How much is this?
Mi porti a questo indirizzo, por favore – Take me to this address, please.
Posso avere il conto, per favore? – Can I have the bill, please?
Mi chiamo Haley! – My name is Haley!
Many businesses close during the mid-afternoon hours for their midday ‘riposo‘.
Italy is a part of the Schengen Zone so, if you’re coming into it from another country within the Schengen Zone, you won’t get your passport stamped, unfortunately.
Local merchants can call cabs for you or you can use the app ‘it Taxi’. Have cash on hand. Always!
Driving in Italy seems feasible except along the Amalfi Coast!
In Italy, you have the bar and the table setting / service. Most of the time, restaurants will charge a little more for whatever you order if you sit down. For example, at the bar of one cafe … our coffee’s would have been €2.50 but, since we sat down they added a €3.50 charge. It’s not usually that ridiculous of an up-charge but just know that if you’re bill seems a little pricey … and you’re sitting … that’s why. Typically, it’s around €1 for an espresso or macchiato and €2 for cappuccino or caffe latte at the bar. Always check the menu before you order at your seat!
To go coffee in Italy does not exist. You always drink your coffee at the cafe, whether you’re at the bar or at a table. No ‘to go’ cups. Well, except at Collina Bakery in Positano.
Caffé Latte, typically called a Latte Macchiato in Italy, is a morning drink so just know you may get an odd look if that’s what you order after your lunch for a little pick-me-up. Italians always go for an espresso, regardless of what time it is so do like the Italians do!
In Italy, salad comes at the end of the meal because it’s a great digestive meal and Italians are big on digestion.