Though we probably like to think that we do, but mostly we aren’t aware of the country’s background, rules and regulations. Here is the ultimate guide to making your walk to Italy a piece of cake.
Italy is home to art culture, ancient architecture, decent lifestyle, roman catholicism and impressive cuisine. The country is absolutely mesmerising with the Mediterranean Sea in the south and the Alps to the north. And to get the most of Italy, it is necessary that you should know what to do and what not. Like all other countries, this too has its set of customs which we need to follow. For example, Brazil takes the gesture of thumbs up as offensive or Greece is not affirmative about waving at people, Italy too, has got its list.
Here we find out the Dos and Don’ts in Italy that lets you have a safe and great trip-
• DO dress appropriately
A suggestion that has ruled most of the countries’ list of “Dos and Don’ts” is to be conscious of how you dress. The speciality of Italians is that they have an amazing fashion sense. They judge you on what you wear and can recognise you- either you are American or any out-of-towner wandering around. So, ditch those flip flops and bright coloured jackets, and pack the scarfs.
• DO validate your train tickets
Tickets for regional trains, or any tickets that do not carry specified name or seat, must be validated before boarding. Find a validation machine (which is white, or green or yellow) and insert your ticket into the slot until you hear the stamp applied. Now, this validation works for up to six hours, or else you can be fined.
• DO learn about the difference between coffee and latte
If you love latte and are going to order one in Italy, read this out- Latte is the Italian word for milk. And yes, you will be handed with a glass of milk. So, if you want a coffee, head towards the bar as the rest locals do. In restaurants, the procedure is a little different than the usual places you have ordered the coffee. Here you will be served coffee only after the meal and dessert.
• DO book your sightseeing tickets online
In peak season, you will gasp at the length of lines along the Italy roads for the entrance into top attractions and museums. The only smart way to get rid of this exhaustion and cut short your waiting time by booking the important tickets beforehand. For this, you would need to plan your itineraries in advance.
• DO have enough cash with you
Since the world is going digital you might assume that gorgeous Italy and all its establishments accept credit cards. Well, they do, but not everywhere. Avoid the embarrassing situations where you have to talk with the owner for not having money after you have eaten or used their service, by carrying cash in your pocket or wallet.
• DO look after your belongings
A piece of regular advice that you often get is to be careful about your travel bags and other belongings. It is a big country and as like any other destination, mishaps like theft or pickpocketing may occur, so, to deter someone to get into your stuff hold a zipped bag. Restrict from keeping valuable in pockets.
• DO watch both ways before crossing the road
Something learnt in the primary classes, the road rule of watching both sides before you cross is essential in Italy. The drivers here do not wait for the pedestrians who are waiting at the crosswalk. So, the best signal for the driver to inform that you want them to stop is to make eye contact with them. The simplest thing you would have ever heard, isn’t it? All you got to do is take a glance at the traffic, make eye contact or drop a hand, and you are good to go.
• DO NOT wear shorts in Church
There are several famous and renowned churches in Italy that definitely needs a tour. And most of these have signs asking visitors to not wear shorts or revealing clothes inside. For this, women can choose to drape a scarf when they are wearing sleeveless tops or bare shoulders. But it would be hassle less if you could just avoid wearing these dresses at such sightseeing.
Another tip: Keep your voice low and mobiles switched off when you enter the churches.
• DO NOT over plan
It is good to have a framework for what you are looking forward to in the upcoming vacation. But Italy is not your place to schedule each and every activity as per the hour. Over planning and over-scheduling are things not to do in Italy and thus you must have excess time in hand, spending it in bars, festivals or events that you bump into or catch on the way.
• DO NOT say Ciao at the first meet
It might look generous on your part that you have learned the Italian language and greeted someone with their ‘Hello’, but ‘Ciao’ is reserved for close friends and acquaintances. Instead, receive someone with “Buon Giorno” (good morning) or “Buona Sera” (good afternoon/evening). Also, the locals admire it that the tourists make attempt in interacting in the native language, and therfore, learn a few basic phrases.
• DO NOT fall into overpriced tourist traps
Everyone believes that they can escape the traps and scams going around the world. But a few tips never hurt. Know the crowded areas in the city which have legal bargaining and reasonable pricing, research well around through locals, websites and guide, and do not go far away from tourist areas in search of souvenir or eateries. Also, the restaurants that have no locals, or have host outside the door asking you to come in, are fairly inflated.
• DO NOT trust GPS
Yes, your good wise friend, GPS can cheat you here. Since Italy has quite similar names and address of the buildings around, you can be left nowhere. So, get a map of the region which can help you understand the routes easily.
• DO NOT forget to immerse in the Italian culture
Either it’s your first time coming to Italy or you are a regular visitor, Italian culture keeps you glued to the fun. The roots of art and history make your stay enjoyable and give you a trip of a lifetime. So, besides these ‘what to do and what not’ muddle, do not skip having a gala here.