Whether you’re interested in excellent food or fascinating history, Italy is a country with a lot to offer. You can find many UNESCO World Heritage sites in Italy, which is no surprise given its rich culture, art, and natural beauty. Whatever your level of experience is in traveling to Italy, there are some things that you need to know that will make your trip more enjoyable. Italians tend to be very traditional in their behaviors, but they are pleasant and warm people. We have selected the 7 best tips for traveling to Italy, which will be extremely useful for those who first step on Italian land. Follow these tips, and we are sure that your time in Italy will be truly memorable!
1. If you want to feel comfortable and always be in touch, buy a local SIM card
There are three leading operators in Italy: Vodafone, TIM, and Wind. Of course, you will need a passport to buy a SIM card. The cost of the package varies from € 10 to € 20. For this money, you will have from 4 to 20 gigabytes to roam online. You can top up your account in operator stores and supermarkets, newspaper, and tobacco kiosks.
2. Public transportation can be a challenge
Prepare yourself for Italian traffic if you prefer exploring the city by vehicle. The public transportation system in each city in Italy usually includes buses, trams, and metros. If you want to depend on more than two feet when you visit a city, it’s a good idea to read about the best way to get around. Researching the options for a day pass can also help you save money. One of the well-developed transport systems in Italy is a train system. So, exploring the beauties of magnificent Italian landscapes is better via train. In front of you, a number of picturesque views of lovely villages, large grape fields, Renaissance cities, and capturing sights will appear. By following italyrailway.com you open an opportunity to discover Italy on a high-speed train in just a few clicks!
3. Almost every region of Italy has its own special dish, which it can boast of
Italian cuisine is regional: utterly different from one area to another. Each dish has a homeland, the tastiest pizza comes from Campania and the iconic bolognese sauce from Bologna. Additionally, in Abruzzo, the main dishes of the region are considered to be robber sheep (pecora alla brigante) and arrosticini, kebabs on wooden skewers. Local pallotte cacio e ov pancakes deserve special attention. These are deep-fried cheese and egg croquettes. And for a sweet tooth, Veneto will be a fantastic discovery. The tradition of confectionery in Veneto is the most impressive, because it’s the birthplace of Christmas cake pandoro from Verona, Easter almond pastries fugassa and tiramisu come from.
4. You should be realistic about what you’d like to see
Museums in Italy are not cheap (the average cost is about € 10). But if you don’t want to spend money, be wise about your travel dates. If you come here on the first Sunday of the month – admission to all state museums of the country will be free.
Another option is to buy a tourist card, which will give free entry to some tourist attractions, discounts to museums, and free public transport.
In Rome – Roma Pass. For 72 hours – € 38.50, 48 hours – € 28. The card gives free access to one or two attractions, free travel on ATAC public transport, and the opportunity to buy tickets to other museums at a discount and pass through them without queues.
In Venice – Venezia Unica. The cost of the card starts from € 21.90, includes free access to several museums and churches, a single ticket for public transport, free access to the city Wi-Fi network.
In Milan – Milan Tourist Museum Card. The card is valid for three days, costs € 12, allows you to visit an unlimited number of museums (permanent exhibitions only), as well as offers discounts on city events. The card can be purchased online.
In Florence – Firenzecard. The card is valid for 72 hours and costs € 72. After purchasing the card, you can visit any of the 76 museums listed on the website (permanent and temporary exhibitions). In addition, cardholders can enter museums without queues and pre-booking (the exception is the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore).
5. Remember, if you buy a lot of goods in Italy, you can count on Tax Free
Tax Free is a return of 22% of the cost of all purchases. To take advantage of this offer, you will need to ask the seller for a tax-free form every time you purchase goods worth more than € 155, on which you will need to put a customs stamp at the airport. The money can be returned either in cash at the airport or arrive later on a bank card. You can also cash out VAT thanks to intermediaries directly in the city – you will need to contact one of these companies: Global Blue, Premier Tax Free, or Tax Refund S.P.A.
6. Go shopping in…markets
Many factors contribute to Italians’ pride for their cuisine, one of which is its simple ingredients. Therefore, there is no better way than to be exposed to the building blocks of Italian cuisine to understand it. The markets are filled with glistening or marbled eggplants and various colored fruits during summer, while huge bunches of cicoria entwine amid pyramids of round artichokes in winter. You must not miss Italy’s markets if you are a foodie – they are the best places to see how Italians shop and eat.
7. Try to learn the basic phrases in Italiano
Most Italians who live in the larger touristy cities speak English, but it is sure to win an Italian’s favor if you say a few words in their native language. A foreigner who attempts to speak Italian will appreciate its nuance and flourish. You shouldn’t have any trouble if you know a little French, Spanish, Portuguese, or Latin. You may benefit from listening to the Italian accents and words and then mimicking them. And if you demonstrate correct gesticulation, extra points are awarded!
To sum up, next time you visit this amazing country, make sure to purchase a local sim card, claim your tax return, visit museums on Sunday and spend a couple hours in food markets! Above all else, have fun on your journey and enjoy it. Italian cultural sights, smells, and sounds won’t have to be distracted by the little challenges. Bon traveling!