Posted by on 01 Nov 2019 , in Europe
It's no secret that Italy is one of the most sought-after destinations in the whole world. Millions of people cross land and sea for a chance to experience the vast richness of its culture, beauty, cuisine, and history. From ancient ruins and Gothic structures to historic canals, Italy is brimming with extraordinary experiences.
Whether it's your first time or seventh, a little preparation goes a long way. Here are a few good tips on how best to navigate your Italy holiday like a pro.
1. Learn the basics
You don't have to study the entire language but knowing common phrases can help you out in your every day. Italians are generally friendly people and won't hesitate to assist you however speaking a few Italian words will take you a long way and encourage deeper connection. Simple words of greeting and gratitude like grazie and ciao may not seem like a big deal but being polite certainly is.
2. Understand the concept of 'riposo'
"Riposo" literally translates as rest or break, and it's something that’s ingrained in Italian culture. Italians believe in taking the time to refresh yourself after lunch before going through with the rest of your day. Because of this, most shops will close in the afternoon usually between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.. Time slows down on this side of the world so adjust your pace – rest and make the most of it!
3. Take the scenic route
Although local airlines are becoming more and more competitive, trains are still by far the most popular way and enjoyable way to explore the country. With stations located in all major cities of Italy, you can travel from Rome to Milan inless than 3 hourse. Just sit back and enjoy the view. You can DIY your multi-city itinerary, or choose from a variety of rail tours including all aspects of your holiday (accommodation, transfers, etc…). When taking the train, it's important that you remember to validate your ticket before you board (even some e-tickets required to be validated before boarding). There's hefty fine if you forget to do so. But don’t worry, every platform has a self-service ticketing and yellow validation machines.
4. Sail away
If you have the luxury of time, take a cruise and explore the country through its scenic coastlines. You'll be rewarded with an unobstructed view of the cities while you enjoy a relaxing time on deck. These cruise packages are hand-picked by travel specialists, but they can be also customized according to your preference. Sail away with a self-drive boat or w why not try one of our barge product and navigate the beautiful canals of Italy. If you're looking for an off-beaten path to get to know Italy, this is it.
5. Drink coffee like a local
First things first - there is no falling in line in Italy. So, if you've been waiting for 15 minutes for someone to get your order, it won't happen anytime soon. You must cross the sea of people in front of the counter to get to the cashier and make your order. For a cheap cup of cappuccino in the morning, the locals usually drink theirs standing at the bar. Getting a table will set you back up to 5x the price because of the added service fee. Cappuccino is traditionally a breakfast drink. So, if you order it after 11am and notice strange glances or confused stares directed towards you, don’t be alarmed ?
6. Not all food taste the same.
Each region has a specialty - a dish that's unique to that specific place. The best carbonara can usually be found in Rome. For lasagna, head to Bologna; and for a good serving of pesto, the Liguria Region won’t disappoint. Travel to the birthplace of pizza, Naples, for the best margherita pizza you’ll ever taste – they only serve per pie, not slice. Whether you prefer red or white, Piedmont is a good place for a glass of fine wine including the famous Nebbiolo.
7. Head north to south
When people think of Italy, it's easy to associate it with Venice, Milan, or Rome. But Italy's culture and history are much more intricate and diverse. Although the metropolitan cities are located in the north, the South boasts some of the best beaches, sun-drenched coastlines and vibrant surroundings. The beautiful thing about Italy is that each corner is different from the other. All the more reasons to come back and experience another memorable holiday.