Italy is an unbelievably beautiful destination that’s full of history, culture, amazing food and excellent wine. To ensure that you get the most from your trip, we’ve compiled some of our top tips that will help you to navigate your way through the quirks and customs of day-to-day life in this Mediterreanean gem.
Italians are warm and friendly so if you need any advice, recommendations or directions then don’t hesitate to ask. Each region has its own character. Milan, Turin, Florence and Venice are elegant and chic, while Rome is pure glamour and southern cities such as Naples and Catania have a rugged and authentic character. Wherever you go though, there is a proud Italian culture across the country; Italians are expressive in their language and, famously, their gestures. It can be quite a culture shock to go from the conservative ways of Brits to the familiar interactions with Italians, but you’ll soon slip into it and become an affectionate, cheek-kissing aficionado yourself.
It may sound like a cliche, but driving in Italy can be dicey. The road rules aren’t always followed strictly by car or scooter drivers so be careful if you’re driving yourself or crossing the road. The cities are the busiest areas, and some areas are pedestrian only; in the countryside you should be fine, but it’s always good to be extra cautious. Many motorways, especially in the south, have toll booths so make sure that you have cash on you when taking longer trips in the car.
It’s also worth noting that service stations will be closed during siesta time from noon until 3pm so you should plan your journeys accordingly. Some bigger petrol stations with have credit card services so that fuel is always available and so that you don’t need an attendant, but you can’t always rely on this.
As with most big cities you need to be careful with your belongings as pickpockets target tourists. Be sure to keep your cash close to you at all times and don’t leave your camera or bag on a table or out of your site.
Visiting and Strolling
Italy is often referred to as one big open-air museum. There is so much to see and we can help you pick out the best of the best. We highly recommend having a good balance of visiting sites and simply enjoying the pleasures of Italy. Italy is all about the good life and when exploring this exquisite country you’ll notice how even it day to day live, Italians never scrimp on indulgence.
Whether it’s driving sports cars, wearing the latest fashion, enjoying long lunches with the finest ingredients or all night feasts with endless local wine, be sure to live the Italian way and treat yourself while you’re here; enjoy an espresso or a gelato on a terrace in the warm evenings while people-watching and listening to their cheerful language.
Read: The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa beautifully chronicles a changing Sicily after Italian reunification.
Watch: Cinema Paradiso (1988), written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore; a love letter to Italy and the movies.
Listen: To hugely popular pianist and crooner Paolo Conte – you’ll know Via Con Me (‘it’s wonderful, it’s wonderful...’)