In my opinion one of the main caveats or “travel tips” is to embrace the Italian lifestyle. Unless you want to be labeled the ugly American, you have to consider that you are a guest in another country. Of course life is different in Italy. Isn’t that one of the reasons we want to go there?
Dress with respect for yourself. No sloppy sweat pants.
Perhaps it is partly due to the climate, but I see far less people wearing scarves and stiletto heels in southern Italy. A colorful scarf is always a welcome accessory for both men and women.
For the past couple of years temperatures have been higher than normal all over the world, and Italy is no exception. 2015 has been reported as the hottest year on record according to the New York Times. I have noticed many Italians now wearing shorts, although most are young people and I see this trend more in the south of Italy, and of course near the beaches.
Dogs seem to be welcome everywhere in Italy. I have seen them on buses, trains, boats, in stores, restaurants and on tours. One bar even had a bowl of water and a specific section marked “Dog Bar.” Some are well-cared for but in many areas they are stray and appear unkempt. Dogs are used for truffle hunting and more practical reasons than for pets, so don’t expect to see so many pampered pets as you may see in the US.
I learned to be aware that each region in Italy is known for certain items either grown or produced in that area, such as olive oil, vino, ceramics, lemons, etc.
The Italian people who live there are extremely proud of these items coming from their region, and they are eager to share with you anything they can. It may be taking a lemon from their tree, and scraping its skin, allowing you to smell its strong flavor. This part of the Italian lifestyle is heartwarming.
Italians seem very connected with the earth and they appreciate whatever grows there naturally, using various herbs and plants to their benefit. Rather than taking these things for granted, the Italians have such a passion and appreciation for what grows around them, and they know how to make the most use out of it. They use what they have.
So if a restaurant doesn’t have something, it’s probably because it’s not in season and not grown or produced locally. They will smile and simply tell you “It is finished,” or “It is not possible,” and that’s the end of the conversation.
So go to Italy and enjoy every moment. Don’t ever expect it to be like it is at home. Embrace the Italian lifestyle and immerse yourself amid the Italian people for the best experience you will ever have!
Have you been to Italy? What travel tips do you have?
I’d like to hear from you so please leave a comment.
Grazie and Ciao
If you would like to read more travel tips about Italy I highly recommend Victoria’s Travel TipZ Italian Style by my friend and author Victoria DeMaio. I have the book and have learned a lot from it. It’s funny and packed with travel tips that will come in handy when traveling in Italy.
If you haven’t been to my Instagram page, please check it out…Lots of photos from Italy there.