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Tips for the Trip: Italy

A Guide to a First Time Experience Traveling to Italy

Vatican City (Photo by Christopher Czermak)

There's nothing better than being able to get away from the 9 to 5; 5 days a week job and flying out for an extended vacation somewhere magical. In this case, that magical place being the stunning European peninsula known as Italy. 

There will always be information that you have to look into before making the trip happen, so that you are prepared for traveling to a foreign country. Here I will be giving some helpful tips and guides to enhance your journey overseas. 

As an experienced traveler myself, I personally lived in Italy for a year traveling city to city, learning what there is to learn, along with having a citizenship there as well. Therefore, I should be able to help! 

Language Barrier

Ostuni (Photo By Bogdan Dada)

The language barrier is more than likely one of the biggest difficulties of traveling somewhere new. If you aren't already fluent in Italian, or taking lessons, fear not, there are ways around it. 

Most major cities, such as Rome, Milan, Florence, etc. have a large sum of people who know enough English to communicate effectively. The more you stray from the major cities, the less likely you are to find people that speak and/or understand English. That being said, there are sometimes people who do speak it decently in smaller towns that can provide help to you. 

Listed below will also be a collection of phrases and words to help you get by speaking basic Italian: 

  • Ciao = Hello/Goodbye
  • Grazie = Thank You
  • Prego = You're Welcome
  • Buon Giorno = Good Morning
  • Mi Dispiace = I Am Sorry
  • Per Favore = Please
  • Si = Yes
  • No = No

Finding the Most Authentic Food

(Photo By Vitchakorn Koonyosying) 

While at the moment, this may not come to mind, it is an important aspect of the true Italian experience. Finding the legit Italian restaurant is sometimes harder than it seems. 

Initially, stray away from the word "turistico" as it stands for "tourists." The food is typically how people stereotype Italians. Instead, you want to find the hidden gems scattered in the depths of city alleyways and outside of all of the tourist attractions. 

Do not be afraid of "hole in the wall" looking restaurants. They can be some of the best restaurants. 

If you take the time to explore and wander away from tourist-filled areas, you will certainly find true Italian cuisine and enjoy your trip ten times more than you would by eating at tourist attracting restaurants.

If You're Worried About Crime...

(Photo By David von Diemar)

Don't be. Crime isn't much of an issue in Italy. In my experience, I have only ever seen someone pickpocket once, and they were caught almost immediately. 

The tip here is to just be wary of your surroundings. If something doesn't feel right, then avoid it altogether, but otherwise, there is nothing more to worry about. 

Side note: This has nothing to do with crime, but as there are everywhere, there are panhandlers. They come in different forms as they try to do creative things to earn money such as dress up as pharaohs or pretend they are levitating. Do not be alarmed by them, they are just trying to make money.

Getting Around

Altare Della Patria, Rome (Photo By Joshua Newton)

Just like the United States, Italy drives on the right side of the road, so renting a car is a viable option, however, if you don't feel comfortable doing so, here are some options. 

Rome specifically has a subway system that is mostly simple to maneuver. It has two main lines that only cross at one station. The stations are placed from main attractions to outer areas of the city. 

It is also possible to take a train from the airport to a terminal where you can find the subways. 

Other cities may not have these same subway stations, but taxis are just as efficient. As long as you can show where you need to go to the taxi driver, there shouldn't be any sort of issue. 

There is also the option of walking, if you are feeling up to it. It gives you plenty of gorgeous views and a deeper look inside city limits. 

Side note: If you have an urge to visit other surrounding countries, airfares are significantly cheaper flying around continental Europe. Take advantage of the train that can also travel to several different countries as well.

Places to Stay

(Photo By Marten Bjork)

Let's face it. Hotels aren't cheap no matter where you go. How can you go about paying for plane tickets, food, and souvenirs, while also paying for several nights at a hotel? Easy. You don't have to stay at a hotel. 

There are ways to rent out apartments or houses to stay in for better rates than hotels. This can be achieved through websites such as Airbnb, and One Fine Stay. Not only will you stay for cheaper, but essentially have more personal space. You won't be in a hotel with other guests, you will have your own place with as much space as you need.

To Sum it Up...

Piazza di S. Francesco, Montepulciano (Photo By Rowan Heuvel)

By listening to these tips, I can guarantee that your experience traveling through Italy will be beyond enchanting. They are tips I wish I could have known for my time in Italy. 

Without further ado, enjoy your adventure into the incredible country of Italy! 

Forza Italia!

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