10 things to know before traveling to Italy
Italians love to eat well and talk about food for a long time, so don’t be surprised by questions about what you ate for breakfast or dinner. First of all, we are talking, of course, about the national cuisine. By the way, Italy cannot boast of such a variety of restaurants with cuisines of different countries, as in neighboring European countries – in the vast majority of establishments here they serve pizza, lasagne and all kinds of pasta.
Another interesting fact is that the overwhelming majority of restaurants are open on schedule: breakfast (8: 00-10: 00), lunch (12: 30-14: 00) and dinner (18: 30/19: 00-22: 00). The rest of the time the establishments are closed.
Read about what Italian dishes are worth trying and where to do it best here.
In all shops and many institutions in Italy, Saturday is an abbreviated day, Sunday is a day off. Some of them also do not work on Monday under the pretext that the sellers need to “take a rest after Sunday”. In major tourist cities such as Milan, however, today you can find several shops open on Mondays, but this is extremely perplexing for Italians.
Also keep in mind that on the rest of the days most shops in Italy, especially in small towns, close for siesta, from 13:00 to 16:00. In general, it is not necessary to say that Italian sellers and consultants are recycling.
For those who are used to using the metro, for example, in Kiev, the view of the Roman subway may seem somewhat disappointing. It is small (only two branches), trains are painted with graffiti, and in some directions you can only get there until 21:00. The buses in the country are the same as the Italians themselves – unhurried and unpredictable! You can wait half a day at the bus stop, and then find out that they do not go because of the next strike. But you can always count on night buses running in many large cities.
The Italian mafia has become a brand for visitors, but the stories of its influence in the modern world are no more to be trusted than stories of bears walking around Red Square. In terms of security, Italy has a pretty good reputation.
But this does not mean at all that you do not need to take any measures to preserve your valuables – street thefts are not uncommon here. One of the most common schemes is when thieves are ripping off a tourist’s shoulder bag, so we recommend wearing a backpack or a bag that fits over your shoulder.
In Italy, you can really get to know what annoying sellers are. As soon as you enter the store, a consultant will immediately “find” you, for whom now the main goal of life is not to let you go without a purchase. Therefore, if you just want to look around, we advise you to immediately notify the service personnel. By the way, purchases in the vast majority of cases cannot be returned, so choose carefully.
We also recommend that you learn the name of the numbers in Italian. In many stores, especially in the outback, sellers do not know English, which means that it will be much more difficult to bargain with them until the required amount.
Italy is one of the countries where tips are very welcome. In restaurants, the traditional 5-10% may already be included in the service bill. It is customary to leave less for maids and porters – € 1-2. Once in a public restroom, you should understand that the person working at the entrance is likely to expect a little encouragement from you too.
It will be a crime to be in Italy during its famous fairs and not get to one of them. In order not to miss the event, keep track of the posters with the words Feste or Sagre. The largest number of them occurs in the summer. Each is dedicated to a particular type of food – of course, all this can be tasted in the process.
You have come to a great place to get rid of the addiction – at least all the conditions are created for this. For example, buying cigarettes in Italy is expensive and problematic. The cost of one pack is on average € 3.5-6, and because of the established monopoly, you can buy them only in specialized tobacco shops. The country also has a ban on smoking in public places, including train stations and bus stops.
The country is a recognized trendsetter, which is why its residents dress stylishly and in line with new trends. However, you should not think that they somehow stick out or flaunt fashion brands – the locals tend to have restrained elegance. Remember that the last place to show your extravagance is the Catholic Church. There are strict rules regarding the appearance of the parishioners: read them before you go there.
The Italian police are extremely strict with those who drive fast. Fines for speeding annually make a significant contribution to the country’s budget. But do not expect that you will be watched by patrol cars or guys with striped sticks sitting in the bushes – inconspicuous gray boxes do an excellent job of taking photos of violators, which are then (along with a penalty receipt) sent to the owner of the car. Communication with the local police is made difficult by the fact that usually the policemen do not know English, and you will have to explain yourself literally on your fingers.
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