Italy has everything - great coffee, food, scenery, art, history, wine, and pizza.
Many people have Italy on their bucket list, and it’s worth it.
Those who have been there always want to return, and those who haven’t, want to go.
As with other places in Europe, tourists are not treated like locals.
Many locals scoff at tourists who order lattes, play in the fountains, and other sacrileges tourists commit.
Your trip to Italy will be a thousand times better if you just knew a couple of important tips beforehand - things like knowing the local culture, when to visit, which places to go, and which things to avoid.
These will make your trip more memorable and less expensive.
Here are a few tips on how to travel to Italy like a local.
1. Learn basic Italian
Learning the local language can be helpful for you.
Whether you are ordering a cappuccino or asking for directions, it will be easier for you and the locals to communicate.
Someone trying to speak Italian, even though it is broken, communicates to people that the person is trying to know the culture better.
If not some basic things, you can learn to order food in Italian.
2. Download offline maps
This is a vital life hack for people visiting Italy.
Without maps, you WILL get lost in Italy.
Italy doesn’t have a standard, boring grid system.
Navigating the maze-like cities is a challenging venture.
Download a map onto your device, mark important places you want to visit, and you’re good to go.
3. Don’t go in the summer
Summer trips to Italy are trendy among tourists.
A lot of locals leave the country then.
With the summer holidays, tourists en masse flood Italy and prices skyrocket.
Italian summers are also hot and unpleasant.
In Rome, many shops and restaurants completely close for the month of August.
You’re better off visiting in the off-seasons but don’t go in the winter.
Italian summers and winters are extreme.
Try to visit in spring or autumn for an enchanting experience.
4. don’t stand in lines
With millions of tourists visiting a small country every year, you would be fed up too.
There is a rush in all the tourist places.
So, Italians don’t stand in lines.
Instead, they huddle around the counter, squeeze themselves, and push their bodies to the front.
You should try the same approach.
5. Know cafE etiquette
Italians take their coffee and cafés seriously.
Every Italian goes to the cafe for coffee every morning.
They don’t multi-task when they have their coffee.
They drink it standing up at the counter.
Order, pay, drink your coffee, then go about your business.
6. Take an afternoon nap
Italians take a break after lunch and nap.
Taking an afternoon nap is the norm all across Europe.
In Italy, it is called “riposino.”
Many cafés and local establishments are closed during the afternoon.
The sun is at its peak.
Get away from the heat.
After your lunch, go home and take an afternoon nap.
7. Indulge in a sweet breakfast
Italians wake up and have a fette biscottate (cookie-like hard bread) or a cookie with their coffee.
Most restaurants and cafes do not even serve a cooked breakfast in the morning.
Have a sweet breakfast and a cappuccino for an Italian start to the day.
8. Visit Italian islands
There are some fantastic islands in Italy. In the Bay of Naples, Capri is an island known for its landscape, exquisite hotels, and shopping haven.
Another island, Elba, is the most popular and most visited Italian island.
Known for harboring Napoleon, it is THE island if you want to get away from the city's bustle and wind down.
Sardinia, a quintessential Mediterranean retreat offering astonishing natural beauty, is another popular Italian island destination.
And there's plenty of sights to see in Sicily, Ischia, and Panarea.
9. Avoid popular tourist traps
There are also a lot of places that are not worth the hype.
Many restaurants on the main streets often make non-Italian foods and have a menu that appeals to non-locals.
Avoid these places.
Instead, try to talk to locals for suggestions.
Italians are not averse to a conversation and will tell you about delightful places that are not as popular with the tourists.
Walk in the city and get a feel of the streets and the people.
In popular sites, all you will see are other tourist faces and you could be more likely to get trapped in a tourist scam.
So, to get the essence of Italy, converse with the locals.
Check out a local animal sanctuary.
Find an off-the-beaten-path cafe.
Explore like a local.
10. Eat Pizza
An Italy trip without eating a pizza in Naples is incomplete.
The undisputed go-to place for pizza in the world: Naples.
It offers some of the most amazing pizzas you will ever get to eat in your life.
There are essential pizzas you simply have to try.
A thin pizza base with tomatoes, basil and cheese is called a margherita pizza.
Then, you have a pizza with oregano and garlic called pizza marinara.
Then you have the delicious fritatta.
Try a little bit of everything!
The tips on the list will help you adapt to the Italian culture a little bit better.
Try not to worry too much, instead take it easy and enjoy the trip.
That is the Italian experience - the dolce far niente - to not worry too much and have a good time!