Impact Travel‘s Italian expert, Olivia, lets us in on her special tips and tricks for the perfect holiday in beautiful Italy. From the practical to the tea-related, read on for everything you need to know for a pain-free Italian adventure…
Italy in general:
- Do your research before you visit Italy, as there are so many hidden places you might miss. For example I was staying near Scopello in Sicily, and I had no idea it was a trend setter and must-visit location for film directors and magazine photographers.
- If you can afford it (on any Italian coastline), rent a boat because the views of the island from the sea are spectacular, and the sea is crystal clear.
- Rent a car when you’re there instead of pre-booking to avoid misunderstandings. In Sicily the bus from the airport didn’t arrive on time, and a car would have been handy!
- You are likely to get free bread or breadsticks before a meal – so don’t worry about getting starters before hand!
- Two pizzas are enough between four if you’re not overly hungry! (If you’re hungry, then go for it!)
- Try to give yourself enough time on your trip to go to one venue at a time – the touristy and key places to visit in Rome for example, deserve to be seen fully. The Forum is definitely somewhere to spend the whole day if it is to be explored properly.
- Be prepared for some restaurants to put burning coals in a pot on your table to keep away wasps – the fumes are rather strong.
- Remember to bring long clothing that will cover your shoulders when entering the Vatican or other churches, out of religious respect. Either Maxi sleeved dresses, shoulder covering top and long skirt or trousers will do – make sure they are thin though due to the high temperatures.
- Visit the sights that are top tourist attractions as early in the day as possible to avoid large groups. Self guided tours are better as well for these reasons. The weather is usually cooler too at this time.
- Always ask for milk on the side when ordering breakfast tea – Italians don’t drink milk with tea they leave it black, so don’t assume your milk will arrive with it without asking!
- Make sure to try at least one iced coffee when you’re on your trip – coffee is the Italian speciality and you won’t regret trying one.
- Like with many other countries, some parts of Italy are quite poor so you shouldn’t be surprised when you are stopped by a street seller asking you to buy something. Sometimes the same seller approaches you several times when you’re sitting outside a local restaurant.
- Take a refillable water bottle because water fountains are everywhere and it’s free.
- Bring flat shoes such as lace ups to feel comfortable when you walk along the cobblestones. Heels are non-essential items to bring for this reason alone, although the Italians have smart casual evening wear anyway.
- If you’re someone who’s up for trying new things, aim to try something you think you won’t see somewhere else again. For example, kiwi ice cream was something I’m glad I tried – a flavour I didn’t think existed!
- Consider packing an insect repellent cream or spray as flies can be a bother.
- Take a bus tour after 3pm as it’s the cheapest time- 1 route around for €1 in Rome. We used I love Rome hop on bus tours.
- If you don’t fancy freezing in winter, stay as close to the centre as possible to avoid paying lots of money for taxis.
- Don’t buy fruit at the Trevi fountain as it’s rather expensive – at 3 euros for a peach – oops! Saying that, it was a relief to have something fresh to eat after a hot day in the sun!
All Images courtesy of Olivia Morel
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