I fell in love with Italy after living there for 4 months. However, there were definitely things I wish I knew before going there. Take a look at my list of Italy travel tips to make your trip more enjoyable!
- Tax and tip is always included!
- Still or sparkling water is an extra charge; at less fancy restaurants, you can request tap water
- Depending on the restaurant, bread might also be an extra surcharge if you eat it – you can double check with the waiter
- Restaurants tend to close after lunch and reopen after 7 pm; make sure the restaurant you want to go to is open before you head there
- A lot of restaurants and attractions are closed on Sundays
- Aperitivo/aperitif is a must – you pay for the drink (which is usually around 10 euros) and it is all you can eat appetizers
- Gelato is always a good idea!
- Public transportation – singular tickets (and sometimes passes) can be bought at machines, newspaper stores/stands, and tabacchi shops; make sure to validate them at the machine on the bus after
- Walking – be prepared for cobblestone! I’ve seen women in stilettos walk the streets like a runway, but it is not for everyone
- Train travel – buy early on the Trenitalia site or day of at the station; I would not recommend sites like Rail Europe unless you plan on buying a rail pass as there are booking fees
- Ask clearly for rates at the currency exchanging storefronts as fees are often not as visible
- ATMs/Bancomats are probably safest to use at the airport
- Banks will only exchange money for those who are their customers
- Many state museums and galleries have free entry on the first Sunday of every month!
- Do not buy stamps at stands, which also conveniently have a special box to deliver; only buy stamps at tabacchi shops. Mailboxes are everywhere, but be sure to put it in the right slot (international vs. domestic)
- Be cautious of your belongings, especially when waiting or onboard packed public transportation. I almost got pick pocketed by a woman and her young daughter while getting on the subway. Keep your valuables on your body and not your backpack.
- There will be many instances, especially in large tourist areas, where people try to give you free handmade bracelets, tie your fingers together, or give you bird feed. They will request money from you after. To avoid them, simply don’t make eye contact or give them a polite and firm no.
Have any other questions about Italy, feel free to contact us directly!
Stone & Fern is a travel and lifestyle blog started by friends who have a passion for exploring cities, capturing moments, and trying new food. This is part of our Checking In city guide series.