Italy Do’s and Don’ts
We want your trip to Italy to be relaxing and fun. Here we will share 10 Italy do’s and don’ts to make sure you are always making a Bella Figura.
Do make a good impression. Bella Figura is a term that translates roughly to making a good impression. This means so much more than just dressing well, though that is important too. It means saying hello when you enter a store, making sure your arms are covered when visiting a church and even having correct change when paying for your cup of coffee.
Don’t order a cappuccino (or a latte) after a meal. Italians advise against drinking a cappuccino after a meal as they feel that milk after eating is a recipe for a stomach ache. So skip the milk and have an espresso instead. A cafe macchiato, an espresso with a splash of milk is ok. You may have heard that you shouldn’t order a cappuccino after 11:00 am. You can order a cappuccino later in the afternoon as a snack.
Do know what time it is. Know that many museums, sites and restaurants are closed on Mondays. Restaurants keep pretty rigid service hours. Lunch is from 1:00-3:00pm and dinner is from 8:00-10:00. It can be difficult to find a sit down meal outside of these times.
Do slow down. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t try and see it in one. Art, monuments, shopping, There is so much to see in Italy and it’s cities and towns that you want to pack as much as possible into your short time. Plan for a slow day or parts of days where you have nothing planned. Sit in a sunny piazza and watch the world go by. Embrace what the Italians call dolce far niente, the deliciousness of doing nothing.
Don’t ask for parmesan. Italians know a thing or two about what tastes good with what. Follow their lead and if it doesn’t come with the dish, don’t ask for it. Parmesan doesn’t belong on fish and balsamic vinegar is not for dipping your bread into.
Do ask for the check. It is not the norm for restaurants to turn a table several times in an evening. This is why you may walk into an completely empty restaurant only to be told there are no tables. This also means the waiter will not bring you the check with your dessert. You have to ask for it. Sometimes more than once.
Don’t touch the fruit. Markets across Italy are filled with beautiful fruits and vegetables artfully arranged. They look so colorful and inviting. Most markets are not self serve and the vendor will help you choose your purchases. Make sure to ask first to avoid being scolded.
Do learn the lingo. A simple Buongiorno will go a long way. In major tourist areas you will find most people speak at least a little english, but son’t be afraid to try out a few phrases that you have learned. Your effort will be most appreciated by the locals.
Do buy a ticket. Save your feet and take the bus. Public transportation can be a great, efficient way to move around Italy’s major cities. You need a ticket for every trip and you must purchase your ticket before you board the bus. Tickets are not usually sold on the bus. You can find bus tickets at some Bars, Tabaccaio’s (look for a sign with a large T) and newsstands.
Do order more than one flavor. So much gelato, so little time. Even the smallest size cone or cup you order affords you the choice of at least two different flavors. There are the classic combinations like hazelnut and chocolate and lemon and strawberry, but there are many new flavors popping up, like salted caramel and coconut. We recommend trying as many as you can.
bonus tip: Do have fun on your Italian vacation!