7 Things I Learned in Italy

7 Things I Learned in ItalyOf all of the countries that I have visited, I have spent the most time in Europe’s big boot, Italy. After studying abroad in Florence, Sorrento and Sicily, I grew to learn much more about the country than I had on short visits as a teenager. If you are off to Italy or planning to visit, here are a few things I learned about the country that might prove useful if you don’t have a few years to spend to get to know it.

Don’t Order a Cappuccino in the Afternoon or Evening:
While it might be tempting to order up a delicious cappuccino in the afternoon or the evening for an instant pick-me-up while touring Italy, you might receive a great deal of strange looks from locals. Italians never drink a cappuccino outside of morning hours.

Do Your Shopping and Touring in the Morning or Late Afternoon:
At around noon in Italy, everything shuts down for several hours. Yes, everything seems to shut down. You can’t normally buy groceries. You won’t find many shops open. And you will even have a hard time finding attractions that aren’t closed for the Italian version of naptime called riposo. It is best to tour and shop in the morning and early evenings to avoid this afternoon shutdown.

Italians Dress For The Season, Not For The Weather: This lesson still shocks me. Italians don’t really dress for the weather; rather, they dress for the season. It might be warm, hot even and Italians might be wearing winter coats and scarves. Italians don’t seem to alter their wardrobe for what the temperature might be that day. Instead, they look at the calendar to see what they should wear.

Always Seek Out Restaurants Away From Main Piazzas: Italy is no secret. It is on every tourist’s radar and as a result, you can have bad meals in the country. After sampling a few bad seeds, I learned in Italy to always steer clear of restaurants in main piazzas. While known the world over for their cuisines, Italians do have bad restaurants, mostly those catered to tourists with the well-publicized “tourist menu” or with a man out front encouraging you to eat there. If you want to eat well in Italy, don’t go in a place with a hawker and don’t eat in major piazzas.

Live with Host Families To Learn Italian: One of the main reasons I studied in Italy was not just for the food and to be amongst ancient history. I wanted to learn Italian. However, I found this difficult to do as a very pale redhead. Italy is very touristy so many people will speak back to you in English even if you try Italian. I decided to live with a few host families throughout my studies in order to force the locals to speak to me in Italian. If you want to learn Italian, the best way is to go live with some who will actually help you learn.

Branch Out From Rome, Venice and Florence: While I love Rome and I always have a special place in my traveling heart for Florence, the major cities of Italy are certainly overrun with tourists. While you shouldn’t cut them out of your itinerary, don’t spend all of your time in the well-known areas of the country. Head to regions like Abruzzo, Puglia, Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia to escape the crowds and perhaps catch a small glimpse of what the country used to look like before everyone got here.

Embrace Dolce Far Niente: Many things in Italy don’t make sense. There is no rhyme or reason to most aspects of the country. To embrace Italy, you must embrace a change of plans. You have to learn to love the sweetness of doing nothing, dolce far niente as the saying goes. In the evening hours, when everyone comes out of their homes and apartments to simply saunter around the main street, join them and walk slowly. This is the dolce far niente at its finest.

Post your Comments












Book with OneTravel

  • Flights
  • Hotels
  • Cars
From:
To:
Click here for calendar
Time:
Click here for calendar
Time:
Adults:
Seniors: (65+)
Children:(2-11)
Infants on lap:
Infants on seat:
Class:
Save on Bookings with 3+ pax
or hotel stays of 3+ nights
this month withSM25

RecentPosts

  • Venice Salute FestivalComments: 1Rating: 0 / 0

    1
  • By:Chris Osburn, last post 21 Nov 2014
  • For Venetians, the 21st of November is an important date. It’s the day the city celebrates the Madonna della Salute festival, which commemorates the founding in 1630 of the church of Santa Maria della Salute (“Madonna of Health”). The church is more commonly known as Salute, as is the festival as well. During the festival, the area around the church is beautifully lit by thousands of candles brought by the many people going to pray to the Virgin Mary with vendors lined up along the way to the church selling candles and a variety of sweets....read more

  • 5 Smoke-Free U.S. Cities to VisitComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0


  • By:Jen Westmoreland Bouchard, last post 20 Nov 2014
  • As a parent, I appreciate places where I can bring my kid without having to worry about second-hand cigarette smoke. Smoke-free cities have no-smoking laws that apply to restaurants/bars, workplaces, public buildings/grounds and city parks (as well as other areas around the city). The cities on this list also have extensive anti-smoking campaigns, as well as programs to help people stop smoking. In celebration of The Great American Smoke-Out, here are five of the most smoke-free U.S. cities to add to your list of places to visit....read more

  • 3 Winter Festivals To Attend in Puerto RicoComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0


  • By:Suzy Guese, last post 19 Nov 2014
  • Puerto Rico might be on your radar for sunshine and palm trees, but it shouldn’t be counted out for a winter getaway. There might not be snow softly falling on pine trees, but the island gets into the spirit of winter with a number of celebrations. If you are in need of a winter escape, try Puerto Rico, specifically to attend one of its lively winter festivals....read more

  • 5 Fascinating New Zealand MuseumsComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0


  • By:Jen Westmoreland Bouchard, last post 18 Nov 2014
  • There are plenty of reasons to visit New Zealand – the natural beauty, diverse cultures, and unique cuisine being a few of them. New Zealand is also home to world-class museums where visitors can learn more about art, history and even sheep farming! Here are five to check out....read more

  • A Dinner Table Mouthful! How to Say 'Bon Appétit' in 15 Languages Across EuropeComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0


  • By:Suzy Guese, last post 17 Nov 2014
  • The French phrase, “Bon appétit,” is often used as a substitute for the lack of an English phrase of the same meaning. While you might hear, “Enjoy your meal,” Bon appétit is one of the most common ways of greeting someone before they chow down. As most of the country gets ready to have a Thanksgiving feast, in case you have a few at your table who don’t speak English or French for that matter, it is useful to know how to wish someone a good meal in some of France’s neighbors. Here’s how to say essentially, “Good appetite,” in 15 European languages....read more