6 Things to Know Before Visiting Italy for the First Time

visiting italy for the first time
Are you planning on coming to Italy? Then you are making a tremendous choice. Out of all the European nations to come and visit, Italy is one of the most spectacular. Italy has luscious landscapes and scintillating cities.

There is much to see and enjoy about a trip to Italy. But, if you come to the ‘land of love’ without much knowledge of what to expect, it can throw you a touch.

We recommend that if you want to avoid this then you keep an eye out for the following six things. This should go a long way to making sure you can enjoy getting around this amazing country. Italy can seem daunting and confusing to someone who has never been here before. Get used to the following quirks, though, and it can seem like a much less confusing country to visit.

Italy (like most European nations) can feel like several nations put into one. Visit the south, and it can feel different to the north. What, though, are general rules that seem to apply across the wider country as a whole?

Burano, Venice, Italy
Burano, Venice, Italy

Train travel is easy

Like most major European nations, your best bet for going from city to city is going to be via train. Trains are easy to use and they tend to be very cheap. Also, for a British reader, in particular, you might find it a shock to see that they actually run on time in Italy!

That’s right: trains aren’t as tardy as they can be in other countries. In Italy, trains are easy to get around on. They are many, they cheap, and they are accurate (for the most part) with regards to train times.

Milano Porta Garibaldi Milan Italy
Milano Porta Garibaldi, Milan, Italy

Most restaurants won’t open until 7PM (or later) for dinner

This might seem odd, but in Italy most restaurants have set hours for lunch and dinner. For lunch it is usually from 12:00 to 2pm. In other nations you can expect to go for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – all throughout the day. Italy, though, is different. Instead, you should only be expecting to wait a little to come for a meal at dinner time.

Keep that in mind if you intend to head out for food. Most of the time, you will be limited to street food vendors, cafeterias, and fast food outlets. The restaurants, though, are worth waiting to open!

Campo Santa Margherita Venice Italy
Campo Santa Margherita, Venice, Italy

Most restaurants have a cover charge

Also, please note that if you do choose to eat out in Italy then you might have to pay a “Coperto”. Your coperto in an Italian restaurant is a per-person fee. Most restaurants charge a coperto and this is usually around 4 Euros per person.

Italy has had this charge for many years, and you should get used to it on to the price of your bill. Please note that it’s not a tip – you still should tip if you wish.

Instead, it’s coverage to pay for things like bread, oil, salt, and other confectioneries.

Verona Italy Restaurant
Restaurant in Verona,Italy

Basic Italian can go a long way

If you choose to come to the nation of Italy, then make sure you learn the following three phrases. “Ciao” is your go-to for introducing yourself to someone and beginning a conversation.

“Grazie” is the Italian word for thank you; get used to saying this on a regular basis every day. It’s a word you will be using quite a lot!

Another very useful term to get used to using is “Non-Capisco”. This means “I do not understand”. It iss great if you are unable to make out what someone is saying or understand they’re Italian.

Trevi Fountain Rome Italy
Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

€1.30 is the average cappuccino price

Famed for its coffee, you might be in shock to find out how cheap Italian coffee is. Stores and supermarkets back home sell you “Italian style coffee” for eye-watering sums. That isn’t the case when it comes to Italy. You can get a good deal if you choose to buy a cappuccino in Italy – for a very small price.

If you are getting charged more than €1.30, then you are buying in the wrong places. Many quality coffee stores and vendors exist with a price of only €1.30, so keep that in mind.

coffe in italy
Coffee in Italy

There are so many places to explore

If you do intend to come to Italy, then please make sure that you leave enough time to go about. Look around the country. Don’t pigeonhole yourself in one simple city. There are so many interesting places to stay as well as explore (like these Italian castles for rent!).

If you are in the city of Milan, then make time to go to places like Bergamo. You should always try and make time to go and look around. See the world from new angles; especially in a place like Italy!

Enjoying Italy as a whole is far better than sticking to one town or city. Be sure to look into your local area to find out what items are available for you to go and explore. From local landscapes to tours of smaller nearby towns and cities. It pays to keep an open mind as you go about this amazing city. And if you really have a lot of time on your hands, and want to explore everything, there are many organized Italy tours that you can book online before you even get there.

So, what will you keep an eye out for first if you choose to come to this tremendous part of the world?

Colosseum Rome Italy
Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Enjoying Italy is so easy

So, now that you can see how easy it is to enjoy life in Italy, where will you begin your journey?

There is much to see, and much to think about. Before you start going around the various parts of Italy, though, keep the above in mind.

For one, you can often enjoy the experience more if you don’t rent a car. If you have the means, rent a scooter and drive around town doing that instead. Walking around and seeing the various parts of Italy that you wish to visit on foot is as enjoyable.

With quality public transport and a little bit of basic Italian, you will be off to a good start. Add to that an understanding of Italian restaurant culture, and great coffee prices. You’ll be set to enjoy life in Italy like never before. Where, then, will you set out to explore first in this Iberian paradise?

Amy Pritchett

Amy Pritchett

If you truly love nature like me, you will find beauty everywhere.

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