Top tips how to act like a local in Italy

Aytan Akhundova 17 March 2021 2377 views 6 min. read

In many parts of the world, tourists are treated differently than locals. If you have ways to adopt local customs, you can gain an authentic experience and better understand the culture. When I think of the places that culture lovers like best and that people dream of visiting, I immediately think of Italy. It is at the top of the list of must-see places for most people, and even those who have visited Italy dream of returning. It's easy to see why Italy is beautiful and beautiful in every sense - including history, art, architecture, food and wine. In addition, to visit Italy's main tourist attractions, such as the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, people visit Italy to experience the Italian way of life. With a unique set of customs, travelling in Italy is a much better experience when you have some knowledge and insights from a local. That is why in this article, I will share with you the main tips when visiting Italy. During planning a trip to Italy, do not forget about even the most basic information like Italy tourist visa.

Map of Italy

italy on the map

Italy is located on the Apennine Peninsula, which is compared to the "boot" for its unusual shape. Very ancient history has given this country amazing Italy cities, such as the capital of Italy, Rome, the "open-air museum" Florence and the city on the water Venice. Italian people are proud of their history and architecture, music, fashion, cinema, and Italian cuisine, one of the most popular in the world. Italy unites almost 20 historical regions, such as Veneto, Lombardy, Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia. Often, these places' inhabitants consider themselves to be Tuscan or Lombard, and after it - Italians.

Weather in Italy

italy sunsetWeather in Italy

is the brainchild of the warmth of the seas and mountain peaks, which act as a natural barrier to cold winds from outside. In summer, dryness is combined with high temperatures. Winter brings the long-awaited coolness of the most sun-drenched Sardinia, and the capital of Italy, Rome, can also give snow. The Adriatic, together with the Apennines, form their microclimate within eastern Italy. Even here, everything is not so clear: where the shores go higher, the winters are pleasant, and on these shores themselves-cold, wet and windy. The western part of the Apennine land, where Liguria and Tuscany are located, is called the Tyrrhenian Coast, and the climate here is also special. Winter can be fleeting and kind and can turn into prolonged rains and temperatures below zero. italy night Continental Italy, located on the Padawan Plain, is characterized by high humidity, which leads to cold, foggy winters and stifling heat in the summer. But precipitation is a rare guest. The Alps of Italy are a different story. Summer and winter can be distinguished only by the type of precipitation, which is heavy rain, the rest of the time-heavy snowfall. Closer to the water, the Alpine harshness becomes softer. An example is Lake Garda, framed by gardens and palm trees. The main part of the "boot" of the map of Italy is at the mercy of the climatic features of the Apennines, adjusted for zoning. Frosty winters, summer heat, western rains, and eastern snows are the weather's main features in this territory of Italy. You have basic info for travelling to Italy. Let's delve into details.

1. Greet everyone with two kisses

italian men

Regardless of age, gender, and how well you know them when you meet someone, you greet them with two kisses, one on each cheek. Italian people are very fond of people and are not afraid to burst into a personal bubble to say hello. Two kisses is a common greeting in Italy, and anything less will look awkward. Of course, this rule does not work at the moment and, in general, for fairly official meetings.

2. Do not order a cappuccino after 11 am

cappuccino

Cappuccino is strictly a breakfast drink. If you order it any time after 11 am, especially at mealtime, people will think you're either weird or have had a sleepless night and just woke up. However, this rule can be easily broken in the cold season!

3. Enjoy "riposino" at noon

closed hanged on door

Foreigners often complain that shops close at lunchtime. Unfortunately, this is the reality of things in Italy, especially in the summer. The stifling midday heat forces everyone to hide from the sun during the hottest hours of the day. Take the "riposino" (time for rest) and try again after 16:00, you will have a better chance of finding open shops.

4. Do not add ketchup to pasta or pizza

ketchup

Every time you ask for ketchup in a restaurant, you break the heart of an Italian chef. Ketchup is perfectly acceptable on a burger or French fries, but if you put it on pasta or pizza, you'll stand out in Italy like a sick tourist and earn yourself a few disapproving nods from people at nearby tables.

5. Start your day with a sweet breakfast

sweet breakfast

A classic Italian breakfast is a sweet pastry of some sort, coffee or cappuccino, and sometimes orange juice. Most Italy hotels and restaurants don't even serve a cooked, salty breakfast. So, take part in the start of your new Italian day by heading to the nearest bar and ordering "un caffe" to have a drink at the bar with your croissant and orange juice.

6. Dress-up

colorful dresses

It is not just a stereotype; Italian people like to dress well. Although some Italians do not wear casual clothes, most of them are well dressed. So, on your next trip to Italy, show off a new dress or a pair of sunglasses, and you'll blend in with the trendy locals, especially in Milan.

7. Don't stand in queues

queuesItalian people

have a special way of standing in line. They try to avoid it wherever possible. Wherever you go, you'll find informal queues - whether it's buying a movie ticket, ordering food at McDonald's, or waiting to board a plane. The queues are more like the mafia, not a normal queue. It is normal in Italy, and you have to learn how to use it if you don't want the worst seat on the plane. Get your way to the front and stand with the attitude as if it's your rightful place in the queue. People will rarely challenge you, mainly because you will probably also shorten the queue to be ahead with you.

8. Drink only water, wine, or beer

drinks

Both at home and in restaurants, the most common drinks will always be water, beer, or wine. Most restaurants don't serve cocktails. Children can drink soda while eating, but adults should keep their cool, as it is believed that it hides the taste of the food, while water will allow you to enjoy your meal properly.

9. Accept the "aperitivo" as a way of life

sandwich

In case you didn't know, Italians love food. Since three meals a day is not enough for us to properly enjoy all our delicious Italian cuisine, we decided to add food between lunch and dinner - a nice "aperitivo". Designed for a pre-dinner meal, this can often turn into a full meal, depending on where you are. If you sit down for an aperitivo between 17: 00 and 20: 00, most bars will bring you chips, pizza and all sorts of snacks, and snacks with your Aperol Spritz (an aperitivo drink by definition). Many places have turned into an "aperitif-price", where for 10 euros you can get a drink and everything you can eat "buffet". An aperitivo is usually the most common type of social hangout, and if you want to blend in with Italy truly, consider trying it out.

10. Stop and talk to people

italian people

In Italy, no one is in a hurry. No matter what obligations you have, if you run into someone you know in the middle of the street, you'll stop to chat. Yes, you may be late to book a table at a restaurant, but communicating with the locals in Italy is important for a better understanding of the local lifestyle. In general, people are still late. Especially when travelling on your own in Italy, be polite when someone says hello, and remember the phrase "buona giornata", which means "have a nice day", when you say "goodbye", and you will easily find new acquaintances.

11. Do not plan a solo trip to Italy in the summer

italy

Summer is the worst time to visit Italy and when many Italians leave the country. Due to the school holidays and good weather, tourists from all over the world are flocking to Italy, making all prices skyrocket. If you visit Italy cities like Rome or Milan, the Italian heat combined with the crowds of tourists will make this a particularly unpleasant event. Instead, try to visit the city in the spring or autumn, when the weather is still mild, prices are cheaper, and the sights of Italy are not so crowded. The beginning of June is perfect when the days are still long, and the prospect of the coming summer puts everyone in a good mood.

12. Do things later

italy

Everything happens later in Italy. You wake up later, have lunch and dinner later, and go to bed later. If you ask your new Italian friends to have dinner a little before 7 pm, they will look at you in horror.

13. Gesticulation in Italian

hands

Again, this is not just a stereotype. Italians make a lot of gestures during a conversation. They don't even realize they're doing it. They find it adds to the conversation, especially if you explain the directions. Try it. The next time you talk to someone in Italy, make a few hand gestures - it will make you more understandable!

14. Have a coffee at the bar

pouring coffee

In Italy, if you order coffee at the counter, you will never pay more than 1 EUR, a maximum of 1.50. However, if you sit down at the table, they can charge you as much as they want due to the service's cost to bring it to you. In prestigious tourist spots, such as Milan's Duomo Square or Venice's San Marco Square, it can be even more than 5 euros. Be like the Italian people and save some money by drinking coffee on the go at the counter. You can order it by saying "un caffe per favore". No matter what interesting places in Italy you visit, the main advice is very simple: stop and enjoy every moment, watching the locals and their habits. Take private sightseeing tours to Italy, and you will see this country from a new and more mysterious angle. All these tips together will give you a feeling of complete fusion with this wonderful country.

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