With all its historic glory, century-old Tuscan wineries, and sleepy old towns, Italy features numerous travelers’ bucket lists. Foodies, history geeks, people who love culture – Italy has something for all kinds of travelers.
The traveler Vs. the tourist
The best part of traveling is looking at and learning about the locals. However, there is a line that differentiates travelers from tourists. Tourists generally stand out in a crowd. Tourists are those people who are content with guided tours. Tourists are at a greater risk of getting scammed by the local vendors.
Travelers, on the other hand, try to immerse themselves in the local cultures. They are people who are not afraid to set off on their own and explore the cozy little corners of the town. When in Italy, being a traveler would promise a more authentic experience. So, how to blend in with the locals in Italy?
Getting acquainted with the local etiquette
Here are some useful tips for traveling in Italy.
- Explore Italy’s museums in peace
Italy is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Thus, museums are aplenty. And visiting them is a must! Given the beauty of these museums, they are bustling with people for most of the day. Crowds can spoil a traveler’s museum experience. So, it is advisable to book the museum tickets online. That way, one can avoid the long queues at the ticket counter.
Visitors must still pass the security check queues. However, the waiting time is considerably reduced. Museums are generally emptier in the early mornings or late afternoons. Travelers who want to avoid crowds can plan their visiting time accordingly. Also, Vatican museums are expected to be relatively quieter on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.
- What clothes should I pack?
Travelers try their best to blend with the local crowd. Dressing forms a huge part of mixing with the crowd. Tours in Italy consist of long walks on cobble-stoned paths. Thus, one must pack comfortable shoes. Dressing trendily would be happily welcomed by the fashion-conscious locals! However, when you plan to visit churches, cathedrals, and other religious significance places, wear clothes that cover the knees and the shoulders.
- Using public transport
The cities and towns of Italy are well-connected through different means of public transport. Some travelers tend to explore smaller towns on foot. However, high-speed trains are a better option for intercity travel. They pass through picturesque routes too.
Tickets for trams, buses, and metros are available in public kiosks and tobacco shops. Do not forget to validate the ticket once inside the vehicle. Otherwise, you will be in trouble when the ticket collector arrives for checking!
Things not to miss when you explore italy
Italy is brimming with beautiful places waiting to be explored and experienced. Make sure to include the following things in your itinerary.
- Explore the various terrains when you travel
People tend to restrict their tours to the popular cityscapes of Italy. But the country has a lot more to offer – the thousands of beautiful white sand beaches that dot its coastline, breath-taking mountain trails and active volcanoes, the Mediterranean islands, the Alpine meadows, and so on. Try to design the itinerary such that you have the opportunity to visit the various landscapes.
- The Grand Canal
A water bus ride on the Grand Canal in Venice is a must. Venice is known for its canals and little bridges. Traveling through the traditional Venetian homes through the canals is a unique experience that provides an unmatched experience. Couples can take the iconic gondola ride on the Grand Canal for a romantic evening!
- Wine tours
A trip to Italy would be incomplete without tasting the local cuisine and locally brewed wine. The enchanting villages in Italy are home to some of the oldest and the best wineries. Wine tours involve sampling a wide variety of blends. It is usually paired up with some delicious local food items. Also, wineries have mesmerizing sceneries. So, one can expect to have lunch with a breath-taking view!
- Visit the numerous cathedrals.
Italy happens to be the birthplace of the world’s most popular Abrahamic religion. Thus, the country is filled with age-old monuments and cathedrals that carry forward the legends of the past. The grandeur of Italy’s cathedrals is sure to leave any visitor in awe, irrespective of their faith!
A word of caution
Uncertainty is the only truth of life. When in a distant land, there is scope for things to go awry. Unexpected roadblocks, sour experiences, and such tamper with the traveler’s mood and spoil the entire experience. Thus, one should not only be informed about the dos; each traveler must be aware of the don’ts as well.
Here are a few things to avoid while visiting Italy.
- Wander the mountains without an offline map
It is perfectly alright if you want to unleash the adventurer in you and set off on your own. However, getting lost in the mountains or the twisty streets of the cities is a real risk. To avoid going astray, download all the maps required for your planned route, as getting lost is not as fun as it sounds. It would be quite the opposite!
- Carry heavy baggage
It is an unwritten rule to travel light, irrespective of the destination. But it is all the more important while visiting Italy. Narrow, crooked, and steep roads are common in the cities. Thus, moving around with heavy luggage would make it hard to experience Italy’s beauty.
The bottom line
Visiting Italy can be an enriching experience. From the mountains to the meadows, from the caves to the streets and canals, each part of the country promises a unique experience. To explore the various parts of the country without having to deal with the crowded tourists, make sure to book your tickets during spring or autumn. Summers are crowded due to school holidays and the best weather for a beach vacation. Early June is the ideal time to explore the country.