I went to Italy this summer and was absolutely enchanted with its history and culture. I visited Rome, Florence, Naples, and Venice while on a Mediterranean cruise. I came up with a few things to know when traveling to Italy for those of you planning a trip.
Plan On An Early Lunch And A Late Dinner
Most restaurants do not open for dinner until 7 pm or later. Also, many restaurants close in the early afternoon to give their staff an afternoon break. It’s called “Riposo.” You should likely plan for an early lunch and a late dinner. Maybe just have a gelato snack in between. 😉
“Coperto” Cover Charge
Many restaurants have a cover charge called a “coperto.” Basically, you are paying this just to eat at the restaurant. That being said, a traditional tip is not expected. It is still a nice gesture to leave a few Euros on the table if your waiter was particularly good.
There are many stores and restaurants in Italy that take card, especially in the touristy areas, but not all of them do, and you don’t want to be caught in an awkward situation. Also, you’ll need a few Euros for your small tips as there is generally not a line on your receipt for you to leave a card tip. You also will need cash if you’d like to use a public bathroom.
Learn A Few Italian Words
Knowing a few Italian words goes a long way with the locals. “Si” means “yes,” “Grazie” means “thank you,” “Prego” means “your welcome,” and “Mi scusi” means “excuse me.”
Dress Modestly At Religious Sites
Many religious sites have strict dress codes requiring women to have their shoulders covered and legs covered to the knee. I visited in the summer and just bought a cardigan with me that I could put on when entering a church.
Try the Prosecco
Prosecco is Italian sparkling wine, and I’m obsessed. It is relatively inexpensive in Italy and is incredibly delicious.
You Can Find Allergy-Friendly Food
I was able to find gluten-free pizza and dairy-free gelato, I just had to look a little. For the pizza, I generally looked up places with gluten-free pizza on my Google Maps app when I had wifi and then used the app offline to find the restaurant. I found many gelato places that had dairy-free gelato, but most of the shop worker did not know the word “dairy” and instead only understood when I asked for gelato with “no milk.”