Useful Travel Tips for an Italian Vacation

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Italy is one of the most beautiful countries always in the list of an avid traveler. It is also one of the expensive countries to visit. Though we spend a lot of time in planning and estimating a vacation, many times we encounter some unexpected situations.

Having the flights and rooms booked for a budget trip, below are a few considerations while planning a visit to Italy:

  •  Every city in Italy has numerous monuments/attractions. It might not be possible to visit each and every attraction. So it is better to have a list
  •  Many of the famous attractions usually charge an entry fee. Instead of paying at each and every attraction, we can purchase the City Pass that offer free entry and discount for many attractions.
  • In most Italian cities, every traveler is charged a tourist tax between 2€ and 5€ per night depending upon the star rating of the hotel. Children are exempted from these taxes though the age limit varies with each city. This amount is usually not part of the room rent and the travelers are expected to pay in cash at the hotel. This might work up to 160€ for a 10 day trip for a family of four.
  • Budget at least 150€ per day per couple towards the cost of food, entry tickets, transport and other miscellaneous expenses.

Food

It would be difficult to find someone who does not like the Italian cuisine or the Italian desserts. Each region boasts of its specialty. Besides the pizzas and pastas here are some of the specialties not to be missed in Italy.

Capri – Insalata Caprese, Caprese Cheese, Ravioli caprese

Rome – Roman Artichokes

Naples – Neopolitan Pizza, Margharita Pizza, and pastries like Sfogliatella, Babba

Venice – Antipasto di frutti di mare (a mixed seafood appetizer), Baccala alla veneziana (dried salt cod), Tiramisu, Hot Chocolate, Bellini at Harry’s Bar

Here are some key points to be in mind while ordering food at restaurants:

  •  Bell Peppers are referred as Peperoni in Italian. So a Peperoni Pizza will contain peppers unlike salami in US.
  • A typical Italian meal does not contain Parmesan cheese sprinkled on pasta like served in other countries. But most restaurants do serve parmesan cheese.
  • Grana Padano cheese served in many dishes is a non-vegetarian cheese.

In Italy, customers are charged extra for sitting down at tables for food at restaurants. This usually covers the costs for pepper, salt, olive oil etc. Bread is served in most restaurants. Do not be surprised to find an additional entry for Cuperto in your bill. Larger the size of your group, larger is your cuperto.

Also do not forget to eat gelato at Italy. The taste varies from place to place and even from one shop to another. But they all are very delicious.

Travel

Italy has a good network of road and rail. It is often economical to travel from one city to another by buses or trains or ferries than flying or hire a car from one of the car rentals.

Remember to validate your tickets before boarding the train or immediately after you board the bus else you might be fined. Choose between Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca trains based on speed and route of travel. Book the tickets at:

http://www.trenitalia.com/

Money and Tipping

As Italy is part of the European Union, the EURO is the official currency of Italy replacing lira. It is better to be aware of the currencies of the country visiting rather than returning with bitter experience with money.

There are 100 cents in a Euro (€).

Euro Coins: 1€, 2€

Cent Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50

Euro Notes: 5€, 10€, 20€, 50€, 100€, 200€, 500€

Though Tipping is not mandatory in Italy, you are expected to tip the waiters 5% – 10%.

Taxis, Room service waiter and porters can be tipped between 0.50€ – 1€

Useful Websites

Below are the official tourism websites of the major cities in Italy. Browse through them for planning the itinerary, booking hotels, deals, etc.

Italy Official Tourism Website

http://www.italia.it/en/home.html

City Official Tourism Website
Amalfi http://www.amalfitouristoffice.it
Bologna http://www.bolognawelcome.com
Capri http://www.capritourism.com
Catania turismo.provincia.catania.it
Florence http://www.firenzeturismo.it
Genoa http://www.visitgenoa.it
Milan http://www.tourism.milan.it
Naples comune.napoli.it / www.napoli.city-sightseeing.it
Pisa http://www.pisaunicaterra.it
Pompeii http://www.pompeiturismo.it
Rome http://www.turismoroma.it
Siena http://www.terresiena.it
Sorrento http://www.sorrentotourism.com
Turin http://www.turismotorino.org
Vatican City http://www.vaticanstate.va
Venice en.turismovenezia.it
Verona http://www.tourism.verona.it

Basic Italian Phrases

Italian English
ciao Hello or goodbye (To greet people of same age or younger)
piacere Pleased to meet you (To greet elder people)
Buon giorno Good day / Hello
Buona sera Good evening
arrivederci Good bye
Quanto costa…? How much is it…?
È senza carne? It’s without meat?
È senza formaggio? It’s without cheese?
Sono vegetariano/a I am vegetarian (male/female)
Sono vegano/a I am vegan (male/female)
Avete un piatto vegetariano? Do you have a vegetarian dish?
Non mangio carne, pollo o pesce. I don’t eat meat, chicken, or fish.
Non mangio il burro, il formaggio, le uova, o il miele. I don’t eat butter, cheese, eggs, or honey.
Posso ordinare questo senza carne o formaggio Can I order this without meat or cheese?
ma senze pesci but without fish
ma senza formaggio but without cheese
Ha delle verdure grigliate? Do you have any grilled vegetables?
Vorrei un piatto di pasta secca, non frescha I want to order some dried pasta, not fresh (because fresh pasta has eggs in it)
Vorrei della minestra di verdure, per favore I want to order the vegetable soup, please
Una pizza vegetariana senza formaggio, per favore A vegetable pizza without cheese, please

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Very good information. We have spent a great deal of time in Italy, and another thing we have learned is that there are great discoveries throughout the country. Every town or region has unknown gems so it is nice to explore beyond the well know tourist destinations.

    Like

    1. We will be visiting other Italian cities in future and will be definitely referring to your blog to plan our trips. Thanks for liking the post.

      Like

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