Italy Travel Tips you Want to Know

Italy is located in southern Europe . It borders France and Switzerland to the northwest and Austria and Slovenia to the northeast . The small states Vatican City and San Marino are completely enclosed by Italian territory. Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. In addition to Italian cuisine (Cucina italiana), which is considered one of the most influential country cuisines in the world, Italy attracts with its tremendous cultural and scenic diversity, with an estimated 100,000 monuments of any kind, 51 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, numerous museums, cities such as Rome , Florence, Naples or Venice and regions such as Tuscany , South Tyrol , Sardinia or Emilia-Romagna . With a coastline of 7,600 km and a warm Mediterranean climate, Italy is also one of the most popular seaside holiday destinations. In the winter months you will find well-equipped ski resorts in almost all regions.

Get There – Airports

Italy’s largest international airport is Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino in Rome . The other Roman airport, Cimpiano, is mainly served by low cost airlines.

Another major hub is Milan with Malpensa and Linate airports and nearby Bergamo (known by some airlines as Milan / Bergamo ) and Venice (Marco Polo), Catania (Catania-Fontanarossa), Naples , Palermo and Bologna , Pisa (Galileo Galilei), Turin and Verona .

Since Italy is a popular holiday destination, there are also numerous low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, easyJet or Air Berlin. These often fly to smaller regional airports and some routes are offered only in the summer months.

One should take advantage of these options when planning your Discount Flights to Italy, but also remember that in the country of the scioppero (strike) quite unexpected, longer delays can occur.

Cuisine

Italian cuisine is famous all over the world – and the Italians are very proud of it. An Italian can spend hours talking about food, and in the deepest of hearts he is convinced that there are no foreigners who can even prepare a simple risotto “right”.

The kitchen is regionally different. In the north, for example, cooking is done with butter rather than with oil, in Tuscany there are many hare and wild boar dishes and the south is famous for its sweets. Traditional dishes are always prepared using local ingredients. The Italian cuisine is famous all over the world – it has what you get often purposed “the Italians”, not much to do with the traditional Italian cuisine. Which is the fact does not exist Italian cuisine – too big are the regional differences from north to south. While the northern Italian cuisine is a little closer to the German (you often use more butter than olive oil), the southern Italian cuisine is clearly different. Oil is basic food, garlic and then everything else. On the coasts, a lot of fish is cooked, while inland sheep products (especially cheese) are produced and overcooked.

Language

Official language is Italian. French is also spoken locally in the northwest (Aosta region) and in South Tyrol there is a German-speaking majority. More than in German-speaking countries, all regions have a local dialect that deviates more or less from the “high Italian”.

Only in Tuscany (almost) standard Italian is spoken, because this was developed from the Tuscan dialect. But in other regions too, most people will strive for a comprehensible Italian in dealing with “outwardly”. However, if the locals speak each other in dialect, even an Italian from another region will not understand much.

On the islands of Sardinia and Sicily strong local dialects are spoken, the Sardinian even counts as its own language. In Friuli-Venezia Giulia, there are still descendants of Slovenes, but the language is barely spoken. In some places in southern Italy, in Puglia, the elders speak a Greek dialect, the Griko, which dates back to the time of “Magna Graecia”

In the well-developed tourist areas you can get along well with English. However, especially in the interior, English hardly helps any further and has to communicate in Italian (or with hands and feet).

In Italy, there are numerous language schools that offer Italian language courses for people of all nationalities interested in languages. Especially in the big cities of Italy and Tuscany many language centers are located.

Have a drink / Go out

The many different names for restaurants can be confusing to the visitor. The fact that the pizzeria is responsible for pizza is still evident. After that we also find it more difficult for the natives to explain.

As a rule of thumb, a Ristorante is more upscale, while Osteria and Trattoria are rather simpler. If possible ask a local for the best restaurants. Especially where there are many tourists, some restaurants are overpriced or work with inferior ingredients. Also, a guide or a look at the map can help: Frozen ingredients must be expelled there (usually with a star and “di origine surgelato”).

In the restaurant you wait until you get a table assigned by a waiter. Normally, bread and water are brought immediately – these are often included in the “cover price” ( coperto ).

Since the Italians do not always have money and hunger for a multi-course meal, it is not a problem just to order a primo or secondo . If everyone has only one course, one can also demand that the primi and secondi are brought at the same time – even if that may be considered strange.

The Italian “fast food” is available in two versions. One of course is pizza, which is almost everywhere very cheap al taglio , so in individual pieces, to take away.

The other option is Panini and Piadine : rolls and pies with different toppings, which are available in all bars. There you will also find the Tramezzini , triangular cut sandwiches with white bread.

Italian coffee is particularly full-bodied. You will find a multitude of variations for all tastes – cappuccino, caffè con batten, moca, latte macchiato, corretto ( corrected by a drop of alcohol), lungo (elongated), etc. For the French taste ask for a caffé lungo ma non americano .

Aperitifs are usually served with a generous multitude of appetizers on the same table or buffet, for the same price (or a small fee).

The wines are excellent (Barbera, Barolo, Barbaresco in Piedmont, Chianti, Brunello in Tuscany, Ramandolo and Picolit in Friuli Venezia Giulia) but also craft beers and spirits.
The nightlife in Italy can be felt especially in the major cities of the country such as Rome, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Turin, etc. Italy’s Partymekka is Rimini-Riccione.

Shopping

Italy is a great place for all forms of shopping. Most cities, villages and towns, are crammed to the brim with many different forms of shops, from glitzy boutiques and huge shopping malls, to tiny art galleries, small food stores, antique dealers and general newsagents.

Food is definitely one of the best souvenir you can get in Italy. There are thousands of different shapes of pasta (not only spaghetti or maccaroni). Then, every Italian region has its typical food like cheese, wine, ham, salami, oil, winegare, etc. Don’t forget to buy Nutella.

Italian fashion is renowned worldwide. Many of the world’s most famous international brands have their headquarters or were founded in Italy.

Milan is Italy’s fashion and design capital. In the city one can find virtually every major brand in the world, not only Italian, but also French, English, American, Swedish and Spanish. Your main place for the crème de la crème shopping is the Via Montenapoleone, but the Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni, Via Sant’ Andrea and the Corso Vittorio Emanuele are equally luxurious, if not slightly less prominent, high-class shopping streets. The Corso Buenos Aires is the place to go for mass-scale or outlet shopping. And, the beautiful Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the centre and Via Dante boast some designer boutiques, too. Virtually every street in central Milan does boast at least some clothing stores of some kind.

However, Rome and Florence, are too, serious fashion centres, and boast being the birthplace of some of the oldest fashion and jewelry houses in Italy. When in Rome, the chic and beautiful Via dei Condotti, leading to the Spanish Steps, will be your primary point of shopping reference, with boutiques but subsidary streets such as Via dei Babuino, Via Borgognona, Via Frattina, Via del Corso and the Piazza di Spagna. In Florence, Via de’ Tornabuoni is the main high-fashion shopping street, and there you’ll find loads of designer brands. However, in both cities, you’ll be able to find a plethora of chic boutiques, designer or not, scattered around the centre.
Jewellery and accessory shops can be found in abundance in Italy.

There are loads of jewellery and accessory stores which hail from Italy. Vicenza and Valenza are considered the country’s jewellery capitals, which are also famous for their silverware and goldware shops. All over Italy, notably Vicenza, Milan, Valenza, Rome, Naples, Florence and Venice, but also several other cities, you can find hundreds of different jewellery or silverware boutiques. Apart from the famous ones, there are some great quirky and funky jewellery stores scattered around the country.

Design and furniture is something Italy is proudly and justifiably famous for. Excellent quality furniture stores can be found all over, but the real place to buy the best deals is Milan. Milan contains amongst the top design rooms and emporia in the world. For the newest design inventions, attend the Fiera di Milano in Rho, where the latest appliances are exhibited. Many Italian cities have great antique furniture stores. So, you can choose between cutting-edge, avant-garde furniture, or old world antiques to buy in this country, which are, by average, of good quality.

Glassware is something which Venice makes uniquely but which is spread around the whole of the country. In Venice is famously the capital of Murano (not the island), or glassware made in different colours. Here, you can get stunning goblets, crystal chandeliers, candlesticks and decorations made in stunning, multi-coloured blown glass, which can be designed in modern, funky arrangements, or the classical old style.

Books can be found in bookshops in every small, medium sized or big city. The main book and publishing companies/stores in Italy include Feltrinelli, Giunti, Mondadori, Hoepli or Rizzoli. Most big book stores are found in Milan, Turin and nearby Monza, which are the capitals of Italy’s publishing trade (Turin was made World Book Capital in 2006) however cities such as Rome and more boast loads of book shops. 99% of the books sold are in Italian.

Art shops can be found all over in Italy, notably the most artistic cities of Florence, Rome and Venice. In Florence, the best place to go for buying art is the Oltrarno, where there are numerous ateliers selling replicas of famous paintings or similar things. Usually, depending in what city you’re in, you get replicas of notable works of art found there, but also, you can find rare art shops, sculpture shops, or funky, modern/old stores in several cities.

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