Italy is one of the most traveled-to destinations in the world, with around 46 million visitors each year from all across the globe. From Rome’s Trevi Fountain to Venice’s Grand Canal, there’s no denying it – Italy is magical.
But one of the most vital elements in travel is interacting with a country’s inhabitants, and who better to do that with than Italians? Italians are friendly, energetic, and know Italian history like the back of their hands. And, according to an article published by the Huffington Post, “There are a few things Italians want Americans to know before you arrive in their country,” (Condie, 11 Travel Tips Italians Want You to Know). Here’s a quick recap on what they said:
First, know that dinner is between 7:30 and 9:00 p.m. Most Americans tend to eat dinner earlier than Europeans, especially if they are jet-lagged. But Italians treat their cuisine and dining experience with high priority – meaning, meals (especially dinner) should not be rushed, but appreciated. So don’t go out to eat before 7:30, because most restaurants won’t open until then anyway, unless you’re in an extremely touristy area.
Next, learn some Italian. This is not to say you need to be fluent, but before you go to a foreign country you should brush up on some common words and phrases in the native language. Italians will appreciate it if you go out of your way to speak their language, rather than assuming everyone speaks English. Plus, Italian is a beautiful, romantic language, it doesn’t hurt to become familiar with it.
Third, afternoon closings. According to the Huffington Post, “Many shops will close down for the afternoon from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., especially outside the city center. Italians go home to enjoy lunch as a family and relax. Try it, ” (Condie, 11 Travel Tips Italians Want You to Know).
Fourth, many Italians noted that you should know when certain things are appropriate to wear. Fashion is a huge part of Italian culture, and you won’t find any local Italian women wearing daisy dukes and spaghetti straps walking around the streets. At the beach it’s one thing to show some skin, but otherwise covering-up would be a wise decision, or you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.
Lastly, leave enough time to wander around the streets alone. Stop rushing, you will not see it all on your first, second, third, and maybe not even twentieth trip to Italy – there’s too much beauty to see and experience. You should leave the crowds and tourist attractions, stop and listen to a local street musician, take in Italy for all of its authenticity and just slow down, there’s so many things that you can discover when you’ve taken a different path.
Once you’ve seen Italy for the first time, it will be a travel destination you’ll go throughout your life, but you should always make a conscious effort to be aware of certain cultural practices each time you’re there. Wherever you travel, being respectful in another country is extremely important. For more travel tips from Italians, check out the Huffington Post’s article here.