Italy is an incredibly popular destination for travelers from around the world, and with good reason! If you're planning to visit Italy for the first time, check out these 7 basic but useful tips to make sure your time spent in this fantastic country goes smoothly:
1. Take the Train
Italy is renowned for its extensive and easy-to-use train network, so there’s no need to rent a car when traveling through the country. Trains in Italy are clean, straightforward, and relatively inexpensive, making them the perfect transportation option. Some of the main rail companies include TrenItalia and Italo, which each have schedules that run throughout the day.
2. Invest in a Power Adapter
When you visit Italy, expect that some of your appliances from home likely won’t work without a power adapter. However, Italian power adapters are typically inexpensive and abundant at convenience stores throughout the country. If you plan to use appliances that use more power such as hair dryers, you may consider purchasing a voltage adapter as well.
3. Bring Comfortable Walking Shoes
Prepare to do a lot of walking and sightseeing between bites of pizza and gelato! Be sure to bring comfortable footwear that can withstand a day of exploring. If you’re traveling in the summer, bring light, breezy clothes that are trendy and won’t overheat you. In other seasons, bring layers to easily adapt to changing weather. If you plan to visit the Vatican or another holy site, make sure to bring something to cover your shoulders and knees like a lightweight shawl or pashmina afghan.
4. Keep an Eye Out for Pickpockets
Though Italy is considered to be a relatively safe country, you’ll still need to keep an eye out for petty theft and pickpockets. Bring a money belt to wear under your clothes and keep your valuables secure by opting for an over the shoulder bag across your chest rather than a backpack.
5. No Need to Tip in Restaurants in Italy
One of the best parts of dining in Italy (besides the food, of course!) is the fact that tipping is not required in restaurants. You may see a “coperto” charge added to your bill of around one to three euros per person which acts as a “cover” charge and includes bread for the table.
6. Try Not to Overpack
Italy is a country with endless things to do and discover which means you’ll likely be doing a good amount of moving around. Many hotel accommodations don’t have elevators and will require you to walk up flights of stairs. Make sure you can carry and easily transport your own luggage by bringing versatile clothing and only packing the essentials!
7. Make Time to Explore Off the Beaten Path
Italy is often crowded with tourists rushing to visit the country’s iconic sites, especially during the summer. Though you should certainly make a point to experience some of these noteworthy gems, be sure to set time aside to explore the lesser-known areas of Italy and take a break from the crowds, you’ll thank me later!
My name is Sophie Mendel, and I’m an American travel writer and editor currently residing in Chicago, Illinois, USA. I have traveled to 42 countries and lived in 5, am fluent in English and Spanish (and always in the process of learning more languages), and love lugging my guitar around the world with me! Follow my travels on Instagram @theunboundedtraveler!