13 things you should know before going to Italy.
One day when I was flying on the plane and saw a small part of the land in Italy, and began to cry. The flight attendants ran up to me offering medical help, while I was sitting and crying. It was the true happiness.
The thing is that at the age of 12 I wanted to visit Italy. I was looking for pictures of the Coliseum in books and was making them bigger with the magnifying glass. When I was 17 I have learned Italian; I knew the names of all the Italian presidents. And at the age of 19 I’ve been already there.
And you know, Italy has not disappointed me. I think this is the only place in the world where you really want to get lost. This is the only place in the world where so many gestures are used that at some moment you just stop listening to the interlocutor, as he can be understood only by gestures. It is very easy to lose a head, as I did. There are a lot of travel gimmicks here, even more than in Paris. In this article, I decided to tell you the top 13 things you should know about Italy. They save you time, money, and with the help of them, you will see something that is not available for a simple tourist.
1. Italian language.
Be sure to learn numbers in Italian, basic tourist phrases (how to get, where is the toilet) and greetings. The thing is that the Italians do not speak English very well. Excellent English can be found only speaking with the guides, the hotels and restaurants. Here the English-speaking zone ends.
2. Orange garden on the Aventine.
If you have already managed to take a picture with all sightseeings, have already overate pizza and pasta and you want something simple and sincere- visit the orange garden on the Aventine. This is a place that is never pointed in the guidebooks. But the local people adore it. It is a quiet, pretty place where fresh oranges grow. In addition, nearby there is another secret place-«Buco della serratura» on top of a hill, in the area of the Knights of Malta. It’s a unique keyhole. Looking into it, you can see at once three of the sovereign state – Italy, the Vatican and the Order of Malta.
3. Porta Portes Market.
This is one of the biggest European markets (more than 1350 stalls). What can be traded on the Porta Portese? ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. You can find old books of the 40s, furniture, gramophones, toys, tableware, fine art, jewelry … If desired, you can find there any, including rare, commodity. Prices, as it should be on the market, dont cost an arm and a leg.Just don’t forget about bargaining.
4. Be careful with the tables.
In Italy a very tricky scheme works – different prices in eateries on the streets. It’s very simple: if you take food with you on the street, pay on the price tag, listed in the menu. And if you sit down with a piece of pizza or an ice cream at the table, the amount will be at least 1.5 times more. If you try to cheat and pay for food “to go” and sit down at the table, you will immediately be pointed to the exit and will be asked to leave the premises. This is a very popular trick for tourists. It implies the following:
5. Hot tourist areas.
This rule is valid in every capital, but in Italy you will feel it the most. Eat away from all the attractions and the best choice will be to go in the dormitory districts and look for family restaurants, which are open from 12.00 to15.00 and from 18.00 to 23.00. Food in the center differs from the food for locals. The portions are bigger and the food is more delicious.
6. Breakfast at the cafe.
If you see a sign in the cafe: breakfast from 9 to 12 am includes juice, cereal (muesli), ham, fruit salad, then know, you will definitely not find any Italian there. But you’ll meet a lot of hungry tourists.The Italian breakfast is a strong coffee, toast with jam and … And that’s all. The Italians believe that breakfast shouldn’t be heavy and nutritious (or maybe they just keep hunger for a dinner).
7. Buy tickets at home.
Do you want right now to make sure in the correctness of this advice? Type in Google: “queue to the Vatican.” Yes, they are large. You’ll have to wait about 4-5 hours. So here is a very simple advice for you – buy tickets online at home. For those who have tickets, the queue will last several times smaller (1-1.5 hours). You will save your time, save money and be able to devote more time to the other attractions of Italy.
8. Be prepared to pay a tribute to the knights and other characters.
Knights, mimes, Venetian ladies and gold people – such characters are found in Italy at every step. And sometimes they are very imposing their services and require the payment of their labor. And it’s not 2-3 euro. For example, “Julius Caesar” ran up to us and stood beside me and was photographed. Then he asked for 10 euros from each for a few pictures. So be prepared for unexpected guests in picture
9. The Secrets of the Ice Cream.
It is believed that Italian ice cream is one of the best. It’s true -it’s magical. Many tourists are lured by the bright colors and unusual flavors, but are they naturally enough? Here’s the simplest advice on how to distinguish good from bad gelateria: it is necessary to determine on banana and pistachio ice cream.
Banana ice cream shouldn’t be bright yellow. It must give slightly greyish cream color – the color of the real bananas. The pistachio ice cream should not look bright green; it should have gray-green color. When the color looks unnatural, that means that the dyes are contained in the ice cream.
10. Do not drive into ZTL zone by car.
If you decide to rent a car, you should know that ZTL is a limited traffic zone, entering vehicles here is only allowed with special permits. The historic center is also a restricted traffic zone. A video camera is installed behind each ZTL sign, which records a car number. So if you do not want a fine, just do not cross the border.
11. Always take cash with you.
In many places in Italy, the paying with credit cards is still not accepted. This is especially true in small family restaurants, shops, hotels and markets. Your card can also not make the payment on the point of the toll highway. Traveler’s checks are rarely cashed in Italy; in addition, you have to pay high tax. The best way to cash out the money – to use an ATM.
12. Remember about the weekend.
Saturday is a short day in Italy. Sunday is a day off. Some shops also do not work on Monday. They believe that sellers need to have a rest after a day off. In the other days, the Italian shops close for siesta time – from 13:00 to 16:00. The Italians seem to love to relax.
13. Watch out for the thieves.
In Rome, Naples and Florence they very often steal wallets, passports and cameras. Keep an eye on your things, do not carry valuables in a backpack behind and do not wear expensive jewelry. This fate touched me. I forgot about caution and put a purse with 500 euros into my back pocket, and a moment it was gone. It goes without saying that the rest of the time I ate not Italian pasta but instant noodle!
If I knew these tricks, I probably would have saved a lot of money and time in queues. But now I have experience, and this is very important. I wish you a great trip to Italy, use tricks, displace from the tourist trail, looking for interesting places and be sure to retell them. It will be really great if everyone will share his tricks and other interesting and memorable places.
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