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Top 5 Travel Tips for Italy

One of the most culturally rich countries in Europe, Italy is a nation of historical legend and geological distinction. With the romantic Venice, the rolling hills of Tuscany, and the bustling tourist hotspot that is Rome, it’s no wonder this is a must-see corner of the world for many people. Here are a few tips so you know what to expect when planning your trip.

Take a nap

flickr | anoldentItalians like to take it easy, especially during the summer months when temperatures can get scorching during the middle of the day, which is why you’ll find places off the usual tourist grid almost deserted until evening hits. But don’t be fooled (or made to feel uneasy by the eerie stillness), because these sleepy towns liven up once the sun begins to set. If you don’t want to advertise yourself as a tourist, the best way to blend in is to have a siesta and a good lunch someplace where there’s air con, and venture out when it’s a little more bearable.

Don’t make an itinerary
flickr | Trish HartmannAs mentioned, Italians are pretty chilled, and if you want to get a real taste of the country, you should try to be too. There is so much to see and do in Italy, it’s true, but the best way to make the most of a trip is to tone it down and try not to make a to-do list for each day. Sure, have a loose idea of what you want to do but give yourself a couple of extra days with no plans so that you can pace yourself, especially if it’s a summer visit.

Be prepared for expenses
flickr | Juan Enrique GilardiItaly is a pretty expensive place to visit, especially the big cities and popular destinations. From accommodation to food, expect to pay a little more than you normally would. The one thing that does seem to be fairly cheap is the public transport, the only problem being that it isn’t always the most convenient way to get around – for example, if you’re used to the London Underground taking you pretty much everywhere you could possibly wish to go, you may be surprised to find that Rome’s Metro only has two lines that don’t really even cover half the city.

Speak Italian
flickr | mario MancusoThis really is a tip for anywhere you may be travelling to: try to speak the language of the country. That doesn’t mean you have to go on a four week intensive course the month before your week-long holiday, but it does mean that you should do some googling and get to grips with some basic words and phrases – ‘hello’, ‘good morning’, ‘goodbye’, ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’ are always good places to start. By saying a few words in the native language, you are saying you respect the people, and locals will always appreciate the fact that you made a little effort. Don’t be that arrogant tourist who loudly wonders what is wrong with everyone because they don’t speak English.

Expect a late dinner
flickr | Kama GuezalovaBe aware that most restaurants won’t open until 7pm at the earliest, and they generally won’t get really busy until around 9pm. Another thing to note is that portions are big in Italian restaurants, and even though there are about five different courses listed on most menus, you probably won’t be able to finish more than one starter and one main, so, tempting as it all is, try not to let your eyes get bigger than your stomach…

Inspired to visit the boot of Europe? Take the trip of a lifetime with Frontier project in Italy and get a feel for the country while making impact on ongoing research in the Mediterranean.

By Eman Bhatti – Online Journalism Intern

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