Have you ever met someone who doesn’t get excited at the prospect of a trip to Italy? Well, neither have we. A majestically beautiful destination that rests on a unique historical heritage, breathtaking landscapes, world-class food, an exotic language, ancient architecture and art and a milieu of charming cities and towns – Italy checks all the boxes for a mind-blowing vacation. However, the catch with destinations as exotic as Italy is that it’s brimming over with tourists all year round. These insider tips will help you avoid the tourist traps and make the most of your trip to Italy:
Steer Clear of Rip-Offs
As with any other popular tourist destinations, Italy too has had its share of commercialisation to cash in on the huge influx of visitors. This is especially true of popular destinations like Venice, Rome and Florence. These cities are fraught with places looking to fleece unsuspecting tourists in the name of experiences.
You can save yourself the unsavoury experience of walking straight into these rip off traps by skipping restaurants and cafes situated close to top landmarks and avoiding places with multi-lingual signs, as these are obviously targeted at foreigners. Also, try to seek recommendations from locals through social media communities ahead of your trip to Italy instead of blindly relying on the likes of TripAdvisor and Quora.
Coperto – The Cover Charge
Restaurants in Italy have a cover charge, known as Coperto in the native language, which requires you to pay a fee for getting a table. This can vary anywhere between 1 and 5 Euros, and no, it is not them Italians trying to fleece gullible tourists. It’s just the way of life there, as you will discover on your trip to Italy. Unless a restaurant specifies a ‘no service charge’ policy, both natives and foreigners have to cough up the ‘Coperto’.
Coffee Comes Cheap
Espressos and cappuccinos are just everywhere in Italy, and they taste absolutely heavenly. Your trip to Italy isn’t complete unless you have downed several cups of this rich, fragrant goodness each day. Since Italians love their regular doses of coffee, it comes very cheap. One Euro for espresso and 1.5 for a cappuccino is the standard rate. If you get charged anything more anything more, know that you are being handed the tourist price.
Use Only Regular Taxis on Your Trip to Italy
If there is one rule of thumb to swear by for a pleasant trip to Italy, it is to always, ALWAYS take officially licensed taxis. No matter how tedious the prospect of finding a taxi stand and then waiting in queues seems, suck it up and just go through with it. In all likelihood, you’ll be approached by people offering taxi services outside train stations and airports. Resist the temptation because being overcharge for your trip is the best case scenario you can hope for when riding in one of these dubious taxis.
Make Bookings in Advance
Unless you prefer travelling in offseason, long, frustrating queues are the norm at all major Italian landmarks. Instead of wasting precious hours waiting for your turn at the ticket counter, make advance bookings.
Advance bookings are also a great idea because Italian authorities have put a cap on the number of people allowed to access unique works of art such as Giotto’s frescoes in the Cappella degli Scrovegni or Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper as well as famous monuments to cut back on the astronomical restoration costs. There is a good chance that by the time you get to the ticket counter, they may have already closed entries for that day.
Go Local on Your Trip to Italy
There are few countries in the world with as much variety of flavour and cuisine as Italy. As you travel from region to region, going north to south, you will discover that the eating habits and lifestyle of people changes as per the local climate, produce and ingredients.
Italians like to eat local and so should you during your trip to Italy. Gorge on meat when on the inlands, fish in the coastal regions, and taste as many varieties of pasta and wine as you can. We promise you no two specialities from different regions will taste the same.
Don’t Let Your Guard Down
Italy is a welcoming and safe country. But that’s not to say it is a 100 per cent crime free. Like anywhere else in the world, tourists make for easy targets. So don’t let the holiday spirit get your guard down. Small precautions like not keeping your wallet in your back pocket while travelling on buses or distractedly leaving your handbag on a counter are all it takes to not let any unpleasant incidents dampen your holiday spirit.
Best Time to Take a Trip to Italy
Italy is one of the few European countries that make for an ideal year-round destination. Yeah, you can plan a trip to Italy in the thick of winter and still have the time of your life. So, the best time to travel really depends on what you are looking for.
Generally, the shoulder season – April to mid-June and then September to October – is ideal for travelling to any region of Italy, as the weather is pleasant and tourists rush on a low. Avoid months of June through August if travelling to the southern part of Italy. Similarly, seaside resorts and towns are crowded in July and August, but it is a great time to visit the cities of Florence, Rome and Milan.
If Venice is on your itinerary – and it should be – it is best to aim for the winter months of November through January, as the crowds are on an all-time low during this time and beautiful cover of fog enhances the beauty of the place and how!
With that, you are all set to nail your trip to Italy like a pro. So, don’t wait up. Start planning already!