When planning a trip to Italy there are a few questions that just about everyone has pop into their head. So, we’re going to answer some of the top questions people have when planning their trip to Italy, we hope it helps!
Do I need to learn Italian?
While it is always appreciated when people learn the language of places they are visiting, it is also somewhat unrealistic to expect every traveller to learn every language. Ultimately you can get away with not speaking Italian in Italy, however if you do not speak English then you may have an issue communicating.
In large cities and tourist areas you should be fine speaking English. If you have a smartphone, download one of the many translation apps to assist you. Some applications, such as Google Translate, allows you to take photos of test, such as a menu, and can translate from the image. Alternatively, a phrase book is useful when travelling. We also have a handy blog with some Italian phrases you should know before you go.
If you’re travelling to more remote and rural areas in Italy unfortunately you will need some grasp of the language. Remote communities are less likely to speak English as they do not encounter tourists as frequently.
Where should I go?
Well this is an incredibly subjective question! There are plenty of top sites to see while in Italy. Most people will work their way top to bottom or vice versa. However, many international flights land in Rome so you may wish to start your Italian trip there.
We offer tours all across Italy in most major tourist areas. Head to Rome to discover the Colosseum and Vatican City. Florence is well known for its great art galleries, Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Tuscany wine region. If you want to explore Pompeii, Naples and the Isle of Capri, join our Amalfi Coast tours. And finally, if you’ve always dreamed of a romantic gondola ride then Venice is the place to be.
Check out our tours page to explore everything we have on offer!
Will I get robbed/ pick-pocketed?
Travelling in Italy, like in any country, comes with some risks. Ultimately, there is no place in the world where you are guaranteed to be perfectly safe. That said, Italy is a relatively safe country to be in. Tourists can be the subjects of pickpockets but there are a few simple things you can do to prevent becoming a target.
Always keep your pockets empty, don’t be tempted to leave your wallet or phone in your back pocket
Be aware of your surroundings. You’re more likely to find pickpockets at large markets and tourist spots than wandering through winding alleyways
Don’t take valuables that you don’t need. Most hotels have an in-room safe you can use. Keep your valuables there rather than dragging wads of cash out across the city
Wear a money belt or un-slashable backpack. They can easily be bought from most travel stores and are a great way to protect your items
Wear shoulder bags across your body as they can’t be slid off, and place your chair leg through backpack straps when sitting to have a meal in restaurants
There are many other ways to protect yourself, but this is a good starting point.
Do I need to tip in restaurants?
No, you do not need to tip in Italy. Most restaurants will charge you what is called a ‘cover’. This per person charge is the equivalent of your tip. It pays for your table service and the work of your waiter while you are at the restaurant. Many restaurants will have the cover charge price listed on their menus, however some will not. Be careful as generally speaking restaurants that do not list a cover charge will make you pay a higher price.
If you wish to still tip you are more than welcome to, however know that it is not essential as it is in other countries such as the United States.
How should I take money with me?
Italy is much more card-friendly than the United States, however it is still recommended you carry cash with you.
Before leaving your home country we recommend exchanging some cash and organising a travel money card. This will allow you to withdraw cash from ATMs without ridiculously high exchange rates. Never exchange cash in hotels or corner stores as they will likely charge a very high commission and you will end up with less money than if you were to use an ATM.
Debit cards can be used for most purchases over 20 euro however it is good to note that taxis, street food vendors, small stores and market stalls may only accept cash.
Before heading on your trip, keep an eye on the Euro for a few weeks and exchange money when the rate is good so that if it drops while you are away you already have some in your pockets.
Do I need a Visa?
Unfortunately, this isn’t a question we can answer for you. Every country has its own visa requirements and different citizens will be required to obtain different visas to enter Italy.
Check out your countries visa restrictions before booking your trip to ensure you have enough time to get the visa before flying out.
What are the cultural dress codes in Italy?
Generally speaking, Italy is quite a conservative dressing country. Though conservative there are not strict laws about what people can or cannot wear.
A generally effective rule of thumb when dressing in Italy, particularly during hot weather, is one or the other. For example, if you are wearing a pair of mini shorts opt for a light flowy top, t-shirt or other covering shirt rather than a spaghetti strap singlet.
Dressing to this rule will help prevent unwanted comments or stares. It is also worth noting that regional areas are likely to expect you to dress in a more conservative manner.
If you are heading to Vatican City there is a strict dress code you must follow or you will not be granted entry. You can read all about the dress code on our blog. It’s a good idea to use this dress code if you intend to visit a lot of churches.
We hope that these tips and tricks have helped you prepare for your Italy trip, and hope you book your tour with us soon!
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