Traveling to Italy is exciting thing to look forward to, no matter how experienced a traveller you are. It is a country that speaks to us of ancient ruins, lively cities and secret romances. But like every other country, if you are planning to travel to Italy, it pays to have a plan and know a bit about the place before you go. For those lucky enough to have friends and family in the land of Roman Holidays and romantic villas, clues to the unique lifestyle of Italians can be handed out as easily as that Sicilian pie we all call pizza. But for the rest of us, it pays to be given a few pointers in how to make the most of your upcoming trip. Here are a few to help you enjoy your time in Italy and not feel completely exposed as the tourist you will be while touring the country.
Understand the Italian Schedule
You may at first be perplexed by the fact that in many towns and cities the stores are closed up tight in the middle of the afternoon but open until late at night. This is because, like many other southern European countries, Italians love to have a long leisurely lunch and often follow it with a mid-afternoon nap. They will reopen the stores and cafes later in the day, and stay open longer. This is because dinner will not even be considered until at least 7PM. So don’t bother making hungry faces at that little café when six o’clock winds around because dinner is not ready yet. It is always easier if you learn to adjust your meals and sleeping to their schedule.
Keep it Simple
While we are talking about schedules, there is one thing you should know about Italians and time. It is that it is a flexible concept. When planning for your trip, be prepared to flex your schedule to their time and if at all possible throw your calendar out the window. Take the time to meander through some winding cobblestone streets, gaze into windows of mysterious shops and even sit around in town centers enjoying the sunshine. Italy is a country that is meant to be experienced slowly, savoring the little mysteries that pop up from time to time.
The Myth of Italian Clothing
While it is true that Italians love to dress well and sexy, it doesn’t mean that you should wander the streets in those cut-off shorts that leave little to the imagination. Italians are a conservative bunch by nature and so showing off more than a little skin on a city street is highly frowned upon in Italy. Use your judgement and keep that kind of attire to the beach. You will find that Italian beaches are filled with tanned bodies that love to show off, but they don’t extend that attitude to the streets. Perhaps it is the Catholic in the country that just doesn’t feel comfortable with all that skin.
So just follow these little tips on how to enjoy life Italian style and you will soon find yourself sipping a bit of dark coffee on an Italian street, enjoying life a la Italiano.