Milan, Bergamo, Florence, Rimini, Venice, Naples, Palermo, Rome… in Italy, all the destinations are beautiful. You are planning to visit Italy soon and you would like to organize your trip in the best conditions to make the most of it. Here is an Italy travel guide that will help you discover this surprising and warm country.
You will enjoy Italy more in spring (April-June) and September-October, which mark the shoulder season. During these times, the countryside is magnificent. In addition, the country then enjoys pleasant temperatures and moderate tourist activity (good deals in accommodation, especially in the South). If possible, avoid August: the roads and tourist sites are crowded. In addition, Italians go on vacation en masse and many shops and businesses are closing their doors. Prices go up for Christmas, New Year, and Easter. In the Alps and the Dolomites, the season is in full swing from the end of December to March.
Currency: the euro. Some counters open on Saturday morning.
Credit cards are accepted in various restaurants and hotels, as well as many gas stations. However, many traders still refuse them.
Bank hours: in general, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
In Italy, tap water is drinkable, but it is rarely consumed. At the restaurant, you will always be offered mineral water (aqua minerale) in a sealed bottle, naturale for still water, frizzante for sparkling water.
220 volts; European sockets. No adapter needed to travel to Italy.
These hours are very random and change from one region to another and according to the season. Find out in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises. Monday is generally the weekly closing day, except for some large sites which are open daily. For high traffic sites, it is possible to purchase your tickets online to save time and get skip the line.
Visiting Italy is first and foremost a question of timing. To avoid the crowds, unreasonable prices, and hot weather, disdain the main tourist towns and coastlines in summer. In July and August, prefer the less known regions such as Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzo to explore by car, bike, on foot…
Venice only experiences relative rest in January, it can get really cold and humid, but it is really the only month when you can still feel lonely. For Tuscany, we have tenderness for autumn; the region’s special light is only sublimated. As for Rome and Naples, they can be visited all year round, but again, before and after the season will leave you with better memories.
In these two cases, the game consists above all in avoiding being on the tourist sites at the same time as the cruise passengers. A trip to the Italian islands, Sardinia and Sicily, can unfortunately be complicated to achieve outside of the high summer season. In question, the low number of flights to get there and the opening period of the hotels.
It should be remembered that there is at least as much diversity in customs and traditions in Italy.
Country of the Pope, Italy retains a very strong Catholic culture: around 80% of the inhabitants are Catholics and 20% go to church every week. It is necessary to know how to be discreet and to remain very correctly dressed in the holy places, which are most of the time supervised by guards.
In the south of the country, traditions are well established, after lunch the locals take a nap (il pisolino) then go for a walk (the passeggiata) around 6 p.m. It’s also aperitivo time in Milan, we sit on the terrace and for the price of a drink, we can enjoy the buffet (very often gargantuan).
Cooking is the second religion of Italians. The art of the table must be convivial and families meet on Sundays to share lunch. When you are invited to eat there are two rules to respect: finish your plate and never cut your pasta! In this regard, pasta is a dish in its own right. A complete traditional meal consists of antipasti (both appetizer and starters), followed by the primo piatto (pasta or risotto or even soup) then the secondo piatto (main course), before concluding with the dolce (dessert).
Everyone has more or less extensive knowledge of the gastronomy of our Italian neighbors. For lovers of the traditional pizza, it comes from Campania (Naples) but can be eaten everywhere at low prices. Bologna, say “the fat”, makes the junction between pasta topped with cream (Panna) in the North and those with tomato in the South (to put it simply because it is of course more complex than that).
For gourmets who love truffles, go to Piedmont, Tuscany, and Umbria. For food lovers, follow the symbolic snail of Slow Food, born in the town of Bra in Piedmont, this movement highlights local products. For seafood, the products in Puglia and Venice are so fresh that some eat them raw. La Pescaria, Venice’s fish market, in place for 600 years, will allow you to buy freshly caught products.
When it comes to cheese, you shouldn’t leave Italy without having tried burrata, buffala mozzarella, pecorino (hard cheese made from sheep’s milk), divine gorgonzola, or the famous Parmigiano Reggiano (the cheese is mainly eaten as an antipasto, rather than before dessert).
Regarding the wine, we find very good quality white in the Cinque Terre, tannic red in the Piedmont region, and in the wine regions of Valpolicella and Soave. Without forgetting the Tuscan Chianti, Sardinia hides an excellent small production of whites and reds, hardly exported.
And then there is the charcuterie, the thousand and one ways of matching pasta, desserts … cooking is in itself a way of discovering the country.