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Heading to Italy Any tips?

  1. Nov 27, 2011 #1
    Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    So I am heading to Italy tomorrow for a 3-week adventure! It actually starts in Malta for 3 days (an island south of Sicily) and then we head to Sicily for a few days and then we travel up the Western coast of Italy. The destinations are as follows:

    Malta-->Sicily (Palermo, Taormina, Catania) --> Mainland Italy (Naples, Rome, Florence, Bologna, Venice).

    Anyone have any tips? I know to look out for pickpockets. I am from the USA and I am just wondering of there are any little things I should know? I think I have the "big" things covered like safety and acting like a reasonable person when traveling abroad.

    But for example, my friend who travelled to Italy said that if I go to a cafe and order coffee, they do not make it to go, it is typically drank in the cafe. Moreover, they will charge you extra to sit down and drink it, whereas it would be cheaper to stand at the "bar" and drink.

    Or as another example: When dining out, don't bother to ask to take home my "leftovers" because that is not something that they do there.

    Anyone have any other good ones? I'll be sure to post some pictures in the Photo forum! I still have to post some from my 6-week trip to Ghana that I just returned from.

    Thanks! :smile:
     
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  3. Nov 27, 2011 #2
    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Well FTTOMH,

    1: Don't try to get anything done or dont do anything between 1pm and 4pm. Expect shops to be closed.

    2: Don't wear a wrist watch in Napels,

    3: Dinner time starts at 10pm.
     
  4. Nov 27, 2011 #3
    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Good to know. I had no idea. Do shops reopen after 4? And if so: what time do they stay open until?

    That whole dinner at 10 PM is a little annoying. Does that mean that restaurants are not open at 6 or 7 PM? Or is it just more a "traditional dinner time"?
     
  5. Nov 27, 2011 #4

    wolram

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    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Bologna, is a beautiful city, just be aware that (gypsy) women carrying a baby in front of them
    can be hard to push away, they will have their hands in your pockets in the blink of an eye,
    i hope you enjoy your trip.
     
  6. Nov 27, 2011 #5
    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    whoa! good to know! I will be using my moneybelt for just this reason. We (my girlfriend and I) got pickpocket in Ghana and it was an ordeal. They got her passport and what a mess that made!
     
  7. Nov 27, 2011 #6
    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    If you don't speak the language, know that English is not as widely understood in Italy as it is in northern Europe, particularly in southern Italy. Practice some Italian phrases and bring a phrase book and a small dictionary. Even better, hook up with someone who speaks the language. You can use a digital voice translator, but Italians (unlike the French) really appreciate it when you try to speak their language.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  8. Nov 27, 2011 #7
    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Streets in Venice are flooded. Be prepared to travel by rescue boat. If you're outside and you see the statue of David by Michaelangelo, that's a copy. The real one is inside. It used to be outside too, but it got weather-worn.
     
  9. Nov 27, 2011 #8
    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Yes they reopen until maybe 9-10pm. Just be aware that the mediteranian siesta separates the day in two useful parts.

    Basically yes, they open normally around 6pm but it you try to have dinner before 8pm, you're probably alone.

    Also don't expect to get a good breakfest. Italian breakfest is a timble of almost solid coffee, known as espresso.
     
  10. Nov 27, 2011 #9

    Borek

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    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Don't smell the Venice.
     
  11. Nov 27, 2011 #10
    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Don't eat the pigeons with red eyes.
     
  12. Nov 27, 2011 #11
    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Don't let anyone pinch your bottom...well i should say, watch out for guys wanting to pinch your bottom...so many people have given me that advice about Italy -_-
     
  13. Nov 27, 2011 #12

    lisab

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    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Actually I'd extend that advice to male Italians outside of Italy. I got pinched on a train in London when I was 14 :eek:. My older cousin, who was British, yelled at them and then explained to me that "Italian men will do that".

    Of course in parts of the US you may end up with a slug in your @ss for "doing that".
     
  14. Nov 27, 2011 #13
    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    :mad: too bad no one had a set of hot tongs handy
    :rofl: amongst other places :biggrin:
     
  15. Nov 27, 2011 #14

    mathwonk

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    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    you are not exactly going to my favorite places in italy, but i have always enjoyed the delightful people of that country, their hospitality, courtesy, not to mention the food and wine. i suggest when you go into a store, to say something polite, like buon giorno, before asking for toothpaste or whatever. that is the difference in the custom there and here - they are courteous. and if a little old lady with a roadside stand gives you directions, be polite and buy something from her. get a book or record of the language and practice as much as you can in advance. it only takes a little effort to learn grazie, buon giorno, buona sera, molto buono, piu vino per favore......

    Do not take guidance for a hotel room from the guy at the train station.

    next time skip naples and try in addition to rome and florence, also trieste, canale, torino, perugia, assisi, bellagio,.....

    and just have fun.
     
  16. Nov 27, 2011 #15
    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Very good advice. Thanks :smile: We are doing the Western coast of Italy this trip. Probably do the eastern coast and northern region next time! Naples is where my mother's family comes from, so it's a must!
     
  17. Nov 28, 2011 #16

    Monique

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    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Haha, no! Just finish your plate :smile:

    I think a good advice is to take it slow, don't rush to see all the sights: just enjoy the moment that you're there: it a vacation. There is too much to see and do anyway.

    You definitely need to learn some basic phrases.

    When visiting the Vatican or other tourist places you need to watch out for bogus tour guides. There are fake-tour guides that will sell you a ticket and tell you to come back at a certain time, which basically means you will have lost your money. I did follow a tour when visiting the Colosseum and the Vatican museum, which was great: we could skip the lines and have an entertaining tour and get tips of the best local spots to eat.

    If you're confident enough to join the traffic, I can recommend renting a bicycle or a scooter (bici/baci): a great way to see the city.

    The most important thing, enjoy the food and wine :biggrin:
     
  18. Nov 28, 2011 #17
    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Am I the only one to think that this thread is a bit stereotyped? Things like pickpockets, *** pinching etc. Come on. Theres a lot of pickpocketing going in most citys in the world. The *** pinching is only because theres is assholes everywhere in the world. etc.

    A bit like saying, 'If you go to america, they don't have restaurants like we do, only burger bars. That's what they eat over there'.

    And also, dinner time at 10:00 PM ? That's spain. Dinner time in italy is around 8:00 PM.
     
  19. Nov 28, 2011 #18

    epenguin

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    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    Don't buy a gold watch especially the favourites omega and rollex or forced sales of cheap diamonds etc.

    You don't say whether you are travelling by car or train air etc.

    More when I know.

    In all cases you will see some warnings posted in English against "abusive" people, abusive taxi drivers, abusive vendors etc. You may not recognise these because you will not come across people shouting abuse at you (except for car drivers). They just imagine "abusive" is the translation of "abusivo" which really means "unauthorised". (They can also imagine "advertisement" is the translation of "avvertimento" meaning "warning".) So get a taxi etc. from the regular taxi ranks, not someone who sidles up to you in the station, airport etc.

    It's late now, and it's hard to pack for every eventuality, but do not be all that taken in by the "sunny Italy" legend, you might in November be lucky, you might not. Have at least some light but warm and waterproof clothing, you just don't know. Of cokurse you can buy good reasonably priced stuff there.

    My advice for visiting Italy, especially as your trip is quite long, is do not go just to the famous big places, go also to some small ones, the one or two stars, you can choose from the guides, e.g. Michelin Green. In fact I think you have too much in your programme. You will still not be able to see all there is in the places mentioned. Given you have reasons for visiting Naples, if you miss any or all of Rome, Florence or Venice you will go there some other time. More seeing, less travelling, just a personal view.
     
  20. Nov 28, 2011 #19

    Monique

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    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    That's what happens in busy tourist places, a warned person counts for two.
     
  21. Nov 28, 2011 #20
    Re: Heading to Italy!!! Any tips?

    It is a reasonably safe country, there's lots to see. How do you plan to get around? If anything, I don't remember public transport being that good -that might have changed- so I'ld suggest to get a cheap small car (which will probably be a stick-shift), and take good care in traffic. Italians are notorious for not abiding any traffic rules - red lights, zebra crossings, passing other people I think they sometimes feel is up to your own interpretation of the traffic conditions so to someone from the US it'll sometimes be hectic, in some cities it's a complete mess, but a lot of fun too. Don't bother to try to drive as fast as an Italian because you'll end up dead; take care of driving through small cities. Don't leave expensive stuff in your car, and have small change for the toll ways.

    I agree I'ld skip Napels too and try to spend some time at the country or have a look at the cities you pass through. I personally find it infinitely more fun to look at daily life enjoying a coffee in a small place, but that's taste. Just get a good paper guide, as I said, there's more than enough to see.
     
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