7 Tips for First Time Italy Visitors

So, you’ve finally booked that trip to Italy – congratulations! The country is beautiful and filled with things to do, and now you need tips for first time Italy visitors. Instead of sticking out like a sore thumb or being frustrated while making your way through the country, I curated a few helpful Italy insider tips.

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Whether you are traveling to Rome for the first time or spending a luxurious 10 days in Italy, here are a few things to know when traveling to Italy for the first time.

7 Tips for First Time Italy Visitors

Plan the time of your trip to Italy wisely. 

Just like many other countries, one of the facts about traveling to Italy is that it is best to go when the weather is good and school is in session. If you are wondering, “When should I go to Italy?” the months of April through early June plus September and October are ideal. These times see fewer visitors and less-touristy prices while still offering reasonable temperatures.

Skip the lines at famous sites by booking your ticket before you travel. 

Italy is one of the most popular European countries to visit, so you want to see as much as you can while you are there. No one wants to waste time standing in line for tickets, so book yours ahead of time for popular attractions. That way you can spend more time enjoying attractions instead of being frustrated by a queue.

7 Tips for First Time Italy Visitors | Skip the lines and book ahead for attractions in Italy.
Skip the lines at attractions in Italy by booking ahead. Photo by Griffin Wooldridge.

You may have to pay to use the restroom. 

As far as tips for first time Italy visitors, this one is essential as it takes many travelers off-guard. If you are dining at a restaurant or café, most will offer bathrooms for the use of their customers but beware of public restrooms. Often there is an attendant that you need to pay or a coin slot to enter the stall. Have change on hand for using the restrooms.

Speaking of fees, watch out for extra charges at restaurants. 

If you are trying to travel to Italy on a budget, this is one area where finances can go awry in a hurry. Cafes and restaurants have a small cover charge, and you will most likely have to pay for anything they bring to the table, including bread.

Another tip is to drink your coffee while standing up, as you can avoid the charge of sitting at a table. So, if you want to travel Italy like a true Italian, get used to drinking your morning joe by standing at the counter instead of seated. Experience the flavor that Italy has to offer, but just do it carefully.

7 Tips for First Time Italy Visitors | Watch out for extra charges while eating in restaurants in Italy.
Watch out for extra charges while eating in restaurants in Italy. Photo by Vincent Rivaud.

Save by using Italy’s public transport. 

Like many European countries, there are several modes of public transportation, which can help lessen the cost of the first trip to Italy. Suggestions for transport from city to city include buses and either a high speed or local train.

If you are renting a car, some ferries can carry vehicles, or you can take a boat across popular waterways. Major cities contain metro systems, which are inexpensive and convenient for checking things off of your first trip to Italy itinerary.

Learn a bit of the language. 

This may be one of the most considerate tips. For first time Italy visitors, it is helpful to learn a few phrases and words, and don’t feel guilty about carrying around a cheat sheet!

Trying to communicate with locals shows that you are putting forth an effort, and it just feels good to be able to have small successes when communicating. Of course, many Europeans speak several languages, including English, but a little bit of lingo will go a long way.

7 Tips for First Time Italy Visitors | Dress like a local when you travel to Italy.
Dress like a local when you travel to Italy. Photo by Evy Jacobs.

Dress like a local. 

One of the big no-nos when traveling to Italy is not dressing correctly. Not that this area should be a stressor, but packing smart is how to prepare for a trip to Italy. Italians care greatly about their appearance, so be sure to kick it up a notch and dress a bit better when you are visiting.

It’s also a fun way to test out some of those pieces in your closet that you have been afraid to wear, or you can shop for a few new looks. Take a peek at a few of our stylish suggestions from Rent the Runway below, and just click on each image to see more.

As with any trip, book travel insurance before you head out. You never know when your Italian vacation may need to be postponed or if you will need medical assistance while on the go.

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