One of the most exciting things about traveling to Italy is that you simply don’t know what’s around the next corner. From culture and history to art and architecture, there are treasures everywhere in this country. Each city within this country has a different way of presenting itself and it’s important for both local and foreign visitors alike to embrace their identity.
Exploring any city gives you an idea of its culture but when visiting Italy’s many cities you are exposing yourself to a whole new experience filled with color, architecture, and cuisine. If you are already planning your trip to Italy, here are six insider tips for making the most of your stay.
Discover Italy with Dogs!
Italy has a wonderful tradition of hosting dogs in cafés and restaurants, so if you are an animal lover, you will be in heaven. Traveling through Italy with your furry friend can be a great experience and this tradition highlights the culture of the country. If you’re planning on bringing your four-legged friend, be aware that the rules and regulations for doing so change from region to region. For example, in many places in Florence, it is still forbidden to bring a dog into a restaurant but in Rome, and many others they are very much welcomed! However, if you wish to travel with your furry friend, be sure to act responsibly, and always pick up after them as the locals are not used to owners who do not.
Visit Vatican City
This is one of those places that you just can’t miss when in Rome as it’s the smallest country in the world and is home to some of Italy’s most famous attractions. This includes St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museum with its vast collections of works by Da Vinci and Michelangelo, among others. The art and architecture of the buildings within the country are truly stunning and it’s well worth planning a trip to Vatican City as soon as you arrive in Italy.
If you’d like to see what life is like for citizens living inside Vatican City, be sure to take a guided walking tour which will let you peek behind the political walls and discover more about this fascinating place. Make sure you book the tickets for your Vatican tour well in advance as they go quite quickly. Also, be careful about your clothes and ensure you dress appropriately too as this is a holy place and visitors must cover their shoulders and knees.
Enjoy outdoor theater
During the summer, Italy’s parks and piazzas come alive with music, theatre, and dancing. There are free or inexpensive evening performances for those who want to enjoy an al fresco experience. Check local newspapers, ask the hotel staff or at tourist information offices for what’s on during your stay, and get out there! For example, in Rome, you can enjoy evening performances at the water fountains of the Villa Borghese or head to Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere for an opera under the stars. In Florence, head to Piazza Della Santissima Annunziata for musical performances, and in Milan be sure to check out the street theatre festival which takes place every summer. Attending these performances is that you won’t find anything like them back home and the best thing is that they are completely free.
Rent a Vespa
Taking a scooter out for the day is perhaps one of the best ways to discover Italy, especially if you are limited by time or don’t want to be bogged down with suitcases or pushchairs when you travel around this beautiful country. You can also pop into small cafés and restaurants the way without having to fuss with parking the car or finding a taxi. This has become a popular way to explore the Amalfi Coast and other hotspots around Italy, but it’s also a great way to discover smaller towns that are not well known. If you plan on renting a scooter, take safety precautions. Helmets are mandatory in Italy so be sure to wear one along with knee pads, elbow pads, and proper footwear. This will ensure your comfort as you explore the streets of Italy!
Taste the authentic, regional cuisine!
Many of Italy’s towns have their specialties, which you can discover during your visit. Every region has its unique cuisine that changes from south to north as you travel through this amazing country. Don’t be afraid to sample the local flavors and enjoy some delicious pasta, seafood dishes, and more unusual fare like tripe! The portions are often generous so you can easily share with your dining companions too.
When you are visiting Venice, be sure to try some Baccala (stockfish) at any restaurant. This dish is very popular in the Venetian lagoon and getting your hands on an authentic Venetian meal can be difficult elsewhere in Italy. Other regional specialties include Piadina from Emilia-Romagna, Cotoletta from Milan, Arancini from Sicily, Mortadella Bologna, Spaghetti Vongole Veraci which comes with fresh, local clams that are found in the Adriatic Sea or choose a steak if you are visiting northern regions of Piedmont or Lombardy.
Float in the Blue Grotto
The famous Blue Grotto is a sea cave located on a small island just a short boat ride from the mainland near the town of Capri in southern Italy. This attraction is so unique that it’s been listed as one of Italy’s national monuments because it looks like you are floating inside an incredibly beautiful tropical reef or swimming through a clear blue ocean. There are many tours available to this sparkling gem but be sure to book yours several months beforehand since there can be up to 99 other tourists also visiting this site at the same time! If you’re already planning your next Italian getaway, make sure you check out our range of villas for rent in Tuscany and other popular locations around Italy.
Conclusively, Italy is the most visited country in the world, not only for its historical landmarks, cultural traditions but also for its scenic landscapes. There are numerous places to visit from sprawling metropolis cities like Milan and Rome to beautiful beaches of Venice and the southern region. Don’t forget to consult locals about the best spots in Italy, and to take a break from visiting touristy places and explore the authentic food and traditions of this incredible European country.
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