So many people fall in love with the idea of Italy. There is a romance about the place, a draw that weighs heavily on people sitting in Monday morning offices staring at desktop background pictures of somewhere they’d rather be. Most people that travel to Italy fall into two groups.
One group are those who develop a Romeo and Juliet like infatuation with the country. The other are those that are bewildered by litter and homelessness, shocked by the modern day reality of Europe. Digging further the difference is generally people who know how to travel Italy like a local and those that don’t.
How to travel Italy like a local
It’s simple really. Just put food and people ahead of your schedule. Take your time to enjoy the finer things and meet the locals. Itineraries are a great way to have a bad time in Italy. Here are our tips:
Eat like a local
Eating in Italy isn’t an opportunity to fuel up, it’s an event. Well, more precisely, a series of events. Start off with a caffe (espresso) and croissant and turn your lunch into a series of primi (first courses), secondi (second or main courses) and dolce (dessert) from a series of different restaurants.
I mean, how else are you supposed to try everything?
Visit the places locals do
Local market places or winding narrow alleys are often the best places to experience Italy. One of our favourite experiences was finding a tiny alley way bar run by an old Italian man who was perhaps the most welcoming character you could ever meet.
Go out of your way to experience local restaurants and bars off the main streets. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Embrace what it is to dine out in Italy
Eating out in Italy is a cultural affair. It’s a completely different way of dining. Taking your time, relaxing, drinking and talking into the night. Our first evening dining out in Italy turned into a three hour affair and ended with us drinking Limoncello with the host.
Take your time and enjoy. These experiences often end up being more memorable then the twenty minutes you spend taking photos at a tourist spot.
Speak with the locals
Italian is not a difficult language to pick up a few phases in. And you’ll be surprised in the similarities between Italian and English. One of the things that makes the biggest difference when figuring out how to travel Italy like a local is just to pick up a few sentences to chat with the locals.
Being able to ask for a menu, asking someone how they are or introducing yourself can make a huge difference in how the locals treat you. Making an effort will make you trip a lot of fun.
Want to learn about some amazing places to visit in Italy?
Check out our guide to the best things to do in Montecatini Terme, a beautiful little Italian town.