Italy is one of the countries on everyone’s bucket list and there’s a reason why that’s the case. It’s a beautiful country with a long and rich history, beautiful arts, and amazing cuisine. It’s best therefore to explore its diversity by renting a car and driving through the country on your own.
As is the case, with any long and international trip, there are a few preparations you need to make beforehand in order to enjoy the trip more and to accommodate the local customs. Here’s a short list that might help with that.
Don’t Try to See Too Much
This may seem like strange advice for the first visit, but trust as it will improve your trip. There’s a lot to see and do in Italy and especially when it comes to its many galleries and museums.
It’s therefore better not to rush through the visit and try to add too much to your itinerary. Instead, try to savour and truly experience what you end up seeing since that way you can learn more about it and appreciate it on a deeper level.
Rent a Car
One of the best ways to explore Italy is to get a car of your own or rent one and drive yourself. This will give you more of a chance to set your own itinerary and to make stops whenever you want to and for as long as you want to.
In order to do so, you’ll need to get an international driving license and proof of ID such as a passport. The international permit is only valid if you have a national license with you as proof that you can legally drive.
Air Conditioning and the Importance Thereof
Italy can get rather hot during the summer and lately even beyond that. However, air conditioning isn’t as common as it is in the US so you shouldn’t assume that there will be one in the hotel you’ve stayed in.
It’s, therefore, best to ask and make sure if the accommodations you’ve made cover air conditioning. In some cases, you’ll need to pay more for it and in other cases, there won’t be an AC at all. For some tourists, this is an important feature and it very much depends on when you’re visiting and where.
What’s the Best Season To Visit?
Italy has great weather throughout the year and you won’t need to limit your visit to a particular time of year, in most cases. It does, however, depend on how you plan to spend your time in Italy.
If beaches and exploring the coastline is the most important part of your visit, you should try to visit during the summer. However, if you’re equally more interested in its culture, cuisine, and art history, there are no limits whatsoever. There’s no reason for the trip not to include both.
Make Sure to Do Some Research Beforehand
There are plenty of important sites to visit across Italy and each of them has its own rules when it comes to tourists. These include when the venue is open, which parts of it are open to the public, and whether there are tickets that you need to get. Lately, there have also been rules regarding Covid and public health.
Take the time to research this beforehand so that you can visit the venue you’ve planned and enjoy it in accordance with the rules. The proper data is almost always available online and it’s easy enough to find and prepare.
Don’t Stick to Touristy Places Only
There’s a reason why some venues are popular with tourists and you shouldn’t miss them since they are some of the wonders of the world when it comes to art. However, there’s also something to be said about going beyond such places and making sure that you experience life as locals do.
It’s an enriching experience and one that will help you understand Italy better than you would if you would only stick to the popular venues visited by large tourist groups. It’s also a deeper insight into local cuisine and wine culture, which are amongst the best in the world.
Tipping And Cafe Culture
Tipping is not customary in restaurants and cafes in Italy since the price of service is included in the bill. It is, however, customary to do so, when it comes to using cabs. Don’t overlook to tip the cab driver, since doing so can even lead to an argument.
Aperativo hours are happy hours providing free buffets before dinner. Make sure to take advantage of these and especially so if you’re traveling on a budget. It’s also customary to drink coffee at a bar and to sit when breakfast is first served.
Pickpocketing is Common
As is the case in many other countries that attract a lot of tourists, pickpocketing is quite common in many Italian cities. If you plan to spend time in areas where there are long queues and plenty of tourists, you should make accommodations to protect yourself from pickpockets.
It’s best not to carry all of your money in cash but to use cards whenever you can. Keep in mind that using cash helps with tipping and that some small venues won’t accept cards at all so you need to be prepared for both.
Italy is one of the most beautiful and interesting countries in the world and you wouldn’t be able to explore everything it has to offer in one trip. Don’t limit yourself to a theme of a trip – it can be about both the history and high culture, and about beautiful coastlines and relaxation.
Practice common sense and do your research so that you can get the most out of the venue you’re visiting. Don’t forget to get immersed in the local lifestyle as much as you can, especially when it comes to the foods and wines for which the country is so well known.