A First-timer’s Guide To Italy

Italy has long stood as a popular travel destination, and it’s not hard to see why. Italy has a rich cultural history, from the Roman Empire to the Renaissance, and is full of art and architecture that reflects that history. Its Mediterranean climate makes visiting a pleasant experience at almost any time of year. The geography is gorgeous, from the beaches of southern Italy to the hills and mountains of the north.

It’s still possible to have a bad experience if you aren’t prepared, though. While there are plenty of sights to keep you entertained, you don’t want to be miserable because you got ripped off by a taxi or failed to bring adapters to make your electrical devices compatible. It’s very possible if you don’t know what to expect. Here are some basic trips to help you prepare for your first trip to Italy.

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Preparing for Your Trip

Learn the Language
It’s easier for some people than others, and you don’t have to become a master of Italian to visit Italy. But you should learn enough to be able to ask locals for directions or help in basic matters.

Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

The most effective way to do this is usually to get some kind of “Learn Italian” software (for example, the Rosetta Stone series). Guidebooks can be helpful in understanding individual words but are not always useful when dealing with real people. You can also buy an electronic talking translator to translate what you say and pronounce it, but these tend to be expensive.

Prepare for Minor Cultural and Functional Differences
Italy uses the Euro as its primary form of currency, so you’ll want to make sure to have enough money converted to Euros for your trip. Similarly, make sure your watches and schedules are set to the correct time zone: Italy is on Central European Time, GMT+1, which is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Daylight Time. Electricity is wired on a 220V 50Hz system, and you’ll need either compatible devices or converters and adapters for your own (the United States useds a 120V, 60Hz system). You may find other small details are different in Italy as well; if you’re not comfortable with something, ask a local or research it further before you arrive.

Riviera Di LevanteSunset in Florence

Once You’re There

Buy tickets for what you want to visit in advance.
You’re not the only one planning to see the Colosseum or the Sistine Chapel. The major tourist attractions and cultural landmarks generally have very long lines, and you could be waiting hours if you don’t plan ahead. Many of these attractions will allow you to buy tickets in advance, though, and a pre-purchased ticket usually allows you to skip those lines. Plan ahead and save yourself lots of time– you only have so much of it on your vacation, after all.

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Buy Tickets for What You Want to Visit in Advance.
Italy’s public transportation can be useful if you know what you’re doing. Taxicabs are expensive to begin with, and some drivers will try to rip you off, charging double the normal fare or more and thinking you won’t know any better.

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Solution? Avoid them. In major cities, the bus lines and subway systems should be enough to get you around easily and inexpensively. If you must use a taxi, be smart. Don’t get in the car if it isn’t marked as a taxicab– robberies are not common but not impossible. Get a quote on the fare before you get in the car, and ask your concierge before the taxi arrives what the fare should be. If you’re traveling through the country or between cities, the train system can be an easy and affordable option.

Keep Your Money Secure and Be Smart with It.
Local business owners may try to rip you and somewhere it can’t be easily stolen. Banking is always a possibility: Italy has modern banking and ATMs (called Bancomats), so you can always just access your money with a bank card of some kind. Again, be careful; some thieves target ATM areas, particularly at night.

Pickpocketing, especially in crowded areas, can be a problem. Crime in Italy is

generally not serious, but these types of people target tourists. Make sure your money is safe.

Italy is a nation rich with the history of many cultures, beautiful and varied geography, and some of the world’s most famous historical landmarks. Plan your trip to Italy today atAffordableTours.com.

 

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