Figured I’d start out with one of my favorite places to visit which is Italy. From the little cafes on the streets of Rome, to the mighty Colosseum where you can walk where the gladiators did, to the villas on the side of a mountain overlooking the sea. Then onto seaside restaurants only accessible by boat, take in the beauty of Capri and Tuscany, or take a gondola ride in Venice, to exploring the wonders of history, to hiking to an active volcano, and not to be forgotten is the incredible food and wine. These are just some of the reasons why you should visit Italy.
Things to know before you go:
Get a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. I use Capital One and also take a Charles Schwab debit card so that I can use ATMs without being charged a fee.
Don’t buy currency at the airport buy some before you go from your bank or a currency exchange place. If you need to get currency at the airport than use an ATM so you don’t pay high exchange fees. Once you are at your hotel you can ask the hotel where an ATM is and some hotels exchange money. Just check the rate via an app.
Language: Know the basics. I have found if you try and speak some Italian it can mean getting better service in some places so it’s worth the effort. Yes, you can use an app to translate for you but it’s more personal if you actually speak the language.
Where’s the restroom= dov’è il bagno
Hello = Ciao
Goodbye = Addio
Thank you = Grazie
Thank you very much= Grazie mille
Check please = Controlli, per favore
Good morning = Bueongiorno
Good evening = Buonasera
Always check beforehand and 1 week before you go so you know what to pack. Spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) are the best times to visit but just remember these times will be tourist season. June is hot. I went in June the last time I went to Italy and especially in Rome I felt like I was baking.
Know what you will be walking on as you want to wear comfortable shoes to suit the ground and weather because blisters can ruin a trip especially if you don’t pack blister protection. I always take the Adventure Medical Kit Moleskin Blister Dressing from REI which has saved my feet a couple of times. Rome especially you will be walking on stones. Below is what most of Rome streets look like.
Tipping, Service Charges, and Tax in Italy:
Interesting fact: Italians don’t tip.
Servizio- which should be stated on the menu in fine print and is usually for parties of 8-10 which is a tip that is automatically added to the bill. However some touristy places will charge this even if it’s just 1 person so read the fine print on the menu.
Coperto-which should be stated on the menu in fine print which is 1-3 euro and is a cover charge to offset the price of bread, oil, table setting.
Pane- charge for bread which is 1-2 euros per person.
On average you can tip 1 -3 euro person but by law you only have to pay what is written on the menu except for the taxes and any charges stated on the menu. If they went out of their way to give you exceptional service than of course tip more.
Tax (VAT) is built into the price of what you are paying so keep that in mind when buying items.
Do not tip. It’s just not done.
Make sure the meter is running. If they say it’s broken have them stop at the next corner and get out or agree to a set fare before starting.
If you call a taxi or your hotel calls a taxi then the meter starts from wherever the taxi is sent from so keep that in mind.
Get a taxi at a a taxi rank to ensure you are getting an official taxi . If you are getting a taxi from the airport there are fixed rates written on the door.
Taxis are no joke when you are in them. They speed and the one I took I wish I had walked because their driving scared me.
Yes, there is Uber but check out the price as they can be higher than taking a taxi.
Was pretty easy. You can get tickets at tobacconists, bars, or vending machines at Metro stations and major bus stops.
The vending machines are bi-lingual and easy to use. There is only 3 train lines so it’s not to hard to get around.
Rome bus, tram & Metro ticket prices (as of May 2019)
Ticket options are:
- B.I.T. standard ticket, valid for one Metro ride or 100 minutes on all buses allowing transfers. €1.50
- 24 hour ticket – valid for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within Rome for 24 hours from validation. €7.00
- 48 hour ticket – valid for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within Rome for 48 hours from validation. €12.50
- 72 hour ticket – valid for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within Rome for 72 hours from validation. €18.00
- C.I.S. €24.00. Weekly ticket – valid for 7 calendar days
Note: Public transportation is free for children under 10 years old, with accompanying adult.
If you plan on traveling outside of Rome than most likely you will take a train.
I took the Ferrari train well because it’s Ferrari and I just couldn’t resist. I got first class tickets that were very responsibly priced. Below is the website you can book tickets for this train.
You can get a Eurail Global Pass or a Single country pass which offer different flexible options if you plan on traveling by train to different long distance locations.
Note: The pass will need to be shipped and they can be shipped to the hotel you are staying at if you book to late. There is free shipping to North America.