Simultaneous vacations and inappropriate kisses on the cheek: 7 things to know before you go to Italy
Italy is a country of dreams, passion, incredible landscapes, extremes, interesting people and much more. A trip to the cities of this unique country is a dream for millions of people. No wonder it has been topping the list of tourist destinations for years.
But before visiting Italy you need to know something about it in order not to get into trouble. And we are not talking about the history of Rome or the weather conditions. We are also talking about the peculiarities of everyday life, which may surprise you.
Life on schedule
Yes, Italians are not at all accustomed to stability and a schedule, unless we're talking about food. They have dozens of rules completely incomprehensible to most foreigners in their food preferences.
For example, coffee with milk (cappuccino, latte, flat white, etc.) can only be drunk until 11 am. After that ordering such drinks in cafes or restaurants is simply indecent. They will look at you strangely if you make such a fatal mistake.
The lunch time is around 13 o'clock and dinner is not until 20 o'clock. Interestingly, in between meals most eating establishments do not work.
A few more highlights concern the local alcohol. Thus the world-famous cocktail aperol spritz is consumed here only before dinner, and limoncello is drunk after a full meal.
Of course, thos rules are not mandatory. The culture itself dictates them. But no one will bust you if you decide to move dinner an hour earlier or later. Locals have long been used to tourists, so they do not try to impose their own habits.
Italians go on vacation almost at the same time
This is not some kind of oddity. The fact is that in August in Italy the temperature rises significantly. The thermometer at this time rarely falls below 35 degrees. Therefore residents of the country take vacations and migrate en masse to the coast.
That is why the last month of summer is considered the worst period for traveling to Italy. Almost all companies shut down during this time, prices in stores increase several times, and book a room close to the seaside resorts is almost impossible.
Italians love cars
This country has the second highest number of cars per capita in the world. And there are several logical explanations.
First of all, this predilection for driving is caused by the geographical features of the country. Not all remote mountain towns can be reached by train or bus. So it is best to drive yourself on local serpentine roads.
In addition, there is a really good road infrastructure, in which millions of dollars were invested in the middle of the last century.
But do not be upset if you do not have a driver's license. Most tourist locations are accessible by public transport, which is inexpensive compared to other EU countries.
If you are planning to rent a car, then take care of finding it in advance. The fact is that at the beginning of the world pandemic, many car rental companies have closed or simply sold their cars. So now there are significant difficulties in this area.
Love of cash
Italy has probably resisted cashless payment longer than any other developed country. Until 2022, you couldn't find a terminal in any store or hotel. That all changed after the authorities issued a law that forced all businesses to pay by cards, too.
However, not everyone has agreed to the change so easily. There are still a lot of places where you need cash. So it is better to carry at least a small amount of cash.
Just trust me, you won't find an Italian who doesn't love his country. Locals will constantly tell you about the beauty, unsurpassedness and uniqueness of Italy. So be prepared to listen to long stories about the history of this country, its great artists/conquerors /scientists. And do not even try to interrupt this monologue, or you will be suspected of disrespect.
Sarcasm as a norm of communication
Italian self-irony is to be envied. These people can easily make fun of their habits or traditions. And it looks very funny until they get to you. Local jokes can be very cruel. But don't take them personally. Sarcasm is a common form of communication for Italian citizens. To the uninitiated, such wit may seem like crossing boundaries, but it is usually with good intentions.
A kiss on the cheek is not always appropriate
There is a myth that all Italians kiss each other twice on the cheek when they meet. But this is nothing more than a stereotype. In fact close friends or relatives can indeed greet each other this way, as, by the way, Ukrainians do. But you should not get affectionate to people you barely know like the guide, store manager or hotel manager. No one will understand your "niceness".
Better give preference to a standard handshake or, if you already know the person well, a hug. These forms of greeting will be more appropriate.
Previously OBOZREVATEL told what surprises foreigners in Italy.