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Saturday, March 27, 2010

7 Tips to Fit in Like a Native When You Travel to Italy

The Chamber of Deputies, Palazzo Montecitorio.Image via Wikipedia

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Are you visiting Italy soon and wondering how you are going to survive without speaking Italian?

Well, you are really lucky as the Italians are a nation of communicators, even if you can't speak their language.

For a start, you'll notice everyone greets you either with a 'Buon Giorno' in the morning, or 'Buona Sera' in the late afternoon/evening. So these are two short phrases you want to learn straightaway.

Whether you are visiting relatives, on a business trip
or just going on vacation, it will be wise to know a few rules of the land before you go:

1. In Italy the pedestrian crossings tend to be there to add a splash of color to the road, Italians rarely use them, preferring instead to take their chances wherever it's convenient for them to cross.

2. Cars, scooters and motorbikes tend not to stop or even slow down at a pedestrian crossing, unless there is a set of traffic lights.

3. Don't expect to eat a full meal if it is outside the regular eating hours of most Italians, which is between 12.00 noon and 3.00pm and 7.00pm - 11.00pm. If you want to eat
between those times, visit the variety of cafe bars in every Italian town or city for a snack.

4. If you just want a quick coffee or espresso, you will need to queue at the cash desk or the 'cassa' to pay for your drink beforehand, then give your receipt to the bar person, or 'barrista' and tell him your order.

5. Most cafe bars have waiter service only at the tables, both inside and outside, so don't attempt to serve yourself and sit down at a table, as the waiter will not be pleased.

6. Italians love their style and are keen to present a good image or bella figura, so avoid wearing shorts and a t-shirt for dinner in a restaurant, as this attire is considered too casual.

7. Finally... enjoy, enjoy, enjoy all that Italy has to offer and as the Italians say 'Buon divertimento!'

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