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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Italian Travels Tips

Anguillara Sabazia (Italy)Image via WikipediaItalian Travels Tips
By Greg Hostern

Whenever you travel to a new country your always going to find surprises. What would you do if you knew most of these surprises before you go. Learning about the do and don't s before you go will save you from a lot of embarrassment and a possibility of offending someone. One of the main things you should learn before you go is the dining and also the health and safety of the area you will traveling to. A lot of the things you will find here are things that most people have learned and gathered about traveling to Italy.

Things to Remember
One of the things you should know is not all places allow picture-taking. Museums, especially, often retain sole rights to photograph their works. Flash photography is especially frowned upon as being disruptive.Also though Italy may be very tourist-friendly and known for fashion, it is generally considered rude to walk around town in bikinis, beach attire, short shorts, and skimpy outfits so always make sure you are properly dress when visiting certain areas of town.Also if you are hoping to find a dry cleaner in the Tuscan countryside, laundry facilities are hard to find outside large cities so plan ahead. Now if you plan on doing a lot of shopping in Italy know that returning or exchanging an item, even if it is flawed is uncommon in Italian stores.Now as to talk a little about one of the great things Italy is known for, its beaches. One thing Italy is know for is its beaches. It is common on beaches in northern and central Italy to see topless sunbathers, however it will most likely lead to stares and catcalls when done in the more conservative and traditional south. And remember that it is considered rude to walk around town in your swimsuit or beach attire.
Dining and Driving the Italian lifestyle.
One thing you will also always run across in Italy is the dining and of coarse driving in Italy. You should remember first hand is the tap water is sometimes heavily chlorinated, so it's best to drink bottled water. Also mineral water is available in all flavors: gassata (bubbly) naturale ( non-bubbly) and semi-gassata like Ferrarelle. Another thing is Spaghetti, virtually the national food of Italy, should be eaten with a fork rolled against the dish. Use a spoon if you must, but cutting your food up into little pieces is considered tacky. One thing that is popular in Italy is Cappuccino and 'cornetto'. It is the standard Breakfast in Italy so forget ordering sausages etc. Now when it comes to driving in Italy, rent a car for travel in the countryside, but walk or take a taxi while cities.. You must be 21 to rent an economy or subcompact car, and most rental companies make those under 23 pay by credit card. If you want a bigger car, you might have to show two credit cards. Parking spaces are often at a premium in crowded Italian cities. Fines for violations are high and strictly enforced and towing is common. As a result, it is best to leave your car in a guarded parking area.And please please don't forget that driving is on the right and right turns on red lights are forbidden. Seat belts and children car seats are compulsory. And just like in the USA in some states, using a cell phone while driving is also illegal.Penalties for drinking and driving are especially harsh, and the blood-alcohol in Italy is much stricter than in the United States. Last but not least, Italians like to drive fast and honk their horns a lot so tailgating is the norm. Great travel Guides
Living on Italian Time
Banks are open weekdays 8:30am to 1:30pm and sometimes for an hour in the afternoon.Most churches are open from early morning until noon, when they close for three to four hours, before reopening again, and close at 6pm. A few major churches, such as St. Peter's in Rome, are open all day. Many museums are closed one day a week, often on Monday. Pharmacies are generally open weekdays from 8:30am to 1pm and from 4-8pm, and Saturday mornings from 9am to 1pm.Most shops are open Monday-Saturday from 9am to 1pm and from 3:30 or 4pm to 7:30pm. Clothing shops are generally closed on Monday mornings. Barbers and hairdressers tend to be closed on Sunday and Monday. Some tourist-friendly stores in big cities such as Rome are open all day. Due to Italy being a Catholic country, many stores are closed on Sunday. Gas stations on major highways are usually open 24 hours. But most gas stations tend to be open Monday-Saturday, 7am to 7pm. August is the worst month to travel, because most of the nation is on vacation and everything comes to an almost standstill.We all know about Christmas, New Years, and Easter. But Italy celebrates other holidays as well: Epiphany (Jan. 6), Liberation Day (Apr. 25), May Day (May 1), Festival of the Republic (June 2), Farragosto (Nov. 1), All Saints Day (Nov. 1), Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8), Feast of St. Stephen (Dec. 26). Feast days for saints are also common in local cities as well. So if it seems like everything is extra quiet one day, it may be because everybody's taking the day off to celebrate! Hopefully this has been as helpful to you as it has been to me. Just remember the do;s and don'ts when traveling to Italy.
Greg Hostern
Italy travel

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