Tips for Your First Trip to Italy

Venezia, 2012 – My first trip to Italy

If you have decided to travel to Italy, hooray for you – you’re in for a real treat! Italy is all about dolce far niente, the sweetness of doing nothing.

According to me, you don’t need to stress when you’re in Italy. You don’t need to plan much. You need to let go, relax, and let yourself get lost.

This post is less about the specifics of where to go and what to do in Italy, and more about preparing to go to this beautiful, magical country.

Say goodbye to the map.

Sometimes, you do need a map, for sure. But other times, let it go. Let go of planning everything. In Italy, you will stumble on the most spectacular views for which you weren’t prepared. You will find yourself hungry, and wander into an intriguing restaurant that you’ve never heard of – and it will be delightful. The food is just that good.

You will eat an entire pizza by yourself – more than once – and it’s fine.

The ingredients often taste more natural – and there are more local ingredients used – in Italy, and you walk so much that you’re hungry all the time. So, just do it. Eat the whole pizza. It tastes too good not to. Drink the extra glass of vino. You’re in Italy.

Try the local cuisine.

Gelato counts – I often ate two cones of gelato a day in Italy. But also, eat the pasta al nero di seppia in Venice. It’s local, and it’s great. If you can believe it, I didn’t know I liked artichokes before Italy. Travel expands your taste buds if you let it!

Dress appropriately.

Most churches in Italy won’t let you in unless your shoulders and knees are covered. Bring conservative options.

Visit the local bottegas. 

Especially if you’re on a budget. Many times in Italy, my meals consisted of bread, cheese, meat, and wine from local shops. All fresh, all amazing.

Take spontaneous trips via train.

Train travel is so easy in Italy! I bought day-of tickets to travel around Tuscany as well as to Rome and Venice. It’s easy and cheap – take advantage of it.

Communicate effectively.

I have a hand gestures cheat sheet that I was given by a local in the tiny hidden gem of Arezzo. And now I’m sharing it with you. You’re welcome.


Have the best time in Italy! Let me know what else you’ve learned about Italy in the comments!

Love, Bee

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