Top 10 things to know before your first time in Italy

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Italy is my favourite country ever, it's like a second home to me and a country I'll forever return to. I've been lucky enough to travel to many destinations throughout Italy and I'm eager to see more locations and experience more of the incredible food scene.

If you're a newbie to Italy and unsure what to expect, here are 10 things to know before your first time in Italy.

Top 10 things to know before your first time in Italy

Don't order a cappuccino in Italy afternoon

Italians are massively passionate about their coffee. Coffee is a way of life for Italians and this means when ordering yours, abide by the coffee rules of the land. Italians generally begin their day with a cappuccino and pastry, and this is consumed before 11am. It's frowned upon to order a cappuccino in the afternoon especially so avoid doing this.

Learn a little bit of Italian

It's never essential to learn a language when heading abroad, however, it's always helpful to get around. When it comes to Italy, I would recommend learning a few words as Italians can find it quite rude if you don't know the general Italian phrases to greet them.

Be prepared to dine later

Italians eat late at night. They don't generally dine in the evening until about 7pm onwards. If you spot a restaurant open before then for dinner, it's typically catered for tourists and mean, the food is less likely to be authentic. With that in mind, prepare to dine a lot later at night, even as late as 10pm/11pm at night. Dinner time is a huge social occasion after all.

Remember to validate your train ticket

Train travel is an absolute dream in Italy and one of my favourite ways of venturing around the country. Not only is it cheap, but it's also efficient, and simple and all train journeys offer great views. If you're not a fan of driving or flying, it's a fun way to explore Italy. Although one thing to remember is to validate your ticket before getting on the train, otherwise, you can get in trouble with the guards.

Coperto charge

The coperto charge is the norm in a lot of restaurants throughout Italy, which is typically around 1-3 euros. The charge covers the bread, olive oil and vinegar they provide you with during dinner or lunch.

The north and south are completely different

I didn't realise how different the north and south of Italy were until I visited them both and compared them. The north and south food are completely different, with influences from its neighbouring countries in the north, whereas the south is influenced by Mediterranean cuisine. For example, the north is all about cured meats and ragu, whilst the south is about pizzas and arancini. The north is richer and has a more industrialised vibe, whilst the south is a lot more laid-back and welcoming.

Most eating places are shut in the afternoon

Similar to my point about eating dinner late at night, this means restaurants aren't open until late afternoon. If you wish to dine then, you'll need to go to a cafe, gelato place or coffee shop to grab a bite to eat.

Be wary of dress codes

Italians are very on it with fashion; you won't find Italians roaming around in the gym wear unless it's part of a planned-out outfit. Dress codes are an important thing across the country, especially when you're visiting religious sites as you need to cover up.

Gelato shops are open late

Italy is renowned for its gelato and I always say whilst in Italy, eat at least 3 gelatos a day. And this dream is possible with most gelato places open late into the evening so you can grab a gelato after dinner.

The climate varies across Italy

The weather across Italy is not the same and can fluctuate immensely throughout the year. As a rule of thumb, it's always colder up north and warmer down south.

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