7 Rules for Planning Your Trip to Italy (and Why You Should)

Italy is a beautiful country, and a popular destination for United States travelers for a reason. Located in the southern part of Europe, and extending far into the Mediterranean Sea, Italy is rich with history, culture, and gorgeous natural scenery.

However, if you want to make the most of your trip, there are a handful of rules you’ll need to follow.

Why Italy?

So why would you choose Italy over any other country in the world? Well, depending on your personal preferences, another country might seem more appealing. But if you’re a first-time international traveler, or if you aren’t sure where you want to go, Italy’s a perfect choice. Here’s why:

  • Culture. Because of its unique positioning, long history, and emphasis on tradition, Italy offers one of the richest cultures in the world, complete with architecture, art, food, and customs that strike jealousy in other countries.

  • Accessibility. Italy is also very welcoming to visitors. It’s easy to access, and a good country to start with if you’re not used to international travel.

  • Diversity of attractions. Italy has something for everyone; countryside, cityscapes, mountains, seaside landscapes, food, art, museums, and architecture.

  • Location. Italy is also in close proximity to many other European countries, making it easy to jump from place to place if you’re planning a continent-wide excursion.

Rules for Planning Your Trip

Are you ready to plan your trip? If so, you’ll need to follow these important rules:

  1. Hit Rome. Italy was the seat of the Roman Empire, and Rome itself is still one of the most beautiful and richest cities in the world. No matter what, it needs to be a part of your travel plans.

  2. Eat like a local. Italy is known for many things, but its food is high on the list. With fresh fish from the Mediterranean Sea, homemade pastas, and olive oil with everything, you won’t go hungry—and you won’t want to return to your traditional eating habits when you get home.

  3. Dress like a local. Native Italians tend to emphasize the importance of dress more than other cultures. They almost always dress in seasonally appropriate clothing, and rarely deviate from those standards. They wear more layers and coverings than Americans, and tend to dress more formally, especially in the city. If you don’t want to catch suspicious gazes, you’ll need to learn to dress like the locals.

  4. Understand the customs. Don’t carry your American ideals, mannerisms, and customs blindly into Italy. Italian culture has many different customs, including a higher emphasis on family and traditions, and a more laid-back, casual atmosphere. If you don’t want to be seen as a tourist, or worse, as someone offensive or rude, you’ll read up on these customs and come prepared.

  5. Keep your schedule loose. There’s much to do in Italy, so you might be tempted to schedule everything with precision and rigor. However, it’s much better if you keep your schedule flexible. Italian culture is much more relaxed than American culture, and you’ll want to leave some room for surprise opportunities that may arise.

  6. Get local recommendations. Tourist guides may offer some helpful tips, but if you want to find the best restaurants, museums, and attractions in the country, you’ll need to talk to some of the locals. Strike up a casual conversation with people on the street, and see if you can get the inside scoop.

  7. Learn some Italian! How can you talk to the locals if you don’t know their language? Many people in Italy speak English—enough that you probably won’t have to worry about communication gaps in major destinations. However, that doesn’t give you an excuse to be lazy and avoid learning the language. Spend a few hours learning the basic phrases you’ll need to get by, and you’ll make a much better impression with the locals.

Italy is a welcoming destination, with something to offer everyone. Don’t be intimidated if you’re not used to traveling internationally. Now’s the perfect time to set your sights on the Mediterranean, and book the vacation of a lifetime.