Every country is different, here are some tips that will help you to have a more enjoyable experience in Italy:
- Assuming you can buy tickets for public transportation directly on the bus / tram.
Most big cities in Italy (Rome, Milan, Naples, Florence) require you to buy your bus/tram tickets before boarding. And not just that, but most bus stops will not have a ticket machine next to the stop. Rather, you’ll need to find a newspaper stand (edicola) or a tobacco shop (tabaccaio) to purchase your tickets.
- No validating train tickets
Depending on the type of train ticket you buy, you may need to validate it or otherwise you pay a fine. This will be indicated on the ticket.
- Assuming that cars and scooters will leave you to go first while crossing the streets
Even when they are bounded to, many drivers will not stop to let you go first and scooters will never do it (they have no obligation).
- Expecting to be waited on very attentively in a restaurant or store.
Many restaurants will be “understaffed,” (few waiters working many tables) They probably won’t ask “how are you folks doing?”, if you like the food, if you want a refill (this concept doesn’t exist) or other general “friendly” requests that are in reality superfluous to your main dining experience – they just don’t have the time. So, sit back, be patient, and flag down your waiter when you need something, but be patient in knowing they are probably working very hard.
You don’t need to tip in Italy. Italians will only leave a tip for exceptional service (anniversary dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant) or will leave the change when paying cash because it’s easier not to wait for the waiter to make change .
- Thinking you have to order an antipasto, primo e secondo at every meal.
Most Italians don’t eat an antipasto, primo, secondo and dolce at every meal – you don’t have to, either.
- Not respecting meal times, especially at lunch time.
Most restaurants and bars have specific opening times, and they will close in the afternoon. If you have a late breakfast, visit museums through lunch and hope to get a bite to eat at 2pm or 3pm, you’re going to find a very limited selection.
- Ordering before paying, paying before ordering in a bar.
Many bars require that you get a receipt (scontrino) before ordering, especially if you see the cash register (cassa) sitting apart from where you’ll pick up the food or coffee, and you don’t see immediate table service.
In a supermarket you should see plastic gloves and bags near the scales or throughout the fruit/veg section. Use them. In an open-air market, you won’t see these gloves because you are not expected to handle anything yourself – the people working in the stall will do everything.
Our staff will kindly help you to learn all that you need about Italian culture. See you around!