Here are the top handy hacks to help you have a fab time in Italy without getting ripped off by tourist traps or scowled at by the locals.
1) Don't forget to validate your ticket
Tickets for regional trains need to be validated, there are some exceptions, but in general terms, you have to validate your ticket before boarding. So find a validation machine, push your ticket into the slot until you hear the stamp being applied and your ticket will be good to go for up to six hours.
2) How order coffee
For us Italians, coffee is a serious matter. “Normal” coffee for us is a short and strong espresso coffee. To get a long coffee, you have to ask for an americano coffee, jokingly called by the Italians “dirty water”.
In Italy, “latte” means “milk”, so if you ask for a latte in a café, you’ll get a cup of milk. To have a latte with coffee in it, you have to ask for a latte macchiato.
About cappuccino, it is seen as a breakfast thing. In fact, we never have a cappuccino after midday and mostly we never ever have a cappuccino after or during meals.
You shouldn't drink any coffee products for lunch or dinner. We have coffee really often after meals, sometimes normal espresso, sometimes macchiato (stained) with a drop of milk.
3) Don’t expect a savory breakfast
In Italy, if you go to have breakfast in a café, it is always sweet and compared to other breakfasts, it isn’t very hearty. Normally, it’s a coffee or a cappuccino and a sweet croissant.
For savoury breakfast you need to inform in advance, asking if it is available in the hotels or b&bs before booking your stay.
4) Respect the monuments!
You may not want to miss the opportunity of visiting some of the best churches and cathedrals in the world. But, even if it's too hot, try not to wear shorts or go with bare shoulders, otherwise, bring something to cover you during your visit.
You’ll find an endless series of outdoor monuments of different periods that need to be respected and protected: try to keep your child from climbing the statutes like Spiderman!
I know that Italy is hot and you need to walk a lot, but don’t dip your tired toes in a monumental fountain…it is not a swimming pool!
For eating your lunch box, don’t sit on the steps of monuments and museums! Try to find a place for eating in the park or going to sit on a bench.
5) Don't eat in the Tourist Spots
This is a pretty standard rule of thumb to follow for most countries if you’re looking for authentic food, and Italy is definitely no different. If you're visiting a tourist attraction and you want to have some authentic Italian lunch, take some time to go a bit further from the area and you'll get to enjoy some real Italian food.
6) Don’t ask for tap water in a restaurant
Tap water isn’t usually available (in restaurants), in fact, when you ask for it they often say no. Unfortunately, you have to buy a packaged bottle of water.
On the other hand, you can find drinking water in the many public fountains located around the Italian cities, where you can fill your water bottle.
7) Don’t put parmisan on fish and don’t cut your spaghetti
Remember this, in Italy, you can eat anything you want and order whatever combinations of food your heart desires. But just make sure that you NEVER EVER ask your waiter for parmesan cheese to sprinkle on your seafood pasta. That’s just wrong.
And don’t cut your spaghetti with a knife and fork!
8) How eat pizza
In Italy, a pizza is for only one person…sharing pizza is inconceivable! Asking an Italian to share a pizza is like asking an English person to share a beer.
In Italy, for pizza there are forbidden combinations, like put ketchup or pineapple on pizza. Even though actually, it has to be said, some restaurants and some pizzerias in Italy, have started putting them on pizza if you ask, but for the most of Italian is crazy!
9) How drink alchol in Italy
Italians are master of moderation, double espresso doesn’t exist and when they drink, we normally drink for the pleasure of doing it. We drink really often, even a glass of wine with every meal, but almost we never get drunk.
When we eat a meal, we always avoid drinks that are sweet or too complex, like cocktails. For example, we’ll never eat a meal accompanied by a spritz or a really sweet prosecco, but we happily eat a meal with wine or a beer.