Italian culture and its rich heritage allow for visitors to reminisce ancient Rome and its colosseum grandeur. Venice and its mesmerizing wandering paths through towering, colorful buildings and you may feel tipsy as you feel like running to save the leaning tower from falling to its fate.
There is so much culture to experience and love as you enjoy romantic evenings, taking long morning walks, and enjoy the hustle and bustle of shops and markets, cafes, and storefronts. Make sure to prepare to fit in like a local with fashionable clothing, a plan to execute, and an understanding of whose country, state or village you are visiting.
Fashion is a big deal
Jeans and t-shirts are worn by tourists…meaning you may want to consider dressing up a little nicer than your gym clothes; because if you want to get into the museums and many churches you will likely need pants or shorts below the knee and to be a little more prepped than you would for your next 5k run.
By the way, evening time is “show” time. “Showtime” meaning Passeggiata when you get your bella figura (beautiful form) on and strut your stuff so to say. Now, this could mean the tuxedo comes out but I interpret it as the middle ground between business and casual. Slacks and a button-up may be most appropriate.
Tennis shoes are less known and again become more of a tourist’s attire than that of the locals. All this being said, if you are going for comfort-fitting it may be your cup-of-tea, but if that doesn’t matter forget what other people think and go for the shorts and t-shirts.
Plan ahead, but plan to get lost and have a way to find yourself thereafter. Bridges in Venice may lead you down beautiful and colorful alleyways full of colorful laundry hanging overhead, or the scurry to the next Roman site may take your bearings from you, but recognize and reminisce in the beauty of it all. Now that statement didn’t help you create a plan, but here are a few that may help.
- Know your daily itinerary
- Unfortunately, we aren’t the best at this. We wing it and hope that the cool stuff falls in between. Doesn’t mean we are ultra-efficient in face we may not be but it does mean that we don’t stress much if we don’t see something we didn’t know and cared existed…
- Have top priorities laid out so you know what you must see. See our basic itinerary or the cities listed as follows:
- Cinque de Terre
- Gelato – No this isn’t another state or city this is Italian ice and experiencing it at every gelato shop you see is a must.
- Give yourself some free time
- You may want to stand agape in front of the statue of David, likely the most well-known sculpture in history, or once you happen upon the four Prisoners you may realize that you are far more moved by this structure and depiction of four figures struggling to break free of their block of marble that binds them.
Park your car in a safe place
Don’t be paranoid but be cautious when it comes to parking your car. If you can park it at the hotel or at an Airbnb, where you are staying, do that and then take public transport. It is better safe than sorry in the scenario that your rental car gets broken into, your stuff goes missing, and now you are out your stuff and possibly the cost of repairing the rental car.
Italians are not Italians
What…? Italians may be the first to agree that there is no such thing as “an Italian”. According to the AAA guide, this goes back to before 1870 when Italy was a collection of separate states. Camillo Cavour (statesman and first prime minister of the united Italy) remarked after unification in 1860, “We have made Italy, now we must make Italians.”
You may ask the locals where they are from while in an Uber car, taxi or metro, but when they say they are from Tuscany, Rome, Sicily or Naples don’t be surprised because local and family heritage is extremely important to their culture, ideals, and way of life.
My advice is for you to dress fashionably. Put on your best and give it your all. Being there with a significant other and celebrating your relationship will make your evenings and overall experience much more romantic and meaningful.
Plan and plan… there is no perfect way to do it, but having something to discover along the way whether planned or just found along the way, will result in the experience you were hoping for.
And finally, get involved in the culture, ideals, and lifestyle of the locals. Learn where they eat, what they do, and what makes the Italian lifestyle so wonderful and inviting. This will allow your simple experiences to become your adventures of a lifetime.