Lessons I Learned From Italy
My husband and I went to Italy for our honeymoon, and we had such a wonderful time! There were a couple of things that were not super awesome though... (husband's backpack got stolen and I experienced crazy allergic reactions), but overall, it was a beautiful and delicious adventure!
We traveled to Rome, Florence, Venice, and Cinque Terre.
I thought I would put together a list of tips that we learned on our vacation, and hope that these help you if you're planning on traveling to Italy.
Especially in Rome, there is a lot of cobblestone. Heels + uneven floors = pain. Plan your outfits accordingly and bring comfortable shoes! If you want a non-flat shoe option, I would recommend wedges or something with a thicker heel.
Keep in mind your purse options as well. A crossbody/fanny pack or backpack will probably be the most comfortable, but make sure to read below on how to be extra cautious with your important documents and items.
If you’re visiting churches, some have strict dress code policies where you are not allowed to show your shoulders or knees. Some will have “kimonos” that you can purchase for €1 just in case you aren’t dressed appropriately.
We kept important documents such as passports, cash, and credit cards on us at ALL times. My husband wore a thin money belt that was strapped under his shirt. We used a great one from Peak Gear.
Beware of gypsies and pickpocketers! I've heard crazy stories where they will cut people's bags or work in a group where one distracts you while another steals your stuff. Just be aware of your surroundings, and keep your belongings in clear view and close to you (especially on trains and buses!)
Bring the appropriate medicine! I reacted terribly to some food there and broke out in hives so be prepared and bring allergy pills. To adjust to the time change, melatonin gummies or pills work really well to help you sleep. I would recommend bringing advil as well and medicine for nausea.
Water - there are some free water stations around the cities (especially Rome) so definitely bring a large bottle to fill up. In Rome, they even have a free sparkling water fountain which tastes amazing. At restaurants, you have to pay for water, so try to fill your bottles up before. If you want to buy water, I recommend getting it at small places, such as gelato shops, because they’re cheaper.
As mentioned, keep everything on you and in sight.
If traveling by train, I recommend getting tickets beforehand and arriving to the station a little early just to double check which platform you’re on! If you miss your train, just check with an attendant to see if you can exchange your ticket for the next coming train.
Most important things we learned from getting our stuff stolen on the train:
We had reserved seats, and had to store our luggage above our heads. We put our items behind us so we didn’t have them in clear sight to keep an eye on them. Since the train ride was long, we both fell asleep and the pickpocketers replaced our backpack with another one and left!
If you have no space to keep your luggage or backpack with you or on you, at least store it ahead of you so that you can keep an eye on it at all times. You can even tag team with whoever you're traveling with and take turns sleeping so at least one person can keep an eye on luggage.
Another note: Uber is apparently not really "legal" in Italy, so only Uber Black is available and it is very expensive! If you take a taxi, they can charge you twice the amount if they know you're not from Italy.
Definitely purchase tour tickets that will help you skip the lines. City Wonders Tours was really great especially when we visited St. Peter’s Basilica. We had a great experience with them and loved our tour guide!
There are so many great gelato places in Rome - one of my favorites was Giolitti.
Pizza Zizza was our favorite pizza place and it’s right next to St. Peter’s Basilica. Get the sampler platter which comes with so many different flavors!
Rome is huge, so definitely map out everything you want to do and see what attractions are near each other to be efficient with your time.
Some favorite dishes: cacio e pepe, burrata, pasta carbonara.
Definitely get the Aperol Spritz! It's a delicious bright orange drink made with prosecco, aperol, and some soda. It will usually have a slice of orange in it too.
Venice is known for bringing in tourists, so every shop you come across will be more expensive than other cities. If you are buying general Italian souvenirs, I recommend waiting until you go to another town to do so.
The main high-end shopping mall in the heart of Venice allows visitors to go up to the highest floor to a beautiful rooftop view overlooking the city. The best part is: it's completely free.
A tip I got from a friend: instead of taking the gondola, take the water bus!
We stayed in Monterosso and it was one of our favorites of the 5 cities. I thought it had the best beach!
Definitely get the all day train pass to visit each city. You can also hike to the nearby cities if you'd like.
Nessun Dorma in Manarola is a great place for lunch or dinner with a view. Go early to get a good seat! Their portions are pretty big too which is awesome.
Some public restrooms aren’t free so definitely take advantage of the restaurants you eat at and use their bathrooms!
Have you gone to Italy? Let me know in the comments below if you have any extra tips to share!