1. Wearing shorts when visiting a church
Italian cathedrals and churches are a must-see given their priceless art and historic appeal. Yet you’ll find most have signs prohibiting shorts. Hey, Catholics are sticklers; plus, Europeans don’t typically wear shorts — at least not as frequently as Americans. Bare shoulders may also halt passage, but sweaters or scarves should solve that.
2. Trusting GPS
GPS is helpful, but don’t leave it solely to satellites. It’s common in Italy for several towns or villages — in different regions — to have the same name. Therefore, you may want to dust off those topography skills and peruse the local map.
3. Eating pizza and pasta incorrectly
Every culture has established a decorum around dining, including Italians. Pasta isn’t cut up or twirled with a spoon. Pizza is eaten with a knife and fork. Oh, and avoid asking for extra cheese or sauce—it’s some kind of faux pas back home.
Italians, like most of the world, aren’t really hip to America’s gratuity customs. It’s like choosing Imperial measurement over the metric system–no one really understands why the U.S. does it this way. And so, given Europe’s more robust service industry wage structure, Italians are caught off guard when tourists tip too much or give a tip where none is expected. Refer to this guide to tipping in Italy to learn when and when not to tip.
5. Don’t touch the produce
Italy’s open-air markets are great to explore, and they’re ideal for picking up snacks for lunch or for long bus/train journeys. Only thing is: vendors get irked if you touch the produce, bare-handed. If you need to buy fruits or vegetables, grab a plastic glove (which is usually on-hand), or ask a clerk to bag the produce for you. Easy peasy.
6. Skip the cards, stick with cash
Having cash with you is the easiest method of payment in Italy. Most places don’t accept card payments for a bill under €10 and credit cards are not widely accepted, so it’s always best to carry cash. Oh, and gents, to avoid easy thefts put your wallet anywhere — except your back left pocket.
7. Repress the selfie urge
Shooting photographs is a must during any trip to Italy, but taking selfie after selfie can prove disruptive, especially on Italy’s crowded sidewalks and streetscapes. Soak in the spectacles in front of you, stow the selfie stick and blend in — Italians will dig that.
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