Written by:
Jul 12, 2023

5 tips for Traveling in Italy: Tips & Travel Phrases

Italy, renowned for its captivating history, jaw-dropping landscapes, and a culinary scene that delights the taste buds, stands as a dream destination for many travelers. Whether you're planning a summer escape in the countryside indulging in wine and food-induced comas, or embarking on an urban adventure through cities bursting with history, we’ve got you covered! Embark on your next Italian adventure together with Drops as your ultimate Italy travel guide to embrace la dolce vita to the fullest. Discover unique must-dos, gain insights into what to avoid in Italy, and uncover the best wine destinations to explore. Additionally, dive into an introduction to the top 3 places to visit in Italy, and last but not least, master basic Italian phrases for travel to charm the locals wherever you go. Dig into the travel and food topics in the Drops app to achieve your summer 2023 language goals!

1. Must Dos and Don’ts for Travelers in Italy

Help yourself to some travel tips courtesy of the Drops team! These aren’t your usual dos and don’ts that you find on the internet. Each tip comes from a Drops team member that has lived in the respective country or is originally from there, to provide you with essential things to know before traveling to Italy. Yes, a lot of these tips are about food. What can we say, we’re a food-loving bunch! Expect some "Must dos in Italy" and insider insights on what you should avoid in Italy.


DO finish your pasta sauce with bread

It’s called “fare la scarpetta”. Leaving sauce on the plate can be a gross insult. Instead, soak up every last bit with some bread and have no regrets.  

DO enjoy dessert for breakfast

Italian breakfast features pastries and all things sweet. Italians usually take a small biscuit, pastry, or baked good with their coffee and orange juice, starting off their day with a burst of sugar-infused energy.


DON’T order a latte and expect coffee

Latte is milk in Italian. What you’re looking for is a Caffè macchiato. Learn more about how to order coffee in different languages!

DON’T order pasta Alfredo

This is not an Italian recipe! if a restaurant has Alfredo on it’s menu, then it’s not very authentic and is trying to cater to American tourists that don’t know better.

2. How to Order Food in Italy

Now that you've familiarized yourself with the do's and don'ts of Italian cuisine, it's time to tackle useful words on how to order food at a restaurant in Italian. In addition, gain insights into the labyrinth of Italian menus by expanding your knowledge of Italian food words.
Start with some essential Italian words, even a sprinkle of language can work wonders. So, let's dive into common words that will serve you well:

Ciao - Hello/Goodbye

Buongiorno - Good morning/Good day

Buonasera - Good evening

Buonanotte - Good night

Grazie - Thank you

Prego - You're welcome

Sì - Yes

No - No

Permesso - Excuse me!

Il conto - The check

Per favore - Please

Mi dispiace - I'm sorry

Now, let's unravel the food categories, the building blocks of Italian gastronomy:

Antipasti - Appetizers

Primi - First courses

Secondi - Second courses

Contorni - Side dishes

Dolci - DessertsBevande - Drinks

If you'd like to know more, check out our post on the Top 45 Key Italian Travel Phrases.

3. Wine Tasting in Italy

Welcome to paradise, wine lovers! Italy is the ultimate destination for those who crave vineyard tours and experience a taste of the world's most beloved wines. Venture into sun-kissed vineyards and boutique wineries, where passion and craftsmanship have been creating liquid poetry in a bottle through generations, each year with a unique taste poem of its own.

Visit vineyards and wineries: Unleash your inner wine connoisseur in some of Italy's greatest wine regions like Tuscany, Piedmont, and Veneto. Tour vineyards and wander scenic landscapes while tasting unique wines. But don't just stick to the most well-known ones. Let your wanderlust guide you to the hidden gems off the beaten path, unveiling hidden gems at every turn and where each sip brings new delights.

Wine festivals and events: Time your visit just right to join the grape enthusiasts at Italy's legendary wine festivals. It's the perfect opportunity for wine enthusiasts, and winemakers to reunite and showcase their creations to the public. From Vinitaly in Verona to the Chianti Classico Expo in Tuscany, these vibrant gatherings promise clinking glasses and countless opportunities to discover your new favorite wine.

Wine bars and shops: In bustling cities, you'll stumble upon hidden gems, wine bars, and shops also known as “enotecas”. Step inside and let the knowledgeable staff be your guides on a journey through the world of Italian wines, where you get the opportunity to taste wines at a reasonable price and possibly buy them. Sip, savor, and soak up knowledge while enjoying the charming atmosphere of these lively hubs.

4. Top 3 Places to Visit in Italy

Are you the kind of traveler who revels in immersing themselves in one place, or does your wanderlust fuel an insatiable desire to explore? Whichever you prefer, let's discover the top three destinations that will make your Italian travel experience sparkle like a perfectly aged Prosecco!
Brace yourself for a captivating jounrey through time and culture, infused with a generous dose of artistic wonder. Let us delve deeper into Italy's top three destinations – Rome, Florence, and Milan – which will leave you craving for more.

Rome, The Eternal City

The heavyweight champion of ancient ruins with impressive monuments and archaeological sites, not to mention its renowned cuisine and its lively atmosphere.
Get ready to channel your inner gladiator by starting your Roman trip at the Colosseum, an iconic symbol of the ancient Roman Empire. Stand in awe of this architectural marvel and imagine the gladiatorial spectacles that once took place within its walls.

Nearby, you'll also find the Roman Forum, an archaeological site where the ancient political, social, and commercial life of Rome unfolded. As you wander through the ruins, you'll feel the weight of history surrounding you.

And don't forget to give the Pope a nod while you're in Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world. Marvel at the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church in the world, with its breathtaking Renaissance architecture and masterpieces such as Michelangelo's Pietà. Be sure to visit the Sistine Chapel, adorned with Michelangelo's famous frescoes, including the iconic ceiling painting depicting the Creation of Adam.

Indulge your taste buds in Rome's culinary delights. From authentic pizza and pasta to gelato that will transport you to dessert heaven, the city offers a gastronomic experience like no other. Take a stroll through the narrow streets of Trastevere, a neighborhood known for its charming ambiance and delightful trattorias. Savor the flavors of traditional Roman dishes such as Carbonara, Cacio e Pepe, and Bucatini all’Amatriciana.

Fun fact about Italy and Rome: Did you know that every year, tourists toss €1,000,000 into the Trevi Fountain? So, if your pockets are feeling light, wish upon a coin to make your dream of financial freedom come true! And if all else fails, there's always the option of taking a plunge into the treasure trove fountain itself.
Rome actually has approximately 2,500 public fountains, and you can drink from them! Many thirsty tourists fail to realize that the water from Rome's public fountains is cold, delicious, and fresh. Most of the fountains, however, require using your finger to cover the tip of the spout, which forces the water out the top like a more familiar drinking fountain.

Florence: The Cradle of the Renaissance

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is a city that exudes art, culture, and timeless beauty. It is home to some of the world's greatest masterpieces, magnificent architecture, and a vibrant arts scene that continues to inspire and captivate.

Prepare to be smitten by the grandeur of the Duomo, where architectural marvels will make your jaw drop, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Marvel at the intricate details of its pink, white, and green marble facade and climb to the top of the dome for panoramic views of the city. Nearby, you'll find the Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile, both architectural gems worth visiting.

Art enthusiasts will find paradise in the Uffizi Gallery, which houses a vast collection of Renaissance masterpieces, including works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo. Admire Botticelli's iconic painting, "The Birth of Venus," and Leonardo da Vinci's enigmatic "Annunciation." Take your time to soak in the artistic brilliance that surrounds you.

Beyond its impressive museums, Florence offers a lively cultural scene that embraces opera and classical music and beautiful surroundings. Cross the iconic Ponte Vecchio, a bridge lined with jewelry shops, practically begging for a picture-friendly stroll, and explore the Oltrarno district. This bohemian neighborhood is known for its artisan workshops, lively squares, and charming cafes. Visit the Pitti Palace and its enchanting Boboli Gardens, where you can wander through lush greenery and discover hidden statues and fountains.

Treat your taste buds to Florence's culinary delights. Indulge in a succulent bistecca alla fiorentina (Florentine steak) or sample traditional Tuscan dishes such as ribollita (a hearty vegetable soup) and pappa al pomodoro (a tomato and bread soup). Pair your meal with a glass of Chianti, a red wine produced in the region. Pair your meal with a glass of Chianti, a red wine produced in the region.
For the big final, don't forget to end your meal with a slice of creamy tiramisu or a sweet taste of gelato as you stroll around, savoring the delightful flavors of Italy. Gelato, the Italian version of ice cream, is a beloved treat known for its rich, creamy texture and intense flavors. Indulge in a scoop or two, choosing from a tempting array of flavors. The perfect way to conclude your culinary adventure in Italy.
Are you as in love with the creamy fluffy ice as we are? Learn more about ice cream around the world to find out about even more unique ice creams you need to discover while traveling!

Fun fact about Italy and Florence: Not far from Florence you will find the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa! Did you know that the tower was meant to be straight, but started to tilt because of the bad soil underneath it? Despite its tilt, the tower has managed to survive four earthquakes! Turns out, the same soft soil that caused the leaning predicament also reduces movement caused by the shock of the quakes. Seems like gravity must have a sense of humor!

Milan: Fashion, Art, and Design

Milan, the fashion capital of Italy, is a vibrant metropolis where style, history, and architectural wonders blend seamlessly. Known for its cutting-edge fashion, thriving arts scene, football, and inspiring landmarks. Milan offers a unique experience for every visitor. The Duomo di Milano will have you gawking at its Gothic splendor, one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world. Marvel at its intricate spires, statues, and magnificent stained glass windows. Climb to the rooftop for a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and the opportunity to appreciate the intricate details of the cathedral up close.,
Art lovers should not miss the Pinacoteca di Brera, an art gallery housing an impressive collection of Italian Renaissance masterpieces. Admire works by Caravaggio, Raphael, and Titian, among others. Take a stroll through the Brera district, known for its bohemian ambiance, artistic charm, and narrow streets filled with boutiques, galleries, and cafes.

For fashion enthusiasts, a visit to the Quadrilatero della Moda is a must. This high-end shopping district is home to renowned fashion houses and designer boutiques, where you can indulge in a shopping spree and embrace the latest trends. If you prefer a more budget-friendly shopping experience, head to the streets surrounding Duomo, where you'll find popular chains and department stores. If you're on the hunt for vintage treasures and unique boutiques, look no further than the Brera district.
Take a moment to escape the bustling city and find tranquility in Parco Sempione, a beautiful park located behind the Sforza Castle. Stroll through its green pathways, relax by the lake, and enjoy a picnic while basking in the serenity of nature.

When it comes to cuisine, Milan offers a blend of traditional and innovative dishes. Try the iconic Milanese dish, ossobuco (braised veal shanks), or sample risotto alla Milanese, a creamy saffron-infused risotto. Pair your meal with a glass of wine and savor the flavors of the region. Prepare your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the heart and soul of Italy.

Fun fact about Italy and Milan: Did you know that Milan has a church decorated in bones—yep you read it right. The Basilica San Bernardino was designed to house the ever-growing collection of bones from the nearby hospital and cemetery. Over time, a small chapel was added in 1268, where human bones now adorn everything from chandeliers to walls. It's definitely a bone-chilling sight to behold!

Explore Italy by car and train

To explore Italy in the best way possible, there are several ways to get around and immerse yourself in its beauty. If you prefer the freedom of the open road, renting a car is an excellent choice. Cruise through scenic countryside roads, with the wind in your hair and the anticipation of new adventures around every bend. Just be prepared to navigate some narrow streets and conquer the art of Italian driving (hint: a confident hand on the horn might come in handy).

On the other hand, if you want a more relaxed journey, traveling by train is a fantastic option, both in Italy and also to go around Europe. Learn more by using our European train travel tips! Sit back, relax, and watch the stunning landscapes unfold outside your window. The Italian train system is known for its efficiency and extensive network, allowing you to hop from city to city with ease. Plus, it gives you the chance to admire the passing vineyards, rolling hills, and picturesque villages without worrying about parking or directions.

5. Begin your language learning journey with Italian Phrases for Travel

When traveling to Italy, a little bit of the language can go a long way in connecting with the locals and immersing yourself in the culture. Here are some useful basic Italian phrases for travel and essential Italian words to know in Italy, that will help you navigate your way with the locals:

Come ti chiami? - What's your name?

Mi chiamo... - My name is...

Piacere - Nice to meet you!

Dove? - Where?

Quando? - When?

Chi? - Who?

Che cosa? - What?

Come? - How?

Posso? - Can I?

Sono perso/a - I'm lost

Puoi aiutarmi? - Can you help me?

If you haven't started already, dive into the enchanting world of the Italian language with Drops today to prepare yourself for memorable language experiences during your trip. Take charge of your language learning journey, gain flexibility, and explore our Italian keyword courses to learn the language with ease! Access Drops anytime, anywhere by downloading the Drops app for iOS and Android.

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