You did it! Your magical, long awaited vacation to Italy is finally happening!
From the moment you bought those plane tickets, your mind has been wandering, imagining sun-soaked days, tons of wine, pasta and pizza and beauty all around.
I’m not here to ruin this image, but after reading a lot of emails from people who found Italy a bit different than how it actually is, Cher and I thought this could be a good topic of discussion.
Here are some things to consider before leaving for your bella vacanza.
The Reality of Italy that Most Don’t Expect
1. Star ratings on hotels
One of the most common complaints is that 4-stars in the US is VERY different than 4-stars in Italy. Consider a 4-star more like a Holiday Inn stateside, and you’ll be better prepared.
Speaking of hotels, if you get a room “matrimoniale” which means one big bed, be prepared as it is probably two small beds pushed together. Really nice hotels might have actual queen-size equivalents, but if you’re traveling on a budget, expect two twin beds made into one with a large sheet.
Showers in Italy are TINY. Also, water is expensive so the stream might be weaker than you’re used to and for some explicable reason, hot water is a rare commodity at times.
The coffee just tastes different here. Even if you find drip coffee or make an Americano (espresso mixed with water), it just won’t be what you find in America (if that’s good or bad, you decide!).
Italian cities are covered in graffiti. It’s not always the picture perfect images you see on Pinterest.
You might find that customer service in Italy is not what you are accustomed to. In some cities this is worse than others, but it’s safe to say that the customer is NOT always right.
Believe it or not, you CAN eat a bad meal in Italy. A lot of people think coming here that every corner coffee shop and restaurant with a great view overlooking the piazza is going to have good food just because you’re in Italy.
Unfortunately, this isn’t true, and you might end up paying a lot for something that’s not very tasty. Do your homework and select places to eat based on unbiased reviews online. Better yet, read the reviews in Italian to really get a feel for whether the food lives up to the Italian’s high standards.
8. Un-spoiled Italy
Unless you really make it a point to go off the beaten path, you’re going to encounter a lot of tourists. Unspoiled Italy, of the films, where everyone speaks Italian and stares at the tourists, are mostly a thing of the past. Not to say you can’t FIND this Italy, but it’s not going to happen if you hit the big 3 (Rome, Florence, Venice).
Now that we’ve got those out of the way, it’s important to mention this list isn’t meant to deter you from going to Italy. In fact, the purpose is just the opposite. Now that you know what to expect, you can have an even better time during your trip and not fall prey to these mistakes or disappointment. To discover one great way to start learning the phrases and vocabulary necessary for your vacation, click here.
What about you? Did you go to Italy and experience unexpected (and not so comfortable) situations? Let me know in the comments below.