Research the Foods-You wouldn’t expect to have the best jambalaya in Montana or spectacular southern bbQ in Oregon. The same goes for Italy. Certain regions and cities are known for certain dishes like pizza in Naples and Pesto in Genoa. Having these items outside of these areas is possible, but they may not be that good!
Service Charges-When you find that perfect meal beware of additional charges. We saw service charges as high as 18% and many charges vary depending if you sit inside or outside. Many restaurants on a piazza or square will also charge a per person cover charge of a couple euros each. Even when it looks like there are no additional charges you will likely be charged for the bread they bring to the table or even the water.
One of our 3 Cars in Italy
Train Travel vs. Rental Car-Originally we planned to do more train travel in Italy, but due to last minute planning the train tickets would have been more than a car rental! If you plan ahead or are a solo traveler the train may be the way to go, but check the deals on cars since they may be cheaper. The other thing to be aware of with train travel is the likelihood of a strike delaying your trip, a common occurrence in Italy.
Toll Roads-If you do decide to get a car check out the cost of the toll roads (Autostrada)! We were shocked at the price of the tolls and originally tried to avoid them. However doing so seems to double the travel time! Fine if you have the time and want to explore, but not great if you need to get somewhere like the airport at a certain time. The nice thing about the tolls is that you can pay with a credit card, cash or coins. Just check the signs above the lanes before entering. We found it quickest to pay with a card and nice when the toll is over 20euros.
Rules of the Roads- It may appear there are no speed limits in Italy, there are! Italians drive very fast and don’t seem to take any notice of posted signs. They also like to pass on curves, single lane roads and anywhere they can manage to, safe or not. Over all the roads and signs are easy and no problem for a foreigner. The one problem we had was when we were flagged off the road by a Carabinieri (police) who didn’t want to speak English. After going around and around with him speaking in Italian and us in English saying sorry we don’t understand, he said IN PERFECT ENGLISH “I don’t speak to you in English, you speak to me in Italian!” Not speaking any Italian we handed him the registration papers and international drivers license and waited to see what was going on. After spending some time at his car writing down all our information, he brought back the documents and told us to go. We had no idea why we were pulled over or if we had just received a ticket. We later found out it was just a random stop that they set up to check peoples paperwork.
The Entrance to Our Apartment in Trevi
Air B&B-Italy’s not cheap and accommodations are no exception. We found Air B&B to be much cheaper than hotels and with a kitchen you are able to save costs by eating meals in. We stayed in some great places in Pompeii, Pescara, Trevi, Ravenna and Venice. We also found inexpensive apartments in the Dolomites through Booking.com
Hope these tips make your travels through Italy a bit smoother! Have you been? Share your tips with us below