If you let magazines and blogs be your guide, you’d think people were traveling to Italy in droves. I’m not surprised. In America, at least, we’re absolutely obsessed with all things Italian. The thing is, very few of those articles will tell you what you need to know to to keep your nose clean. You know what I mean?
I lived in Rome for a year and have traveled the country enough to make a few mistakes. Learn from me and save yourself the trouble.
Order a Cappuccino After 12pm
Do this, and you’ll get your drink eventually, but first you’ll have to endure a conversation infused with looks of confusion and pity. Italians consider cappuccinos to be a breakfast beverage. Ordering one in the afternoon is like ordering lasagna for breakfast.
Walk Outside with Wet Hair
No one is going to throw you in jail, but they may consider putting you in the crazy house. Italians have very strong feelings about being wet. For them being damp outside is like walking in the snow with no shoes- a sure way to get yourself sick. I once heard a Mom tell her child to stop running around because he might get sweaty. Sweaty=Damp=Sick.
Look Up While You Walk
If your eyes aren’t on the ground, you will step in poop. Italians quite brazenly walk their dogs in the city without plastic bags or poop retrieval methods of any kind. If you want to be a daredevil go ahead, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Expect to Eat Between 1:30pm and 4pm
On my recent visit, I realized that this is no longer the case in big cities like Rome, but if you’re in the suburbs or countryside, make sure you secure your food before everything closes for afternoon break. There is nothing worse than being hungry in a land abundant in delicious treats only to stare at them through the glass of a closed market.
Ride the Bus for Free
Italy makes paying for public transportation really difficult and riding for free really easy, but don’t fall into the trap. Even though the ticket machine is broken and the closest tobacco shop that sells them is blocks away, do not take a seat without a ticket that has been validated in the little yellow machine on the bus. You’ll get caught maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but at some point and you’ll pay a 60 euro fine.