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Even if you’ve never been to Italy, I’m sure you know quite a bit about the beautiful country. The leaning tower of Pisa, Rome, and the beautiful waterways in Venice are some of the most notable places to visit in Italy. As with any other country, there are more sites to visit that offer unique experiences, and Italy is no different. What are some of the unique places to visit in Italy? What makes Italy so unique? Read more below on 5 essential travel tips you need to know if you’re traveling to Italy for the first time. 

Italians and their eating culture: 

Whether you’re craving a hearty pasta dish or a wood-fired pizza, you’ll never be short of options or restaurants in Italy. While in the US, regular eating times for lunch are between 12-1 PM and dinner are 6-7 PM, in Italy, the times to eat are later in the day. To fit in with the locals, eat lunch at 1:30 in the afternoon, followed by dinner between 8:30-9:30.  A typical Italian meal consists of pasta as the first dish, the entree which is usually meat or fish, a side dish, and dessert. For those of you that don’t eat large portions such as this, you can pick and choose what comes. Once you have completed your meal, be sure to ask the server for your bill, as they will not assume when to bring it to your table. 

Bread and tipping: 

Incidentally, once you get the bill, the natural question comes of how much do I tip? Well, believe it or not, most times the tip is included in the bill. The only exception would be local cafes and pizzerias. Even at these places, a one to two dollar tip will suffice. One aspect of the bill to aware of is something called the “bread and a tip” charge. This charge applies to all bills in Italy, regardless of whether or not you eat or order bread. 

Museums in Italy: 

Italy is littered with historic, ancient, unique, and scenic museums. Since Italy is known for its museums, it’s best to avoid the line by ordering tickets online. Also, arriving early means you’ll go through security much quicker and can experience the natural awe of the museum to its potential. A key piece of information to remember is museums owned by the Italian government are free on the first Sunday of each month between October and March. 

Paper or plastic:

In this section, I don’t mean which bag you would prefer if you were to shop in Italy. What I’m referring to is the form of payment you will be using in Italy. Just as anywhere else in the world, Italy’s businesses accept credit cards and cash. However, local businesses only accept cash to run their business, so it’s ideal for taking currency with you on your trip. If you forget beforehand, some ATMs are available where you can get cash.