Travel mistakes to avoid in Italy!

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6 Travel Mistakes to avoid in Italy!

Hello fellow budget hunters,

The other night I had an amazing pizza in Bristol and I started reminiscing about our trip to Italy last summer. We were in Italy for 3 weeks and it was quite the adventure.

While we were in Italy we made a few mistakes and I would like to share some of our crazy mistakes so you can avoid them. Most of Europe is very similar in behaviour and often you don’t need to look up how to behave or what you need to do. So I thought we would be fine in Italy, but we made many different mistakes so learn from us!

free things rome


1. Drinking coffee sitting down –

This is a little bit strange for me, but Italian coffee etiquette is very complex. If you sit down in a cafe, you will pay twice if not more for your coffee than if you stand at the bar. In one cafe in Rome, it was 25 cents for an espresso standing up and 1 euro sitting down.

Also don’t order cappuccino past 10am, or people will stare.  I couldn’t care less about people staring, for some reason (probably my weird dancing) I always stand out everywhere we go so I don’t mind and will enjoy my cappuccino.

 Another important note is don’t order a ‘latte’ and expect to get a coffee. My boyfriend learnt this the hard way! He got a nice glass of warm milk! If you want a coffee, order a Caffe latte instead just to be safe!

2.You can rely on public transport to get around Rome –

I knew there was a metro system in Rome and just assumed we could get around. This was after I learnt that everything wasn’t as close together. I had expected Rome’s attractions to be like London, most things within a square mile and some of it is. However, I found the metro had two lines (in July 2017) and they only cross once. I understand that nobody wants to dig trains underneath buildings that have existed for 2000 years, but just take your walking shoes and expect to walk miles!

3. That there will be free wi-fi everywhere –

This is crucial if you work online or need WiFi (for us it wasn’t essential on this trip). Unlike America and most of Europe, there isn’t a lot of WiFi around in Italy. Most places we ever connected was just at our Airbnb locations, or the marina clubhouse in Venice. (We stayed on a boat, my boyfriend still hasn’t forgiven me for that!)

The one with the red sheet, was where we stayed for 2 nights!

4. You have your train ticket and can get on a train –

Sounds logical right? In Italy you have to validate your ticket before you board your train. I was warned about this by my friend before I left, as she was almost fined for this. You have to stamp your ticket on these little box machines on the platforms and then travel. The same goes with bus tickets across Italy and in my experience Romania/Bulgaria. I think it is common in other countries, but just remember to stamp your ticket before travel!

italian travel mistakes

5. You can eat early –

This goes for most of Europe. People won’t eat until 8 or 9pm at the earliest. Restaurants geared towards tourists will be open, but authentic local food is generally hard to find at 7pm.

6. Wearing shorts while sight-seeing –

Many churches have rules about what you can and can’t wear to be respectful. I wrote a whole post on how people were disrespectful in churches as I was frustrated. I found the easiest thing is to carry a scarf and cover your shoulders and knees. The churches in Italy are not to be missed, most are insanely decorated and I’ve never seen so much gold! Don’t miss out on seeing them because you’re not wearing the right length clothes!

So there it is… My mistakes to avoid in Italy. Always confirm your ticket, wear respectful clothes, don’t expect free WiFi, eat late, bring your walking shoes and learn Italy’s coffee etiquette!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Until next time,

The Great Ambini

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22 Replies to “Travel mistakes to avoid in Italy!”

  1. I spent 6 months in Rome and this is SPOT ON! Also Monday mornings lots of things are closed and many restaurants are closed between lunch and dinner so if you are touring around need to think about that. in the US we are so used to having everything at our disposal all the time!

    1. I am so glad that I got them right, I suddenly panicked that some Italian bloggers would comment and tell me I was wrong!! Yes I noticed the monday morning thing

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed this post! Some of these, like the difference in price for drinking coffee at the bar vs. at a table and validating your ticket before travelling sound kinda weird, don’t they?

  3. That’s so interesting about the standing/sitting coffee! Were there many people who got coffee to go? I had a weird time finding to-go coffee in Amsterdam (the only place I’ve been on mainland Europe), so I wonder if that’s a thing to not be big on takeaway…

  4. Love this detailed guide! We are hoping to spend about 10 days in Italy in the future. I am bookmarking this for future reference

  5. I had no idea there were so many rules to adhere to in Italy. I find it surprising that you are charged more for coffee if you sit down! I would have no idea that I had to stamp my train ticket before boarding. I would be the person who gets fined for sure. And, I can imagine that there are a lot of tourists who show no respect to the churches. I am going to bookmark this post for future reference. Great insights.

    1. It was only something we found out by mistake when we couldn’t get a seat and asked around 🙂 The train tickets is definitely one to remember, I am glad you enjoyed it!

  6. I must admit, I have always been aware of the higher charge to have coffee sitting down (in France, Italy etc.) but for me it’s worth it, as I’m just not a fan of drinking standing up! But it’s a good tip for those who aren’t aware and don’t mind doing that!
    We love taking public transport, working out the routes and tickets is part of the travel fun!
    We try and get a feel for net access in a given destination ahead of time, and in some places we rent a portable wifi device for use on the road.
    Good reminder on validating tickets, which is common in many places in Europe, and easy to get caught out!

    1. Yeah I am the same most of the time and sometimes I long to bring my takeaway mug out and take it with me! The tickets and routes are a good adventures

  7. I am Italian and I find it pretty strange that people looked at you funny when you ordered a cappuccino after 10 am? As for the shorts, it’s definitely out of respect, because you were getting into a religious building. There’s a certain etiquette which is that you shouldn’t wear shorts or show your naked shoulders, we are very strict about that!

    1. Yeah, I think it’s good that you have those respectful rules… just annoying when people don’t follow them, or when it’s like 38 degrees in Rome and you’re melting in your trousers haha!

  8. Well that was an interesting read! I have been to Rome and after reading this realized: 1) I did walk MILES (like 9-10 per day) and if I needed something really long, I took a taxi that I shared with friends for cost. 2) Did not know that about sitting vs standing with coffee. But, I only drink coffee when it’s very cold outside and it was 95 in Rome in July. 3) I didn’t ride the train in Rome, but I have been somewhere else where our ticket had to be validated first, can’t remember where that was! 4) Didn’t think about wifi either, but we had it in our hotel which is the only place I’m definitely looking for it. These are very good heads-up tips!

  9. I’ve been to Italy several times and concur with all of these!!! My mom and I actually did get a fine for not validating our train tickets, even though we had bought them! Such a ridiculous rule ? And the restaurants not opening until 7 or later is so annoying. But Italy is wonderful nonetheless haha

  10. Having been to Italy several times, I agree with your tips. I once spent $75 on two cups of coffee and desserts at a cafe, but that was at St. Mark’s Square in the heart of Venice, so I didn’t mind so much because of the experience and being serenaded by a lovely band. 🙂

    1. Oh my word!! That is so much money… I have heard of people being charged 20 euros each for an ice cream in st mark’s square before! We were very cautious with money especially in Venice where it is geared to tourists and you’re limited to the options and prices around.

  11. I too agree with you on all these rules for Italy travel. Wearing shorts or short dresses in churches or religious places are not acceptable. I was not knowing about sitting and standing charges are different in cafes of Italy.

  12. Excellent post! I found it strange with the different prices for coffee but wow do they do coffee well in Italy! Also good to remember about covering up for the churches, I find maxi dresses are great and then just bring a shawl or cardigan to cover your shoulders. Do you like eating late? I struggle to eat at 9pm, unless the limoncello is flowing which makes it easier to digest!

  13. How odd! I visited Rome a few years ago and don’t remember having to stamp my train tickets or pay more for coffee sitting down! Maybe I just got lucky or was completely oblivious! I find it strange that you got weird stares for drinking cappuccino past 10am – I always have a mid afternoon coffee haha

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