10 Things To Know When Traveling In Italy

Traveling to another country is always exciting! Not only do you get to taste the region’s food, have fun at their festivals and meet the local people, but you also get to learn more about the culture. Cultures across Europe can differ greatly, particularly from the culture in the United States. Every country speaks its own language and fosters its own traditions that date back centuries. This is especially true of the beautiful ancient country of Italy.

One of the most impressive cultural centers of Europe, Italy was the birthplace of the Renaissance and some of the world’s most loved food. Millions of people visit the country every year, exploring its wonderful cities, towns, and villages. So to prepare you, here’s ten things you should know before you go:

1. BE PREPARED TO SPEND TIME TALKING ABOUT AND EATING FOOD

Be prepared to spend time talking about and eating foodFood is in the make up of Italians. Not only do they love to cook and eat it, more than most people, they also love to talk about it. In Italy, it is certainly more about the quality of the food than it is about the quantity; they value flavor and home-cooked traditions. In Italy they make time to cook a meal and there is no excuse for not spending time enjoying it. Meals, even in the middle of the day, can last hours and include neighbors and friends for a truly special experience. Enjoy this magical foodie culture by eating with locals or in local restaurants.

2. GET READY TO EXPRESS YOUR EMOTIONS

Visitors who can’t speak the language often think that Italians argue all the time. They always appear to be so expressive and loud. However, their gestures and actions are often not what you think. Most Italians love to talk about their emotions, and so the conversation is most likely a way of resolving an issue – talking it out – rather than arguing about it. Very therapeutic!

3. FOOD IS FRESH AND USUALLY LOCAL

Food is fresh and usually localMost large grocers and almost all of the local stores you will come across in Italy will sell mostly fresh, local produce. Not only will it be organic and high-quality, but it will also be affordable. While you can find some processed food, it is not common in the Italian diet in the way that it is in the US. Expect to find fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season alongside local butchers and bakeries.

4. EXPECT TO HEAR THE TRUTH

Italians prefer not to hide their feelings. In the same way that they prefer to talk about a problem they also prefer to express how they feel about people, good or bad, to their face. This is a great thing on some levels as it means they rarely talk about people behind their back, but it can also mean hearing the truth (even when you don’t want to). Most often visitors will hear that they should be eating more, especially the slim visitors!

5. DON’T RUSH

Don't rushItalians rarely rush. They live a slow, relaxed lifestyle that really does make them happier. There is no rushing to get to work or rushing to serve people when they are at work. Expect to wait longer, but expect the people you meet to be extremely happy! What would you rather?

6. YOU CAN SPOT THEIR IMPECCABLE DRESS SENSE

Italy has always exported some of the world’s greatest fashions – with a clear edge over the rest of the world. As you explore the country’s stunning cities and even smaller towns you will notice that style is a very important part of life. Most Italians will always make an impressive effort to look great. If you want a piece of the action head to the shopping capitals of Milan and Rome, where you can find all of Italy’s most famous designers on offer.

7. YOU WILL OFTEN SEE ROMANCE BLOOMING

You will often see romance bloomingNot only is Italy a romantic country for visitors, with its ancient buildings, cobbled streets and exceptional food, Italy is also inherently romantic. Most Italians value courting and spend time and effort wining and dining “the one” for months. For ancient romance visit Verona, the setting for Shakespeare’s timeless play Romeo and Juliet.

8. YOU MAY FEEL A LITTLE CLAUSTROPHOBIC

Italians are very affectionate and do not worry as much as Americans about personal space. Not only this, but their cities are more compact, with winding alleys and petite plazas that are the places of parties and restaurants. Expect to touch a few people a day and don’t expect to hear a “sorry”; it’s not worth it as it happens all the time. Don’t even worry about it!

9. YOU CAN’T LEAVE WITHOUT AN APERITIVO

You can't leave without an aperitivoNo other country in Europe truly celebrates the aperitivo (the afternoon drink and snack) like Italy does. Try to get into a place at around 6pm to take full advantage of the evening buffet and be ready for a late night dinner, Italian style.

10. FORGET ABOUT ICE

It may be common to include ice in almost every drink in the US, but this is simply not the Italian way. Ice isn’t always served in cold drinks, and if you do want some you will probably only get one or two cubes, not a whole glassful… It’s just the way it is! Think of the positives, you are certainly getting more of the drink you ordered – the Italian way!

ENJOYING ITALIAN CULTURE AND TRADITIONS

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Use our helpful list of 10 Things to Know When Traveling in Italy to get a better understanding of what to expect during your next vacation. Blend in, and get local insider info about the best off-the-beaten path attractions, restaurants, and hidden gems, when you show respect and understanding to Italian customs and traditions.

(This post provided by Auto Europe)

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Fine Local Produce From The English Lake District

Regardless of individual reasons for visiting the Lake District, one thing is for certain – everyone loves the food on offer! From the north to the south of the region there are products specific to the region, many of which are family-owned, made using traditional methods and in small batches to ensure quality. To celebrate the wonderful array of local produce available in the Lake District, take a look at our guide to the Lakeland Larder, and don’t forget to take a taste of the region home with you during your next visit.

The Lakeland Larderhttps://www.daffodilhotel.co.uk/blog/the-lakeland-larder/

The Best Farm Stay Destinations in the World

Agricultural tourism is booming. Otherwise known as “agritourism,” the principle is pretty simple: A working farm, ranch, or winery opens its doors (or fences) to travelers looking to reconnect to the land, learn about rural ways of life, and surround themselves with natural beauty.

As more and more people look to escape the hustle and bustle of the daily grind and hyperconnectivity, farm stays are becoming increasingly appealing. In addition to overnights on the farm, popular agritourism activities include pick-your-own fields, farm to table dinners, barn dances, classes or tours, corn mazes, fairs, festivals, and hunting or fishing.

Looking to get in on the rural action? Head to any of these popular farm stay destinations around the world:

Photo: Uploaded by Knase via Wikimedia Commons

Brazil

Here you can learn about any of a huge diversity of agricultural products, from tropical flowers to beef or sugarcane. The country is also known for its cutting-edge sustainability initiativesFly into Rio de Janeiro and enjoy the laid-back beach culture for a few days before heading to the countryside.

California

California’s wineries are hard to beat. Enjoy gorgeous views while sipping on pinot in Sonoma Valley, Napa Valley, or lesser-known Temecula, an hour north of San Diego.

Catalan Pyrenees

One of the most searched-for farm stay destinations, this mountainous Spanish region has been a hotbed of agritourism for years. To reach it, start by flying into Barcelona, which is an easy drive to many of the mountainside towns.

Photo: dpursoo via Wikimedia Commons

Grenada

Go to Grenada for the spice farms, stay for the cocoa plantations. The Caribbean country is a lesser-known but gorgeous agritourism destination. Because it hasn’t yet achieved the popularity it deserves, the island boasts affordable lodging options.

Hawaii

Fertile and bursting with tropical produce, Hawaii’s gorgeous islands allow agritourists to learn about unique crops such as macadamia nuts, taro, guavas, and papayas. Whether you fly into Honolulu or Wailea (Maui), gorgeous land awaits.

New Mexico

New Mexican deserts are home to a surprising number of productive farms growing everything from lavender to fresh herbs and organic produce. Fly into Santa Fe to be near the largest variety of farms.

Photo: Uploaded by Magalhães via Wikimedia Commons

The Philippines

Rich in natural resources, the tropical country boasts more than 30 agritourism sites and counting, including organic farms and pineapple and coffee plantations. Be sure not to miss the rice terraces in Northern Luzon.

Taiwan

Taiwan is gradually staking a claim for itself as a hub of agritourism, thanks in part to its “leisure farms,” which offer farm tours, on-site and locally grown dinners, and the occasional home stay. Many tea plantations have started opening their doors to tourists, as well. You’ll find the cheapest flights going into Taipei.

Tuscany

One of the destinations that first sparked the agritourism industry, Italy’s Tuscany region is well known for its old farmhouses, stunning countryside, and fresh, local food. Flying into Florence will land you smack-dab in the middle of the best that Tuscany has to offer.

Photo: Qrpnut via Wikimedia Commons

Vermont

While Burlington is an exciting destination in its own right, heading to the countryside pays big dividends. Vermont’s farms offer the perfect blend of stunning natural scenery and quaint architecture in the form of old barns and charming bed and breakfasts. If you’re there in July, be sure to check out the Vermont Cheesemaker’s Festival.

Farming provides a livelihood for approximately 2.6 billion people around the globe—and without farmers or their land, none of us would survive very long. Agritourism can teach us a lot about how food is grown and reconnect us with the people and the land who feed us all year long. Plus, no matter where you book a flight to go, it’s bound to be gorgeous.

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on November 4, 2015.