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If you haven’t been to Italy, it’s on the top of your destination list. And if you have been to Italy, well, you most likely are planning your next trip there for a second round. How can you not like Italy? The jaw-dropping scenery, the mouth-watering food, and of course, the charm of the Italian people are all factors of why Italy is a top tourist destination. Regardless of all its splendour, there are some things you need to know before travelling to Italy.

You’re going to eat late
When in Italy, do what the Italians do. Actually, you won’t have much choice as most restaurants won’t open until 7pm. So, you’ll want to plan to eat a late dinner. But, remember, before dinner, most of the shops and cafes will close between 1-4pm for riposino which is an afternoon nap, meaning if you’re hungry, it’s best to hit the local supermarket before then.

Do you need a visa?
Some nationalities are privileged with being able to enter Italy and other European countries without a visa, however, many are not. Before travelling to Italy, check and see if you need a visa. If you’re planning on travelling around Europe, including Italy, then you need to check if you need a Schengen visa. If so, you’ll need to schedule an Italy visa appointment from London. If you live in another country outside of England, you’ll need to inquire about the application process in your country.

Learn some basic Italian
Italy is not like other countries such as the Sweden, Israel or Germany, where English is commonly spoken as a second language. When in Italy, most people do not speak English. It’s best if you have a couple of important phrases written down that you’ll be able to use when you need help. If languages aren’t your strong suit, then, prior to speaking English, ask them, “Parla l’Inglese?” They won’t feel attacked and will be more willing to help you out.

Take advantage of their public transportation
If you’re planning on travelling around Italy, going from city to city, then you should take advantage of their train system. Italy has an advanced high-speed railway which can take you from the North of Italy to the South. But, if you want to experience Italy’s rail system, you need to book your ticket in advance. Not only will you save yourself some money with an early booking but you’ll reserve yourself a seat.

You won’t be able to see it all
Even with a 90 day Schengen visa, you won’t be able to witness all of Italy’s beauty. In reality, you’ll need to visit Italy a couple times just to see half of what you want to see. The north and south of Italy are completely different, with different foods, wines, and culture for you to indulge. But, not seeing everything at once isn’t a bad thing, right? This just means you’ll need to go again and again and again.