Tipping is optional
People often argue about whether to tip in Italy. The only correct answer is no, trust me. I repeat: do not … Of course, most people will not give up on a tip, but it really is not necessary. And I think this is a bad precedent when people by default think that in Italy one should leave a tip for coffee, taxi or dinner at a pizzeria. Many Italians I know will leave extra money only for extremely exceptional service (dinner at a Michelin-listed restaurant) or put a couple of euros on top so that you do not have to wait for the waiter.
It will be their own choice and no one will expect a 10-20% tip from them. In Rome, many waiters and taxi drivers are already spoiled for tips from foreigners and now demand it from everyone. At the same time, with a high degree of probability, the cost of services is already included in the bill. You will probably want to tip the porter at the hotel, or be generous for the concierge or guide, but do not worry more than it’s worth.
Buy tickets in advance
Do not assume you can buy tram or bus tickets along the way. Most of the major tourist cities in Italy (Rome, Milan, Naples, Florence) require you to purchase your tickets before traveling. Even more: many buses stop simply do not have ticket offices. Most often, to buy tickets, you need to look for a newsstand or a tobacco shop. And if you are going somewhere on Sunday, then buy tickets the day before. And when you got on the transport, then punch a ticket so as not to pay a fine, like a person who traveled twice with the same ticket.
Afternoon break is not called “siesta”
This is not a siesta … the shops are just closed. Some markets have a separate “rest day” every week when they are closed. In addition, most shops will also be closed on Monday morning, starting in the afternoon. Do not assume that all shops will close in the afternoon, but it really depends on where you are and what time of year. It would seem that in crowded city centers, shops should be open all day, but no. This is not a siesta. This is not Spain. It’s just “we’re closed.”
Have a clear meal schedule
Most restaurants and bars have a specific schedule and they follow it. If you are planning a brunch, a trip to the museum and lunch “where you have to”, then you will be disappointed: there are no free seats, and the number of available dishes is limited (most of the menu can be eaten). Italians have lunch at one or two in the afternoon, some start at 12-30, but almost all finish at 14.30. Dinner times vary, the further south, the later it starts, but still the general rule is to start at 20 – 20.30.
Waiters will not give you maximum attention
The “Il Cliente comanda” (customer is always right) rule does not work in Italy. In many restaurants there may be a “shortage” of waiters, when several people run around the place, serving customers. They will not ask, “How are you guys?” So, you have to sit back, endure and beacon to the waiter when you need something. Yes, we are talking about the amount of attention, the quality can be normal. Just understand: these comrades really have no time to lisp with everyone.
Pepperoni pizza is made without salami
Italians use the word “pepperoni” for bell peppers, not salami, as in the United States and several other countries. So, if you want spicy sausage for your pizza, then order diavola pizza or any other pizza with salame piccante among the ingredients.
You are not required to order antipasto
First of all, what an antipasto is is a meat and vegetable appetizer served on a large plate before the main course. Antipasto does not have to be eaten all the time, as most Italians think – you agree with them. Believe me, Italian cuisine is hearty, if you order a “simple” second course, then you will be full of it alone.
Pay when ordering
Many bars require you to pay the bill right away. If you see a cash register near the place where you order food or drinks, but they are in no hurry to serve you, then wait a few minutes. Better yet, just ask if you need to pay right away. The magic phrase ” scusi, si paga o si ordina prima?” works wonders, believe me.
Drink coffee after meals
In Italy coffee is mainly used to aid digestion and to drink food. Therefore, be prepared that if you order coffee with whipped cream in parallel with the long -awaited carbonara, then you will be looked at with some bewilderment.
Do not handle vegetables and fruits with bare hands
In the supermarket, you should find plastic gloves and bags next to the fruits and vegetables section. Use them, do not hesitate. There will be no gloves on the market, but this does not mean that you can touch the product – this is considered a gross invasion of the rights of the owner of the fruit. Tell the seller exactly what kind of fruit he should put in your bag.