Travel Tips in Italy – Embrace the Italian Lifestyle

Laundry in Portofino, Italy Photo by Margie MiklasIn my opinion one of the main caveats or “travel tips” is to embrace the Italian lifestyle. Unless you want to be labeled the ugly American, you have to consider that you are a guest in another country. Of course life is different in Italy. Isn’t that one of the reasons we want to go there?

Italian men - Photo by Margie MiklasDress with respect for yourself. No sloppy sweat pants.

Photo by Margie MiklasPerhaps it is partly due to the climate, but I see far less people wearing scarves and stiletto heels in southern Italy. A colorful scarf is always a welcome accessory for both men and women.

For the past couple of years  temperatures have been higher than normal all over the world, and Italy is no exception. 2015 has been reported as the hottest year on record according to the New York Times. I have noticed  many Italians now wearing shorts, although most are young people and I see this trend more in the south of Italy, and of course near the beaches.

Photo by Margie Miklas

Dogs seem to be welcome everywhere in Italy. I have seen them on buses, trains, boats, in stores, restaurants and on tours. One bar even had a bowl of water and a specific section marked “Dog Bar.” Some are well-cared for but in many areas they are stray and appear unkempt. Dogs are used for truffle hunting and more practical reasons than for pets, so don’t expect to see so many pampered pets as you may see in the US.

Stray dogs sleeping in Pompei ruins Photo by Margie Miklas

I learned to be aware that each region in Italy is known for certain items either grown or produced in that area, such as olive oil, vino, ceramics, lemons, etc.

Wine tasting with authentic Puglia wines Photo by Margie Miklas

The Italian people who live there are extremely proud of these items coming from their region, and they are eager to share with you anything they can. It may be taking a lemon from their tree, and scraping its skin, allowing you to smell its strong flavor. This part of the Italian lifestyle is heartwarming.

Photo by Margie Miklas ~ Life in Italy

Italians seem very connected with the earth and they appreciate whatever grows there naturally, using various herbs and plants to their benefit. Rather than taking these things for granted, the Italians have such a passion and appreciation for what grows around them, and they know how to make the most use out of it. They use what they have.

hoto by Margie Miklas Life in Italy

So if a restaurant doesn’t have something, it’s probably because it’s not in season and not grown or produced locally. They will smile and simply tell you “It is finished,” or “It is not possible,” and that’s the end of the conversation.

So go to Italy and enjoy every moment. Don't ever expect it to be like it is at home. Share on X Embrace the Italian lifestyle and immerse yourself amid the Italian people for the best experience you will ever have!

Have you been to Italy? What travel tips do you have?

I’d like to hear from you so please leave a comment.

Grazie and Ciao

If you would like to read more travel tips about Italy I highly recommend Victoria’s Travel TipZ Italian Style by my friend and author Victoria DeMaio. I have the book and have learned a lot from it. It’s funny and packed with travel tips that will come in handy when traveling in Italy.Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style

If you haven’t been to my Instagram page, please check it out…Lots of photos from Italy there.


17 Responses

  1. Barbara

    I’ve owned a home in Praiano (vettica) for 19 years. Every year when I come home from my 3 month ‘visit’ I realize more deeply how much the Italian way is a portal to inner peace. Wanna live a “Family Life” free from regrets? Have lunch with your grandparents every single Sunday of your Life, forever. No excuses. No exceptions. You will know all of your cousins…not just their names. You will know your aunts and uncles. You will understand where you are at any given moment. You will know because you have no missed steps. You know from whence your grandparents came. It may not be a template, but at that ‘ole fork in la strata, you will have a better, broader reasoning ability…

    • margieinitaly

      Wonderful advice, Barbara. You truly have experienced how to live a fruitful and happy life. We should all take your advice. You live in a beautiful part of the world for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Debra Kolkka

    Don’t rush through and just look at things. Take some time and actually enjoy this beautiful country. Find a bar and become a local, sit back enjoy an aperitivo and watch the passing parade.

    • margieinitaly

      Perfect advice, Debra…Sometimes I even forget to do that but am trying to be better at it.

  3. TheGrazieGirl

    Wonderful tips as usual. I especially enjoyed the information about the dogs. I’m always so surprised about this fact. I noticed this in particular in Pompeii.

  4. Tony

    I love the Italian lifestyle, we Americans could learn a thing or two from our Italian friends!

  5. Andrew Petcher

    I like the places that don’t feature in the guide books. In 2014, despite being advised several times not to bother, I went to Bari and found a fascinating and friendly city.

  6. Un po' di pepe

    Great advice! I think my biggest travel tip is learn some basic Italian words and phrases, as well as proper pronunciation. English speakers seem to think everyone speaks English, and this is definitely not the case outside of ‘touristy’ areas. If you want to see real Italia… devi imparare un po’ la lingua! Ciao, Cristina

  7. timelessitaly

    Very sensitively written about the Italians and showing respect for their wonderful culture. I recognize some of those photos too!! Well done, Margie:)

  8. TravelsWithRae

    Great post Margie. It was after reading your first book that I realized how different things are in Italy. I knew early on before I got there, to do exactly as you say – not expecting things to be like home, but realizing those differences and embracing them. It for sure made my experience that much better. I feel bad for those who arrive expecting and wanting things to be as they are used to, and as a result, are unhappy, or critical. They have missed so much by doing so! I hope that in subsequent trips I will be able to experience a lot more of these differences/customs, as I see them as pluses to be sure. It’s part of what makes Italy so special in my eyes and what I long to feel more a part of while I am there.

  9. margieinitaly

    Thank you Victoria for commenting..and I am happy to include your book because it is a wealth of information and loaded with so many real travel tips!! Grazie, Cara!

  10. Victoria De Maio

    Love it – great advice – and thank you for sharing about my book! Honored and grateful! Like you, I feel that everyone’s experience (visitor and local) is enhanced when there’s an understanding and appreciation for local customs and lifestyle.
    xo Victoria

I'm always interested in your thoughts, so please leave a comment.