Five Ways to Experience Italy Like a Local
Besides its natural beauty, Italy offers visitors endless culture with history, art, architecture, food, wine and more. Boasting 53 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (more than any other country), it’s easy to see why this destination is at the top of many people’s bucket lists. But to truly experience Italy like a local, you need to go beyond its major tourist attractions, like visiting the Colosseum or taking a gondola ride in Venice, and here's how to do it!
Get off the beaten track
Spending an afternoon wandering through the side streets like the one above is a great way to discover some charming little shops and bars where the locals spend their time. Or consider staying a couple nights in a small town/village nestled in the countryside where you will have the opportunity to observe daily life and have a truly authentic Italian experience.
Learn a few common phrases before you go
Italians appreciate even the smallest efforts towards embracing their way of life-especially when it comes to their language. You may not get the pronunciation just right or mix up some words, but making the attempt to speak even a few common phrases in their language goes a long way. A simple buongiorno in the morning or buonasera come early evening will help you feel more like a local and less like a tourist.
Visit a local market
One of the most exciting aspects of Italy’s neighborhoods are their local markets. There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the Italian culture than visiting an outdoor street market. Here you can gain insight into the daily lives of Italians while enjoying the colors, smells and sounds that surround you.
Expert tip: Buying picnic ingredients at the market and then heading to a park to enjoy them is a great way to save money on dining in Italy.
Enjoy some gelato
One of the most authentic Italian experiences is also one of the most delicious-gelato! Similar to ice cream, but it has more milk than cream and usually no eggs; gelato is smoother, silkier and denser. Gelaterias are plentiful in Italy and I recommend trying as many flavors as possible during your stay because they’re all soo good! Once you’ve got your gelato, do like the Italians do and savor it while doing some people watching in a charming piazza nearby.
Live “la dolce vita”
At the heart of the Italian lifestyle is “la dolce vita” (the sweet life), which is all about enjoying the good things in life and really indulging in the things you love. That means slowing down and going with the flow rather than trying to stick to a strict schedule. And it means taking part in Italian traditions that allow you to live in the moment like: riposo (midday nap), aperitivo (pre-dinner drink and light appetizer), passeggiata (evening stroll through town) or a long leisurely dinner. Based on a culture that revolves around food/wine, beauty, love, and a passion for life’s simple pleasures, the Italians truly know how to live life to the fullest-and you can too when you experience it like a local!
Been dreaming of visiting Italy yourself? My goal as your travel advisor is to ensure that you don’t just take a trip to this beautiful country, but that you truly experience living life to the fullest-Italian style! I’d love to use my personal experience and expertise to help you plan an incredible getaway full of memories that you can’t wait to tell your family and friends about.
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