29 Things Not to Do in Italy: Avoid These Mistakes

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There is a saying that says, “When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do,” and it has never been more appropriate for this article. Here, we will discuss things not to do in Italy during your trip. If you are planning travel experiences in Italy, these queues that we are about to discuss might be something that could interest you. Let’s consider all those common missteps and travel blunders you might encounter. This guide offers simple tips to enhance your experience in this culturally rich country. Let’s get into those things not to do in Italy

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Things Not to Do in Italy: Common Travel Mistakes

Expecting Lavish Breakfast

cup of delicious coffee with froth on breakfast in an Italian cafeteria
Photo by Gagan Kaur on

I must admit this one hurts a bit personally. I like to have complete breakfasts: eggs, toast, pancakes, hash browns, but Italy is not the place for this. When in Italy, enjoy a simple Italian breakfast. Forget about those amazing morning feasts we love and relish a pastry with your espresso for an authentic start.

Not Validating Train Tickets

Validating train tickets in Italy

Validate regional train, metro, and bus tickets diligently. Neglecting this step might disrupt your journey. Trust reliable operators like TrenItalia or Italo for stress-free rides.

Find Trains and Buses in Italy

Do Not Overpack

several bags on trolley near train in station
Photo by veerasak Piyawatanakul on

Let’s be honest: Italy is filled with cobblestones and stairs. Packing too much will carry around too much and won’t be comfortable. Explore unburdened by heavy suitcases. We recommend following the best practices on how to pack for your trip in Italy, and also to use a carry on bag. Travel light for easy mobility through crowded streets.

Water Choices

A tap of drinking water in Italy

Understand Italy’s water landscape. Although most water from the tap might be good, do not abuse it. Also, be cautious of charges for bottled water; consider carrying a reusable bottle. Explore local brands like San Pellegrino and try also sparkling water! To be honest, the safest option is always sparkling water.

GPS Reliance

two tourists looking at a map in Italy

Navigate Italy’s streets carefully. Don’t blindly trust GPS; use a map for a charming journey if you have the chance.

Beware of Freebies

a person giving a flower
Photo by cottonbro studio on

Street vendor souvenirs aren’t free. Be cautious to avoid unexpected expenses. Explore authentic treasures from local artisans. Also, Freebies could be a way to distract you used by pickpockets.

Avoid Planning Sightseeing Tours on Sundays

tourists walking around in Rome

Remember that Italy is still a Catholic country in many aspects. Many businesses close on Sundays. Plan leisurely activities, exploring hidden gems away from tourist hotspots.

Don’t Rely Solely on Credit Cards

a person buying a coffee with a credit card

Not all places accept credit cards. Carry enough euros, perhaps stored in a wallet from brands like Prada or Gucci!

Proper Pizza Eating Etiquette

person slicing pizza in Italy
Photo by Vincent Rivaud on

Pizza is a serious topic in Italy and there are things not to do in Italy when it comes to eating it. Experience pizza traditions, Italians use a knife and fork when they eat the entire pie. Try slices from authentic pizzerias like Da Michele or L’Antica Pizzeria if you visit Italy.

Avoid Over-Tipping

euros on a plate while tipping in Italy

Coming from the United States, you might be very used to tipping. One of the main things not to do in Italy is tipping! Tips are included in the service charge or coperto, a small charge for the bread serving and water they bring to the table.

Avoid Dining Near Major Tourist Spots

tourist eating near the Colosseum

Escape overpriced menus; plenty of restaurants around tourist areas work as tourist traps. Venture a few blocks away for an authentic, budget-friendly, local dining experience.

Don’t Forget to Validate Your Parking Ticket

someone validating their parking ticket

If you rent a car in Italy, always validate your parking tickets. Failure to do so may result in fines or towing.

Things Not to Do in Italy: Respecting Cultural Heritage and Sites

Follow the Rules at Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Famous Sites

Spanish Steps in Rome; a stairway on a church facade
Photo by Natasa Dav on

While staying at any of the best areas to stay in Rome, always keep in mind the basic rules on Roman monuments. There are mistakes that tourists often make while in Italy, and social media always shows us are certain tourists who forget to respect the main landscapes in Italy. Each site has specific rules. Immerse yourself in preserving historical integrity at iconic landmarks.

The One Boutique Hotel, one of the best places to stay in Rome

Where to Find A Place to Stay in Rome

✔️ HostelWorld

Inappropriate Clothing for Churches

a woman wearing shorts while touristing in Italy

Wearing shorts when visiting a church seems one of the most common mistakes tourists make in Italy. Navigate dress codes in the Vatican and understand expected behaviors. Adhere to church dress codes.

Neglecting to Check Museum Hours

Italian beige concrete building under the blue sky
Photo by Igor Meghega on

Plan accordingly and check museum hours to maximize your visit and not waste days while traveling.

Not Booking Attractions in Advanced

People touring the Vatican Museums

If you travel to Italy during a high season like summer, you should buy your tickets in advance for places like the Vatican Museums. Avoid long queues or not being able to maximize your trip.

overhead shot of a camera and flowers near a map
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on

Where to Buy Tickets in Advance

✔️ Viator
✔️ GetYourGuide
✔️ Civitatis

Regional Travel Advice

Trying to Do Too Much in Too Little Time

two girls traveling around Italy

One of the things not to do in Italy is try to fit way too many plans in a short time. Advocate for a leisurely exploration of major cities. Incorporate day trips close to main hubs for a holistic understanding.

Eating Food From the Wrong Regions

woman eating bruschetta in Italy
Photo by Adrienn on

This could be one of the most common things not to do in Italy that everyone tends to do. Although pasta might be the most famous dish in Italy, there are various dishes across the country. For example, in Piedmont, raw meats are more common than pasta. Indulge in regional diversity. Savor local specialties and embrace the culinary variety.

Using Excessive Hand Gestures

woman doing the Italian gesture to express food is good touching both cheeks

I know it might be tempting to do this, but one of the things not to do in Italy is try to mimic Italians’ hand gestures. Maybe you are unaware of these meanings inside the Italian cultural context, so it’s better to avoid them and let your Italian friends teach you how to use them.

Staying Away From the Countryside

woman looking out the window of an agriturismo place in Italy

If you are a solo female traveler, I can understand you might want to stick to the safest cities in Italy for solo female travelers. In a country with so much variety as Italy, you should consider variety. One thing I do for this is travel around to watch volleyball in Italy. If you have the time, escape city life. Consider staying at Agriturismi for an authentic rural experience.

Avoid Ordering a Latte

barista serving a caffe latte

In Italian, “latte” means milk. Order your coffee correctly using “caffe latte.” Explore blends from brands like Illy or Lavazza when enjoying your caffe latte.

Having Cappuccino After 11:00 AM

A Cappuccino on a table in Italy

If there is one thing, Italians will tell you, it is that one of the things not to do in Italy is have a cappuccino in the afternoon. According to Italians, cappuccino is a coffee variety that should be taken during the morning. You will get weird faces from baristas when you order a cappuccino in the afternoon.

Expecting Dinner Service Before 7 pm

a man eating pizza with knife and fork in Italy

Italians have dinner after 9 pm. Embrace the late dining culture. At around 6 pm, they would have an aperitivo with Aperol.

Shops Might Close During the Day

a street filled with shops in Italy

Many shops close for a few hours in the afternoon. Taking a siesta in countries like Spain and Italy is a Mediterranean tradition.

Buying Fake Souvenirs

a souvenir shop with t shirts and postcards in milan italy
Photo by Elina Volkova on

Opt for authenticity over mass-produced souvenirs. Choose genuine keepsakes like traditional balsamic vinegar or locally crafted ceramics.

Eating Bad Gelato

gelato shop in Italy

Eating a bad gelato is one of the things not to do in Italy, which could be unforgivable. Distinguish quality gelato in Italy. Seek authentic spots with metal tubs and muted colors.

Visiting in the Summer

tourist in front of the Fontana di Trevi in Rome

Many tourists make the mistake of visiting during the summer. Escape summer crowds. Visit during shoulder seasons for pleasant weather. Also, August tends to be a holiday month for Italians, and you might encounter many closed attractions.

Ignoring the Local Language: Learn Basic Italian Phrases

a coffee with buongiorno written on it

Don’t forget to greet people with a buongiorno or buonasera: It’s considered polite and friendly and this is something that would apply to any country.

Expecting Quick Service at Restaurants

people eating in restaurant in venice
Photo by Helena Jankovičová Kováčová on

This could be tied to the fact that tipping is not required, but also, Italian dining is about savoring the experience. Don’t rush your meals: Embrace the leisurely pace of Italian dining.

FAQ on Things Not to Do in Italy

Based on what we have discussed on this article, we can summarize that the main things to do in Italy are:

  • Respect local customs and traditions
  • Do dress modestly when visiting churches

The main things not to do in Italy are:

  • Don’t forget to validate train tickets before boarding
  • Don’t rely solely on credit cards; carry enough cash

When visiting Italy skip dining near major tourist spots for more authentic experiences. Skip overpriced souvenirs and opt for genuine local crafts. Skip heavy suitcases; travel light for ease. Skip relying only on GPS; carry a map too.

As we have discussed previously on the article, avoid taking excessive luggage. Don’t take unnecessary valuables; travel with essentials. Skip taking high heels for uneven streets since most streets might be cobblestone. Avoid taking only credit cards; have local currency too.

Some find crowded tourist spots a drawback. Weather can be hot in summer. Language barriers might be challenging. Local transportation strikes can disrupt plans occasionally.

Conclusions and Final Thoughts

a photo tour is one of the most unique tours in Rome

Wrapping up our Italian adventure tips, it’s clear that avoiding common mistakes makes the journey smoother. With its rich culture and history, Italy requires visitors to be mindful and respectful.

Steering clear of expecting grand breakfasts, validating train tickets, and understanding simple terms like “latte” when ordering coffee can make your experience more enjoyable. Wearing appropriate attire in churches, being mindful of water choices, and navigating without solely relying on GPS are simple yet crucial tips.

Exploring city-specific etiquette, from Venice to Rome, and embracing regional advice ensures a genuine Italian experience. Eating pizza with utensils, avoiding tourist traps, and respecting cultural sites make the journey more authentic.

Remember, perfection isn’t necessary, and if you need more tips, we have an Italy travel guide that might help you plan your trip. Italy welcomes you to learn, stumble, and enjoy the journey. Pack your curiosity, leave misconceptions behind, and embrace the unexpected. Italy is ready to offer a tapestry of grand and subtle memories. Happy travels!

Pin these things not to so in Italy!

Brenda: + 34 years old + Puerto Rican + Viajera Boricua + Master in Cultural Tourism + Foreign Language Major + Hispanic Studies Minor + Portuguese + Italian + Russian + Literature Freak + ♥’s Indie Music + Volleyball Enthusiast + Tricolor do Morumbi(SPFC) + San Antonio Spurs +

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