Ciao, from Italy!
This is where my travels took me next. First Venezia, then Firenze, Toscana, and Roma.
Every city in Italy is different, the buildings, the people, the pace… But all very beautiful in it’s own way. For example, in my experience, Venice was more laid back, calm. A place were you go relax, and enjoy the water views and good wine and food. In Florence, the people are friendlier and alive. There’s everything art in this city. Tuscany, it’s just fantastic, amazing views, great wine, sunflowers, nice people, and Rome is more fast paced and with a lot of history.
For us who speak Spanish, it’s easier to communicate with the Italians but, they do speak English too, especially at tourist attractions, restaurants, and hotels. Plus they’re very good with directions and helping you find your way.
For those of you thinking of visiting Italy, here are some pointers (some you might have read in my Prague post but not bad reminders):
Make copies of your passport, driver license, and credit cards. Keep these in a separate place from the originals.
As in any country, when in crowded places, keep your purse, and belongings, secure. Tourists are the main target for pickpocketing.
Bring a European adaptor and/ or convertor. The difference you ask:
1. Adaptor works for appliances and plugs that stand the 220V outlets.
2. Convertor will be needed if your appliances and plugs are for less volts than that. Avoid ruining your camera, phone, etc, or, even more, burning the hotel like in “Just Married” (with Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy). :p
Check the weather.
During the summer it can get very hot but if it rains, temperature drops a bit so bring a light jacket just in case.
Bring comfortable shoes, you will walk a lot and, most likely, stand in long lines like for the Dome, the Ufizzi Museum, and the Academia Museum.
Remember to setup your phone for international traveling.
Get an international plan for the time you’ll be abroad. If you have an iPhone, make sure your ‘enable 3D’ feature is turned off, as well as the ‘cellular data’ feature, and the roaming, so you don’t get a surprise phone bill when you get back home. If you have a blackberry then you’re in luck with your trusty BBM – always free, no matter where you are.
Once you get to the airport, since the exchange rate is not the best there, just exchange a small amount of money for the taxi and immediate things you might need. Then, in the city, shop around for a good rate.
Restrooms are marked “toilets or “WC”. Have coins ready, in some you will have to pay, with exact change (1 or 2 Euros). There are usually machines that give you change right outside.
A lot of restaurants have a ‘cover/ seating’ charge. Or the charge for the utensils. For us it was around 2 – 3 Euros in most cases.
Especially in Rome, since it’s a bigger city and there’s long lines in some ‘attractions’, take advantage of tours, or have an itinerary to organize your day. This, plus carrying a map, will help you see everything you want without getting lost. Also recommended, a wine tour in Tuscany, wine is exquisite, people are extremely knowledgeable about wine, and views are made for movies. So, don’t forget your camera!
Keep checking in to see, in more details, what I got to experience in Italy…