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Any last things i might need to know for our trip??

Any last things i might need to know for our trip??

Old Aug 28th, 2014, 01:52 PM
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Any last things i might need to know for our trip??

Hi everyone,
We are finally on the last few days before heading off to our big honeymoon to Italy. Am beyond excited. Would anyone have any small tips/advice for our big trip around such an amazing place?

One thing that i have remembered to ask is regarding their power plugs. Can we use a 2 pin plug adapter or do we need to get a 3 pin plug adapter? I googled pics of the plugs for italy and had seen they use 3 pin plugs so just wanted to get info on that bit.

Thanks everyone for replying to any queries i have had over the past few months. Ye have been so incredibly helpful.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 02:13 PM
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Italy uses the European 2 round pin plugs.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 01:25 AM
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For Italy you will definitely need a 3 pin like this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pack-2-ITALY...-/400485588672

Don't know where you are going in Italy but in the north it has been cool all summer. Check the weather forecasts for the localities you plan to visit to get a general idea of temps:

http://www.ilmeteo.it/

Last tip is: Don't eat too much too soon! A lot of people get to Italy and eat a couple of huge restaurant meals the first 2 days plus big hotel breakfasts and gelato and snacks. By the end of the 2d day they hate the sight of food. So go easy!

Have a great trip!
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 01:47 AM
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Sand realist wrote: "Last tip is: Don't eat too much too soon! "

There is a lot of truth to this, especially as we get older. Portions usually are smaller in Italy, but restaurant food is usually richer than home cooking.

One of the reasons we rent apartments is that we just can't eat in restaurants three times a day without regretting it.

The alternative that works for us is to eat a large lunch and a very light dinner. Some say, "Oh, I hate to take the Time in the middle of the day when I could be touring." But you will not enjoy touring if you are having digestion problems, and a good number of sites in Italy close at mid-day anyway.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 01:53 AM
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Slow everything down, stuff gets done just as fast as in North America in Europe, but remember to add the courtest and a little patience. So don't expect the waiter to give you the bill as you drink your last coffee he is not renting you the table he is making sure you enjoy yourself. For this he gets paid, so tipping too much is an insult, think of it as how much do you tip your lawyer.

As others say you don't have to eat every course in fact you only need to eat one course, or have two starters one after the other. Italian food is to be enjoyed not endured.

House wine and tap water is not only drinkable but enjoyable

Generally people walk and enjoy walking a lot, they also ride bikes, the car has its place but is not at the front of most people's mind as the main form of transportation.

remember "Prego" it means "you are welcome" and is part of a round robin of courtesy. Grazie, Prego; or Prego, Grazie
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 02:35 AM
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One more tip:

If you are finished with your meal and you want your bill then get up from your chair and walk to the cash register to pay. That is really the way to do it in Italy and too many tourists sit there and get angry and have their nice meal ruined expecting the waiter to stop serving hot food to other people and bring them the bill. You can end up sitting there forever!

It is helpful to realize that most Italian restaurants are used by Italians for special occasions. It is not like in other countries where people eat in restaurants because they don't feel like cooking or because they are at the office. Traditionally Italians go to restaurants in large groups for business or celebration. When Italians plan to eat in a restaurant they also plan not to eat too much else that day. They would almost never in their lives eat two restaurant meals in the same day. It would be like sitting down to Christmas dinner twice in the same day.

So there is nothing wrong with figuring out how you are going to eat one of your daily meals in Italy without going to a restaurant. I think it is better to do that than to go to a restaurant and then not order a typical meal. There are places for snacks like pizza and sandwiches. There are also markets where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables that you don't need to cook. Any store that sells salami or cheese will sell you one or two ounces. No problem. Any bakery will sell you half a loaf of bread or less. If you eat in a restaurant for lunch it is better to have some gelato for dinner and quit eating for the day than to force yourself to eat another restaurant meal if you are not hungry. There are also wine bars that serve small meals that help avoid feeling sick from too much food.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 07:15 AM
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"I think it is better to do that than to go to a restaurant and then not order a typical meal."

Not once in the past 50 years has any Italian restaurant indicated the remotest reservation about any aspect of any meal I have ordered: probably THE fundamental reason why eating in Italy is consistently so much more pleasurable than anywhere else in Europe or North America.

And it is simply untrue that "most Italian restaurants are used by Italians for special occasions"

Italian restaurants exist to make money (like all businesses) from meeting, hospitably, the widely varying needs of 60 million different Italians and the roughly 50 million foreigners who visit the country every year. They not meets those needs: they scarcely ever forget to be hospitable, virtually whatever the customer need.

For some bizarre reason (probably excessive proximity to Switzerland), restaurants in Val d'Aosta are universally sniffy about dogs: but otherwise never have I had a whim challenged. Another round of primi instead of pudding? Red wine with fish? Chill that light red wine? Certo.

Italians can be astonishingly conformist - in all kinds of areas, even down to women's bra sizes (67% of Italian women have a B cup: no other country conforms so much). But Italian restaurants are there to cater for almost all approaches to the food they serve.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 09:08 AM
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I am a lawyer and I would be thrilled if one of my clients tipped me.

ALWAYS carry a pack of kleenex with you - toilet paper can be scarce.

Whenever you are in a museum, use the restroom - you never know when you will see another one.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 10:48 AM
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Can someone define what is or is not a "typcial meal"? I have repeatedly read that there is no expectation that you will order an antipasta, primo and secondo at every meal. So, what then is typical? For our upcoming trip, especially when we're in Umbria, we plan to make lunch our main meal and then eat a lighter meal at home in the evening (followed by a stroll to get gelato of course!). In Rome, I think we're more inclined to make dinner our main meal, but do plan to eat a substantial enough lunch to get us through to a late dinner. We'll be walking a lot for one and, for another, my husband is one of those tall, thin people whose metabolism is often on overdrive.

But that issue aside, I'm not quite sure I understand why it's "helpful to realize that most Italian restaurants are used by Italians for special occasions." What does that matter to me as a tourist? I'm on vacation. While I'm not saying that's an excuse to overeat at every meal, I'm just not sure why it matters one way or another where the average Italian eats their every meal. I cook a lot at home and eating out--at least for dinner--is a treat for us, too. But when I travel, I just want to do what I want to do. That may mean eating in for some meals, but that's because I really want to, not because I'm following some local norm. And if I do go to a restaurant, I'm certainly not going to just order bread and water, but nothing I've read suggests that it would be rude to order something less than a three or four-course meal.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 11:14 AM
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Can we stop arguing about meals and get back to giving the OP helpful tips?

A few more I thought of:

Make a copy of your passport and the front and back of all your credit cards before you leave and keep them handy in case one of them gets lost or stolen.

Call your bank and credit card companies and let them know you will be traveling.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 11:27 AM
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Totally agree with the "slow it down" advice....for God's sake don't plan too much and rush all over the place, including meals. Expect dining to take longer and sit back and enjoy it. Take some time to just wander and explore- it seems some of the best memories are the "happy accidents". Accept that you will get lost....you will find your way eventually and you may come across something wonderful while lost.

I wish I had counted the number of times we heard Prego on our trip to Rome a few years ago. Love the round robin explanation above.

I second the toting of Kleenex with you....you will need it at some point and be glad you have it.

Be extra careful on trains, buses and near tourist area with your phone, wallet and bag. We upped our pocket security by using safety pins to close pockets and purses to make them more difficult to slip a hand into or unzip. No hanging purses and bags on the back of chairs. Tons of advice on the forum to help avoid having things stolen. A little extra attention to the security of your money will help prevent theives from messing up your trip.

Enjoy Italy and toast with some Prosecco or Franciacorta.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 11:37 AM
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That's fine ekc, but for as broad as the OP's questions are, it's no wonder it started to go off the rails.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 12:50 PM
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indyhiker

I certainly wouldn't blame the OP for some people going off the rails in this thread (including you!)

Here is a good summary of restaurant dining customs and a typical meal in Italy (it is geared to Rome but a lot of it is more generally applicable)

http://www.romewise.com/italian-food-customs.html

Since people are so confused by what I wrote about "special occasions" (even though I tried to indicate what I meant) then perhaps it will be clearer -- oh never mind. If people honestly don't care to learn about the customs of a foreign culture then they don't. But other people will appreciate knowing that just as in the UK or the USA one chooses the type of restaurant based on the occasion for eating outside the home Italians do this too. And they choose the right eatery for the kind of occasion it is.

99 percent of Italian hosts in restaurants will treat you kindly know matter how clueless your behavior and how much you cut into their profit margin by selfishly figuring you can behave however you like because you are the all-important-tourist supporting these backward people (not true but does any tourist really care?) As Flanner notes most Italian restauranteurs will be nice to your dog even when they hope you are not coming back. I don't see that as an excuse to go on behaving ignorantly and I hope a few people agree with me and take a moment to learn more about what a typical Italian meal is and the right place to go to get something else if that isn't what they want.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 02:12 PM
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sandra, good link
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 04:39 PM
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>>>Can someone define what is or is not a "typcial meal"?>>And if I do go to a restaurant, I'm certainly not going to just order bread and water, but nothing I've read suggests that it would be rude to order something less than a three or four-course meal.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 07:08 PM
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Remember tha tprices differ if you drink/eat at the bar, at an inside table or at an outsdie table. If the weather is good we always do the latter - but don;t think someone is cheating you when prices are higher.

Portions are smaller and the main meat or fish does NOT come with pasta, veggies and a side salad. The item is the item. Pasta is a separate course, Veggies are usually ordered as a side dish for a couple of people - at least - to share. If you don;t want a full meal don;t order more than you can eat - but then go to a simpler, more casual place - even a pizzeria or a sandwich shop (very good sandwiches in many of them).

And do slow down and relax. Don't rush through meals and enjoy a nice walk back to the hotel - through piazzas with floodlit fountains - after a 2 hour dinner. (NO - we don;t eat big meals at lunch - just makes me want to take a nap - and I don't care if it's cheaper. Other things matter than saving a few euros.)
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 10:00 AM
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Thanks a million everyone for the replies. sorry my post was a bit broad i just didn't know what kinda things i wanted to know. things like slowing down and getting up to pay, to taking tissues with you and photocoping your important items is seriously some of the best tips ive gotten .we have been keeping a close eye on the weather all right.

we are travelling from milan down as far as rome and over to abuzzo so you can get a gist of where abouts we will be. some of the big things we are dong, we going to the motogp (motor bike race), doing a cookery class in umbria, going to our first michelin star restaurant in Rome. We are renting a car from milan all the way down to Rome. Taking a train from Rome to Abruzzo. My husbands family is originally from there.

Hope that helps people with some tips for us. Again thank you so much for some of the amazing tips. Really appreciate it.
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 05:33 PM
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Take moleskin for blisters/hot spots. You WILL get them and the moleskin will save your trip!

Take a couple of small and a couple of large zip lock baggies. You never know what you will end up using them for.

Eat gelato every day.
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 07:04 PM
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use your ATM/Debit card to get Euros from ATM machines

never use your credit card to get cash from ATMs as it will be a high interest loan

ask your bank about fees including currency conversion fees for using ATMs abroad; ask your credit card company about currency conversion fees; better not to be surprised later on
when using a credit card, always pay in euros; reject offers to pay in dollars it will cost you more.

drink lots of water while touring. it will still be warm and you won't necessarily realize how much you need to stay hydrated.

be careful with your purse, wallet and belongings just as you would be at home.. you will be distracted, taking photos, etc., and others will know you are tourists.

if you see something you want to buy and the price is right buy it.. don't assume you will see it later on in your trip.

have fun every day
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Old Aug 31st, 2014, 03:55 AM
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We tend to have two courses and wine, usually a primo and secondo. I agree about lingering and enjoying the meal.
I don't know if anyone has mentioned shops.
When you enter, say "Buon giorno". If you want to examine something, say "permesso?"
I made a faux pas for years. You don't hand your money to the assistant. You put it in the little hollowed out bit on the counter, and they will put your change in the same place.
It isn't done to touch fruit on a stall. My husband once got a rebuke from an old lady at a newspaper stand when he tried to help himself.
Buon giorno, grazie and prego will get you a long way.
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