First time to Italy? Must read first!!!

Mar 21st, 2001, 01:47 PM
trying to help
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First time to Italy? Must read first!!!

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Italy, but wished I had known a few things before I went.............
1.EVERYONE smokes over there- EVERYWHERE! Right next to you in restrauants, at breakfast in hotel took me a few days to deal with it. Especially since you end up packing limited clothes that you expect to wear again- they will smell like smoke.
2. Hotel accomodations are VERY DIFFERENT than in the US. EXTREMELY small rooms and bathrooms, but doable.
3. Expect your hairdryer to blow the first time you turn it on even if you have bought every possible adapter known to man.
4. Cobblestone in Rome and Florence will make your whole leg tired- not just your feet! Cushiony shoes are a must! I am in great shape and in my late 20's and my feet were sore and legs very tired from it.
5. Dont worry so much about the gypsies. We were so paranoid from hearing all about them and we only saw 3 in the 10 days we were there.
6. Dont eat the beef over there. Even the locals are not eating it due to Mad Cows disease. By the time our trip was over we were craving meat!

I think had I known some of these things I would have been better prepared. Italy is a wonderful country rich in history and culture. No matter where you go or what you see there is something for everyone!
Buon Viaggio!
Mar 21st, 2001, 02:06 PM
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Thanks for the info.

I think I'm prepared for all that you have said, most of it has been said before.

On thing... I NEED to blow dry my hair. I have to. What about the travel hair dryers that have built in converters? Anyone know how I can avoid blowing mine? What about buying one there?
Mar 21st, 2001, 02:28 PM
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Yes, buying a hair dryer there is the one sure-fire bet (no pun intended).

And there is such a non-sequitur between your "discoveries" 1 through 5 and number 6. I don't know how many people you met who are illogically over-reacting to the infinitesimally small risk of prion disease(s) - - but I am guessing that you met even more who are illogically ignoring the risks of smoking. Did you blindly follow them and start smoking too?

This will cause some people to label me as rude, but this issue is simply not in the same league as the sensible advice to wear shoes that will help your feet with walking on stone all day long.

Best wishes,


Mar 21st, 2001, 02:30 PM
Beth Anderson
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yes, your hairdryer will blow up UNLESS you have one which is dual voltage.

you don't just need the little plug thingy to make it work - it also has to match European power specs.

I've had a dual voltage for years, and have never had probs with it.

you can pick them up for about 20-30 bucks most anywhere you buy hairdryers...
Mar 21st, 2001, 02:45 PM
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Yes, you're correct in all these observations. I guess it's one of the reasons I so love going to Italy---it's different from the 'ole USA.

As for the smoking issue, it is much more predominant over there. And especially I noticed it on the trains (fyi--for our train travellers). There are non-smoking cars, however I've found sometimes the signs are not always observed. Yet when I've nicely asked (& I'm usually using hand signals w/my elementary Italian) the smoker has put out his/her cigarette.

As for hotels, throughout Europe you'll find that rooms are usually smaller than what you will find in the US.
Mar 21st, 2001, 03:10 PM
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I really don't understand #6 - the beef issue. Because about 80 people have died worldwide from this during the past 10 years I'm supposed to drastically change by dining habits? But why? Many thousands die from food poisoning, flu and auto accidents but nobody ever advises against eating undercooked/raw foods, public contact or taking a taxi/car hire while on vacation. My opinion is that this is becoming mass hysteria to the nth degree.
Mar 21st, 2001, 04:42 PM
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Rex: "Did you blindly follow them and start smoking too?"
Don't you understand that you can give helpful information and be civil at the same time? Get some help!

Mar 21st, 2001, 05:04 PM
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I bought the dual voltage adapter from works great. U can find it at any samsonite store. One more than, bring your own face towel! The towels that they provide in hotels are the table napkins that we use here in the us.
Mar 21st, 2001, 05:09 PM
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I found that many hotel rooms have built-in hair dryers in the bathroom. I don't like to use a dryer on my hair except in very cold weather, but I found them useful fro drying laundry.
Mar 21st, 2001, 05:46 PM
Gerry Varnell
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Be very careful taking the bus in Italy. My sister and I were set up by the lady selling tickets in Sorento. She sold us the wrong tickets. The police boarded our bus and we were given a hefty fine for being on the wrong bus or maybe it was for having the wrong ticket! I do not speak Italian so I do not know the exact reason.
Mar 21st, 2001, 06:56 PM
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Gerry, you could have been fined if you didn't validate (time-stamp) your ticket when you got on the bus. Did you validate?
Mar 21st, 2001, 07:04 PM
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It doesn't hurt to write down the name of the destination town or city and pass it under or hold it up to the window as you're ordering your ticket. Less chance for mispronunciation errors to sound like another city name, especially in a noisy and crowded station.
Mar 21st, 2001, 07:12 PM
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also be very careful about thieves.It is a very big problem in the major cities of Italy. They even have gone as far as putting sleeping gas in the compartments of the trains then when you are asleep they grab your stuff.So in Italy try not to look like a tourist or be very careful then.
Mar 21st, 2001, 10:43 PM
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My husband and I will be taking a tour of Italy in April. I have some basic questions:

1. Do we tip? If so, how much and when?
2. Should I bring Lira to Italy or should I exchange my Can$ when I arrive? If I exchange in Italy, where can I get the best rate?
3. When taking the bus within Rome, do I still need to validate my ticket?

Thanks everyone!
Mar 22nd, 2001, 01:43 AM
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The ticket fine will almost certainly be because you did not validate your ticket. There is usually a machine at the bus station or sometimes on the bus itself.
As for the beef thing, I was in Italy recently and everyone seemed to be eating beef and veal just as usual. I agree that there is a lot of hysteria about BSE. The rules are now extremely tight although people who ate cheap burgers etc. in the 1980s may well be at risk. The USA only stopped feeding cattle feed made from bits of dead cow at the time the vCJD scare stared in the UK. It's quite likely that there are people in the USA incubating the disease.
Also, why on earth do you need a big bedroom? I personally just use a hotel bedroom to sleep in. If there's a bed and somewhere to put your clothes, what more do you want?
Mar 22nd, 2001, 05:18 AM
Brian in Atlanta
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Just returned from Italy and both 3-stars had built-in hairdryers. I imagine that most hotels will soon have them to avoid having big-haired Americans blow their fuses.

And I ate beef on numerous occasions. Call me crazy.
Mar 22nd, 2001, 05:31 AM
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My hair dryer didn't blow up either, and like Beth, I have a dual-voltage one. It's a Conair hot air brush, and I've used this model for quite awhile; they added the dual-voltage switch option fairly recently, and I noticed it when I bought a new one after my old one died. So if you have a favorite type of US-made hair dryer, check wherever you buy it to see if they've added dual-voltage.

About the smoking thing...yes, a lot of people smoke in Italy, but unless I've spent a couple of hours sitting in a bar, I've never found that I leave a place smelling like smoke. (And the bar smoke thing happens in the US, too.) If that does happen, my favorite solution is Febreze (the spray that takes odors out of fabrics). Pour part of a bottle into a small carry-on size spray bottle, and if you've been somewhere where smoke scent (or another unpleasant odor) has really gotten into your clothing and you won't be able to wash for awhile, spray thoroughly with Febreze and hang the clothing up to air out.
Mar 22nd, 2001, 05:33 AM
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Sounds like you were setup by more than the lady with tickets. Anyway, who is dumb enough to buy tickets on the street????
Mar 22nd, 2001, 05:55 AM
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Can't let Joey's "sleeping gas" comment just lie there. The only time I've fallen asleep on an Italian train was when the scenery was boring (obviously not a big problem).

Novice train travellers in Italy should use common sense about their belongings - but not be afraid to inhale.
Mar 22nd, 2001, 06:18 AM
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just for the record, i, for one, find rex's comments regarding this and other postings, accurate, well turned and eminently appropriate.

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