The Dinette Teller – 29. Useful Italian Travel Tips and Phrases

Are you planning to go to Italy this summer?

Here are some tips to have pleasant and relaxing holidays and without unwanted surprises!

Italians are very kind and extremely patient (unless they’re driving…) They are the guardians of some of the most magnificent treasures in history, and they love sharing them with the rest of the world! This article is directed to those that are planning to spend their summer holidays in Italy!  Take note of these tips and enjoy your holidays!

This article is dedicated to those who are planning to spend their holidays in Italy..Take note of these tips and enjoy your trip!

Cinque Terre


Summer is really hot in Italy, the countryside is often fresher that any city centre. However, if you are planning to visit the big city or you don’t have a chance for a countryside escape you can find some spots that will help you to stay cool!

  1. You can head to one of the many open-air swimming pools around the city. This is the perfect way to enjoy the sun in a pleasant manner!  One of the favourite hobbies for Italians is to spend hours playing cards under the shadow of a tree! So, don’t forget your cards deck if you are going to the swimming pool!
  2. Swimming pool

  3. Eat ‘granita’ or ice cream. Granita is a flavoured ice drink. The best ‘granite’ ones are the Sicilian style, they contain lots of fruit!  Avoid mint and lemon commercial ice creams and always go the real ice cream and granita shops for a real boost of taste!


  4. Café shakerato coffee: it not only refreshing but it will also out a smile in your face! The combination of caffeine and cool seems to help to reduce the effects of the searing Italian summer heat. Just delicious!

    Café shakerato coffee

  5. Drink plenty of liquids. In Italy, you can dehydrate without even notice it! Especially if you are not used to such a high temperatures… you can re-fill your bottles of water almost anywhere, just make sure there is not a sign saying ‘acqua non potabile‘, which means not drinking water.


  1. Wear light clothes like cotton and linen and sandals. But please, don’t wear socks with your sandals: people will think you are odd or foreign, or, possibly, both! 😀
  2. When it comes to bags, just pack a small bag that you can strap in front of your body. Backpacks can be comfortable but you risk being a pickpocket’s victim.
summer clothes

Summer Clothes


  1. Food is the heart of Italian culture. From a simple café, bakeries, trattorias or food shops to the chicest restaurants. I’d suggest you try them all! Just grab a sandwich for lunch, eat it at the beach or wandering around the city- Then, treat yourself to a relaxing dinner in some of the more authentic open air restaurants or trattorias.

    Nice Italian Trattoria

  2. Beware of tourist trap restaurants near major monuments.
  3. Just remember that dinner is between 7:30-9:00 p.m. any earlier. Calling to book in advance and dressing up for dinner will be appreciated in many places!
  4. It is not customary to tip in Italy. The service charge or “Coperto”, is already added to the bill.
  5. Good wine and great food will make your holidays unforgettable, so eat and drink as much as possible! There will be time for a diet… You can always check some light Italian recipes in our blog after your holidays!


How can you enjoy as much as possible and make the most of your holidays?

  1. You can’t see it all.The sheer volume of architecture and artwork that a lifetime is not enough. So, slow down and appreciate what you do see without worrying too much about what’s next.


  1. To save some money and time be aware that most cities offer a discounted multi-pass to visit the major monuments. Inquire at the tourist information centre.
  1. Leave the crowds and plan some time where you can get off the well-beaten path for a gelato, coffee, or traditional meal with the locals. Go to the beautiful countryside and enjoy the breeze and all the sights that you can visit… just explore!



Learn a handful of Italian words and become a proficient tourist in Italy!

You can find people that speak English in the larger cities like Florence, Rome, and Venice but it’s not so usual to find Italians that speak English in smaller towns and in the countryside.

Don’t assume to be immediately understood when speaking in English, it’s polite to ask: “Parla l’Inglese?” (“Do you speak English?”).

You can practice with locals!

Italians love foreign pronunciations of their language, so you will be very welcomed! Don’t be shy, it is one of the best ways to meet new friends and create connections.

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“Nice to mmet you!” “Piacere di conoscerti!”


  • Buongiorno: Good morning. Usually said until 4 pm.
  • Buona sera: Good evening. Usually said after 4 pm.
  • Buona notteGood night. Only used to say goodbye, it is usually said before parting ways after 10 pm, or before going to sleep.
  • Arrivederci: A formal way to say goodbye. Literally, means “until we see each other again.”
  • Per favore: Please
  • Grazie: Thank you. You may also hear “grazie mille” (literally “a thousand thanks”) to mean many thanks.
  • Prego: You’re welcome
  • Non parlo italiano: I don’t speak Italian
  • Dove: Where. You may ask “Dov’è (street or landmark)…?” for directions.
  • Ristorante: Restaurant
  • Banca: Bank. Be sure to ask for a bancomat if you’re looking for an ATM
  • Aiuto!: Help!
  • Dov’è il bagno?: Where is the bathroom?
  • Quanto costa?: How much does it cost?
  • Che ore sono?: What time is it?
  • Destra (right), sinistra (left), dritto (straight)
  • Bello: Literally means “beautiful”, but can also be used to say something is nice, like a dress for example. Bello (for males) and bella (for females) is commonly used as a salutation between friends and acquaintances.
  • Buon appetito: Enjoy your meal, which is almost always said when a meal is served.


    The most important of this list is SMILE! You’ve made it to a country that has inspired visitors for centuries. Melt into its beauty and lifestyle, its art, music, and literature. Trade smiles with Italians and take home memories of a truly magnificent country, unlike any other in the world!

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