When In Rome: Italian Tips for the American Traveler

By Luca the Italian Tour Guide

1. Better Not Ask For Butter

Italians do not provide olive oil, balsamic vinegar and parmesan
cheese along with bread as an appetizer at meals, and we definitely
do not serve butter. Please do not ask, and please do not be insulted
or upset if you find this to be the case as it is simply our culture. If we
do serve bread it will be plain, crusty and dry. We don’t like to fill up
before our meal!

2. Can’t Stand Sitting for Coffee

Italians mostly stand and take their espresso quickly. Sitting and
drinking your caffeinated beverage can cost upwards of 4x more than
if you stand and imbibe. While we’re at it, Italians drink cappuccino in
the morning and espresso in the afternoon. If you’re looking for a cup
of American coffee, order an Americano.

3. Go Before You Go

With very few exceptions, there are no restrooms in churches. Please
be mindful of this, and plan bathroom breaks accordingly.

4. Temperature Trends

In most hotels, air-conditioning and central heating are regulated by
the local city council and operate only in certain months of the year. The
American definition of “AC” is often cold air blowing. In Italy, AC
may just mean some form air blowing that isn’t hot.

5. Checking the Separate Checks

Italians do not separate checks at restaurants. If this is a deal-breaker,
you will want to ask if the restaurant will do it before sitting down as it is often
impossible to do it after, resulting in commotion and the inevitable
running around for an ATM.

6. Missing the Ice

I’ve never seen an ice machine in Italy. And neither will you as we simply
don’t use them!

7. Carrying the Key

If the key to your hotel room seems heavy, it is. It is meant to be left at
the front desk and not carried on your adventures.

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