Beautiful Woman with Glass of White Wine in Florence, Italy

Top Tips for Exploring Italy’s Fine Cities

It has been said that no life is complete without a trip to Italy. From the birthplace of Western civilization in Rome to the romantic canals of Venice and the high style of Milan, Italian cities are bursting with beautiful food, culture, fashion, and history. The land of La Dolce Vita, possibly the world’s most celebrated tourist destination, really does have it all – diverse and beautiful landscapes, the world’s greatest hoard of art treasures, tantalizing regional cuisine, and show-stopping architecture. Here are some top tips for exploring Italy’s fine cities.

Italy Is Lovely In The Off-Season
Italy’s Mediterranean climate makes it a year-round destination, offering thrilling activities for every season. The best bargains on Italy travel tend to happen in the low season from November through February, when flights to Europe are at their cheapest and there are more cheap flights to Rome (among other Italian cities) to choose from. Consider visiting Venice in winter. It’s far less crowded and the city gets a spellbinding ethereal feel.

Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy
Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, Venice

Dress Like An Italian
Italians are known for their fashion and style. When I travel, I like to blend into the local culture and dress like a local. In Italy’s major cities, many men and women dress impeccably. Italians dress smartly, so if you want to blend in, leave your flip-flops or running shoes at home. Be prepared to cover up at churches – don’t wear shorts, and women might want to bring a scarf to cover their shoulders.

Young Beautiful Italian Woman Sitting on an Italian Scooter, Italy
Beautiful local Italian

Eat Local
In this food-obsessed country, every bite is a revelation. From Rome to Palermo, Italy is a foodie’s paradise. For the best flavours, head straight to the source. Visit Parma for prosciutto, Capri for ravioli caprese, Umbria for truffles, Tuscany for steaks, or Liguria for pesto genovese. Every town seems to have its own specialty. Sample your way through the world’s finest culinary treasures. Buon Appetito!

Prosciutto from Parma, Italy
Prosciutto from Parma

August Is Holiday Time
During the month of August, most of the nation is on vacation and everything comes to an almost standstill. The heat in the cities can be intense, and many Italians flock to the seaside to enjoy the sunshine. If you travel during August and you’re looking to delve into the beauty of Italy’s città d’arte (Rome, Florence, Naples), August may be the perfect moment to do it, as cities tend to be pretty empty.

Rome at Sunset with St Peter Cathedral in Background, Italy
Rome at sunset

Stores Close In The Afternoon
Afternoon closings still seem to surprise and perplex some travellers. Across Italy, and particularly in the south, many shops will close down for the afternoon from around 1:00pm – 4:00pm, especially outside the city centre. During this time, Italians go home to enjoy lunch as a family and relax. If you’re looking to do some shopping, plan your day accordingly.

Eating Out Is A Late Night Affair
Italy is the land of mouthwatering meals, yet dinner here is typically served much later than in North America. Many restaurants may not open for dinner service until between 7:30pm and 9:00pm. Food and conversations are to be enjoyed, not rushed. Relax, unwind, and enjoy the tantalizing flavours in some of the world’s best restaurants. When your meal is finished, remember to ask for the cheque – it won’t be automatically delivered to your table.

Glasses and Bottle of a Red Wine in Venice, Italy, Italy
Enjoying a bottle of red wine in Venice

Slow Down To Experience More
Italy is a large and complex destination, and the reason 46 million tourists descend on the country each year is because there is so much beauty to see and experience. Don’t try to rush it in with just one visit. Italy is best seen slowly – just like the attitude of the country. With endless culture, art, vineyards, food, and museums, a lifetime is not enough time. So, slow down, savour, and appreciate what you do see. You can always go back again for more!

Young Couple Having Breakfast on the Terrace in Tuscany, Italy
Enjoying a romantic breakfast in Tuscany

Suggested Itineraries:
14-Day Classic Exploring Italy: Venice, Florence, Rome and Sorrento to Naples
7-Day Tuscan Treats & Cinque Terre (Small Group): Florence to Florence
13-Day Classic European Vistas: Cities, Mountains and Lakes: Paris to Milan

For more Italy travel ideas, visit our website at

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Emily Baillie
Emily Baillie

Travel blogger Emily Baillie is on a mission to inspire people to break free of their daily routines and explore the world. She has hiked the Inca Trail in Peru, rode camels in Morocco and spent a year living in Dublin, Ireland. Wherever she travels, she gets excited to find street art, wineries or great hiking trails. She is a proud Canadian who believes that "the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."

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