A few simple hacks to blending in with the locals
So- you’ve just touched down in a dreamy pizza paradise, also known as Bella Italia!
The sweet smells of coffee and overpowering cologne from the hunky Italian men are drawing you in from afar. But before you can begin your sunny stay, I would like to offer you just a few top tips to help you do as the Italians do… I will commence by guiding you through arguably one of the most important features of Italian culture- coffee of course!
First things first, wave goodbye to the thousand different coffee concoctions you’ve stumbled across in your local Costa. Believe it or not, the every- day Italian does not take their espresso with two shots of pumpkin spiced syrups, and chances are, the local barista probably won’t be supplying the red velvet frappuccino that usually tickles your frothy fancy. So, I would suggest you order the delicate yet mind-blowing ‘café’. The simple café is the Italian equivalent to an espresso. Do not be alarmed-it will be small! However, never underestimate the power of the petite café, this tiny cup of heaven is jam-packed with more than enough caffeine to surely set your newly bronzed (or burnt) bodies tingling!
Warning- you may also notice groups of Italians drinking their coffee on their feet. This is not their way of keeping fit (though I’m sure it helps), but is an inherent feature of Italian coffee culture. The word ‘espresso’ literally translates to ‘express’, and Italians take this term quite literally. For an Italian, coffee is not just a substance to be enjoyed socially, but it is speedily sipped to kick-start the day ahead. These glorious granules ignite the gumption in their belly, hence why the drink is gulped down within minutes. It is also a cheaper way of enjoying a coffee. To sit and sip would cost you significantly more as you will most likely be charged for use of the table. One more thing- I would advise you not to attempt ordering a ‘latte’ in Italy, as you may be presented with a glass of milk!
When roaming through the stylish Italian streets, you may find yourself drawn to the chic Italian styles. In this case, escape to the local boutiques and get ready to transform your wardrobe from Made in Chelsea to Made in Italy! However- this could prove a rather challenging task, as the majority of local businesses will close their shops at around 12.30/1.00 and reopen again at 3 o’clock. The reason behind this cultural difference is indeed rather mysterious! I’d like to think that it is to allow time for the classic mid-day nap, but somehow I feel that this may not be true! So, if you’re looking to hit the shops, make sure you get there early and leave enough time to fully indulge your shopaholic needs!
Last but certainly not least, I have one final tip for those looking to hop on a train and venture out of their chosen city or town. It is absolutely imperative to remember that if you do not validate your train ticket before you catch that train- you really might as well not have bought it! Make sure you leave enough time to both purchase and validate your ticket. Do not be that person who gets booted off mid-journey in a random Italian village, having to pay a fine greater than your flights!
These three tips will hopefully help you navigate Italy with a lot more ease and follow these words of wisdom to ‘do as the Italians’.