6 More Misunderstood Facts and Myths About Travel in Italy

Traveling in Italy? Make friends with your hotel staff.
The wonderful front desk staff at Hotel Barocco in Rome.

Be aware of these long-time myths before traveling in Italy.

In the land of amore, pizza, art and architecture, travel in Italy doesn’t always live up to its romantic persona. Before you set out on your Italian adventure, whether as a couple or a solo traveler, here are six more misunderstood facts about Italy that I’ve managed to debunk.

Here are my first five misunderstood facts about travel in Italy.

It didn’t take long for me to compile all 11 myths about travel in Italy…I’ve experienced all of these. 

1. Italian men offer to help solo women travelers with their luggage. Yeah, right. 

One word: Hah. Unless you actually ask for help, almost plead, you’re on your own. If traveling to Venice, remember it is an island and there are NO cars and no taxis. Be prepared to haul your luggage when boarding trains, negotiating steep stairways and across those oh too many Venetian bridges you can encounter en route to your hotel.

2. Women receive equally attentive service when dining alone in restaurants or cafés.

As if. Unless the café is nearly empty, be prepared to hail down the waiter. Remember, though, no one will rush you from your table so don’t always take being ignored as intentional. 

3. Tourist season is over at the end of October. November for sure.

Not even a decade ago, a late autumn trip to the major cities in Italy pretty much guaranteed a less crowded experience. Word must have traveled more quickly than Italy’s high-speed trains because now the tourist season seems to continue through to December.

Crowded Spanish Steps in Rome in October.
Crowded Spanish Steps in Rome in October.

Only January and February seem a small drop in tourists. Want to see Venice without being squished on the bridges and narrow alleyways? Go in winter. Traveling in Italy to the major cities almost any other time of year and there’ll be tourists. Lots of them.

4. Expect to get a straight answer when asking directions. 

Blame it on a language barrier. Ask two people where to find a specific place and you’ll get at least two different directions. With streets that twist, turn and abruptly end, be prepared to enlist the help of your phone’s GPS.

5. An egg is an egg. Not in Italy. 

If you’re used to the anemic-looking, mass-produced, cheap refrigerator eggs in America, you’ll be taken aback by the beautiful deep-orange colored egg yolks in Italy. Eggs are used in all sorts of dishes including even a pizza topping.

Traveling in Italy means tasting at least one pizza with an egg on top.
Yes, that is indeed a hard boiled egg on my pizza.

The first time I ordered a fried egg in Venice, I was horrified that it was spoiled because the yolk was as deep an orange color as the setting Mediterranean sun. I quickly learned to love eggs in Italy.

6. All the trains have wifi. Download media before you board.

If you’ve read the info online, especially train reservation sites, it appears that all the trains are modern, have an array of food service and of course wifi. Traveling in Italy by train is fabulous, just be sure to download your media before leaving your hotel.

Aboard the Frecciarossa high speed Italian train
Aboard the Frecciarossa high speed Italian train

Not true. I’ve been traveling first class on trains through Italy for the last 10 years and I’ve ridden remarkably modern train cars yet no wifi. When there is wifi, most times you have to create a username, password and enter a credit card for a €1 fee.

Italy is as gorgeous a country as you can find anywhere. Unless you are fluent in Italian, there will be hurdles to negotiate. But every hiccup is worth the inconvenience. Now go call your travel agent and pack your bags. You’re going to Italy!

Read my first five myths about traveling in Italy – debunked.

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