6 More Misunderstood Facts About Travel in Italy

Travel in Italy
The wonderful front desk staff at Hotel Barocco in Rome.

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

In the land of amore, pizza, art and architecture, travel in Italy doesn’t always live up to it romantic persona. Before you set out on your Italian adventure, whether as a couple or a solo traveler, here are six of 11 misunderstood facts about Italy that I’ve managed to debunk.

You can read the first five misunderstood facts about travel in Italy here.

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

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.

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.

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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.

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.

Yes, that is indeed a hard boiled egg on my pizza.
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.

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.

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 debunked, here.

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