The gloriously rich, sensual culture of Italy is idyllically summarised as La Dolce Vita' The Sweet Life. It would be a shame to visit this magnificent country and only skate the surface as a tourist you might as well stay at home and order a pizza!
The good news is that there are a number of ways to help you step away from the tourist perspective and really get to grips with the authentic Italy that the locals live and breathe. This guide by provider of luxury Italian villas, PPA Properties, explains how to go about it.
Learn Key Italian Phrases Before Travelling
Apart from the obvious fact that Italian is one of the most beautiful languages in the world, making the effort to learn common words and phrases will go a very long way in getting you away from the tourist traps so you can experience the real Italy. Locals tend to be far more welcoming when they see you are making an effort rather than assuming everyone must speak English.
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This holds true for every foreign country, but Italians are particularly proud of their language. Additionally, knowing some basic Italian will help immensely when ordering food at local restaurants.
Trattorias All the Way
Instead of opting for expensive, touristy bars when in Italy, make a beeline for the places where you see the locals gathering for drinks. Here you will pick up a wealth of cultural Italian customs, from how people interact to what they think and feel. Many locals will also be happy to give you invaluable tips on the best places to visit and quality restaurants to target.
Sample Local Fare as Much as Possible
When on holiday in Italy, the last places you want to go to eat are touristy restaurants where you could just as well be back in Britain having dinner at Pizza Express. Italian food is largely regional and locals are fiercely proud of their signature dishes, so you absolutely must try the local food at every destination you visit. Even a simple minestrone soup can vary a great deal depending on the region it is made in, and the same pasta dish in title will be a totally different experience depending on what area you eat it in.
Consider an Agriturismo'
Agriturismo's are working farms in Italy run by families with built-in accommodation. You cannot get closer to genuine locals than by visiting or staying a few days at one of these quaint establishments, which are often situated in the heart of the Italian countryside. Here you will also get the priceless opportunity to eat authentic home-cooked Italian food.
Walk Instead of Drive
As much as possible, leave the car behind and set out on foot in Italy. This holds true no matter where you go in the world by walking about you will get to experience far more than when you're safely tucked in your vehicle. Not only will you be able to absorb so many more sights and smells on foot, you will also be open to meet and interact with the locals. Don't be shy to ask locals about the places they enjoy in their area this is likely to yield many hidden gems brimming with authentic experience rather than simply following the most popular travel guides.
By keeping these tips by PPA Properties in mind, your holiday in Italy will be a remarkable trip brimming with authentic, previously unknown experience, rather than a run of the mill tourist excursion that leaves you so untouched you might as well have watched a document about Italy on TV. Enjoy the true sights and flavours of Italy by sticking close to the locals.