Posted by: gelatojourney | February 11, 2012

Tips for fitting in

OK, everyone will know you’re a tourist – your white tennis shoes give you away.  But here are some tips that will help you feel a little more like a local while in Italy.

Tipping in Italy

Just round up

Don’t.  You just don’t need to tip in Italy.  You are probably already paying a cover charge or coperto or service charge servizio – check your bill.  Just round up.  If your meal is 19 Euro, leave a 20.  Not that any waiter or waitress will refuse your tip, but it’s just not expected.

Don’t try to buy a ticket on the bus or streetcar

Pick up your tickets at a newsstand or tobacco shop.  You may luck out and find a machine near the stop as well. You may not find a shop open on a Sunday. so purchase some in advance.  Don’t forget to validate the ticket right before you get on.

Purchase tickets in advance

Don’t order pepperoni on your pizza unless you like peppers
Peperoni with one p are peppers.  If you want spicy salami on your pizza look for pizza diavola or  salami piccante – or just wait until you get home.

Pizza will never be the same.


Pay for your daily gelato before you order it

Tell the person at the register how many scoops you want and pay at the register –  then take your receipt to the person scooping the frozen goodness.

Get a receipt first


Don’t touch the produce!

There will be plastic gloves available in supermarkets and the seller will bag your fruits and veggies at a street market.  Don’t request specific pieces of fruit or vegetables – it’s seen as rude – just assume the seller will give you the best.

Hands off


Don’t expect to be the center of attention at a restaurant

Don’t expect small talk from your waiter or waitress.  There will be no refills or quick removal of dishes.  The wait staff is there to take your order and bring your food.  They will be very busy, but will be glad to help if you flag them down.  When you are ready for the check, get their attention and pretend to sign an imaginary check. They will bring it to you – probably not right away though. The table is usually yours for the evening, so slow down and take your time.  Don’t feel obliged to order something from each course either – order what you like.

Slow down and enjoy your dinner


Be careful with your Caffè

Enjoy your coffee after your meal – except  breakfast.  Coffee is enjoyed at the end of your meal and after your desert.  If you don’t want to stand out, don’t order a cappuccino after 11:00 am.

Before 11:00 am


After 11:00 am



Need more help with coffee? – here’s a link -

Any additions?  Please feel free to add your own.

Happy travels,

Gary and Charla


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