This beautiful boot-shaped peninsula attracts over 46 million tourists each year. People from all over the globe visit again and again for magic only Italy can deliver. Italians are extremely kind and patient, unless they’re driving, much like us Malaysians. This country truly has it all; from the most beautifully diverse landscapes to the world’s greatest hoard of art treasures, on display in spectacular cities and buildings. Last but not least, regarded by many as the most important item of all on the tourism menu for Italy, is the delicious and authentic Italian cuisine.
If you are looking for an action-packed holiday, there’s no better place than one of the busiest metropolitan cities in the country, Naples. It has a lively atmosphere filled with stores, restaurants and nightlife spots. Pizza, spaghetti and parmigiana all originated here so you can be sure of delicious, fresh and locally produced food. For a taste of luxury head to Milan for some shopping, regarded as a mega fashion center, it is jam-packed with designer stores. Another city to see is Venice, uniquely built upon a lagoon surrounded by the Adriatic Sea. It is an archipelago of 118 islands, all connected by hundreds of beautiful bridges and scenic canals. Be sure to catch a glimpse of the majestic Saint Mark’s Square and Basilica and take a gondola ride along one of the many canals. If all you want to do is just relax and chill, then there are a number of places where you can lay on the beach and bask in the sun.
In Italy dinner is most often between 7.30pm to 9.00pm, so trying to get into a restaurant anytime before that will be difficult. It is advisable to call for a reservation and dress up for dinner, as that will be appreciated. When you are at a restaurant, you will need to ask for the check, as it won’t be brought to you. Just say “il conto” for the bill when you are ready to leave. Bread is not meant to be eaten with your pasta, instead use it to “fare la scarpetta” or make a little shoe to clean your plate of sauce. Much like how we use our ‘roti canai’ to soak up curry! Many stores close down during the afternoon from 1.00pm to 4.00pm, especially outside the city center, as Italians go home to enjoy lunch as a family and relax. As for travel within the city, you will need to call for a taxi or wait at the taxi stand since you can’t hail a cab on a street in Italy. To make things easier, learn a few words and common phrases like “Parla l’Ingles?” (Do you speak English?) when trying to converse with the locals.