Rick’s Advice for Visiting Italy
Ciao a tutti! If you’re new to my site, let me show around a little bit.
I’ve doing this blogging thing for a while now, and the deeper I get into exploring Italia, the more fascinated I become. We all know about the breathtaking scenery, the centuries of history, and the best food on the planet.
But as you’ll see, the most interesting discoveries lie just beyond these initial encounters. Italy is a diverse, complex society with enough wonders to keep an inquisitive traveler enchanted for a lifetime.
My Most Popular Posts: Advice for Visiting Italy
First, let’s get off the beaten path and talk about some topics that you might not have considered yet. These aren’t necessarily my favorite articles, only the most popular according to my Google statistics. Apparently, people who want advice for visiting Italy are curious about superstitions, sex, and the proper use of a bidet. Go figure.
- The Italian Dating Scene – OK, this one isn’t so hard to understand. Everybody wants to find love, and finding love in Italy seems oh-so “romantico,” no? The truth is, I’m far from being expert. I “got lucky” once, but all of my previous attempts at wooing Italians girls fell flat. But the topic is ripe for lively discussion.
- Catholicism and Other Superstitions – This is subject that I return to from time to time simply because I find it so fascinating. I’ve often encountered a very blurry line between religion and superstition in Italy. For example, to get rid of an evil eye curse (malocchio), you need the help of an elderly Catholic woman who invokes a prayer to Mother Mary on your behalf to put an end to your streak of bad luck. It’s just one big mystical stew.
- Regional Differences in Italy – I caught a lot of grief from Italians with this post, due to the fact that I cited several stereotypes about regional characteristics among Italians. I was NOT the one promoting these stereotypes, mind you, only repeating what I’ve heard from Italians themselves. Still, you know what they say about the messenger…
- The Best Way to Learn Italian – Almost every day I get an email or two from someone soliciting my advice about learning Italian. Besides my own language journey, I also have taught English to Italians, so I have a unique perspective on both sides of the equation. The bottom line is, for rapid language acquisition among adults, nothing beats a good software program. Hands down, this is the fastest way to learn the basics—to get the vocabulary and grammar swirling around in your brain. To actually learn to USE the language, conversation with native speakers is the only way. Full immersion, as they say.
- The Bidet in Italy – Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! This handy little invention of modern plumbing can really brighten your day.
Accommodations in Rome
Another question that I get a lot pertains to finding quality accommodations in Rome at an honest price. My favorite suggestion is to considering shunning the hotel chains in favor of “going local” by renting an apartment instead.
Two friends of mine—Steven and Linda, a married couple from the U.S.—started a company called “Cross Pollinate” back in 2000. They’ve done a lot of legwork in the years since, checking out unique apartments all across the city, and making them available on their website, which includes other European cities, as well.
If you’re spending more than 3-4 days in Rome (or Florence or Venice), I HIGHLY recommend that you begin and end your search on the Cross Pollinate site. I promise that you won’t go wrong, and you can save all that time online to plan some great day trips from Rome.
Over the course of the last three years, I’ve written several guides aimed at overcoming specific challenges when encountering Italy as a foreigner. They range from finding a good restaurant, to dressing like a local, to helping you deal with that notorious Italian bureaucracy.
And if you download one (or more) of the guides, you’ll also get updates from my newsletter.
Best Restaurants in Italy The circle of English-speaking bloggers in Italy is pretty tight, so when I wanted to gain some authoritative advice on the food scene, I simply contacted a few of my food blogger friends. These contributors are all true experts in the world of Italian gastronomy, so don’t visit Italy without reading their restaurant advice. (Yours truly is merely the editor of this guide.)
As I point out in this introduction to this guide, nobody has ever mistaken an insurance salesman from Hoboken for Marcello Mastroianni. Still, it’s nice to at least try to channel the inborn knowledge of our Italian friends when it comes to making a bella figura.
Listen, I’m no fashion guru. But at least I can help you avoid making some of the most common mistakes.
This one is for anybody who dreams of actually living in Italy for an extended time, but is put off by the bureaucratic hurdles. My guide gives you step-by-step instructions (with translations) for achieving this lofty goal. In bocca al lupo!
Don’t come to Italy without it!
A friend of mine, Rome native Alina Pinelli, owns an organic farm and guesthouse on the border of Tuscany and Umbria. She also happens to be an accomplished chef, and she leads cooking classes at her agriturismo. I begged and pleaded, and finally she agreed to share her favorite recipes with me. And now they’re available for you, too.
Amazon Kindle Books by Rick Zullo
In addition to my free guides that are available for free download on my website, I also have a few books published on the Amazon Kindle platform for purchase. Reading the titles, see if you can detect a theme.