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9 Tips to Travel To Italy: Blend In Like a Local

Traveling to Italy is a dream come true for many, but standing out as a tourist can sometimes be a disadvantage. To fully immerse yourself in Italian culture and make the most of your trip, it’s essential to blend in and be seen as a local. In this guide, we’ll share some valuable tips on how to blend in seamlessly during your Italian adventure.

1. Dress the Part:

Italians are known for their impeccable fashion sense, and dressing appropriately can help you blend in effortlessly. Avoid bright colors and opt for more neutral or muted tones. Italians generally dress up a bit more than casual tourists, so bring some stylish outfits. Comfortable shoes are a must for exploring, but leave the flip-flops for the beach. Remember to cover your shoulders and knees when visiting churches or religious sites; otherwise, you may not be allowed inside, especially at the Vatican.

2. Respect Historical Sites:

It may seem obvious, but recent incidents have shown that not everyone follows this rule. Never carve your initials or engage in any vandalism at historical sites like the Colosseum. Show respect for these treasures, and you’ll earn the respect of the locals too.

3. Disconnect and Immerse:

Put your phone away and fully engage with your surroundings. Enjoy the beauty of Italy firsthand rather than through a screen. This not only helps you blend in but also enriches your travel experience.

4. Dine Like a Local:

Choose smaller, family-owned restaurants rather than touristy places with English menus. These smaller establishments often offer more authentic and delicious Italian cuisine at more reasonable prices. Plus, interacting with locals in such settings can be a memorable part of your journey.

5. Embrace Italian Drinking Culture:

Italians typically serve water at room temperature and without ice. Embrace this custom to blend in better. You’ll find that the local experience is more enjoyable when you adapt to their way of doing things.

6. Show Cultural Sensitivity:

Italy is rich in traditions and customs that may seem peculiar to outsiders. Instead of questioning or mocking these practices, keep an open mind and take the opportunity to reflect on aspects of your own culture that you may have never considered before. Respect for local traditions will help you connect with the Italian people on a deeper level.

7. Master the Art of Espresso:

Coffee culture is a big part of daily life in Italy, and ordering a cappuccino after breakfast or in the afternoon can instantly label you as a tourist. Italians typically enjoy milk-based coffee drinks like cappuccinos in the morning but switch to espresso for the rest of the day. When ordering coffee, opt for a simple “espresso” or “caffè” and savor it at the counter while standing, just like the locals do. Avoid asking for extra milk or sugar, as this is not a common practice in Italy. By embracing the Italian coffee culture, you’ll not only blend in better but also enjoy some of the finest coffee in the world.

8. Read Body Language:

Understanding non-verbal communication is a valuable skill when trying to blend in. Pay attention to gestures, facial expressions, and body language to better gauge social situations and adapt accordingly.

9. Learn Some Italian:

While you don’t need to become fluent, learning basic Italian phrases can go a long way. Simple greetings like “please” and “thank you” and a few essential questions can help you connect with locals and show that you’re making an effort. Italians appreciate visitors who try to speak their language, even if it’s just a few words. And remember the answer to "When is it too late to learn a language?" is always "Never!".


Blending in while traveling in Italy is not about losing your identity but rather about respecting the local culture and immersing yourself in the experience. By following these tips, you can enjoy a more authentic and enriching trip while earning the respect and appreciation of the Italian people.

Do you want to start learning Italian? Become a lifelong learner with our group Lifelong Language Learning Program. Alternatively, if you're looking for a private class to progress faster, learn more about ICLS private instruction and its maximum flexibility.

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