Italy has always been praised for its rich art and culture, its history and its natural beauty like many other countries, but there is one more aspect that attracts as many tourists as the famous landmarks, and which is really peculiar in this nation’s tourist appeal: the Italian way of living and enjoying life. Italian lifestyle recalls different images and experiences, from food culture to style and fashion, and they are all fundamental for a true Italian holiday. Here are some of the top experiences that should be on your bucket list once in the beautiful country along with the unmissable places to best enjoy them.
- When in Rome…
… do as the Romans do. The eternal city is surely a place not to missed on a trip to Italy, a visit that will give you the opportunity not only to take a step back in time and admire one of the seven wonders of the world but also to experience Italian lifestyle in its most joyful and colourful way. Romans are famous for being loud, creative and very funny and trying to do as they do is a great way for enjoying the liveliest aspects of the Italian lifestyle. Among them is certainly the passion Italians have for their food culture and, if any place in Italy is a chance to enjoy great culinary traditions, this city will offer you some of the most well-known dishes of the Italian cuisine. For a true local experience head to one of the former folk districts of Rome, the charming Trastevere, the Testaccio near the Tiber or the characteristic Garbatella and enjoy an evening in one of the typical trattoria, where you can taste the original carbonara, the famous amatriciana or the saltimbocca alla romana.
2. Not a simple coffee
Espresso is THE coffee in Italy. Try to order any other kind of coffee here and you will get the ‘tourist’ label with probably a little disappointment from the barman! Its cultural value is so strong that drinking an espresso might be the quickest and easiest way to live a true local experience, but enjoying the Italian lifestyle means enjoying the time spent at the bar as well. Coffee is often an excuse for spending time with friends and family: drinking an espresso only takes a few seconds, but ‘going out for a coffee’ in Italy may take an entire afternoon! Just relax in one of the many cafés on the famous Italian squares and experience one of the most important aspects of the Italian lifestyle: taking it easy! The best place for doing that is Naples, which is famous not only for its pizza but also for the great quality of its coffee. Il vero bar del Professore on Piazza Trieste e Trento is known as the bar where you can taste one of the best espressos of the entire country and it is just few meters away from the stunning Piazza del Plebiscito.
3. Just relax and take your time
‘Give me a vespa and I’ll take you on holiday’. That is the most famous part of the lyric of a popular Italian summer song and it happens to be the best advice for living a great summer vacation here as well. Taking it easy is not just ‘a food thing’, when you are enjoying a meal or a coffee with your friends and family, but it is a real cultural trait and it should not be confused with common laziness. It does not stand for ‘not doing something’ but ‘enjoying it at its fullest’ while taking the right time to properly do that. On holiday in Italy, that is probably the best way to fit into the local culture and discover the numerous hidden gems scattered all over the Italian boot: as the famous song says, I suggest you rent a vespa and start exploring your destination in depth. The central regions of Tuscany and Marche are perfect for this kind of experience, with their rolling hills and the picturesque medieval villages, a perfect way for enjoying the rich history of this part of Italy.
4. La bella figura
The aesthetic aspect is one of the main traits of the Italian lifestyle. ‘The beautiful figure’ does not just stand for physical beauty. It is related to a decent way to present yourself in public, to a proper behaviour and to all those aspects that make you a good and socially respectable person. In the Italian culture this social respectability is conveyed through aesthetics: that is the reason why, for example, in the Italian language a certain situation is not described as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (as in English) but as ‘bella’ or ‘brutta’ (beautiful or ugly). It is not a surprise then that Italians usually pay a lot of attention to what they wear and that one of the greatest fashion industries worldwide was born in this country. A great number of local craft productions and fashion districts can be found all over Italy, from the Leather District of Vicenza in the Veneto region to the Shoes District of Fermo in the Marche region, but for the most luxurious fashion experience you should head to Milan and its world-famous Quadrilatero della Moda: along the four main streets of the area you will find boutiques and ateliers of all the greatest Italian fashion brands, from Armani to Versace, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino.
5. Summer means one thing: Sea
You cannot state you have enjoyed a Summer holiday in Italy like a local without a stop in one of the seaside towns and famous beaches along the almost 7500 km of coastline! For most of the Italians the real Summer vacation is the one spent at the beach: sunbathing, swimming and playing games are all important activities, but again what draws them to the seaside is the chance to spend some good quality time with their loved ones. While enjoying some hours at the sea you will then see family gatherings under the same umbrellas, with big scarfs tied to them in order to make more shadow and a great quantity of food! Waiting for better days to come, when all these gathering will be possible again, here are some tips for the best seaside spots to visit in Italy. The loudest and liveliest and yet incredibly beautiful beaches are the one of Puglia, while if you are looking for something more refined and luxurious you should probably head to the Amalfi coast. Sicily is the perfect destination if you want to combine relaxing days at the beach and cultural trips to discover the rich history of this island and finally Sardinia the right place for enjoying the most stunning and unspoilt beaches of the country.
A massive thank you to Domiziana Lecci for writing this article for Bookings For You. Domiziana spent a Summer with the Bookings For You team back in 2018. Domiziana grew up in Marche, but has spent the last few years studying in Venice before now working for a big tour operator in Italy.