Many people travel to Italy in search of a “cultural experience.” They want to bask in the history and grandeur of the city, but often struggle with the huge number of tourists there for the same reason. To have a cultural experience in Italy, you need to do more than make a list of places you’d like to see. In fact, it’s not what you see in Italy that matters most – there is so much to see and do around every corner of the country. But it’s how you experience the country that will make the most profound impact.
Learn Some Italian
If you’re going to immerse yourself in Italy, consider learning some Italian. Learning as many phrases and words as you can before you begin your trip will give you an opportunity to learn more while you are there as well as getting greater insight from locals and experts not trained as tour guides pampering the needs of the other tourists. Learning the language is also very respectful as well to the shopkeepers, villagers and workers you’ll encounter of your journey
Stay Open to Experiences
If your experience is set by the clock, the long lines and checking things off a list, you’re not experiencing the country properly. It’s just as important to stare at the statues not in the tour book and to discover the more meaningful scenes and images of the country. Revel in the food, gaze in wonder at the treasures of the country and try to breathe in the essence of the country by slowing down and simply enjoying the little things along with the big ones.
Take a Journey
Don’t take a trip to Italy, take a journey. Begin with the end in mind with every experience. When you go to a restaurant, don’t plan on eating a meal, plan on finding the best item on the menu to sample. Use the waiter’s experiences and opinions to guide you through the unfamiliar items. Be sure that your waiter understands that you’re not interested in the foods you already know. Many restaurants and waiters don’t publicize the specials locals enjoy thinking you might not enjoy the food, when it truth, it’s exactly the experience you were seeking. You can take the same sort of journey to find the most beautiful landmark, the most memorable scene and the most interesting museum display.