Italy is beautiful, there’s no doubt about it. The people are usually lovely and friendly and the scenery is unlike any in the world. Of course, nothing is perfect, and when you travel to Italy you want to have as perfect a vacation as you possibly can. In that regard, you’ll want to be aware of some cultural differences that might very well affect how you’re able to enjoy the country.
Italy has traffic just like any other country’s large cities. In Rome especially, there are a lot of people trying go different places. The difference between Rome and a city in the United States is how the drivers handle the traffic. In the United States, you wait impatiently on a highway for the congestion to break up or you snake along at lights along a main road. There might be an occasional shout or honking horn, but we accept the traffic and go with the flow – as slow as it may be.
In Italy, traffic is still the norm, but locals take a different approach. They are much more aggressive drivers and the small bikes and mopeds don’t always bother with obstacles like lights or even sidewalks. Always be aware when you’re walking in a city and if you’re trying to drive, be sure to get a good night’s sleep and route the way ahead of time. Italian traffic is not the best place for figuring out directions.
For young ladies, Italy can be fun – so long as you like attention. Italian men have a preference for beautiful women, as do men all over the world. If you’re young and attractive – married or not – be ready for some catcalls, some comments and maybe even a frank proposal or two. The Italians enjoy this type of flirtation, and once you’re used to strange men greeting you on the street and calling you beautiful, you’ll probably enjoy the attention, too. Just be sure your partner or male friends traveling with you realize that the attention is harmless, if ever-present.
While on the streets in the larger cities of Rome, you must protect your belongings as well. There is a significant risk of pick-pockets and thieves around the city. Carry your money in a money belt next to your skin and don’t carry valuables if you can help it while you walk around the city. Avoid carrying bags that are open to the world, and use sensible precautions like not flashing money around or digging around in your money belt in public when it’s supposed to be hidden. Use bags that have a strap you can wear across your body and try not to tuck anything into the bag that can’t be replaced – just in case.