How to not look like a tourist in Italy

It seems like there is no travel bucket list out there that doesn’t include Italy in its items.

We mean, can we blame them?

The place is rich with great art, food and culture that will never fail to amaze everyone who experiences it. Surely, this European destination is a gem that is just simply hard to ignore.

All that being said, there are some common mistakes that people do when travelling to Italy

And we are here to help you avoid the same things that they do.

Here are 10 Do’s and Don’ts that will help you on how to not look like a tourist in Italy:

DO: Teach Yourself a Few Basic Italian Words or Phrases

Nothing screams “tourist” better than that squinting eyes and confused head bob you make when someone talks to you in Italian.

Stumbling upon words is just about the perfect way to blow up your cover, and you definitely will not like that.

Do not worry, you don’t have to be fully fluent in the Italian language — just learn enough words and phrases to get you around the country.

Not only will you fit perfectly in the crowd, but it will also earn you some love from the actual Italian locals.

Aside from your passport and luggage, don’t forget to prepare your Italian words with you!

DO: Teach Yourself a Few Basic Italian Words or Phrases

DO: Dress up Simply, Nicely, and Fashionably

It is not just the Colosseum, the Venice Grand Canal, and tons of romantic streets that are to see in Italy.

Their fashion sense, too!

But take note: stylish does not mean extravagant and dressing as the latter can actually get you an “I am a tourist!” sign on your head.

Italians are big on simple yet fashionable outfits, so make sure to ditch your in-your-face patterns and prints and trade them for a more subtle, comfortable one.

If you want to feel like a local, make sure to look like a local — bye, over-the-top outfits!

DO: Greet Everyone With the Iconic Double Kisses.

They say one is enough, two is too much.

In Italy, they all beg to disagree — two is just the perfect count for kisses!

While only one kiss seems to be the standard for greeting others, Italians actually liked them doubled.

It is customary in the country to greet people with two kisses, from left to right, pressing cheek to cheek while kissing the air.

Go out of your way and greet the locals you love with two kisses because for Italians, one kiss is never enough!

DO: Live the Aperitivo life

Thinking about how not to look like a tourist in Italy?

Counting your calories is absolutely NOT the way to do it.

If you think 3 meals a day is enough to explore the ever-famous European cuisine, you might want to change your mind as early as now.

Italian cuisine is not famous for nothing, and it would be a shame if you would not experience it in its full glory.

Not only does the experience satisfy your taste buds — it also makes way for hangouts, making you blend in perfectly in the crowd.

Aperitivo your way into Italy as you dig in to authentic dishes in any time you like, in any way that you can.

Never mind the carbs!

DO: Choose Between Water, Wine, or Beer ONLY for Refreshments During Meals

Just as Italians have remarkable gusto for their food, they are also particular for the drinks they choose alongside it.

While sodas seem to be the obvious choice of refreshment for every meal, Italians say otherwise.

Soft drinks are actually a major no-no in meals as according to the locals, its sugary taste affects the taste buds, thus keeping them from fully enjoying food.

If you want to blend in like a true blue local that you are, you might want to keep this in mind.

Trade in your can of cola for either wine, beer, or good old’ water for a much flavorful food experience.

DO: Make it a note to socialize with the locals

You can never be a local if you would not stop and talk with one.

We know what you are thinking: the infamous “never talk to strangers” already popped into your head as you are reading this.

But we kid you not — stopping by to chat with the locals can make you understand their culture and way of life more than any tourist guide would.

Regardless of where you are in Italy, initiating an interaction is highly appreciated, let alone sustaining a conversation.

Always take note that destinations and food are not everything that make us want to come back to Italy more times than one — the people are, too!

DO: Throw in Some — Actually, More — Hand Gestures While Conversing

How not to look like a tourist, you say?

Well, you might want to add more hand gestures into your conversations with the locals.

The stereotypes did not lie — Italians indeed love to speak with their hands, and there is no such thing as “exaggerated” while at it.

You can never go wrong with expressing yourself through throwing a little hand gesture here and there.

So, do not hold back — Italians would love you even more, and might even mistake you for being one of them!

DO: Carry Italian Newspapers

Is a go to life hack, carrying Italian Newspapers will make a lot of people think that you really live in the area. It will also help you study the language.

You’ll often see people reading “Corriere della Sera” or “Il Messaggero” around bars and restaurants.

But if you are the type who loves to read about sports, “La Gazzetta dello Sport” is the best way to go.

DO: Ignore People Who Approach You

If you are a tourist in Italy, do not be shocked if people approach you in the streets.

It might seem a little rude but trust us, you should ignore them. Most of the time they are just scammers who are trying to take advantage of tourists. They will approach you and will act like they genuinely want a conversation, but they will just end up forcing you to buy something from them.

You don’t have to be rude when it comes to declining their offer, just say the phrase “No Grazie” and keep walking away to let them know that you are not interested.

DO: Learn How To Handle Your Luggage

Handling your luggage with much obvious struggle is definitely not the answer to how not to look like a tourist in Italy.

Plan and pack neatly because struggling is definitely not the way to go. The sidewalks are often narrow and poorly maintained. Shoulder bags or other rolling luggage that you can handle easily is highly recommended to avoid spilling your bags or having a hard time getting through crowds.

You will be thankful that you packed light while waiting for and riding the trains. Most of them are remarkably busy and people around you typically will not stop to help you find a place for or lift your luggage.

Therefore, the best recommendation is for you to pack light and avoid bringing unnecessary stuff.

DON’T: Drink Cappuccino in The Afternoon

If you are a coffee lover who enjoys a cup of cappuccino at any time of the day, you really have to adjust your appetite during your stay in Italy.

Local Italian cafes are not very used to accommodating tourists, and if you find yourself ordering your favorite coffee around afternoon, you might see giggles from people here and there.


Italians think that the foam and milk in a cup of cappuccino replaces a meal. And all those dairy stuff in that milk, can upset the stomach.

So when you visit Italy next time, make sure you have a nice cup of coffee in the morning. You might not want to order it in the afternoon though.

DON’T: Dip Pizza and Pasta on Ketchup

Ohhh Italy, the holy mecca of pizza and pasta.

Italians take pride in creating these delicious foods, and guess what, THEY ARE VERY GOOD AT IT.

And their way of making pastas and pizza, is way different than the way Americans, or countries all over the world do it — though it seems fitting in the American-style pizza and pasta to put ketchup in it.

That is a big no in the Italian cuisine. So, if you are ever in Italy, you might want to think twice about putting ketchup on their most famous dishes.

DON’T: Follow Queuing Lines

In most places all over the world, following the line while queuing will signify discipline and orderliness, right?

Well, that does not apply in Italy. Italians find lines in queuing a mob rather than an ordered line.

So, do not be surprised if someone just runs over you when you are ordering something on a fast-food chain or buying a movie ticket.

It is normal, and if you do not like how that feels, keep up, find your way in and act as if you are deserving for the spot. That is the Italian style of doing it.

DON’T: Visit in Mid-June to Mid-September

If visiting Italy is one of your bucket lists, well I got some advice for you my friend: DON’T DO IT IN THE SUMMER.

This is the time where even Italians leave their country to go to other places.

During this time, the prices in the market get higher than Torre UniCredit.

Mix that with a sizzling weather condition and a barrage of people, will turn your trip into a rather unpleasant experience.

The best time for you to visit this amazing place is around autumn (Early June). The days are still long, and the people are thrilled with tourists to come visit their place.

DON’T: Use Backpacks and Fanny Packs

Want to look legit when you mix in the Italian crowd?

If you do, then you might want to avoid wearing Backpacks and Fanny packs.

Most of them prefer using shoulder bags to carry their valued item.

Though Backpacks and Fanny Packs might seem like the best way to go, because it is pretty comfortable to wear and it helps you carry lots of load, it also makes you an easy target for pickpockets.

If you want to secure your money, and shoulder bags are not your thing, you can just use a money belt. That way, you will not only make sure that no one gets anything from you,

It will also make you look as if you are from Italy.

DON’T: Shout or Whistle to Get a Taxi

Want to know how to not look like a tourist in Italy?

This is a tip that will help you a lot: Do not shout, whistle, or make a gesture when you call a taxi.

If you currently live in the United States, you might find this trait rather odd, but when you need a cab for a ride in Italy, you do not need to exert much effort in calling them,

You just need to go to a specific parking lot, and they will come to you when it is your turn.

They also have applications that you can download where you can text or make a phone call with a cab driver so that you can make sure that you get a spot early.

Oh, and also, do not get a ride from an unofficial cab driver right outside the train. Not only because they might have a different agenda, but they will also charge you two or even three times the standard rates.

KEEP IN MIND: cabs around Italy are white and have an emblem of the city hall.

DON’T: Bring a Big Camera with you

Travelling without taking photos will seem very illogical but bringing some big cameras can cause so much hassle too.

Having something hanging in your neck while you enjoy the surroundings of a foreign country will bring attention towards you. Same thing happens when you walk around with a selfie stick.

At the present times, phones have great quality cameras that you can make use of. Not only will it give the same quality of photos that you can have with those fancy cameras, but it will also help you travel lighter because they take up so much less space.


DON’T: Mess With The Public Fountains

If you browse through your social media apps, you might see prank videos here and there that asks someone to take a bath in a fountain.

In fact, people in other countries usually do this, especially during the summer.

But such things cannot be done in Italy.

Fountains play a huge role in Italy’s art and history, that is why people will take offense if someone decides to wash their hands or dip their feet in it. Even collecting coins in the fountains is heavily forbidden.

Do not worry though, there are specific fountains where you can cool down or even drink water. And you can find one almost everywhere in most places. They even have a downloadable app that can help you find.

Just make sure to keep your hands away from the other fountains, you might be disrespecting one’s culture unconsciously.

DON’T: Remove Your Shoes From Your Feet

Admit it, after long hours of walking and enjoying the view, taking off your footwear gives us a hint of what heaven feels like.

Removing those shoes and letting your feet feel the air is the best thing in the world. And people do it in public pretty usually too.

But if you ever come to Italy, this is a big no.

Italians do not like seeing someone’s feet, even if you are wearing socks. They see someone’s feet as dirty and antigenic, that is why, it is not ethically right to remove your shoes in a public place.

If you are a guest at someone is ask, Italians will usually tell you what to do. If they do not, then do not be afraid to ask. If they allow you to take your shoes off though, make sure you wear clean and presentable socks.

DON’T: Sit on a Random Train Seat

Riding a train is easy right? You go to the station, buy a ticket then sit wherever you like. Well, that is not the case in Italy.

You cannot just occupy a random seat that you can see empty when you get aboard, those seats are reserved for other people.

Do not worry though, there is also one that is reserved for you, the ticket has a seat number that will help you find your seat.

A lot of tourists make the mistake of seating wherever they want, and they end up being embarrassed when someone claims their place. Some locals may even get mad even if the seat is empty.

And oh, take note, you should not put your luggage in an empty seat. Some locals may even get mad even if the seat is empty.