How to get around Italy

How to get around Italy

How to get around Italy

Italy is famous for its trains. I lived by them when I worked in Florence back in 2009. Yes, the trains aren’t always reliable but neither is life. There was an occasional strike that halted the train system every so often. But they always publicized it before it happened. That’s when it helps when you know Italian. But nowadays the Trenitalia website can be changed to English that excuse of not knowing the language doesn’t work. 

That being said, I also used the bus system in Florence. The buses seemed to always be on time as opposed to what others would say. I used the buses almost every single day towards the end of my residency in Florence. I enjoyed the buses actually. Sometimes I would run into a friend on it, end up talking to the kind bus driver. The summers are where it was hard to get used to. Tourists getting on and off popular bus routes but in the end, it worked out. I knew the quickest way to get on and off a bus by then. When you are trying to get on or off the bus you have to say loudly either “scusi” (excuse me)or “permesso” (you need to pass through). Now when you see that the bus is overcrowded I wouldn’t get on and just wait until the next one comes. 

I never used a car until my now-husband was kind enough to pick me up from work and sometimes take me to work. Driving in Italy is both a convenience and pain in the ass. Parking in big cities can be a pain in the neck. But if the countryside is your destination, it is perfect. You can drive up into the hills of Tuscany and stop along the way to take pictures. Perhaps there is a vineyard you see coming up, you can easily stop and explore. That is probably the best thing about having a car, each day can be a flexible experience through Italy. 

If you are traveling to Italy for the first time, my vote is to use public transportation. Buses, trains, taxis, etc, will save you money and time. Also, it will be a great experience to see the cities you are visiting through the eyes of the locals. Perhaps you meet a nice Italian nonna on the bus, connecting to another person in another language is amazing! 

Walking is great in Rome/Florence but by the time you got to the main attractions in Rome on a hot day in July, you will need a taxi/bus to get you back home. Walking is extremely tiring especially if you are conditioned for it. 

What is more important is that you are safe and are always aware of your surroundings when you are on a bus, train, or metro. If you feel unsafe change cars or get off at the next stop. 

In my experience, I have only felt unsafe on a bus once. The bus was so crowded and I felt a man up against my seat. I just moved and then got off the bus. There is nothing to be alarmed about when traveling with public transit. All I ask is that you stay aware of who is sitting next to you or around you and if you feel unsafe, move or get off.

Hope this helps! 

Want to try more delicious dishes in Tuscany? Come with me to Tuscany in June 6-13th for our Tuscany Yoga Retreat.  There is only one spot left! Special last minute pricing available! We will indulge ourselves in all the typical and authentic dishes of the region.

Christmas in Florence Retreat about Art and Culture will be December 14-19 2020. There will be yoga, meditation and exploring the wonderful city of Florence.

Our Seaside Retreat is almost full, we will be in Ostuni, Italy (the heel of the boot). September 4-11 2021. There are early-bird discounts for both Florence and Ostuni. Check out the links to get more info.

A presto,

Kate

Italian Phrases

Italian Phrases

Italian Phrases

Italian Key Phrases

Here are some basic phrases to help you get through a meal, meet someone new or shopping around Italy.

Hi/bye (informal) — Ciao (chow) (informal)

Good Day/ Hello — Buongiorno (bwohn-johr-noh)

Good evening — Buonasera  (bwoh-nah-seh-rah)

Good night  — Buonanotte  (bwoh-nah-noht-teh)

Goodbye (formal) — Arrivederci (ah-ree-veh-dehr-chee) 

 

Let’s go — Andiamo (ahn-dee-ah-moh) 

Come on! — Dai (die) 

Yesterday — Ieri (ee-air-e) 

Today — Oggi (oh-jee) 

Tomorrow — Domani (doh-mah-nee) 

 

How are you? — Come stai/Come sta(formal)? (COH-meh STA-ee/ COH-meh STA)  

I am well, thank you. — Sto bene, grazie. (stoh BEN-neh, GRAH-tsee-yeh) 

Your welcome/May I help you?/ Please — Prego (PREH-goh) 

Please — Per favore/per piacere (pehr fah-VOH-reh/pehr pyah-CHEH-reh)

Nice to meet you.– Piacere (pee-ah-CHAIR-eh) 

Excuse me — Scusi (skoo-zee) 

See you soon — A presto (ah PREHS-toh) 

Good/ That’s fine — Va bene (vah BEH-neh) 

IMPORTANT questions!

Where is the bathroom? — Dov’è il bagno? (dov-EH eel bah-ngno)

How long does it take to get to…? — Quanto tempo ci vuole per andare a…? (KWAN-toh TEM-poh chee voo-oh-leh pair an-dar-eh ah…?

Do you speak English? — Parla inglese? (par-lah een-gleh-zeh) 

I don’t understand — Non capisco. (non ka-PEES-koh) 

I understand — Ho capito (oh kah-pee-toh)

Could you speak more slowly, please? — Può parlare più piano, per favore? (pwoh par-lah-reh pee-oo pee-ano, pair fah-vor-eh) 

I’m sorry — Mi dispiace (mee dee-spee-ah-cheh) 

Thank you — Grazie (grah-stee-eh) 

 

Shopping

How much is this? — Quant’è questo? (kwan-teh kweh-stoh) 

How much does it cost? — Quanto costa? (kwan-toh co-stah) 

How do you say…? — Come di dice…? (koh-meh see dee-cheh) 

What does this mean? — Cosa vuol dire questo? (coh-za vwohl dee-reh kweh-stoh) 

I would like a glass of red wine — Vorrei un bicchiere di vino rosso (voor-ray oon bee-kee-air-eh dee vee-noh ross-oh) 

Do you have a double room? — Avete una camera doppia? (ah-veh-teh oona kah-mair-ah doh-pee-ah)

Can I pay with a credit card? — Posso pagare con una carte di credito? (pohs-soh pah-gar-reh coh-nn oona kar-teh dee creh-dee-toh) 

What time do you open? — A che ora apre? (ah keh or-ah ah-preh) 

What time is it? — Che ore sono? (keh ohr-eh soh-noh) 

 

Meals of the day

Breakfast — Colazione (coh-laht-see-yo-neh)

Lunch — Pranzo (prahn-zoh)

Dinner — Cena (cheh-nah)

 

Dining out

Do you have a table for two? — Avete un tavolo per due? (ah-veh-teh oon tah-voh-loh pair doo-eh)

I would like to reserve a table for 8:00pm. — Vorrei prenotare un tavolo per le 20. (voor-ray preh-noh-ta-reh oon tah-voh-loh pair leh ven-tee)

Menu vocab

Dish of the day — Piatto del giorno (pee-ah-toh dell jor-no)

Fixed price menu — Il menù a prezzo fisso (eel meh-noo ah pret-soh fee-soh)

Starter/appetizer — Antipasto (an-tee-pass-toh)

First course — Il primo (eel pree-moh)

Main course/second course — Il secondo (eel seh-kon-doh)

Side dish — Il contorno (eel kon-tor-noh)

Dessert — Il dolce (eel doll-cheh)

Cover charge — Il coperto (eel koh-pair-toh)

Tip — la mancia (lah mahn-chyah)

The bill, please — Il conto, per favore (eel cohn-toh, pehr fah-VOH-reh)

Wine list — La lista dei vini (lah lee-stah day vee-nee)

 

Meat — Carne (car-nay)

Rare — Al sangue (al sang-gweh)

Medium — Al putino/medio (al poon-tee-noh/meh-dee-oh)

Well done — Ben cotto (ben kot-toh)

 

Glass — Il bicchiere (eel bee-kee-air-eh)

Bottle — La bottiglia (lah bot-teel-yah)

Knife — Il coltello (eel kol-tell-oh)

Fork — La forchetta (lah for-ket-tah)

Spoon — Il cucchiaio (eel koo-kee-eye-oh)

 

Enjoy your meal — Buon Appetito (bwon ah-peh-tee-toh)

 

I am vegetarian — Sono vegetariana/o (soh-noh veh-jeh-taree-ah-noh/nah)

I am vegan — Sono vegana/o (soh-noh veh-gah-nah.noh)

I don’t eat gluten — Non mangio glutine (non mah-joe glue-tee-neh)

Is this gluten free? — Questo è senza glutine? (kweh-sto eh sehn-zah glue-tee-neh)

I am allergic — Sono allergica/o (soh-noh ah-ler-gee-cah/coh)

 

Hope this helps! I recommend using the app Duolingo to help with pronouciation. My husband used it when he moved to the States without knowing any English. 

 

Our Winter Sale for our Yoga Retreat in Tuscany ends on December 31st. Get $250 off when you use code WINTER at checkout. Need more info, check out our Self Love Yoga Retreat.

A presto,

Kate

Italian Culture Norms

Italian Culture Norms

Italian Culture Norms
October 2, 2019

Italians are known for style, class and speaking with their hands. Here are some things you might not know about the Italian culture.

Greeting an Italian

When you are introduced to an Italian, you should greet them with ‘Buongiorno’ (good day) and ‘piacere’ (nice to meet you) and shake hands. Among close friends and young people, they usually use ‘ciao’ (hello) but it isn’t considered polite if you address a stranger.

Times of day

‘Buongiorno’ is said in the morning before 12:00 pm. ‘Buonasera’ is said from 12:00 pm until late in the evening. ‘Buonanotte’ is said when you are leaving someone’s house after dinner or going to bed.

Kissing in Italy

Kissing among friends is common greeting. There are usually two kisses — first on the right cheek, then on the left. Italian families usually kiss when they meet, male and female. Members of the opposite sex they kiss high on the cheek, never on the mouth(except between lovers). It usually isn’t a kiss, more like a delicate brushing of the cheeks accompanied by kissing noises.

Dress code

You and I both know how well Italians dress, it seems to be a birthright to have style, class, and elegance. A first impression is very important to Italians which is referred to as ‘La Bella Figura‘ (beautiful presentation or figure). Bella figura exemplifies not only the way you look, but how you act and what you say. Alluding to how to be seen in the best light. Italians pride themselves on being the best version of themselves.

Italians rarely wear comfy clothes in public, like flip flops, shorts or sweatshirts. They dress how they want to be treated with class, elegance, and style. This doesn’t mean you have to buy or wear fancy clothes while walking around Rome, but be aware of how are you dressing while in public. Also a fun game, people watch while having an espresso in a cafe. Take time to notice how Italians carry themselves and how they dress.

That’s it for now, more tips coming on the next post.

When you confirm your spot on our Self Love Yoga Retreat, be sure to check out all the blog posts that will give you some insight on how to get around Italy.

A presto, Kate

How to Purchase Tickets Online

How to Purchase Tickets Online

How to Purchase Tickets Online
September 23, 2019

Train tickets can be purchased in advance of your travel date and most of the time they are cheaper than purchasing the day of. For example, the Frecciarossa between Florence and Rome might cost €80 ($88) if bought the day of or day before travel, but that price drops to €60 ($66) if you buy it just two days in advance. Something to think about when planning other trips by train.

The Trenitalia site has three options for searching trains “Frecce, Regionali, and Principali Soluzioni”. The booking widget on the main page has a choice of radio buttons above it: “Principali Soluzioni” or “Frecce” or “Regionali.” You want that first one: “All Trains.” Make sure that, on the results page, you look at the choices along the top bar above the results for “You are displaying” and, if it says “Frecce” click on it to select “Main Solutions” instead, so you will get a mix of both the regional trains and the Frecce.

When you purchase a train ticket off of Trenitalia site you DO NOT have to validate the ticket before boarding. You only have to validate the ticket when you purchase from the automatic machines or at a booth with a ticket agent.

I hope this helps on how to purchase a ticket online. Any questions, feel free to leave below.

a presto, Kate

When you confirm your spot on our Self Love Yoga Retreat, be sure to check out all the blog posts that will give you some insight on how to get around Italy.

Basic Train Travel Information

Basic Train Travel Information

Basic Train Travel Information
September 3, 2019

We recommend you to fly to Rome as it is cheaper and also easier to get to Camporsevoli. From Fiumicino Airport, there is a train called the Leonardo Express that goes straight to Rome’s main train station, Termini. How to Get from Roma Fiumicino Airport to Chiusi Train Station

Once you retrieve your luggage from the baggage claim (ritiro bagagli), you can head toward the airport train station and buy your ticket. Another option is buying it online which I will be explaining how in my next post. 

Reidsitaly.com

How to Get from Roma Fiumicino Airport to Chiusi Train Station

Pictured above are automatic train ticket machines that you will find at the entrance to the train tracks at the airport.  The screen can be changed into English. Also, they DO accept credit cards. This is probably the easiest way to get your ticket unless you want to wait in line and speak to an Italian. If you would like to practice your Italian, feel free, although most ticket sellers do speak English. 

NOTE:

If you purchase your ticket online you DO NOT HAVE TO VALIDATE THE TICKET before boarding

If you purchase your ticket at the automatic machine you DO HAVE TO VALIDATE THE TICKET before boarding. 

The ticket that comes out of the machine is shown below:

The validation machines in the Airport train station are shown below:

On the Leonardo Express trains, you can sit anywhere, there are no assigned seats. There are luggage racks on the train to store luggage for the 30-minute train ride.

How to take the train From Roma Termini Train Station to Chiusi Train Station

Once you arrive at Roma Termini(the only stop), you can head to another automatic machine and purchase your ticket to Chiusi-Chianciano Terme. 

Depending on the time of day you arrive in Rome there will be a few options for trains. Let me explain the different types of trains in Italy.

Regionale: This is the slowest train. It stops at every small station.

Intercity: This train stops in medium-sized cities, not as slow as Regionale.

Frecciarossa: The fastest trains in Italy. They go to big cities like: Rome to Florence and Florence to Milan.

In the next post, you will learn how to purchase your ticket online on Trenitalia. 

When you confirm your spot on our Self Love Yoga Retreat, be sure to check out all the blog posts that will give you some insight on how to get around Italy.

A presto, Kate

Travel Tips

Travel Tips

Travel Tips
September 1, 2019

I started traveling to Italy in 2002. I flew over many times all by myself. There were some benefits in learning how to travel alone overseas. An adventure no one in my family had done before. I learned quickly to be aware of my surroundings. I always kept my carry on baggage close by when I was waiting at the gate. I never asked someone to watch my bags and nowadays on the Airport loudspeaker they tell you not to do that. Even if it was after 9/11, there were people that still asked others to watch their bags so they could go to the restroom, etc.

Now when you arrive in Italy these are the things I believe are key aspects of Italian culture that you must be aware of.

Not all people that speak Italian ARE Italian. Be wary of people at the train stations posing as people that want to help you with your bags or help you get a taxi. Even if you think to yourself “what a nice person to help me with my heavy bags” and even if they are speaking Italian, they could be a scam artist. I lived in Italy long enough to know that there are people that pose as Italians trying to lure the none the wiser tourist into their trap. Again be safe and be suspicious when someone asks to help you.

Tips are not obligatory in Italy. Italians work hard as waitstaff and they receive a nice salary at the end of the month. When out to eat don’t feel like you have to tip your waiter or waitress. Although they know Americans do like to tip, they don’t expect it. Even my husband on our last trip to Italy tipped the waitstaff and they didn’t want to take it. However, being a full-blooded Italian my husband understands how hard Italians work. They accepted the tip with a big smile and offered us limoncello on the spot.

Customer service in stores vs. restaurants. Italians eat meals with ease and no pressure at all. When you sit down to eat at a restaurant the waiter will greet you and help you with my menu if needed. After ordering your meal and your food arrives, you might not see your waiter for a while. Don’t expect the waiter to stop over as ask how your pasta is or if you like the wine. They will leave you be until you wave them over and ask for the “il conto” or “the bill”. Italians know how important food is and they want you to experience it without the interruptions.

When you walk into a boutique shop rather, you might feel someone watching you. Most salespeople in small shops follow their guests around in case they have questions or need help finding a size. Another reason they do this is to watch out thieves trying to steal their products. A nice thing to do when you walk into the shop is to say, “Buongiorno or Buonasera” meaning “Good morning or Good evening” and when you leave I encourage you to say, “Grazie” meaning “Thank you” extending your appreciation for sharing their shop with you.

Speaking of shops and stores, business hours are much different in Italy. Most shops don’t open until 9 or 10 am, close at lunch around 1 pm or 2 pm, and then open back up around 4 pm or 5 pm. Restaurants do the same in the winter and late fall, closing around 3 pm and reopening at 7 pm for dinner. Most restaurants are closed on Mondays as well. Make sure you are aware of this when looking for places to eat on a Monday.

Hope this helps, any questions on travel to Italy please comment below.

When you confirm your spot on our Self Love Yoga Retreat, be sure to check out all the blog posts that will give you some insight on how to get around Italy.

A presto, Kate

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