1. Try not to go in summer

Obviously the summer is the easiest time to go on holiday, but if you can then try to visit at some other point in the year. For starters, the temperatures are much more bearable and you’ll be able to go around a lot more and actually see the sights rather than always searching for the closest bar with air-conditioning. Another plus of visiting outside the summer months is that there will be a lot less tourists. The queues for attractions like the Colosseum and Florence Cathedral will be a lot shorter in autumn, winter or spring. And as well as there being less tourists than at other times of the year there are also more Italians. Yes, the Italians themselves tend to go on holiday in August so by heading to Italy at another time of the year you’ll be more likely to meet some locals and experience the Italian culture – that’s why you’re going anyway, no?

2. Don’t drink Cappuccino after 10am

There are a few things that will make you stand out as a tourist, from large tricky-to-fold maps to having a camera around your neck 24/7. The one thing that you may not have thought would mark you out as a tourist would be coffee. In Italy you’ll want to make the most of the Italian coffees and you may have thought that passing an afternoon in a café with a large cappuccino would be the perfect way to join in with Italy’s coffee culture. Wrong! Italians never drink cappuccino after breakfast time so if ordering one after 10am you’ll be met with a confused expression from your Italian waiter.

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Photo © Mr T in DC, Flickr
3. When in Rome… Take a lot of care!

You’ll have heard several stories about the infamous Roman traffic, but they are probably all true. Perhaps the most important tip on this list is to take care on Rome’s roads. The only safe road in Rome is an empty one with a crossing. Saving a few seconds just isn’t worth the risk and even if you think you’re smart enough to outwit the Rome traffic, remember that that little car could be a lot bigger than it seems…

4. See the unknown views of Florence.

This Florence tip will let you see the best views of the city and it’s not even a tip that is in most guidebooks. Everybody climbs the Duomo at the Cathedral for Florence’s supposedly “best view.” While it is spectacular – you should still climb to the top when visiting – there is an even better view of the stunning city from the big department store at Piazza della Repubblica. Go to the very top to the café and enjoy the views with a cup of coffee (just remember no cappuccinos if it’s after 10am!) And if you are looking for somewhere in the centre of Florence to stay during your trip, then take a look at Oh-Florence.com for a range of comfortable apartments.

5. Something more exciting than a gondolaWhen you go to Venice – as every visitor to Italy should – you’ll have countless opportunities to take a gondola ride through the canals. If looking for more independence when exploring the canals, why not try renting a kayak? You’ll have a lot more control over where you go in a kayak than in a gondola, where you’re subject to the route of the gondolier – the gondola driver. And with that extra control over the route you take, you’ll likely end up getting a better feel of the Floating City. With these five tips you’re already a little better prepared and a little closer to your dream Italian holiday. So get planning now and enjoy!

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Photo © hanjeanwat, Flickr