Seeking a different kind of travel experience? This vacation, delve deeper by immersing yourself in a cultural discovery of Italy. Meeting and interacting with the locals is a great way to do this – you'll gain fascinating insights into the culture and history of the country, uncover some of Italy's hiddem gems, find out about the best places to feast on authentic Italian fare, and discover how to get around during your day trips.
1. Learn the Language
Picking up some basic Italian phrases will go a long way in enabling you to meet and interact with the locals during your travels. The Italians you meet will appreciate that you are making the effort to converse with them in their native language, and be more inclined to engage in friendly banter. Learning Italian does not have to be costly; simply download an Italian language learning app on your smartphone, or log on to websites like Duolingo to learn the basic conversational Italian.
2. Livin' with the Locals
Live where the locals reside, and you are likely to meet the natives of Italy, and experience the country through the eyes of a local. You may book a stay in the homes of the locals through online platforms such as Airbnb and FlipKey. All hosts are verified by the organisation to ensure the safety and security of guests, and user reviews are provided to assist potential guests in selecting suitable hosts.
3. Venture Off the Beaten Path
Italy is home to a number of iconic attractions, but more often than not, these well-know sites are populated by tourists. Take a shot at exploring the country beyond its tourist haunts, and you stand a good chance of meeting the locals. Explore websites such as likealocal to find out information on where the locals in different cities like to hang out, eat, shop and drink at. You may also refer to Italy: Beyond the Obvious, a site that details some of Italy's hidden gems near its cities.
4. Goin' Solo
Travelling around Italy alone may seem like a daunting idea, but it will help to expand your comfort zone, and encourage you to become more open towards meeting different people and trying out new experiences. It increases the likelihood of any kinds of interaction with locals – you are much more inclined to approach the natives for help when you require assistance, as there are no fellow travellers to seek aid or advice from.
5. Dining with the Locals
The Italians take pride in their cuisine and in bonding over meals. Dining with the locals in Italy will bring a unique dimension to your travel experience, as you discover for yourself their passion for food and warm hospitality. If you cannot get enough of the delectable Italian fare prepared by your host, why not take up a culinary lesson with them?
6. Confidence is Key
Generally, the Italians and warm and friendly people, but do not expect them to approach you during your travels. To get to know the locals better, you will have to take initiative – and this is not as intimidating as it appears to be. Start slowly, and you will become increasingly adept in approaching the locals as your travel progresses.