Last week we were fortunate to get the chance to make a short trip to Italy. I have to say that living in Austria, which borders with Italy, in just 4 and a half hours we left the Alps to reach the wonderful beach of Lignano Sabbiadoro. As it was a long weekend because of Pentecost festivity, it was so crowded, especially young people everywhere around since here in Europe this weekend is considered to be "Spring Break". So we came across with young, hammered people everywhere. However that didn´t stop us to enjoy a wonderful long weekend. I´m sharing with you some of our experiences in this beautiful land.
I put together for your some tips for a pleasant stay in Italy:
Although we decided at the last minute to go on this trip, we were really lucky to find a great beach front apartment with pool, at an incredible price! So we settled there with the kids and headed immediately to the beach where we spent 2 wonderful days. Obviously when you are at the beach it is not uncommon that the street vendors come to you and want to sell you everything they have. One important tip is that you do not pay the price they ask you right away, they are prepared to negotiate and therefore they set very high prices, so that when negotiating they manage to get to the actual price of the goods. Note also that the quality will not be good, so in case of a breakdown you will not have anyone to complain to. I have to admit that I am the worst negociator ever, somehow I feel very sorry to see them walking around all over the place under the sun and hoping to sell something, while we just get tanned and rest. Although it is also true that there are some that are so pushy that it becomes annoying. My advice would always be, if you have real interest in what they sell, try to negotiate, if not better tell them NO from the beginning and save them time and false hopes.
-The opening hours of the stores
In the evening after spending the whole day at the beach, we walked to the main street where all the shops are usually located, from the most expensives, to quite economic ones. The funny thing is that the boutiques open until around 3 in the afternoon, and close after midnight !!! It is quite obvious, during the morning most people do not go shopping but to the beach, and after dinner is when tourists walk through the stores. So in case you go to a beach town in Italy, always keep this in mind. Of course the supermarkets are open all day, aswell as the souvenir shops near the beach, where you can find from suntan lotion to sand toys.
-The cover fee
Being in Italy who will not want to enjoy a good pasta or pizza? We are definitely not the exception since we are Italian food lovers. So we had no trouble agreeing on where and what to eat. In Italian restaurants it is common to charge a couple of Euro for the use of cutlery. It's a kind of cover fee. Always check before entering a Restaurant what is the cover fee. Have a close look at the menus that are mostly hanging at the entrance of every Restaurant, this way you might avoid an unpleasant surprise when the bill arrives. The good news is that it is not necessary to tip, unless the service has been exceptional, which is difficult to find in Italy. The Italian waiters are unfortunately not famous for their kindness as hosts.
On the third day we decided to visit Venice. We drove from Lignano to Latisava and from there we took the train to Venice, it was about an hour ride. We bought our tickets at the ticket counter and got in the train. During the trip they controlled the tickets as usual and pointed out that we had not validated them. I have to say that the ticket seller NEVER informed us that we have to validate them before getting in the train, here in Austria it is not like that, only the subway tickets have to be validated and there are big signs at the entrance. I must say that we had so much luck that the Italian lady controller only warned us and told us that the fine is 30 Euro per ticket (which cost 7 Euro). Right then, I remembered that my father and my sister had a similar situation in Venice a couple years ago when they boarded the boat, and that they do got a fine of 180 Euro. No doubt we were lucky! So if you do not want to go through an unpleasant experience and go back home with a terrible impression from Italy as it happened to my dad, DO NOT EVER FORGET TO VALIDATE YOUR TICKETS BEFORE GETTING IN IN ANY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.
And last but not least, the most important tip: Do not leave Italy without eating a delicious Italian Gelato. Really, there´s a reason why they have the reputation of being the best Ice creams in the entire world, they are simply delicious !!!!
ARRIVEDERCI my friends!!!!