I was born and raised in Italy. Here are 7 things I wish tourists would stop doing when they come here.

  • I was raised in Italy, and I believe many mistakes tourists make in Italy are easily avoidable.

  • Visitors should embrace the local culture through our local restaurants and water fountains.

  • It's easy to avoid overpaying for food or tours if you take the time to do your research.

I was raised in Italy and now live in Rome — every day, I see numerous tourists making mistakes during their trips here.

Keep reading for things I wish visitors would stop doing when they come to Italy, for their sake and the country's.

Tourists often come here with wrong expectations about how things work in Italy.

A woman wheeling a small suitcase down a concrete path lined with greenery
Italy isn't a perfect place — but that doesn't make it any less special.Federica Bocco

Too often, I've found that visitors have a preconceived notion of Italy being a romanticized version of their own countries and they're disappointed when it doesn't live up to sky-high expectations.

In other cases, visitors are disappointed Italy doesn't operate exactly like their country does back home. Either way, when you visit Italy, balance your expectations and ditch the need to compare our country to your home.

Visiting Italy is a learning experience of art, history, culture, and traditions. Tourists should keep an open mind and understand that cultural differences might take them by surprise.

Do your research and don't solely rely on advice from influencers.

Woman reading an italian guidebook on a train
Guidebooks can be a great resource.Federica Bocco

I've seen a lot of TikToks lately about users complaining about how they were "lied to" by influencers who made prime Italian destinations, like the Amalfi Coast, seem unrealistically perfect.

Every opinion counts, and it's fair for tourists to listen to what influencers have to say about a destination. However, you shouldn't solely rely on their takes. The truth is, influencers often have access to resources the average traveler doesn't, like gifted services, VIP access, or the ability to splurge on high-end perks.

With that in mind, tourists should do research across multiple channels, whether it's reading guidebooks written by locals or comparing information found in multiple articles and blog posts about the same topic.

Tourists often overpay for things, then complain about their trip being expensive.

Federica Bocco, a woman, sitting at a restaurant in a brown sweater with her hands on her chin
I've noticed tourists tend to want to pay more for things that are worth less.Federica Bocco

Some visitors assume more expensive equals better quality when they compare goods and services. In reality, you should do a quick Google search to see what the average price should be for that thing in the location you're in. Also, read reviews.

If you read on a restaurant's menu that a carbonara costs €20 and still choose to order it when you can get it just as good for €9 elsewhere, that's on you.

Also, please avoid paying any unofficial vendor who promises they can help you skip a line at an attraction or museum. Just pay the regular ticket price and get in line like everybody else. It'll save you time and money.

There's no need to litter or ignore waste-sorting rules.

A line of trash cans behind a building in Italy
It's sad I have to remind anyone of this, but littering is harmful to the environment and incredibly disrespectful to the locals.Federica Bocco

Every day, I see tourists fail to dispose of their trash properly.

Littering is unacceptable, not to mention illegal and disrespectful to locals. As you should do in any place on earth, hold onto your waste until you come across a trash bin.

And, if you're staying in an apartment or home rental, please don't just throw all of your trash in one bin. Take some time to try to understand our local system in Italy, where waste sorting is mandatory.

Travelers should stop buying bottled water and instead make use of our public fountains.

A cylindrical drinking fountain in Rome atop a square stone and cobblestones
You'll likely see drinking fountains throughout Rome.Federica Bocco

Speaking of trash, stop purchasing plastic water bottles when you visit. Drinking fountains are very common in Italy and, some cities here even highly encourage tourists to drink from them.

In Rome alone, there are 2,500 drinking fountains called nasoni. These historic fixtures are oftentimes serving the same water that flows through the tap in nearby houses and hotels.

I suggest carrying a reusable water bottle and refilling it at every nasone. It's free!

If you're sightseeing anywhere in Italy and get thirsty but there is no fountain in sight, open Waidy, a free phone app that can direct you to the fountains nearest you.

Visitors are basically committing culinary sins by not exploring our food scene.

Black-colored pasta with shellfish atop it on a light blue, gold-rimmed plate at a restaurant
I can't believe some people travel all the way to Italy to visit fast-food chains.Federica Bocco

Instead of ordering dishes you can find back home, skip the fast-food chains and let your senses experience your Italian holiday to the fullest.

Support local restaurants and food vendors, which is yet another way of showing respect to locals while also authentically getting to know the culinary traditions of the place you're visiting.

Trust me, you won't run out of options. Italian cuisine is so broad since every region has its own specialties based on the best local produce. You could go to the same restaurant for a week and never have the same dish twice.


Seriously, stop defacing monuments — and don't take pieces of them home with you, either.

Carvings on the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
Don't carve your name (or anything, actually) on the Colosseum.FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

I can't believe I have to say this, but after everything tourists have ruined this year, let me remind you it's illegal to vandalize our monuments.

Stop writing on the Colosseum or the Leaning Tower of Pisa or anywhere you shouldn't be, really. It can get you arrested, and it's incredibly disrespectful to our cultural heritage.

Also, don't take home any artifacts or pieces of relics you might find at archaeological sites. The piece of a column from Pompeii is not yours to take, even if it's on the floor. If you want a souvenir so badly just purchase replicas or special items from nearby shops.

This story was originally published on August 12, 2023, and most recently updated on May 6, 2024.

Read the original article on Business Insider