How to Explore Italy Like A Local

Your guide for how to explore Italy like a local.

One of the unique things about traveling in Italy is the opportunity to experience everyday life, what everyone refers to as “la dolce vita“.

Finding the true Italian way of life happens when you slow down long enough to be mindful & present with the moment.

Because it’s the people, places, and things around you at any given moment that makes each experience unique.

So, if exploring Italy like a local is your idea of an idyllic trip, these travel tips are just for you.

How to Explore Italy Like a Local

Traveling Italy

There are countless ways to approach traveling Italy.

Maybe you envision an ambitious multi-city itinerary to see the iconic sites. Perhaps you’re all in for a hiking adventure across the Dolomites. Or maybe a slow travel trip meandering the Tuscan countryside?

Which by the way, are all blissful ideas in any book!

The thing is, no matter where you go or what kind of trip you’ve planned there are always ways to incorporate activities that are in tune with local life.

Whether you want to dive into eating authentic food, visit an off the beaten path mountain hamlet, or take in the coffee culture.

Piazza Square in Udine Italy

My Local Story

I’ve been living in Italy since 2001 and traveling it for even longer.

Over time, I have definitely learned a thing or two about how Italians go about daily life and how to connect with and experience Italian culture.

Many of my ideas about exploring Italy come from my daily experiences living in Friuli.

Where sharing simple everyday pleasures with family and friends brings me great joy.

And weekends are often full of wandering without an agenda, simple being present in the moments.

Local Italian Store

Over the years these experiences have definitely shifted my travel approach, both here and abroad.

These days travel is less about the bucket list and more about thoughtful, authentic, and mindful experiences.

It’s more about planning wellness travel and seeking out experiences that enrich the mind & body.

Travel is a great way to well-being and Italy has loads to offer in that department.

Local Italian House

8 Tips to Travel Like a Local in Italy

No matter where you go in Italy, immersing in local life is a great way to travel.

You will make new friends, find unexpected surprises and experience traditions first hand.

Who wouldn’t love that?!

Today I am sharing some of the things I frequently do in Italy, to experience the local side of life.

These 8 ideas will help you explore Italy like a local, so you can make the most of your travel adventures.

Get Lost

Go on, get lost and have a few unexpected adventures!

If you are visiting high tourist areas, head away from the crowds.

Get in the car and stop in that charming village that wasn’t on the itinerary. See what surprises await when you explore areas where locals live and work.

Or put the map away and see what you stumble upon. It might just be your best memory yet!

Stay Local

One good way to meet Italians is by choosing accommodation that allows for easier access to locals.

Book a family-owned hotel and interact with a typical Italian family.

Consider an agriturismo (a working farm) to get see how a family works and lives off of the land.

Or try an Albergo Diffuso, which is a hotel that’s spread out across various historic buildings in a small community. These are run directly by the owners and allow you to really immerse in the local scene.

Dive Into The Food Scene

Perhaps there is no better way to experience Italian life, than through food!

While there are many reasons to love Italy, food experiences are definitely at the top of the list.

So plan a few food adventures!

Book a food tour, dive into the local wine varieties or try foods that are connected with holiday celebrations.

And keep your eyes peeled for an agriturismo or osteria, both of which will serve local and seasonal dishes. Foods like Cicchetti in Venice, Canizei in Cortina or Orecchiette in Puglia.

Your taste buds will thank you!

Search For Local Events

A country like Italy has no shortage of cultural events.

Whether it’s exhibitions, musical concerts, soccer games, or festivals, there will be something unique to every area.

Look for placards, posters hung on walls or leaflets in cafes & public spaces. Dont’ forget that tourist offices can also be a great resource for local events.

Try Local Recreation

Why not seek out local recreational activities as a way to connect with other Italians?

With an abundance of nature-based opportunities in Italy, there are recreational activities everywhere you go.

Whether it’s a community bocce ball court, a mountain trail hike or hilltop walk with a view, inevitably you’ll meet other Italians. And probably some Europeans too.

There’s also the added bonus that these types of activities are a great way to experience wellness travel while also connecting with others.

You never know what new activity you just might bring home & add to your self-care routine!

In addition, nature-based activities great for a digital detox. They’re great to include when you want to plan a nearly tech-free vacation.

Stop & Talk To People

It really doesn’t matter when or where, but step outside of your comfort zone and strike up a conversation.

Ask locals about the things that matter to them: family, food, wine, businesses or hobbies.

And don’t worry if you don’t speak much Italian. More and more, you can find Italians who speak English.

Or you can use a translator and even your hands! You’ll fit right in, I promise.

Ask Locals For Recommendations

While you’re chatting with your new-found friends (the barista, shop keeper and random person on the street), ask them where they eat, their favorite pastimes and what they do for fun.

Italian Woman Pushing a Shopping Basket

The best way to live like locals is to know what they get up to, so just ask!

After all, Italians are friendly, promise!

Be Flexible With Your Itinerary

Flexibility is a cornerstone of any good travel itinerary as it allows you to be open to experiencing those unexpected travel moments.

You know, the ones that stay with you long after you’re gone…

With a tightly packed schedule, you may miss out on the unique opportunities that are right in front of you.

Instead, give yourself some time and space to relax and go with the flow.

Make your Italian adventures your own by being open to whatever comes your way. You never know, it might just make your day!

Undoubtedly, these ideas help you to better explore Italy like a local.

Be sure to soak up every minute of your Italian travels, local or otherwise. They may just be some of the best travel moments of your life!

until the next time…
…live well – travel well – be well

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Travel Coach, Health Educator, photographer & coffee lover who calls italy home

Welcome to T & I! 
I'm Deanna, Your
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Inspires Well-Being...

Wellness is my path & passion. Integrating my life's work in Education & Sports Medicine, with my love of travel, I created T & I to help you craft meaningful adventures that recharge the mind, body, & spirit. It's a space of inspiration, empowerment & well-being. Come and join me on the journey...

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