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Expat Spotlight: Andrea's Top 3 Tips for Italy

I was born and raised in the state of Alabama in the U.S. I had the opportunity to live in several other places like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Arizona and Florida, and to travel throughout the U.S., thanks to my previous work over the years. I moved to Rome, Italy in 2010.

I have a degree in Communications, and work as a freelancer specialising in administration and marketing. I love to travel and experience new places, and spend a great deal of time traveling around Italy and Europe. I’m a Mom to a little cat named Dolce (it means sweet in Italian), and he travels everywhere with me.

Top 3 favorite restaurants in Italy?

1) Fish Market in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood – They have a great happy hour (aperitivo). For €5 you can get a glass of white wine and an appetizer of fried calamari or fried shrimp. Best deal in town!
2) Coromandel, not far from Piazza Navona in Rome – You won’t find a menu full of traditional Italian dishes here, but this place has a great brunch. I love it because you can find eggs and French toast on the menu, plus they serve everything in the loveliest cups and plates.
3) Da Michele Pizzeria in Naples – I love pizza Napoletana. Naples is said to be where pizza originated, and it just doesn’t get any better than here.

Top 3 favorite foods in Italy?

1) Coffee – I spent several months traveling around Europe and didn’t have a decent cup of coffee after I left Italy.
2) Gelato – I imagine this is pretty standard for most everyone who lives in or visits Italy. But there is a reason for that. It’s.just.so.good !
3) Fresh fish from the Mediterranean – If you head south of Rome, you’ll find some of the best and freshest seafood. There are few things better than a fresh fish recently caught, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and roasted in the oven with lemon slices. Very simple, yet very delicious.

Top 3 tips for new expats in Italy?

1) Have realistic expectations. It’s hard work relocating permanently. Not every day will be a walk in the park. Most days will just look like normal life, and that’s okay.
2) Embrace a new life and culture. While a new life is fun and exciting, it’s sometimes hard to let go of your old life and things you once knew. If you move thinking everything will be the exact same, you’ll be in for a rude awakening.
3) Learn the language as much as you can. You’ll have an easier time if you can communicate.

Top 3 tips for travellers in Italy?

1) Get off the beaten path – Yes, seeing the main tourist sights is great, but going where the guide books don’t cover and getting a taste of the local life will make your trip more memorable.
2) Don’t eat at touristy restaurants – Do a little research and go where the locals go. Chances are you’ll find better food and a better price.
3) Be respectful. Remember you’re visiting someone else’s country, and everyone is not there to cater to you. It’s also good to learn to speak a few basics in the local language. Please and thank you go a long way.

Top 3 tips for what to pack for Italy?

1) Ladies, leave the high heels at home. Italy has many old cobblestone streets and they are not friendly towards high heels. Save your shoes and your ankles and leave the stilettos at home.
2) Bring a sweater or shawl to cover your shoulders if you plan to visit any of the numerous churches in Italy. If you’re too exposed, you won’t be allowed to enter.
3) A secure purse or money belt – You can run into some people in the larger cities who have sticky fingers and prey on distracted tourists. Don’t be afraid, just be smart and cautious.

Top 3 favorite places in Italy

1) Positano – A wonderful cliff side town along the sea.
2) Ponza – Isola di Ponza is one of Italy’s best secrets (and I probably shouldn’t be mentioning it here). The small island can only be reached by boat. It’s a magical place that’s very special to me.
3) Florence – Home to the Renaissance, it’s filled with art and history.

Top 3 neighborhoods in Rome

1) Trastevere – it’s my neighborhood, so I’m a bit biased, but I love it. It’s the oldest neighborhood in Rome. You’ll get a feel for the locals here during the day, then at night restaurants and cafes spill out into the cobblestone streets and draw in both Romans and tourists alike.
2) Testaccio – Rome’s least touristy neighborhood. You’ll find the working class mixed with trendy hipsters, along with some of the best restaurants in town.
3) Piazza Navona/Campo dei Fiori in the Centro Storico – Just across the river from Trastevere, you’ll find plenty of culinary delights and the prettiest piazza (in my opinion) in all of Rome.

For more tips from Andrea on Italy, watch for upcoming posts on the Italy blog, check out her profile (and add yours now) and go to her blog, Why Roam?.

Interested in sharing your top tips? Contact erin {at} insidersabroad {dot} com!

Published September 2nd, 2014 by ErinAbroad
Posted to Inside Secrets to Italy

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