Here it is an article which has to become your travel Bible to be used before coming to Italy, in order to be ready. Read it, learn it, then come to visit me and we will have a total blast, believe me!
1. If you can speak Italian, just do it. Even if you can only say “ciao” e “grazie”. As you know not all the people in my country speak Italian, especially if you go in small town like the one where I grew up! If you speak English to someone in the street, you don’t get an answer back. People find tourists annoying, since they come to Italy without even talk Italian.
2. “Arrivederci” is not used as much as the English “bye”. It is more formal, something like “goodbye”. We prefer using “a presto”, which means “see you soon” (if you talk to friends) or “I’ll come back soon” (if you purchase something in a shop).
3. Be ready to be identified by your country’s biggest city. If you say you are from the USA, they guess New York then L.A. If you are from Spain, it’s Barcelona or Madrid, and so on. We use to think only about the biggest cities and if you come from Arizona or Colorado or Kansas, well, then we will say you come from the middle of anything!
4. We don’t have Wal-Mart, so there is no way you will find a place like that. We just have supermarkets, where they sell food+clothes+DVD’s+bikes, but it is not the same. We prefer having small shops, each one selling a specific item.
5. You can’t return purchases! If you try on a dress in the shop, then you can’t return it. Only presents can be returned but you don’t get your money back, you can only change the item choosing a different one.