Here is what I learned about Italian culture:
- Sales are exclusively in January and July. Basically, I'll need to start shopping immediately!
- Dinner is held starting around 7pm and usually don't end until around 11pm if you're at a sit down restaurant.
- Not getting a receipt is against the law, and we have to ask for them often. Lots of shops don't report their sales to their equivalent of the IRS, but if they have a receipt it is a record, so they have to report their sales.
- People don't smile at you, and they often stare.
- There is no tipping in Italy.
I was a little surprised with some of the information I learned. If you know me, you know I smile a lot. I was raised to be polite, smile at everyone, and never stare. The Italian culture is going completely against what I was taught. This is probably going to be a shock for me once I get on the ground. I want people to be friendly as I am, but that's not going to happen.
The official dates of my trip are January 8 - April 12, 2013. I have to leave the United States on January 7th and arrive in Florence on January 8th. I am so nervous to get on a plane by myself flying to a foreign country. I am hoping to find some friends to travel with!
Anyone have some recommendations for flights? I have never flown out of the US, so any advice is welcome, even if you haven't been to Italy!