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The Best Way to Tour Italy on Your Own

By Edited Aug 17, 2016 1 2

While purchasing a ticket in the Venice train station, it was not difficult to notice a man screaming at the neighboring ticket salesman in English.

He was yelling, "YOU DON'T SPEAK ENGLISH! How in the world am I supposed to get what I need around here?" I was embarrassed not only for this absurd man, but also knowing that this man was American just like me. He was fulfilling the common stereotype that Americans are selfish, loud, and ignorant.

If you are planning to tour Italy on your own (or even a neighboring country), it's a great idea to learn some phrases that that can help you get around.

Some essential phrases to consider are, "I don't speak Italian" (Non parlo italiano), "Do you speak English?" (Parla inglese?), or "How are you?" (Come sta?). If you make any attempt at all to speak Italian, most people will be very warm to you and help you out in any way possible.

During my tour of Italy on my own, I tried my best to use the phrases that I studied, but often reverted back to Spanish (my second language). Most people understood what I was trying to say and seemed really grateful that I was trying to use their language.

When trying to figure out what bus I needed to take to get me to my next tourist trap, I decided to ask for help. I asked a man who I thought looked approachable if he could help me.

With my mixture of Spanish and really bad Italian phrases, he just smiled and told me that he would love to help me. He thought that it was so nice of me to try to communicate with him that he personally escorted me to my next stop.

While traveling, it is just common sense and courteous to learn a little bit about the country you will be visiting, especially their language. If you are planning to tour Italy, or any country, I suggest purchasing a phrasebook to help you get around. My favorite for European languages is Thomas Cook's European Travel Phrasebook. This helped me out a lot during my travels in Europe.

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Oct 2, 2010 5:30pm
Great advice for travelers. I have been embarrassed by the way some other Americans have acted on trips to foreign countries. Hopefully, we'll all learn a few phrases to speak before we visit any foreign country. It is the courteous and responsible thing to do!
Sep 18, 2012 7:24pm
Yes, it is hard to go to a non-English speaking country and don't know how to say the most basic phrases. I recently went to Italy and I studied some Italian before my trip, but when it was time to order some food at a restaurant... I got lost and I couldn't really order the food I wanted... at the end, the waiter called someone from the kitchen that spoke some English... I will try to study and practice more the next time I go.
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