Traveling with Children

Flying with Kids
No one dreads flying more then parents with small children who are especially susceptible to the changes in altitude pressure. We have traveled with infants and toddlers and find that there is no way to predict how your child will react to flying for the first time. In all our experiences, however, we have never had an issue with our children upsetting other passengers. Ofcourse, every travel experience is unique and it's not safe to assume that people will always be so understanding. Indeed, before we had children we often would request seating as far away from families with infants as possible. Oh how things change!

You never know who you might meet!
We would recommend bringing a couple of games and activities that can keep your child busy. Drawing paper, crayons, books and games are all good bets for keeping a child's interest. While the airlines usually  have in-flight entertainment for kids nothing beats bringing your child's own favorite selection of movies and videos so if you can bring a portable DVD player or laptop it will come in handy. We like bringing our laptop wherever we go because it's easy to put on a movie and prevent a melt-down. 

Typically, children under 2 fly for free or pay only the taxes (they are not purchasing a seat but, rather, will sit on your lap) while children over 2 years of age pay full-price. There are exceptions to these ticketing practices, however,  and the age limitations can either be higher or lower so it is prudent to check with your airline to confirm what their policies are.

Baby Air flight Vest
For parents traveling with infants the best seats on an airplane to reserve are bulkhead seats as they offer more leg room and a small area where infants and toddlers can safely stretch their legs or roll on their backs (though it's recommended that children of all ages remain seat belted at all times).

It is possible to purchase a lap belt to strap infants in that connects to their parent's lap belt. We tried this method but it only worked for takeoff and landing as our child wanted to move around as much as possible once the plane leveled off. (See: Air flight vest). For additional information on flying with kids this handy site provides answers to many of the most common questions parents have about flying with children: Flying with Children).

***Update 8/2011- We recently flew on 6 different flights with our two sons (age 5.6 & 1.5) and were told by several airlines (American, Iberia) that child safety lap belts & vests were not proven to be affective in the event of an airline crash. Indeed, the only airline that issued us an infant lap belt was British Airways. We were told by an American Airlines steward that the force of a plane crash is 4 times greater then the force of a car crash and that the vests and belts were not strong enough to withstand an airplane crash and that infants using these safety devices would most likely fail to be properly restrained if a crash did occur. The airline advised that we bring on board with us a car seat as this would provide the best protection possible in the event of a crash. Ofcourse, instead of flying for free, infants riding in a car seat would be required - on most airlines - to pay about 50% of the price of an adult ticket because a seat is necessary for the infant car seat (airline policies differ so check with your carrier).

Anyone entering Italy must have a valid passport or visa. It is important to make sure that your child's passport is valid and will not expire less then 3 months after the date of travel. It is a great idea to make a color photocopy of your child's passport and keep it hidden in a separate location from the original. In the United States, children up to age 16 must be accompanied by both parents (or have an affidavit in lieu of one parent being present). Children must not smile when their passport photo is being taken and kids with long hair must part their hair to the sides.

It is generally a good idea to take the same precautions in Italy as you would at home. Like any foreign country, Italy has plenty of dangers for children.

The most common crime is theft and pick pocketing. Children traveling with family members are typically not a target for crime but there are exceptions so keep an eye on your young children at all times. If you are accosted by a criminal while with your children the best thing to do is give the assailant what he/she wants.

Family tip **** - Whenever we travel to a heavily touristed area as a safety precaution we slip a note card in our child's pocket with our hotel address, our child's full name, our email address, telephone number and our full names. Along with this we write: "Ciao, io sono perso può per favore aiutarmi a trovare i miei genitori? Non parlo l'italiano. Io parlo solo inglese" ("Hello, I am lost can you please help me find my parents? I do not speak any Italian. I speak only English.")

Driving with Kids
Driving anywhere children can be quite an adventure. Driving in Italy with children can be fun and easy. It is possible to rent a car seat from your car rental provider for a nominal daily fee.

Hotels with Kids
Most hotels are very accommodating to families with children. However, some hotels prefer adult guests only so make sure you make inquire as to what your hotel's policy is regarding kids. Always request cots and cribs/bassinets in advance as most hotels will have these on hand (some charge a fee) but in limited quantities.

It is also our suggestion to ask the manager if a first aid kit is on-hand and if not where the closest place to get medical attention for kids might be. Some big chain hotels have medical staff on call so be sure to check with your hotel provider.

Swimming pools are always a huge safety issue especially for young children. Always make sure that your younger children are supervised by the pool at all times.

We have found it helpful to explain to our kids what to and not touch in the hotel room. What might appear complimentary to your child might not be complimentary if taken or opened. In higher end hotels drinks in the mini fridges have touch sensors that record what was moved off of them. We learned the hard way when we received a larger bill then expected as a result of our son moving the bottled drinks around and taking them out of the refrigerator.

If you are traveling with an infant or child that requires milk or refrigeration of a medical supply always be sure to ask the concierge if a refrigerator is available if there is not one in your room.

Eating with Kids
Eating with kids in Italy is very easy. In the major cities it will be possible to get all types of children's foods in the supermarkets, restaurants and even fast food chains. Pizza & pasta can be bought almost everywhere. Cheese and ham sandwiches are also readily available. And, ofcourse, there is Nutella everywhere. Nutella is an amazing hazelnut spread and is delicious on almost anything. Kids will love trying Italian pizza along with the wide variety of pasta dishes too.

Most restaurants have high-chairs for younger children. From our experiences, the high-chairs we've seen and used aren't the best or most stable but are generally safe and suitable for young kids. When we traveled with our 1.5 year old son we took a portable chair with us which proved to be very useful.

In the smaller towns it has been our experience that the restaurant owners and staff love children, especially young children. We often received special attention as a result of our son's presence...

A picture is worth a thousand words

Baby Supplies
It is possible to buy baby food supplies in the big supermarkets. Sometimes the smaller convenience stores carry baby supplies too. The pharmacy will also carry certain infant medications along with diapers too.

If you require special supplies for your child it is advised that you bring them from home. Often when visiting the smaller towns, when we most needed supplies for our young son we found it very hard to get supplies as a result stores being closed due to holidays, for daily rest, etc.

Activities for Kids
For families traveling with kids of all ages often one of the main concerns is finding activities for their kids to do. Fortunately, Italy loves children of all ages and there is plenty to keep grownups and children busy and happy.

It is generally understood that most children can take just so much of the tourist grind and would welcome a nice change of pace. In our experiences, children traveling to Italy love gelato, shows, movies, bicycle riding, horseback riding, the beach, swimming, sports and just running around in a local playground.

Some very good activities for kids resources:

Family tip**** - We try our best to make traveling fun for our two boys. In addition to allowing activities that we normally would not allow our boys to do (watching movies, playing video games, etc.) we play more games with them then we typically would do. Good games and activities to play and do are card games, eye-spy, spot the plane, singing songs, coloring & drawing, and many more. We also try to make it interesting for our boys by turning all of our traveling trips into ways to grow their various collections. When we travel on a plane, train, bus or boat we try our hardest to find a replica toy copy for them to purchase as one of a couple of mementos of their trip. For example, every time we fly a new airline the boys are entitled to a small, inexpensive, die cast airplane of that particular airline. Every time we rent a car the boys are entitled to a small matchbox equivalent. And every time, well, you get the idea!  It is also possible to collect almost anything - stickers, coaster, spoons, post cards, stamps - so find something inexpensive and fun that your children can collect to remind them of their trip and to keep their interest!

Dealing with Homesickness
We have all experienced homesickness at least a handful of times during our lives so it is easy to relate to what some younger children might experience when they travel even though their parent(s) are with them. To this day, every time we take a trip our eldest son always says immediately upon arriving at our destination (and sometimes sooner) "I miss home, I can't wait to get back, I'm homesick already." This reaction is natural and talking to your child(ren) about the highlights of your trip that await them is a great way to ease their minds. Also, emphasizing how a break in routine is a good thing will encourage their sense of exploration and teach them to accept change as a positive thing. We always use the "you're so lucky to be traveling" card which never seems to fail.

    Be A Smart Money Changer

    Whenever we go abroad to anywhere in the world we always revisit the question of what makes the most money-sense when it comes to changing our currency. Like many of our readers, we work hard and strive to avoid having to pay any unnecessary or excessive fees. Below is a brief list of the different options travelers have when it comes to exchanging their currency and the pros and cons of each option.

    Cash Withdrawal From ATMs
    Over the past 10 years we have found that the easiest and most cost-effective way to exchange currencies is through a foreign ATM. ATMs are widely used throughout Europe and Italy is no exception. Simply bring your debit card with you to make a withdrawal at any ATM that bears the same logo as seen on your card (e.g. Nice, Cirrus, etc.). The ATMs will dispense cash. Preferably, use ATM's that belong to or are affiliated with the bank that issued your ATM debit card at home as this will save you some money on bank fees.Typically, you will receive a service charge from the bank you are withdrawing money from, your bank at home and a charge for the currency conversion itself. Some banks have foreign relationships with each other and this often reduces certain fees that are charged.

    Bancomat ATM

    There are several real concerns one should consider before using a debit card at a foreign ATM. First, a debit card is directly linked to your bank account. If you are worried about unauthorized use of your debit card make sure to check your bank statements regularly while you are abroad. Setting up online access to your bank account is a great way to monitor your account activity.

    Another concern with using a debit card at an ATM is that some banks will put a freeze on your checking account if they see any unusual activity, especially if the activity is coming from abroad. Once a bank puts a freeze on your account you will be unable to withdraw money from your checking account until you speak to a bank representative. Save yourself the agita and time and let your bank know before you leave on your trip that you will be traveling and to authorize any transactions you might make while abroad.

    Keep in mind that if you use your anything other then a debit card at an ATM that you will be charged additional fees by your bank and the dispensing bank as this is technically considered a "cash advance".

    Also important to note is that many ATM machines have daily withdrawal limitations and often put a cap on the total amount of money one can withdraw during each transaction. We always try to take out the largest amount possible to avoid incurring multiple service charges.

    Travelex and other non-bank ATMs charge high service fees

    Most ATMs will dispense bills in large denominations which are often difficult to cash in more rural areas. We always withdraw odd amounts (as opposed to even) such as 480 euros instead of 500 Euros to ensure that we have smaller bills on hand. It is also a great idea to bring two debit cards in the case that one gets destroyed, fails to work or  you want to get double the amount of cash out each day. Lastly, make sure you use a bank ATM. ATMs that have no bank affiliation (e.g. Travelex) charge outrageous fees.

    Credit Cards
    In the absence of cash, a credit card is often the only form of payment that is accepted in restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions. The most widely accepted credit cards in Italy are Visa and Mastercard. American Express is accepted by many business establishments but is often the least preferred because of the higher service fees American Express charges.

    Typically, you will incur a 1-3% service charge every time you use your card abroad. Using your card repeatedly will cause your fee-related costs to increase considerably. 

    Bringing at least one credit card is important though we use our credit cards only for our big expenses such as car rental, hotel and restaurants.  As with our advice for debit card use, we strongly encourage you to call your bank to notify them of your travel plans and to authorize spending on your account during the time that you will be away.

    Some banks offer pre-paid visa or mastercard that can be replenished through a checking account online. Ask your bank if you qualify for this option and learn about what fees, if any, are associated with the use of this type of pre-paid card abroad.

    American Express Traveler's checks
    We still have about $80 worth of American Travelers Checks sitting in a backpack that has been stuck in the back of our closet for the past 10 years. With the broader acceptance of credit cards and the increasing number of ATMs throughout Italy we believe that you have better options then purchasing Travelers Checks for your trip.

    There are better options then using Traveler's Checks

    It is possible to exchange your currency at every international airport. Non-bank related companies such as Travelex offer convenient currency exchange but at a premium cost to you. If you need some immediate cash (for taxis, quick bite to eat, etc.) then it's fine to exchange some cash at the airport. Better yet, use one of the many ATMs in the airport if you want to save some money. Change larger amounts of currency at your hotel or simply use another ATM anywhere outside of the airport.

    Changing Currency at Your Local Bank
    Another option for travelers is to purchase foreign currency at their home bank. Some banks like Bank of America offer favorable rates as they have business affiliations with some of the major banks in Europe. Check with your bank to see if this option is right for you.


    Use this free currency exchange rate converter: Yahoo Currency Converter


    We hope this helps you make a better informed decision when it comes to changing your currency. If you have any tips or suggestions on how our readers can save money please share them below in the comments section.

    Eating in Italy

    E A T I N G   I N   I T A L Y 

    Sampling the various cuisines in Italy should be one of the top priorities on every visitor's to-do list. Each region in Italy has its own specialty dishes and within each region slight variations in these dishes can exist from town to town. furthermore, within each town the same dish can taste differently depending upon which family or restaurant is cooking it. Our advice is to sample as many dishes at as many places as possible as you never know what delicious surprise you might get.

    Understanding the basics
    The first step in having a delicious meal in Italy is to learn the basic difference between the various types of restaurants throughout Italy. This is especially important while traveling off the beaten path where Italian is often the only language spoken.

    Types of Italian restaurants:
    • Ristorante - Full service restaurant. Some have fixed menus.
    • Bar - Corner cafe where you can get a quick sandwich, pizza slice and cafe or cappuccino.
    • Trattoria - A restaurant that is typically located off the main avenue.
    • Osteria - Very much like a Trattoria but perhaps one grade below in service.
    • Taverna - A small eatery with a heavy focus on drinks.
    • Tavola Calda - This is as close to fast food as you get but the quality nothing like fast food.
    • Pizzeria - Serves mainly pizza but it is possible to get other types of foods too. Pizzeria taglio you purchases slices. At a regular pizzeria you buy a pie and sit and eat it.
    • Rosticceria - Place where you can pick up pre-cooked foods to take home.
    • Paninoteca - sandwich shop.
    • Birrieria - Italian version of a pub.

    Types of Meals
    • Prima colazione Breakfast, 7:00am - 10:00am - Breakfast typically consistes of a cappuccino or expresso with a croissant or brioche filled with something delicious like jam, custard or chocolate.
    • Pranzo Lunch, 12:30 or 1:00pm to 2:30 or 3:00pm - Lunch times can differ depending on the region, municipality or town. Traditionally, Italians eat their lunches at home which consists of an appetizer, fist course and second course.
    • Cena Dinner, 8:00pm to 10:00 or later in some areas. Dinner may sometimes include cheeses, deserts, coffee and after dinner liquor in addition to the three courses traditionally served for lunch.

    Types of foods
    Italian food is as varied as its regions, towns and municipalities.The same dish can taste dramatically different depending upon where you are eating and in which reason. There are also many dishes throughout Italy that are region-specific. A great resource for foodies traveling to Italy is The Hungry Traveler: Italy. This book has a ton of information on everything food-related in Italy.

    Typically, Italian dishes are made with the freshest available ingredients.  This means that where you go to eat you're sure to have a decent meal (though there are exceptions!).

    For more on this topic: Italian food.

    Hours of operation

    If you are used to grabbing a bite to eat at all times of the day then the Italian restaurant schedule might come as an initial shock. Indeed, the Italian work schedule might come as an even greater shock. From 1-3 p.m. Italians stop everything and take a 2 hour break; seriously, the shops close up and even the dogs stop barking. Advice: get up and get going early or forget about it until about 3:30pm.

    Restaurants in Italy generally follow the same rule in that they are closed for 2 hours during the early afternoon and typically reopen for dinner which can often be past 7pm. Always remember to call in advance - when possible - to make a reservation or to confirm restaurant hours as restaurants often have one day where they are closed for business.

    Additionally, restaurants take giorno di riposo (day of rest) each week. Many shut down for the month of August and several weeks in winter. It is strange to us that restaurants would want to close during the busiest tourist months but this is a great example of how Italians put life before work.

    Eating etiquette
    It is always a good idea to greet the cameriere (waiter) with a buongiorno (good day) or buonasera (good evening).

    It is typical for Italian to only drink water and wine with their meals. You can have naturale (natural) or gassata or frizzante (sparkling) water with your meal. You can have rosso (red), rosato (rose) or bianco (white) wine. Sodas are not popular to have with meals.

    While tipping is not necessary (especially if a service charge is already included) it is an appropriate way to show your gratitude and pleasure with the meal and service.

    Always say goodbye to your waiter. An "arriverderci" or "buonasera" will suffice.

    To tip or not to tip?
    Tipping is not expected in Italy. In fact, even if it is, the tips are usually minimal. More often then not, the conto (bill) will include a service and cover charge that can sometimes be as high as 20% of the bill itself! Tipping in our opinion, is an ideal way to show your satisfaction with the meal and the service but is by no means necessary if there is a service and cover charge already. In sit-down restaurants we find that 10-15% tip is not only customary but also quite generous.

    Avoid being taken advantage of
    Not only are tourists in Italy a prime target of thieves, but tourists are also targeted by some not so honest restaurants. Having said that, while there are a few shady  restaurant establishments, the overwhelming majority of the restaurants that we've eaten at have been terrific and law-abiding.

    We had the unfortunate experience, however, of a restaurant's attempt to take advantage of us along with our 20+ guests on the eve of our wedding in Tuscumbria. What was even more shocking to us at the time was that we had eaten at this restaurant at least once every visit and had nothing but memorable experiences.

    To make a long story short, our wedding planner and the management of the restaurant had agreed on a per person price weeks in advance of our rehearsal dinner. On the night of our wedding rehearsal our wedding planner escorted us and our guests to the restaurant and then, as planned, had to leave for another event she was attending too. We became suspicious after a lengthy delay by the wait staff to bring any food or drinks to our tables. When we approached the manager about the delay he said that they were not "prepared" to serve our large group until an agreed upon price had been settled on. As you can imagine, we were livid and without our wedding planner to confirm our reservations she had made we had had few options. We either had to negotiate a new per person agreement, walk out (which we weren't going to do as finding a place to accommodate such a large group with no advance notice would be impossible) or threaten to call the Guardia di finanza (The Guardia di Finanza is similar to the IRS and has the power to slap heavy fines or shut down law-breaking business establishments). We decided to go with the latter option and after we applied a little pressure on the management everything went very smoothly and the food came out swiftly too.

    The most feared police in Italy. Really!

    Apparently, after having shared our experience with other people we learned that this tactic of agreeing on a per person price and then disregarding the agreement once the party arrives is a common tactic employed by some of the less then honest restaurant establishments in an attempt to drive the price up.

    Our story above is only one way that foreigners can get taken advantage of while eating at restaurants in Italy.
    Here is a terrific article "How not to get ripped off  eating in Italy"  that outlines many other ways tourists can be taken advantage of and even offers ways to turn the tables on the offending restaurant and regain the advantage. This article is definitely worth the read.

    Highlights of the article include:
    • The farthest away from a tourist site you eat the less likely you are to be ripped off.
    • Don't sit down in an Italian Cafe. 
    • Know what you do and don't have to pay.
    • Avoid giving the waiter the power to decide what, or how, much to bring.
    • Make sure you get an itemized receipt.
    • Ripped off? Want to take action?
    • Fiscal vs. Non-Fiscal Receipts.

    Shopping in Italy

    Shopping in Italy
    Shopping in Italy is, for many, a very exciting and memorable experience. Those who are willing to adventure outside of the typical tourist areas are often rewarded with great prices and variety. For others, however, shopping can be fraught with uncertainties (especially if you don't know where to shop or you do not speak any Italian whatsoever). Understanding the basic shopping rules and where to shop is a huge part of becoming a great shopper in Italy. To better help you navigate the shopping part of your trip and help you find the best deals possible we've put together this section on shopping basics below. Please also check our section on Indispensable Italian Words & Phrases for useful words and phrases to use to help you make the most of your shopping experiences. Happy shopping!

    Two very happy shoppers!

    Main Types of shops
    • Centro Commerciale - Malls started to sprout up throughout Italy in the early 1990s and have gained in popularity in Italy over recent years. A convenient one-stop shop for most Italians but only accessible by car or bus for tourists. It is possible to find deals but we'd look elsewhere if you're deal hunting.
    • Outlets - It is possible to find the best deals in Italy if one shops at the outlets. Well known brand names and designer labels can be found at most of the outlets in Italy. Italians are willing to drive sometimes 3 hours or more to get deals at the outlets. See our list of Italian outlets at the end of this post.
    • Boutiques - Boutique stores tend to be found mainly in the major cities or in the wealthier small towns. Look to spend more at these types of stores as most of the merchandise are one of a kind or private labels.
    • Mercato All'aperto - Outdoor markets are an excellent way to shop in Italy as it is possible to find almost anything you want. Also, it is possible to bargain at these outdoor markets which makes for a memorable experience and a potentially excellent deal.
    • Cafe shop - typical place to get hot or cold drinks, a sandwich and pastries.
    • Calzature - Shoe (scarpe) and boots (stivali) store.
    • Ebanisteria - Furniture store or repair shop.
    • Farmacia - Pharmacy.
    • Enoteca - Wine Store.
    • Gelateria - Ice cream store.
    • Cartoleria - Stationary store.
    • Caseficio - Cheese store that might also sell wines.
    • Calzolaio - Shoe repair store.
    • Edicola - Newspaper and magazine stand.
    • Electrodomestica - Electrical and household appliances store.
    • Ferramenti - Hardware store.
    • Grandi Magazzini - Department store (main stores: Coin, Rinascente, Standa, Upim).
    • Fruttivendolo - Fruits and vegetables store.
    • Idraulico - Plumber.
    • Latteria - Cheese and milk products store.
    • Libreria - Bookshop.
    • Macelleria - Butcher.
    • Paneficio - Bread and bakery store.
    • Parrucchiera - Hairdresser.
    • Pasticceria - Cake, cookies and pastry store.
    • Pescivendolo - Fish & seafood store.
    • Profumeria - Perfume store.
    • Ristorante - Restaurant
    • Rosticceria - Small restaurant.
    • Salumeria - Cold-cuts, breads, cheeses, olives, canned items.
    • Tabacchi - Tobacco, salt, stamps & paper (carta bollata) for official form, bus tickets, telephone cards.
    • Trattoria - Restaurant serving local cuisine and lower prices.
    • Alimentari - This is a small grocery store that may or may not sell a variety of goods such as wine, fresh bread and fruits or vegetables.

    General Hours of Operation
    Generally, stores are open from 09:30am-1:30pm and 2:30-7:30pm. Grocery and fruits/vegetables stands may stay open a little longer. Restaurants and trattorias generally serve food between 1:00-3:00pm and 7:00-11:00pm.There are exceptions to these hours of operation, however, with most exceptions occurring on holidays, during national strikes and in smaller towns.

      Basic Shopping Rules
      • Price tags must always be displayed.
      • 20% sales tax is already included.
      • Bargaining is allowed, but within reason.
      • Tax refunds for foreigners at designated airports, train station or border crossings.
      • Always ask for a "fiscal" receipt as this is the only type of receipt that validates your purchase.
      • No free refills on soft drinks.
      • There is a different price for sitting outdoors in restaurants.
      • Stores will rarely allow merchandise returns but will do exchanges or store credit.

      Where to shop
      Understanding how to shop is half the battle. The other half is knowing where to shop. Certain regions and cities are known for producing specific goods. For example, Rome sells amazing leather goods, Parma sells undeniably delicious prosciutto and Tuscany produces the world-famous Chianti & Brunello wines.

      Additionally, certain regions and cities sell more widely sold goods at cheaper prices. For instance, leather goods such as bags, jackets and shoes can be purchased throughout Italy but the best quality, greatest variety and most affordable prices can be found in Rome.

      Here are some excellent shopping resources for shopping in Italy and the Tuscumbria area:

      Outlet Stores in Italy
      When shopping in Italy's biggest cities visitors often do not think about shopping at outlet stores but they should. Outlet stores offer a great chance to save money. As the world economy continues to slide Italians have looked for ways to save money and find alternatives to shopping at street markets, department stores, shopping malls, and boutiques. Outlets offer  brand names at heavily discounted prices and because of this many Italians will drive over 3 hours to the nearest outlet. A blog we like to follow on outlet shopping is Tour Italy Now where you can find the latest deals.

      Here is a list of outlets by region:
      • Campania - LA REGGIA OUTLET
      • Trentino Alto-Adige - STORE HOUSE
      • Valle D'Aosta - FIFTY FACTORY STORE
      • Veneto - RJ OUTLET, STORE HOUSE
      • Repubblica di San Marino - STORE HOUSE, SAN MARINO FACTORY OUTLET

      Comparison Chart: United States & Italian Sizes 
      The charts below from should be used merely as guide as sizes are typically not standardized. It is always best to try on clothing if possible. 


      United States246810121416

      United States182024

      United States78910

      United StatesPetiteSmallMediumLarge

      MEN'S SIZES **
      Suits, Overcoats, Sweaters and Pajamas
      United States3436384042444648

      United States1414½1515½1616½1717½

      United States67891010½11-11½

      MEN'S HATS **
      United States67/8 7 71/8 73/8 75/8 73/4
      Italy55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62

      United States1234567891011121314

      United States4567891010½11121312356

      * In most cases Italian women's wear items are cut smaller than domestically produced items.
      ** Sizes are not standardized.
      *** Several U.S. importers note that in most cases Italian children's wear items are cut larger and wider than domestically produced items, resulting in Italian items being numbered improperly, i.e., too low for this market. As a consequence, the importer/retailer is often forced to add 1-2 numbers to the Italian sizes indicated, to obtain what they consider to be the correct size for the American market. Thus an Italian "2" will often be considered a "3" or even "4" by an American retailer.  

      Acrylic - Acrilico
      Belt - Cintura
      Blouse - Camicetta
      Boots - Stivali
      Coat - Cappoto
      Cotton - Cotone.
      Dress - Vestito
      Jacket - Glacca
      Pants - Pantaloni
      Shoes - Scarpe
      Shirt - Camicia
      Silk - Seta
      Skirt - Gonna
      Shorts - Pantaloni corti
      Socks - Calzini
      Stockings - Calze
      Suite - Completo
      Sweater - Magia/Pullover
      Tie - Cravata
      Underwear - Soto veste.
      Vest - Panciotto

      A Quick Guide to Gelato

      One food everyone who visits Italy must not miss tasting is Italy's version of ice cream called gelato.  While gelato isn't made out of cream (it's made out of milk) the consistency is very much like that of ice cream.

      Our first experience eating gelato was a heavenly one. When we first visited Italy we did not exactly know what gelato was but it was hot and it looked delicious. Upon tasting our first gelato our expectations were not only met, but exceeded. I tried strawberry (fragola) and my wife tried rice (riso). The gelato had such a pleasantly strong flavor and it literally melted in your mouth like a thin sliver of sorbet. 

      There's always a smile when we're around gelato!
      Gelato, over the years, has evolved into something quite sophisticated with a vast selection of flavor. Some people prefer to stick to a flavor that they already know is terrifc while others will spend each day sampling new flavors. Our only advice is to order a small portion (1 to 2 scoops at most) as anything more is simply overwhelming and could potentially put you off of any flavor that you once loved. (Visit Italy Logue for more more on this topic)

      Main Flavor Groups

        Good and bad gelato?
        Gelato has become so popular with Italians and foreigners that it was just a matter of time before the big companies started mass producing gelato. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when considering whether to buy gelato from a gelateria or store.

        Here are some key factors to consider:

        •  Pay attention to color - The color of the gelato resemble a natural color and not be neon of off-colored.
        • Learn these Italian designations - “produzione propria” and “artigianale.” “Produzione propria” means that it’s made on-site, and “artigianale” means that it’s made the old-fashioned way with natural ingredients.
        • Labels - pre-printed standardized labels hint that the gelato is mass-produced commercialized product.
        • Metal tubs - Initially the mass-producers sold their gelato in plastic tubs which alerted the buyer as to the quality of the gelato. This is no longer the case but there still might be some places that serve non mass-produced gelato in metal tubs.

        How to order gelato in Italy
        In the bigger gelato stores it is typical to pay for your gelato in advance and then take the receipt to the the gelato counter to place your order. "Dimmi" or "Prego" often signals to you that your order is ready to be taken. It is possible to order gelato in a cone or a cup and in varying sizes.
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