Unlocking Italy: 10 Essential Things to Know before Your Journey

Before traveling to italy, it is essential to know certain key factors to enhance the travel experience and avoid any potential issues.

Unlocking Italy: 10 Essential Things to Know before Your Journey

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Understanding Italian Culture And Customs

Italy, a country renowned for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and delectable cuisine, is a dream destination for many travelers. Before embarking on your italian adventure, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the country’s culture and customs. Understanding the italian way of life, greetings and etiquette, as well as appropriate dress codes, will not only allow you to blend in with the locals, but also show respect for their traditions.

So, let’s dive into these key aspects of italian culture and make the most out of your trip.

Embracing The Italian Way Of Life: Exploring The Concept Of “La Dolce Vita” And The Importance Of Food, Family, And Leisure In Italian Culture.

  • “la dolce vita” means “the sweet life” in italian, and it encapsulates the italian philosophy of enjoying life’s pleasures to the fullest. Here are some key aspects:
  • Food: Italians take their cuisine seriously, and meals are considered a time of celebration and connection. Embrace the culinary delights italy has to offer, from fresh pasta to mouthwatering gelato.
  • Family: Family plays a central role in italian culture. Italians cherish their family bonds and often gather for meals and celebrations. Don’t be surprised if you see multi-generational families enjoying a leisurely lunch at a trattoria.
  • Leisure: Italians understand the importance of slowing down and savoring the moment. Whether it’s taking a passeggiata (a leisurely stroll) in the evening or enjoying a coffee at a local café, embrace the relaxed and unhurried pace of life.

Greetings And Etiquette: Understanding How To Greet Locals, Common Gestures, And Respectful Behavior In Different Settings.

  • Greetings: When meeting someone for the first time, a simple handshake accompanied by eye contact and a smile is appropriate. Italians are warm and friendly, so don’t be surprised if they greet you with a kiss on each cheek, especially among friends and family.
  • Common gestures: Italians are known for their expressive gestures. While hand gestures add emphasis and convey emotions, certain gestures have specific meanings. For example, an upward flick of the fingers can signify dismissal or irritation, so it’s best to avoid using it.
  • Respectful behavior: Italians value respect and politeness in their interactions. Remember to use “grazie” (thank you) and “per favore” (please) regularly. Additionally, it’s important to dress appropriately when visiting religious sites and to avoid loud or disruptive behavior in public places.

Dressing Appropriately: Tips On How To Dress In Italy To Blend In With The Locals And Respect Cultural Norms.

  • Italians have a reputation for being stylish and taking pride in their appearance. Here are some tips on how to dress appropriately when visiting italy:
  • Dress stylishly and avoid wearing overly casual or athletic attire, especially in major cities. Italians tend to dress up, even for everyday activities.
  • Opt for classic and well-fitting clothing. Italians appreciate timeless fashion choices that exude elegance and sophistication.
  • Cover your shoulders and knees when visiting religious sites such as churches, as a sign of respect.
  • Comfortable shoes are a must, as exploring italian cities often involves walking on cobblestone streets and uneven surfaces.

Now that you have a better understanding of italian culture and customs, you’re ready to experience all that italy has to offer. Embrace the “la dolce vita” lifestyle, greet locals with confidence, and dress in a way that respects local customs.

Our next blog post will delve into the must-visit destinations in italy, so stay tuned for more travel inspiration!

Mastering Basic Italian Phrases

Italy is a captivating destination that offers a rich cultural heritage, spectacular landscapes, and mouthwatering cuisine. Before embarking on your trip to italy, it is helpful to master some basic italian phrases to enhance your travel experience. Whether it’s greeting locals, ordering at restaurants, asking for directions, or shopping, having a few key phrases under your belt will go a long way in facilitating communication during your stay.

In this section, we will explore essential italian phrases, provide tips for mastering italian pronunciation, and recommend language learning resources to help you prepare for your italian adventure. So, get ready to immerse yourself in the italian language and unlock a world of possibilities in this remarkable country.

Essential Italian Phrases: Handy Expressions To Use In Daily Interactions

  • Greetings: Buongiorno (good morning), buonasera (good evening), and ciao (hello/goodbye) are commonly used greetings in italy.
  • Ordering at restaurants: Quando é il menu? (when is the menu? ), vorrei ordinare (i would like to order), and il conto, per favore (the bill, please) will come in handy when dining out.
  • Asking for directions: Scusi, dove si trova la stazione? (excuse me, where is the train station? ), a destra (to the right), and a sinistra (to the left) are useful phrases when navigating unfamiliar streets.
  • Shopping: Quanto costa? (how much does it cost? ), posso provarlo? (can i try it on? ), and accettate carte di credito? (do you accept credit cards?) Are essential phrases for your shopping adventures.

Pronunciation Guide: Tips For Mastering Italian Pronunciation

  • Pay attention to vowels: Italian vowels have consistent pronunciation, unlike some other languages. Practice pronouncing each vowel sound to improve your italian pronunciation.
  • Double consonants: In italian, double consonants are pronounced with a slightly stronger emphasis. Take note of these double consonants and try to pronounce them accordingly.
  • Rolling your rs: Mastering the rolled “r” sound is an iconic part of speaking italian. Practice rolling your tongue to produce this distinct sound.

Language Learning Resources: Useful Websites, Apps, Or Courses For Learning Basic Italian

  • Duolingo: This popular language-learning app offers an interactive and gamified way to learn italian. It covers basic italian phrases, vocabulary, and grammar.
  • Babbel: Babbel provides comprehensive language courses that include audio lessons, interactive exercises, and real-life dialogues. It is a great resource for beginners.
  • Italiarail: Italiarail offers free italian language lessons on their website. These lessons are specifically tailored for travelers and cover essential phrases for various situations.

By mastering basic italian phrases, familiarizing yourself with italian pronunciation, and utilizing language learning resources, you can feel more confident and immersed in the italian culture during your travels. So, buon viaggio (happy journey) and enjoy exploring the beautiful country of italy!

Navigating Transportation In Italy

Italy is a dream destination for many travelers, offering a rich blend of history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Before you embark on your journey to italy, it is essential to be well-informed about the country’s transportation system. Navigating transportation in italy can seem daunting, but with a little knowledge, you can easily explore all that this beautiful country has to offer.

In this section, we will delve into the public transportation options available, how to purchase tickets and passes, as well as tips for driving in italy.

Public Transportation Options: Overview Of Italy’S Efficient Train System, Regional Buses, And Metros.

  • Italy boasts an efficient and extensive train network that connects major cities and smaller towns across the country. Traveling by train is often the preferred mode of transportation for visitors due to its reliability and ease of use.
  • Regional buses are another popular option for exploring italy, especially if you plan to visit smaller towns or rural areas. These buses provide a convenient and cost-effective way to travel off the beaten path, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local culture.
  • Major cities in italy, such as rome, milan, and naples, have well-developed metro systems that make it easy to navigate within the city. Metro tickets can typically be purchased at the stations or through automated ticket machines.

Purchasing Tickets And Passes: How To Buy Tickets In Advance, Understand Fare Structures, And Save Money On Transportation.

  • Buying tickets in advance is highly recommended, especially if you plan to travel during peak seasons. This can be done online or at the ticket counters in train stations. Advance tickets not only guarantee your seat but also often come at discounted rates.
  • It is important to familiarize yourself with the fare structures of different transportation systems in italy. Some cities offer unlimited travel passes for a day or longer, which can be cost-effective if you plan to use public transportation extensively.
  • To save money on transportation, consider purchasing a regional or national transportation pass depending on the duration and extent of your travel. These passes often provide unlimited travel on trains and buses within a certain region or throughout the entire country.

Driving In Italy: Tips For Renting A Car, Understanding Road Signs, And Navigating The Italian Road System.

  • Renting a car in italy allows you the freedom to explore at your own pace, especially if you plan to visit more remote areas. However, it is important to be aware of certain considerations, such as securing an international driving permit and understanding the local driving regulations.
  • Road signs in italy follow standard european conventions but can still be confusing for unfamiliar drivers. Familiarize yourself with common signs before hitting the road to ensure a smooth journey.
  • Navigating the italian road system can be challenging, especially in cities with narrow streets and heavy traffic. It is recommended to use a gps system or a smartphone with a navigation app to help you find your way and avoid getting lost.

Italy’s transportation system offers a wide range of options to suit every traveler’s needs. Whether you prefer the convenience of trains and buses or the flexibility of renting a car, understanding how to navigate transportation in italy will undoubtedly enhance your travel experience.

So, pack your bags, plan your routes, and get ready to embark on a memorable italian adventure!

Exploring Italy’S Must-Visit Cities And Regions

Italy is a country that exudes rich history, captivating art, and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply seeking to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, italy has something for everyone. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of italy’s must-visit cities and regions, each with its own unique charm and attractions.

Rome: Uncover The Ancient History Of The Eternal City, Including The Colosseum, Vatican City, And Roman Forum.

  • The colosseum: Marvel at the grandeur of this ancient amphitheater, which once hosted spectacular gladiatorial contests and other events.
  • Vatican city: Explore the world’s smallest independent state, home to the magnificent st. peter’s basilica, the sistine chapel, and the vatican museums.
  • Roman forum: Step back in time as you wander through the ruins of the roman empire’s political and social center, filled with ancient temples, arches, and monuments.

Florence: Discover The Birthplace Of The Renaissance, With Its Stunning Art, Iconic Duomo, And World-Class Museums.

  • The duomo: Admire the architectural marvel of florence’s cathedral, with its iconic dome designed by brunelleschi, and climb to the top for panoramic city views.
  • Renowned art museums: Immerse yourself in masterpieces by michelangelo, botticelli, and da vinci at the uffizi gallery and admire the stunning statue of david at the accademia gallery.
  • Ponte vecchio: Take a stroll across the oldest bridge in florence, lined with enchanting jewelry shops and offering splendid views of the arno river.

Venice: Explore The Enchanting Canals, Picturesque Bridges, And Historic Landmarks Of This Unique City.

  • Grand canal: Glide along this main waterway on a gondola and marvel at the exquisite palaces, churches, and colorful buildings that line its banks.
  • St. mark’s square: Visit the heart of venice, home to the stunning st. mark’s basilica, the doge’s palace, and the iconic campanile (bell tower).
  • Rialto bridge: Cross the famous stone bridge, adorned with shops, and enjoy the bustling rialto market nearby, where you can sample fresh seafood and local produce.

Amalfi Coast: Experience The Breathtaking Beauty Of The Coastline, Charming Towns, And Delicious Seafood.

  • Cinque terre: Discover the five picturesque fishing villages perched on rugged cliffs, each with its own unique character and charm.
  • Positano: Soak in the stunning views of colorful cliffside houses as you unwind on the beautiful beaches of this glamorous coastal town.
  • Fresh seafood: Indulge in the region’s delectable seafood dishes, from grilled fish to seafood risotto, while enjoying the panoramic views of the mediterranean sea.

Tuscany: Indulge In The Rolling Hills, Vineyards, And Medieval Towns Of This Picturesque Region.

  • Chianti wine region: Take a wine tour and savor the flavors of renowned tuscan wines while surrounded by the region’s scenic vineyards.
  • Siena: Wander through the narrow streets of this medieval city, admire the breathtaking architecture of the siena cathedral, and experience the vibrant palio horse race.
  • San gimignano: Explore the charming hilltop town known for its medieval towers, well-preserved architecture, and delicious gelato.

Italy’s cities and regions offer a rich tapestry of history, art, and natural beauty. Whether you’re drawn to ancient ruins, world-class art galleries, romantic canals, stunning coastlines, or charming countryside, italy will captivate your senses and leave you with unforgettable memories.

Appreciating Italian Cuisine And Dining Etiquette

Italian Culinary Traditions: An Overview Of The Regional Specialties And Popular Dishes Across Italy.

When it comes to italian cuisine, it’s a gastronomic delight that has captivated food lovers around the world. From north to south, italy boasts a rich culinary heritage with each region having its own unique specialties and popular dishes. Here’s a glimpse into the tantalizing world of italian cuisine:

  • Northern italy: In this region, you can indulge in dishes like risotto alla milanese, a creamy saffron-infused rice dish, and polenta, a creamy cornmeal porridge often paired with hearty stews. The lombardy region is known for its delicious cheeses, including the world-famous parmigiano-reggiano.
  • Central italy: Here, you’ll find the iconic pasta dishes like carbonara, made with eggs, pancetta, and pecorino romano cheese, and amatriciana, a tomato and pancetta-based pasta. Tuscan cuisine is celebrated for its hearty soups like ribollita and the succulent bistecca alla fiorentina, a thick-cut grilled t-bone steak.
  • Southern italy: This region boasts a vibrant and flavorful cuisine influenced by its proximity to the mediterranean sea. Neapolitan pizza, with its thin, crispy crust and delicious toppings, is a must-try. From sicily, sample arancini, deep-fried rice balls stuffed with various fillings, and cannoli, crispy pastry tubes filled with sweet ricotta cream.

Dining Etiquette: Understanding The Italian Dining Culture, Including The Importance Of Mealtime Rituals And Tipping Practices.

Italian dining culture is an art form in itself, steeped in tradition and rituals. Here are a few key points to keep in mind when dining in italy:

  • Respect mealtime: Italians take their meals seriously, and lunch and dinner are leisurely affairs. Lunch is typically from 1 pm to 3 pm, while dinner starts around 8 pm or later. Avoid rushing through your meal and embrace the relaxed pace.
  • Table manners: Italians value good table manners. Keep your elbows off the table and avoid talking with your mouth full. It is also considered polite to wait until everyone is served before starting to eat.
  • Cover charges: Many restaurants in italy have a coperto charge, which is a fixed fee per person to cover bread, cutlery, and table service. This is not a tip, so remember to factor it into your bill.
  • Tipping practices: Tipping in italy is not as common as in some other countries. A service charge is often included in the bill, indicated as “servizio incluso.” If you are exceptionally pleased with the service, you can leave a small tip, usually rounding up the bill.

Italian Wine And Coffee: Exploring Italy’S Famous Wine Regions And Coffee Culture, With Recommendations For Must-Try Varieties.

Italy is renowned for its incredible wines and boasts numerous wine regions that produce a wide variety of exquisite wines. Here are a few highlights:

  • Tuscany: This region is famous for its chianti wine. With its full-bodied flavor and notes of cherries and herbs, chianti pairs perfectly with traditional tuscan dishes like bistecca alla fiorentina.
  • Piedmont: Known for its iconic barolo and barbaresco wines, piedmont offers rich and aromatic red wines. These wines are a great match for hearty dishes like truffle risotto and braised meats.
  • Sicily: In sicily, you’ll find nero d’avola, a bold and fruity red wine, and marsala, a fortified wine used for cooking or sipping. These wines complement the island’s rich and flavorful cuisine.

When it comes to coffee, italy is the birthplace of espresso, and coffee culture is deeply ingrained in italian society. Don’t miss out on indulging in a cup of authentic italian coffee at a local café. From espresso to cappuccino and macchiato, there’s a world of flavors waiting to be savored.

Italy’s culinary traditions, dining etiquette, and wine and coffee culture combine to create a truly unforgettable gastronomic experience. So, embrace the italian way of dining and savor the incredible flavors that this beautiful country has to offer.

Weather And The Best Time To Visit

Italy is a dream destination for many travelers. From its rich history and stunning architecture to its delicious cuisine and breathtaking landscapes, it truly has something for everyone. But before you pack your bags and head off to explore this beautiful country, there are a few things you should know.

In this blog post, we will focus on the weather and the best time to visit italy, so you can plan your trip accordingly.

Seasons And Climate: An Overview Of Italy’S Weather Patterns Throughout The Year, Including Average Temperatures And Precipitation.

  • Italy experiences a mediterranean climate, which means mild winters and hot, dry summers.
  • The country is divided into three main regions in terms of weather – the north, central, and south.
  • In the north, the summers are generally cooler than the rest of the country, with temperatures ranging from 77°f (25°c) to 86°f (30°c). Winters can be quite cold, with temperatures dropping to as low as 23°f (-5°c) in the mountainous areas.
  • Central italy has a slightly milder climate, with hot summers and mild winters. Average temperatures during summer range from 82°f (28°c) to 95°f (35°c), while winter temperatures hover around 41°f (5°c) to 50°f (10°c).
  • The southern part of italy experiences hotter temperatures throughout the year, with summers reaching highs of 104°f (40°c) and mild winters with temperatures around 50°f (10°c).

Choosing The Ideal Time To Visit: Factors To Consider When Planning Your Trip, Such As Crowds, Festivals, And Specific Attractions.

  • The peak tourist season in italy is during the summer months, specifically from june to august. During this time, the country sees an influx of tourists, and popular tourist destinations can get crowded.
  • Spring (april to may) and autumn (september to october) are considered shoulder seasons and are generally a good time to visit italy. The weather is milder, and the crowds are smaller compared to the summer months.
  • If you want to avoid the crowds completely, consider visiting italy during the winter months, especially in november or february. Although the weather may be colder, you’ll have a more peaceful and authentic experience.
  • Keep in mind that italy is known for its festivals and events throughout the year. If there are specific festivals or events you want to attend, make sure to plan your trip accordingly.

Now that you have a better understanding of italy’s weather patterns and the best time to visit, you can plan your trip accordingly. Whether you prefer the vibrant atmosphere of summer or the tranquility of the shoulder seasons, italy is sure to captivate you with its charm and beauty.

Understanding Italian Currency And Money Matters

Italy is a country that presents a captivating blend of history, culture, and picturesque landscapes. Before embarking on your trip to this enchanting destination, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with some key aspects of italian currency and money matters. Understanding the euro currency, payment options, and tipping etiquette will ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience during your visit.

Let’s delve into these important factors below:

Euro Currency: Brief Overview Of The Euro, Its Denominations, And Where To Exchange Currency.

  • The euro (€) is the official currency of italy, as well as most other european union member countries. It replaced the lira in 2002, streamlining transactions across borders within the eurozone.
  • Euro banknotes come in different denominations, ranging from €5 to €500. Coins are available in various values, including 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, €1, and €2.
  • To obtain euros, you can exchange your currency at banks, exchange offices, and even some hotels. It’s advisable to compare exchange rates and fees to ensure you receive the best value.
  • Atms are widely available in italy, allowing you to withdraw euros using your debit or credit card. However, be aware of any associated fees and ensure your card is compatible with international transactions.

Payment Options: Understanding The Use Of Credit Cards, Debit Cards, And Cash In Italy.

  • Credit cards are widely accepted in restaurants, hotels, shops, and other establishments in cities and tourist areas. Visa and mastercard are the most commonly accepted brands, followed by american express and diners club. However, it’s always wise to carry some cash as a backup.
  • Debit cards with a visa or mastercard logo can be used to withdraw cash from atms and make payments. Remember to inform your bank of your travel plans and verify any associated fees beforehand.
  • While cards are widely accepted, it’s still beneficial to carry some cash, especially when visiting rural areas, small businesses, or street vendors. Having smaller bills and coins for everyday expenses, such as public transportation or small purchases, is also wise.

Tipping Etiquette: Guidelines For Tipping In Restaurants, Hotels, And Other Service Establishments.

  • Tipping in italy is not as prevalent as in some other countries, but it is still appreciated for exceptional service. Be aware that a service charge may already be included in your bill, specified as “servizio incluso” or “coperto.”
  • In restaurants, it is customary to leave a small tip if you are satisfied with the service. Usually, rounding up the bill or leaving around 5-10% is acceptable. However, tipping excessively is not expected or necessary.
  • When staying at hotels, it is customary to leave a small tip for the staff who provide exceptional service, such as concierges or bellhops. This can range from €1 to €5, depending on the level of service received.
  • Tipping in other service establishments, such as taxis or cafes, is not obligatory but appreciated for good service. Rounding up the fare or leaving some loose change is a common practice.

By familiarizing yourself with the euro currency, payment options, and tipping etiquette, you will be well-prepared to navigate italy’s financial landscape with ease. This knowledge ensures a seamless experience during your travels, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of this beautiful country.

Health And Safety Tips For Travelers

Italy is a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. From the majestic ruins of rome to the stunning coastlines of the amalfi coast, there is no shortage of sights to see and experiences to be had. However, before you pack your bags and jet off to this european gem, it’s important to be well-prepared, especially when it comes to your health and safety.

In this section, we’ll cover some essential tips and precautions to keep in mind before embarking on your italian adventure.

Travel Insurance: The Importance Of Having Adequate Travel Insurance Coverage And What To Look For In A Policy.

  • It’s essential to have travel insurance when visiting italy. Medical treatment can be expensive, and having proper coverage will ensure that you are protected in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
  • Look for a policy that includes medical coverage, trip cancellation or interruption coverage, and coverage for lost or stolen belongings. The policy should also provide 24/7 emergency assistance.
  • Check the coverage limits and exclusions carefully to make sure it suits your needs. If you plan on participating in any adventurous activities such as hiking or skiing, ensure that these are covered as well.

Emergency Numbers And Healthcare: Important Contact Information For Emergencies And An Overview Of Italy’S Healthcare System.

  • Keep a list of emergency numbers handy, including the police, ambulance, and fire department. In italy, the emergency number is 112.
  • Italy has a public healthcare system, which provides emergency medical care to anyone in need. However, it’s advisable to have travel insurance to access private healthcare facilities, which generally offer higher-quality services.
  • Familiarize yourself with the location of the nearest hospitals or medical clinics in the areas you plan to visit. It’s also a good idea to carry a copy of your medical records and any necessary prescriptions.

Safety Precautions: Tips For Staying Safe While Traveling, Including Avoiding Scams, Pickpocketing, And Staying Aware Of Your Surroundings.

  • Italy is generally a safe country to visit, but like any other popular tourist destination, it’s important to be vigilant and take necessary precautions.
  • Be cautious of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas and public transportation, as pickpocketing can be common. Keep your valuables secure and consider using an anti-theft bag or money belt.
  • Be aware of common scams targeting tourists, such as fake petitions, distraction techniques, and unauthorized tour guides. Research and book activities and tours through reputable sources.
  • Respect the local customs and laws. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites and be mindful of public behavior. It’s also advisable to avoid discussing sensitive political or religious topics.

By following these health and safety tips, you can have a worry-free and enjoyable trip to italy. Remember to plan ahead, stay aware, and prioritize your well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions On What To Know Before You Travel To Italy

What Are The Must-Visit Cities In Italy?

Italy is home to many amazing cities, but some must-visit ones include rome, florence, venice, and milan. Rome has historical sites like the colosseum, while florence boasts renaissance art and architecture. Venice is famous for its canals, and milan is a hub for fashion and design.

What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Italy?

The best time to visit italy is during the spring (april to june) and autumn (september to october) seasons. The weather is pleasant, there are fewer tourists, and you can enjoy outdoor activities without the summer crowds.

What Is The Local Currency In Italy?

The local currency in italy is the euro (€). It is recommended to exchange your currency for euros before your trip or use atms to withdraw money. Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s always good to carry some cash for smaller establishments or markets.

What Are The Transportation Options In Italy?

Italy has a well-connected transportation network. You can travel between cities using the high-speed train (trenitalia), which is efficient and comfortable. Buses are also available for shorter distances and remote areas. Renting a car is an option for exploring the countryside, but be prepared for narrow roads and limited parking in cities.

What Are Some Local Customs And Etiquette In Italy?

Italians appreciate politeness and proper manners. It is common to greet with a kiss on both cheeks, even when meeting for the first time. Dressing stylishly is important, especially when visiting churches or upscale restaurants. When dining, it is customary to linger over meals and never order a cappuccino after 11 am, as it is considered a breakfast beverage.


When planning your trip to italy, keep in mind these important factors. Firstly, the country’s rich history, art, and culture is best explored by visiting iconic cities like rome, florence, and venice. Secondly, italy is known for its delicious cuisine, so be sure to indulge in authentic italian food such as pizza, pasta, and gelato.

Next, don’t forget to research and adhere to the local customs and etiquette to show respect to the italians. Additionally, it is advisable to learn a few basic italian phrases to enhance your communication during your stay. Finally, be prepared for the possibility of crowds and long queues, especially during peak tourist seasons, and plan your itinerary accordingly.

By considering these points, you can make the most of your trip and create unforgettable memories in the beautiful country of italy.

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