What springs to mind when you think about traveling in Italy? Well, let me guess… beautiful art-filled cities, gorgeous landscapes, majestic beaches with perfect sand and delicious authentic Italian food? If that’s your answer, you’re certainly right! Well, without any doubt Italy is the perfect choice for a memorable and spectacular holiday. But to be able to enjoy your trip to Italy to the fullest, indulging in delicious cuisine, exploring incredibly fascinating and rich in history places you need to prepare yourself. Otherwise, you may miss the incredible possibility to have a truly memorable experience and instead of returning home at peace you will feel extremely exhausted, defeated and just tired. Which I assume is the opposite of why you wanted to go on vacation in the first place.
So, if you’re looking forward to the perfect vacation experience here is my personal guide for staying healthy while traveling in Italy.
5 simple and powerful ways to stay healthy while traveling in Italy:
1. Stay Hydrated
My first advice for staying healthy while traveling in Italy is to stay hydrated. I know that it may sound a little cliché, but let’s face it we all tend to forget about this. And when it comes to the summer holidays in the Italian Peninsula proper hydration is the key to survive extremely hot weather and high temperature that in the hottest month (July in the north and August in the south) can easily reach 38–42 °C. So before you go on a charming walking tour to explore the beautiful landscapes (always in comfortable shoes!) and architecture of Italian cities make sure you brought the bottle of water with you. Otherwise, the combination of heat, exhaustion, and dehydration can have serious consequences to your health that at the same time can be avoided so incredibly easy. Of course you can always buy a bottle of water in a grocery shop or bar (A liter of water is only .30 to .50 cent euro if you by your water at the supermarket or in a little grocery store and not in the bars.) but still it’s better to have something to drink always with you to avoid being thirsty or dehydrated.
But probably the most helpful information is that it is safe to drink the tap water in Italy. Furthermore, you can even drink water from public fountains that can be found almost everywhere in big cities, town and even in small villages. So if you thought that public fountains are only for decoration you’re wrong. Because Italian fountains contain fresh, cold and clean water that is completely free! And because this free drink water is readily available everywhere locals drink it too especially in the summer when the temperature is extremely high.
To find public drinking fountains in Italian cities use:
(Other important and very useful Travel Apps that will make your Italian trip a successful one here)
Best drinking water apps that can help you stay hydrated by tracking your water intake:
Water Intake Calculator:
2. Sleep & Relax
Sleep deprivation and extreme exhaustion can ruin even the best holiday experience. So don’t forget to schedule downtime in your vacation calendar. Yes, I’m serious and my advice wasn’t slip of a tongue. Because if you are like me as soon as you reach your holiday destination, you want to see and experience everything without leaving some time for actual rest and recharging batteries. And as far as I completely understand your willingness to be hyperactive on your vacation you need to understand that you will never have time to see and experience EVERYTHING. Especially in a place like Italy with its rich culture, a spectacular history stretching back to ancient Rome, plenty of beautiful spots and of course, insanely delicious food. So plan your vacation mindfully. Make your Italian bucket list, see as much as you can, eat as much as you want but find some time for sleep and rest because this way you will be able to fully enjoy your Italian vacation.
3. Avoid Fatigue
Vacation is a time to recharge and restore your body and mind, relax in breathtaking areas and taste some local cuisine. And summer in Italy is the best place for doing all of these things! So without thinking twice indulge in dolce far niente!
The Italian ideal – Il dolce far niente – is, in fact, alive and well. The concept translated onto The sweetest of doing nothing has nothing to do with procrastination. So if you thought that is a celebration of being lazy, unmotivated and lethargic you’re wrong. Because the real meaning of this saying is in fact completely different. Il dolce far niente means experiencing the authenticity of the present moment whether it’s a mindful relaxation, dinner with friends in a favorite restaurant or charming little chat over morning coffee. It means taking a break from a hectic life and indulging in pleasant activities that give your life meaning. So when you’re on vacation in Italy disconnect from your normal, busy life and indulge in the beautiful experience of mindful relaxation. Switch off all the notifications on your phone, order a delicious authentic Italian meal with a glass of aromatic wine and just enjoy every second of the experience. It’s not about waiting for a moment to be perfect but about being grateful for every single day of your life.
4. Eat Mindfully
Have you ever met anyone who really doesn’t like Italian food? I bet you haven’t. Of course, we’re talking about real, authentic, traditional Italian dishes strongly influenced by local history and traditions, not about Italian-American cuisine. So if you think you will be eating spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine Alfredo, pepperoni pizza, chicken parmesan, Shrimp Scampi, Hawaiian Pizza or Garlic Bread it’s not going to happen… Unless, of course, you will be preparing your food by yourself but still if I were you I would keep that for myself. Because these popular Italian – American hybrid foods are quite unusual for Italians that actually considered them a crime to Italian cuisine. Which is why it’s not the type of food that is served in restaurants in Italy. Besides this style of Italian cuisine adapted throughout the United States is almost a textbook example of bad food combinations that shouldn’t be eaten together because they cause health and digestive problems. Whereas, authentic Italian cuisine characterized by its simplicity, diversity, and consistency is a synonym of healthy and balanced food regime. This is because Italians place the main emphasis on the quality of the local ingredients and prepare their traditional meals with sophistication and love. That’s why an authentic Italian cuisine is like an art characterized by simplicity, integrity, and harmony. So if you are currently packing for Italy prepare yourself for a real a feast for the palate.
The only thing that you will probably extremely dislike in an authentic Italian cuisine prepared and served in the Italian Peninsula is that you won’t be able to try everything. This is because every Italian region has its own distinctive cuisine characterized by different specialties and finest seasonal delicacies what basically means that the variety of food options will probably give you a head rush. That’s why you will probably need some advice on it.
So if you want to eat light and healthy during your holidays in Italy here are my tips:
- Eat at restaurants that offer traditional Italian dishes
- Buy whole foods on local farmers’ markets
- Downsize your portions
- Drink wine presumably
- Limit fried food
- Reduce your carbohydrate intake and instead of ordering only pizza or pasta try delicious meals prepared with seafood, vegetables, and legumes
- Use olive oil and vinegar for salad dressing
- Eat Italian desserts in moderation (find out what are the best Italian gelato flavors here)
- Order cappuccino, caffé lattes, and any other milk-based coffee beverages only for breakfast to avoid digestive issues
- Take time to enjoy your food
5. Soak up the sun but avoid Sunburn
Italy with the stunning landscapes, the wine, and the sunshine is truly the Bel Paese as described by Dante. Furthermore this Mediterranean Country with its charming coastal towns, splendid lakes, gorgeous beaches, beautiful limestone cliffs, and soft ivory sand is a perfect place to get your natural vitamin D from the sun. But while sunlight increases your serotonin and endorphin levels, boost your mood and helps you to experience a wonderful feeling of relaxation can also be dangerous if you’re on the sun too long. So whether you are taking a walking tour in one of the beautiful Italian cities or laying on a beach and getting tan, remember to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, use sun protection cream, wear sunglasses and drink lots of water.
Emergency Phone Numbers in Italy
- 12: Telephone Directory Assistance
- 112: Carabinieri/Emergencies (Police)
- 113: Emergency Police Help
- 115: Fire Brigade
- 116: Road Assistance – A.C.I. (Italian Automobile Club)
- 118: Ambulance & Medical Emergencies
- 1515: Forest Service
The number 112 can be dialed free of charge to reach emergency services (ambulance, police, fire, and rescue) from anywhere in Europe. The operator connects the caller with the required emergency service.
And cultivate il dolce far niente!