Ever seen the 1985 movie National Lampoon’s European Vacation? No? Well, it might teach you something, before you pack for a holiday abroad: how to be branded as a tourist. So, now we’ll take these precious lessons and let you know what you shouldn’t do on holiday in Italy. That is, if you’d like to avoid doing things that scream you’re a tourist. But if you want to trumpet your touristness… well, we might give you, too some inspiration.

Tourist mistakes: what we’ve learnt from National Lampoon’s European Vacation

The movie we mentioned is a funny one: it’s the story of an American family who win a trip to Europe. And then the chaos begins: just to give you an example of their remarkable deeds, in Stonehenge they manage to topple the whole monument.

Apart from these performances, sometimes they act or dress as if their stereotypes about the land they’re visiting had come to life. In Paris, for instance, they put on a beret and take a photo of the whole family under the Eiffel Tower; in Germany, they all wear the typical Bavarian clothes, and so on.

How do you think the French and the Germans would consider these outfits? For once they’d agree: they’re comical.

Yes, that’s the hard truth: tourists do some things which simply make locals laugh. And that goes for Italy, too.

The top 7 tourist mistakes in Italy – and why Italians find them funny

So, brace yourself and get ready for some shocking revelations:

  • ordering a cappuccino after 11.00 am: please, don’t. There are so many kinds of coffee you can have, why, why on earth should you choose a cappuccino??? Are you still having breakfast? And in case you don’t know what to order, this video will give you some ideas. For instance, a good alternative to cappuccino is caffè macchiato:


  • asking if there is Hawaiian pizza: well, this borders on abomination. Pineapple is something the world should never have seen on a pizza: that’s why you don’t find it on the menus. Want some good advice? Don’t ask for it;
  • grating parmesan cheese on seafood pasta: I warn you, waiters might even take the dish out of your sight if you try to do it. Ask yourself: “Do I really – really! – want to spoil this unforgettable taste by adding something that would cover it completely?” Surely you don’t want to;
  • getting photographed while supporting the Pisa Tower: the number of tourists in Pisa who haven’t done that is around 0,5%. That’s useless: you simply can’t straighten it, ok? And after all… we like it that way;
  • touching the breast of Juliet in Verona: and taking a photo of the moment, of course. Please, try not to make Romeo too jealous: last time someone tried to separate him from his beloved Juliet, it didn’t go so well…;
  • buying Pinocchio puppets all around Italy: the story of Pinocchio is set in a village near Florence. So, unless you’re in Tuscany, you won’t be buying a typical souvenir of you holiday, but just some tourist junk. Take a look around and try to understand what’s peculiar to the city you’re visiting;
  • choosing the most common souvenirs: the gondolier’s hat in Venice, the apron with the family jewels of Michelangelo’s David in Florence, the tiny plastic Colosseum in Rome… That’s like having a neon sign pointing to you, the tourist. Besides, these are the things your family and friends back home are going to hate. So our tip is the same as in mistake number 6: look for something representative of that city, like masks in Venice, or some local food.

Got it? Follow these 7 tips and you’ll survive even in the smallest Italian village.