For the home of the papacy, Italy sure knows how to do sensual pleasures right: stylish Vespas, intoxicating vino, vibrant piazze, and crispy pizzas covered in garden-fresh produce populate this country where la dolce far niente (literally, the sweetness of doing nothing) is a national pastime. While some travelers let Italy’s quirks (supermarkets closed on Sunday and spotty air-conditioning) impede their pursuit of la dolce vita, as a student traveler, you are uniquely situated to experience “the boot” in all its ridiculousness and sublimity. Striking out on your own, likely on a budget, you’ll open yourself up to what someone who stays at the swankiest hotels and eats at all the five-star restaurants misses: making connections with the people and way of life of this chaotic wonderland. Let’s Go researchers have reported being given copious amounts of free food, receiving unsolicited assistance, and sharing drinks with natives who were more than ready to help them navigate the caprices of a country where things we take for granted (“the customer is always right,” street signs, etc.) are conspicuously absent. It’s not like our researchers wear neon orange Let’s Go T-shirts while they’re traveling the country—they were treated this way because in their quests for the most divine scoop of gelato or the best happy hour buffet, they reached out to the locals who know how much of the country’s untainted energy can be found in its most affordable pleasures. You too can learn to see the beauty of Italy’s sometimes befuddling customs, as getting acquainted with its people becomes as much a priority as taking in all its Renaissance art, Roman grandeur, and religious relics. Who knows? Maybe by the time you’re ready to leave, some of those Italian oddities will be looking practically divine.