Useful information : When to go, Getting around...
When to go
Your decision about when to visit Italy will depend on whether you intend to stay by the sea or inland and in the north or the south.
You will enjoy a mild climate in the north and a hotter Mediterranean climate south of Florence. Spring and autumn are often the best times of the year: there are fewer tourists and the temperatures are mild despite autumn rains.
The summers are hot and dry by the coast and ideal for seaside activities and evenings on the terrace. The suffocating heat in the towns and cities often make them seem completely dormant at this time of year.
The winters are for the most part mild, with the exception of towns such as Milan and Florence, where the humidity exacerbates the cold. The Alps and the Apennines are generally snowbound and the ski resorts of the valleys of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Val Gardena, Val Badia and Val Pusteria are all open in winter.
Also check the festival calendar: Venice carnival (February), Milan Design Week (April), Easter Week in Rome (April)…
Formalities and useful addresses
National Tourist Office of Italy (ENIT) – www.enit.it
British Embassy - Via XX Settembre 80/a - 00187 Rome - [TEL] 06 4200 0001 - www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-embassy-rome
US Embassy – Via Vittorio Veneto, 121 - 00187 Rome - [TEL] 06 46741 - italy.usembassy.gov
Money and budget
Banks are open from 8.30am-1.30pm and 3-4pm. Closed weekends and public holidays.
Credit card payments are increasingly accepted in Italy, but not as widely as in the UK or the US. Cards are rarely accepted in small restaurants or family-run trattorias.
ATMs, of which there are many, accept most international credit cards.
1 week category B rental car: €250-400.
1 night in a youth hostel (dormitory): from €30.
1 double room in a B&B or charming hotel: €150-180.
1 panino or slice of pizza: €4-6.
1 pizza and 1 beverage in a pizzeria: €10-15.
1 meal in a trattoria: €15-30.
1 three-course meal in a good restaurant: €35-45.
1 bottle of wine in a restaurant: €15-25.
Health and safety
Before leaving home, check out the travel advice published by official government bodies:
British Foreign Office - www.gov.uk
US Department of State: travel.state.gov
Generally speaking, leave nothing on show in your vehicle and, at night, park in a guarded carpark.
European-wide single emergency number: [TEL] 112
Police assistance: [TEL] 113
Fire brigade: [TEL] 115
Medical emergencies : [TEL] 118
220V. Italian plugs have two round prongs. British visitors will need a plug adaptor, while American tourists will need an adaptor and a power converter.
Easter Sunday and Monday
25 April – Anniversary of the 1945 Liberation
2 June – Republic Day
8 December – Immaculate Conception
25 and 26 December
Each town also has its own patron saint’s day.
Italians quite like getting dressed up, so you can definitely slip a smart outfit into your suitcase for meals out in the evening or trips to concerts or the opera.
Modest attire (by men and women) is expected in places of worship.
Post offices are open 8.30am-2pm (12pm on Saturdays). In large towns, some post offices stay open until 7pm on weekdays.
Most Italian cities have at least one airport, which operates services to other European and some American destinations. This is the case of Turin, Milan, Naples, Venice, Rome, Pisa, Bologna, Genoa, Trieste, Verona.