Italy

Home to many of the world’s greatest works of art, architecture and gastronomy, Italy elates, inspires and moves like no other.

Yearly Weather

Italy is situated in southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia.

The moderating influence of the sea and the protection given by the Alpine barrier from the cold north winds give Italy a nice temperate climate. Nevertheless, the weather varies considerably according to how far one is from the sea or the mountains. The winter is very cold in the Alps, but mild and even warm on the Ligurian coast, the Neapolitan coast and in Sicilia. The summer is hot and dry and in the Alps it is pleasantly cool. In mountain areas, winter is ideal for skiing.

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Travel Facts

VISAS & PASSPORTS

U.S. citizens need only a valid passport to enter Italy for stays of up to 90 days. When staying for 90 days or less, U.S. citizens aren’t required to obtain a visa prior to traveling to Italy.

CURRENCY

The euro is the main unit of currency in Italy. Under the euro system, there are 100 centesimi (cents) to the euro. There are coins valued at 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 centesimi as well as 1 and 2 euros. There are seven notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. At this writing, €1 was worth was about $1.26.

Post offices exchange currency at good rates, but employees speak limited English, so be prepared. (Writing your request can help in these cases.)

Even if a currency-exchange booth has a sign promising no commission, rest assured that there’s some kind of huge, hidden fee. You’re almost always better off getting foreign currency at an ATM or exchanging money at a bank or post office.

TIPPING

At Restaurants: Leave as close to 10 percent as is convenient, but no more.

U.S. dollars are always accepted as tips, but euros are much preferred

Our suggestions for daily tipping are the following:

Drivers: $ 2.00 to $ 5.00

Tour Guide: $ 10.00 to $ 20.00

House Keepers: $ 2.00

Porters: $ 1.00 per luggage

ELECTRICITY

The electrical current in Italy is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC); wall outlets accept continental-type plugs, with two or three round prongs.

You may purchase a universal adapter, which has several types of plugs in one lightweight, compact unit, at travel specialty stores, electronics stores, and online. You can also pick up plug adapters in Italy in any electric supply store for about €2 each. You’ll likely not need a voltage converter, though. Most portable devices are dual voltage (i.e., they operate equally well on 110 and 220 volts)—just check label specifications and manufacturer instructions to be sure. Don’t use 110-volt outlets marked “for shavers only” for high-wattage appliances such as hair dryers.

CRIME

Italy has a moderate rate of crime. Nevertheless, you should exercise extra caution at night and at train stations, airports, nightclubs, bars, and outdoor cafes.

FOOD & DRINK

Tap water is generally safe to drink. The inscription ‘Acqua Non Potabile’ means water is not drinkable. Milk is generally pasteurized and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit, vegetables and dairy products are considered safe to eat.

HEALTH

Italy, with its amazing art and cultural sites, provides a memorable getaway for any traveler. Although there are no specific recommendations regarding vaccinations such as a hepatitis A vaccine or malaria medication for travel to Italy, it’s imperative to be up-to-date on standard immunizations before attempting to travel in this beautiful Mediterranean region.

CLOTHING

Pack frugally, including dark and neutral separates that can be mixed and matched; choose items that may be worn two or three times. Italians tend to wear muted colors, so wearing bright colors screams “American Tourist” in the major cities. Include lightweight undergarments and footwear that can be hand-washed in the hotel sink using their shampoo. Pack two pairs of broken-in, dark-colored walking shoes for the cobblestone streets, ancient, uneven sidewalks and hill walking that you will find in every major Italian tourist area.