1 Euro (E) = 100 Cents. Notes: 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 & 5. Coins: Euros 2, 1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 & 1 Cents. Travellers cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted. Travellers cheques and foreign currency may be exchanged at banks, railway stations, airports and a few of the larger hotels.
Banking hours vary from city to city, however they are usually 8.35am to 1.35pm and 3.30pm – 7.30pm Monday to Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday Travellers cheques can be exchanged at most foreign exchange offices, airports and railways
Climate and Clothing
Summers in Italy are hot, especially in the south. Spring and Autumn are mild with lots of sunshine. Winters vary from being mild and dry in the south, to cold in the north. Lightweight clothing for Autumn through to Spring, with medium – heavy clothing for Winter.
Embassies and Consulates
Britain: Via XX Settembre 80a, 00187 Rome Tel: 7355
Canada: Via Zara, 30, 00198 Roma Tel: 445 981
USA: Via Veneto, 119/A, 00187 Roma Tel: 06 46741
Food and Drink
Pasta plays an important part in Italian cooking and almost every region has its own specialty. Wines are named after the grape vineyard or the region from which they are grown.
Italy offers a variety of beautiful scenery, with each region having something different to offer the traveller.
Public libraries have internet access which is very cheap. You will find the major net cafe chains in larger areas.
Italian is the official language, with different dialects being spoken in different regions. German is spoken in the South Tyrol and French is spoken in all areas bordering France. English, French and German are spoken in large cities and by people in the tourism industry.
All major towns have extensive public transport systems. Rome has two underground metro lines, for which both day and monthly passes are available. The bus service in Rome compliments both the metro and train systems. Fares are generally purchased prior to boarding transport systems, from newsagents or stations. Taxis are fairly expensive in Rome, with extra charges at night.
Manners and Customs
The Roman Catholic Church has a strong influence on social structures in Italy, with family ties being stronger here than elsewhere in Western Europe. Beachwear should be confined to the beach, and conservative clothing worn when visiting smaller, traditional communities and religious buildings. Smoking is prohibited on public transport, in cinemas and in some public buildings. Visitors should take precautions to guard against theft.
Post Offices are open 8am – 1.30/2pm and 2/2.30pm – 5.30/6pm Monday to Friday, 8am – 11.45pm Saturday. Stamps may be purchased from tobacconists and post offices.
Generally, shops in Italy are open 9am – 1pm and 4.30/5pm – 7.30pm Monday to Saturday, some are open on Sundays. Italy rivals France as a centre for fashion and design, with names like Fendi, Armani and Gucci. Florence is the place for gold jewelry and beautiful leather goods. When in Rome, look for silk blouses, scarves and ties, fine knitwear and costume jewelry. In Venice, you’ll find the famous Murano glassware and porcelain carnival masks. Antique prints and maps can be tempting – as can locally embroidered handkerchiefs, tablecloths and fine Venetian lace, Inlaid wood items are also a good buy.
Only take the white official taxis with a sign that reads “taxi”. A hotel doorman can call a taxi for you, or there are numerous stands around the cities. Surcharges for evening transfers and for transfers on Sunday and Holidays may apply. You may also have to pay the return trip from/to an airport or other distant destination.
Service is included in most bills, however in Italy it is customary to leave an additional tip of up to 10% for restaurant waiters, taxi drivers, hairdressers, etc.
Full IDD service is available throughout the country and the outgoing international code is 00. Phone cards may be purchased from post offices, tobacconists and certain newsagents.
Purchased from post offices, tobacconists and certain newsagents.
The access numbers are: Italy 800-985-675
* Milan economy 02-3601-0911