Italy Travel Tips & Information
Official Name: Italian Republic
Population: 60.59 million
Languages: Italian is the official language. A large number of local dialects are also spoken.
Predominant Religions: Roman Catholic
Time Zone: Italy is in the Central European Time (CET) Zone, 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and observes Daylight Saving Time.
Telephone Codes: 39-country code; 06-Rome, 055-Florence, 041-Venice
Currency Exchange: The best rate of exchange is at banks. ATMs are widely available, and major credit cards (American Express, MasterCard, Visa) are widely accepted in many places. For cash advance in local currency, ATMs are your best bet, your bank will charge you the exchange rate of the day and their service fee may be more or less equal to the exchange fee of a bank, without the extra time waiting in line. Many smaller restaurants and hotels prefer cash, and as a rule of thumb, the farther south you go, the more it is a cash society. Offer to pay with cash rather than by credit card in shops to get a discount—do as Italians do and don't be afraid to ask.
Weather: The climate varies considerably from the north to the south of Italy. Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The typical Mediterranean climate average temperatures of 22.0 °C (71.6 °F) in its warmest month and an average in the coldest month between 18 to -3 °C (64 to 27 °F).
BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
Call your bank or credit card company and let them know about your travel plans. In addition to making sure you won’t get stranded in a foreign country with frozen funds, this will block the fraudulent use while away from home. Also, check their fees for international transactions including purchases and cash advances.
Upon receipt of travel documentation, please review your vouchers and airline tickets for accuracy. Name on airline reservation and e-ticket must match your passport name. A printout of your airline itinerary is included with your documents if purchased through Central Holidays. You can go to the airline website to add your personal data/emergency contact, mileage account, book or change your seats, check baggage allowance or purchase additional services.
Check-in and boarding pass will be available on airline’s website within 24 hours of departure. Be sure to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours prior to your scheduled departure time.
Passport/Visa Requirements: A passport is needed by U.S. citizens for visiting Italy. No visa is required if staying 3 months or less. Your passport must have at least six months validity remaining beyond your return date. Be sure to reconfirm travel document requirements with your carrier before departure.
For additional information and/or to enroll in the Smart Traveler Program (STEP), visit the International travel page of U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov
Luggage Allowance: Most airlines allow one checked bag (generally 50 pounds/ 23 kg) without a Fee and one small carry-on (40 pounds/18 kg). Charges apply for additional baggage. Therefore, please check directly with your airline as rules might vary by carrier.
Electricity: Electricity in Italy is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC). To use your own 110–volt appliances, you’ll need a voltage converter or transformer. Regardless of voltage, if your appliance has flat prongs, you will need a plug adapter: Italian sockets are designed to accept round prongs.
What to pack: We recommend casual, comfortable clothing for sightseeing. Bring a light jacket or sweater in case of a cool breeze or that unexpected rain shower. A hat and sunglasses are always recommended plus a collapsible umbrella and comfortable shoes. Bring only inexpensive jewelry. When visiting places of worship, shorts are not allowed and shoulders should be covered.
WHILE ON YOUR TRIP
Your Central Holidays local representative information is listed on each voucher. Please contact our Service Provider regular number or the after-hours/emergency number in the event of cancellation or modification of the service prior to the scheduled service day.
Hotel check-in times vary among properties and destinations. Generally, check-in times range from noon to 3:00 PM and checkout between 10:00 AM to noon.
Banks: Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM and for one hour in the afternoon between 2:30 PM & 4.00 PM. Many only offer exchange service until 12:30 PM. Banks are closed Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The exchange rate is usually higher and there is a commission to be charged. A passport is required when changing money, cash or travelers’ checks.
VAT-FREE Shopping: Non-European Union citizens are entitled to VAT (IVA in Italian) refund for items bought in Italy or any other EU country. To be eligible you must buy from stores identified as “TAX-FREE FOR TOURISTS” and spend €155 or more in one store at one time. The VAT refund will be processed at the EU departure airport. For detailed information, you can visit: www.agenziadogane.it
Tipping: Do expect a 10%-15% service charge to be added to your restaurant bill (they may also expect you to leave a little more). Tip taxi drivers about 1 euro (more if it's an especially large fare). Tipping during the tour is a very personal subject and there are no rules, just guidelines and some expectations. The last day of the tour is the customary time to extend gratuities to your escort, guide and driver.
For general guidance:
Local Guides: Euro 1-2 per tour per person
Coach driver: Euro 5-6 per person per day
Tour escort: Euro 8-10 per person per day
Services provided by:
ITS- Italian Travel Solutions
Via Saluzzo 8 Rome-Italy
Emergency #: +39-33-46687847