Italy


Italy / Practical guidelines


General Information

The Capital

The capital, and at the same time largest city of Italy, is Rome (Italian: Roma) and lies on the banks of the river Tiber The Vatican is located within the city limits. Because of its role in ancient times as the capital of the Roman Empire it is also called the "Eternal City".

Consulates

USA

U.S. Embassy Rome
via Vittorio Veneto 121
00187 Roma
Phone: (+39) 06.46741

U.S. Consulate General Florence
Lungarno Vespucci, 38
50123 Firenze
Phone: (+39) 055.266.951

U.S. Consulate General Milan
via Principe Amedeo, 2/10
20121 MILANO
Phone: (+39) 02.290351

U.S. Consulate General in Naples
Piazza della Repubblica
80122 NAPOLI
Phone: (+39) 081.583.8111

If you become a victim of crime, or know of someone who is, please contact the American Citizen Services office nearest you. Please note the Embassy and consulates’ emergency contact information: https://it.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/emergency-contact/ 


UK


British Embassy Rome
Via XX Settembre 80/a
00187 Rome 

British Consulate General Milan
Via S. Paolo, 7
20121 Milan 

If you’re in Italy and you need urgent help (for example, you’ve been attacked, arrested or someone has died), call +39 06 4220 0001. 

Emergency

Police (Polizia di Stato): 113

Medical emergency from cell phone or landline (Numero unico emergenze): 112

Climate

Italy has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers. The farther south you go, the warmer the climate. Some warm clothing should be included on trips taken between October and mid-May.

Time Zone

Italy is located in the Central European Time Zone. European Summer Time is used between the end of March and the end of October, meaning clocks are moved forward an hour during that period.

Time differences:
UK: - 1 hour
Canada/USA
East coast: - 6 hours
West coast: - 9 hours

Tourist Tax

Some cities and municipalities in Italy have introduced a tax on overnight stays (city tax). The amounts range from 0.50 euros to 5 euros per night per person. Unfortunately, the tax may not be transferred together with the costs of accommodation and is therefore due to be paid cash directly at the hotel.

Electricity and Water

Most outlets in Italy are 220 volt, although you will occasionally find 110-125 volt outlets. Most 
appliances will require adapters, which can be purchased at airports and locally.

Weights and Measures

Long distances are measured in kilometers in Italy. A kilometer equals about 2/3 mile.

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Shorter distances are measured in meters. A meter is 3.28 feet (1.09 yards).

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Weights are measured in kilos. One kilo equals 2.20 pounds.

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Postal Service

Stamps can be purchased in all post offices and kiosks (indicated by a “T” for “tobacco”).

Phone Calls

Most public phones require telephone cards, which can be purchased at tabacci shops. The perforated corner of the card must be torn off before use. 

Country codes for calls placed from Italy:
UK: 00 44 + phone number 
USA/Canada: 00 1 + phone number

Country codes for placing calls to Italy:
UK: 00 39 + phone number 
USA/Canada: 011 39 + phone number

For most international calls it is customary to leave out the 0 of the area code. This is not the case for Italian landlines. Italian cell phone numbers however do not start with a 0, therefore you don't dial a 0 when calling a cell phone. 

To be paid locally

Fuel costs, costs for fuel service (if applicable), costs for rental cars (see rental car conditions, e.g. one-way rental, permits, child seats, etc.), tolls, food, costs for excursions booked locally by yourself, private expenses (e.g. costs for souvenirs, medication, etc.), tips, entrance fees (if applicable), transport costs (e.g. taxi, bus, train, ferry), tourism levy (if applicable), parking fees (if applicable).

Arrival and Departure

Getting There

You can approach Italy by Air, Rail, Car and Ferry.

Italy’s numerous islands are connected to the mainland by a dense network of ferries. During the main season seats need to be booked early. Ferries to Sardinia and Sicily depart from Genoa, Livorno and Naples (among other places). For information on routes visit www.mobylines.it.

Travel Documents and Formalities

USA

As a U.S. citizenship holder, you do not need to apply for an Italian Schengen Visa! You are allowed to travel to Italy and to all other members of  the Schengen Area  for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa, as long as your U.S. passport is valid for at least 3 months after your planned return to the United States (US)

UK

If your passport describes you as a British Citizen, you don’t need a visa to enter Italy. If you have another type of British nationality, check the current entry requirements with the Italian Embassy.
If you’re planning a stay of longer than 3 months, see our Living in Italy guide and contact the Italian Embassy if you have further questions.
The UK and EU have agreed the full legal text of the draft Withdrawal Agreement in principle. This sets out that there will be no change to entry requirements for British citizens travelling to the EU or for EU citizens travelling to the UK during the Implementation Period (30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020).
In the event of changes to entry requirements after the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019, this page will be updated as soon as information is available (UK)

Driving

(International) Driving License

A valid drivers license, issued at least one year before the tour is required. An international driving license is required for all customers who are not resident in the European Union.

Road Code

Headlights must be turned on at all times when driving on roadways outside of city limits. 

All passengers must wear seatbelts in Italy, including passengers in the backseat.

A driver whose blood alcohol level exceeds 0.5 will be considered legally intoxicated.

A safety vest must be in the car at all times. Your car hire company will supply the vest, please check at time of pick up. 

Speed Limits

Within city limits: 50 km/h (30 mph)
On expressways: 130 km/h (80 mph)
On highways: 110km/h (70 mph)

Parking

When visiting the historical city centers you should park outside of the old city walls. Vehicle traffic in many (historic) downtown areas of cities and towns throughout Italy is limited by a system of permits (called “ZTL” and functioning the same way as an EasyPass system in the United States might on the freeway). Cameras record the license plates of cars driving in parts of the city that require a permit. Some of these cities are: Bologna, Florence, Milan, Rome, Arezzo, Pisa and Verona.

Especially in Rome and Florence cars are not allowed in the city center during the day. Some hotels are located in a restricted traffic zone. After passing the barrier you have 2 hours to register the car's license plate at the hotel reception. This information is passed on to the authorities. Without permission a penalty would be charged. Offenders face large fines.

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When looking for a parking space always observe the markings along the side of the street. White stripes mean parking is allowed free of charge, blue stripes mean parking is allowed for a fee, and yellow and black stripes mean parking is prohibited.

Breakdown and Accident

An emergency telephone number will be included in the documents you receive from your rental car agency. Emergency phone calls can be made free of charge from any public telephone. Emergency phone numbers are: 

Police: 113
Medical emergency: 112
Italian Automobile Club (ACI): 
800 116 800 (in case of breakdown)

Petrol

The main choices are super senza (super unleaded, can be used in all cars that burn regular gas) and gasolio (diesel). It is important to note that gasolio does not mean “gasoline”. Filling stations farther removed from the main motorways tend to be closed over the noon hour.

Toll Roads

The use of the motorway (Autostrada) in Italy is usually subject to tolls (Peddagio). The toll can be paid either in cash or by credit card. For this purpose the white lane is provided at the toll stations, the yellow lane can only be used to drive through with an etoll device called Telepass. If you are interested you can find further information here: www.tolltickets.com
Alternatively Viacards can be purchased at most service areas along the motorways for 20, 50 or 75 euros and are a good way to avoid long lines at the tollgates.Avoid traffic restricted zones. For access to restricted zones in the city centre, a "Ticket per l'accesso in ZTL" is required daily from 7 am to 8 pm. This is available in Tabacci shops and newspaper kiosks. The ticket costs 5 euros for one day. 

Directions and Maps

Although geocoding is included in your travel documents, we recommend buying a good road atlas

Signs in Italy can be partly incomplete, misleading or chaotic. Accurate map reading and orientation by cardinal points can prove important. Especially towns often lack any form of signs in key areas. Locals usually like to give directions. The question: "Dove posso trovare la strada a ..." (How do I get to ...) is one of the most important in the country.

Navigation System

The best solution is always a GPS. While rented units are often available, downloading an offline software for your smartphone is a good alternative. Free service is available from "HERE Maps". Although you won't be able to search by coordinates when offline, you can do so while connected to WIFI in your hotel and save places to favorites. The directions from HERE are not very detailed. If you prefer a more detailed navigation, other products are available from TomTom or Navigon at an annual fee. Should you already own a GPS unit you can download the relevant maps prior to departure.

Accommodations

Check-In

The check-in time is normally between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. unless otherwise stated in your travel documents. Earlier arrival can be arranged with your hosts. Please notify your hosts if you will be arriving after 8 p.m.

It is common practice to leave the room in the morning so it can be cleaned.

Breakfast

Umfulana uses guesthouses, B&Bs and small, privately owned hotels. Breakfast is usually included in the price of the room.

Pets

It is customary to keep dogs on Italian estates. Often they are not on a leash and can move around freely. Although some can be quite large, there is no reason to be afraid. The dogs are used to guests and are happy to meet you.



Money Matters

ATMs

ATMs are widely available. All common international credit cards are accepted. Be careful not to select donazioni or donatio, which means “donation”. It’s best to look for an ATM with English instructions.

Health

Medical Insurance

Check to make sure your health insurance covers travel abroad. If not, you would be wise to take out travel insurance.

Local Health Care

In Italy medical care is provided by a public health service and a private medical company.

Etiquette

Alcohol and Cigarettes

Smoking is prohibited in all public buildings, offices and restaurants. It is permitted outdoors and in designated areas.

Shopping

Be wary of “bargains” that appear too good to be true: the purchase of counterfeit goods bearing fake brand names is illegal and subject to large fines.

We recommend keeping the receipts after paying for shopping items or meals in restaurants.

Tipping

A cover fee called coperto is added to restaurant checks. Nevertheless, it is common to leave a few extra euros (5%) as a tip, depending on the service. Always request a receipt (ricevuta fiscale) after paying for a meal.