COUNTRY OF ART, CULTURE, HISTORY, FOOD AND WINE
Italy is a synonym for culture, art and history. Artistic wonders can be found everywhere. Our artistic and cultural heritage is one of the most valuable in the world. Italy has more cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country: Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Siena, Turin, Bologna, Naples and Palermo are some of its most renowned cities of art.
Italy has always been a synonym for “good food,” offering an unique explosion of flavors, scents, and aromas. Aside from having one of the most famous cuisines, it also proposes an immense variety of different regional dishes and recipes, from more than 100 types of pizza and ways of cooking pasta to gourmet meat&seafood meals. Ancient Greeks used to call Italy “Enotria”, since it was renowned for its extraordinary wines. It would be impossible to list all of the features of Italian wines, worldwide famous for their variety and quality.
Since 2001, the currency used in Italy is euro €. One euro is divided up into 100 euro-cents. There are eight different coins (1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 euro-cents) and seven notes (5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros). Purchases can be paid in cash as well as by credit card. This payment system is common in Italian shops, which generally display the symbols of the credit cards they accept on the outside door. If you pay by credit card you will be asked to show an identity document. Travel cheques (in USD or Euros) can also be cashed in Italian banks.
Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8.30 to 13.00 and from 14.30 to 15.30.
To call an Italian telephone number from abroad, either from a landline or a mobile phone, you will need to add the international dialing code for Italy, which is 0039 (+39), followed by the telephone number you require. To reach another country from Italy, you will need to add the international dialing code for the country you are calling, followed by the telephone number you require. To make calls within Italy, dial the number you require without adding the international country code. Italy is in the Central European Time (CET) Zone, 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and observes Daylight Saving Time: in mid-autumn the clocks are shifted back of an hour to standard Central European Time (usually end of October).
OPENING HOURS – Shops and post offices
Shops are generally open from Monday to Saturday, from 9.00 a.m. to 12.30 and from 3.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m., although shopping centers and department stores often are open all day, from 10.00 a.m. to 9.00 or 10.00 p.m. Shopping centers and stores are also open on several Sundays throughout the year.
ELECTRICITY AND INTERNET ACCESS
In Italy the electrical current is 220 volts AC (50 Hz). Electrical sockets comply with European regulations. In most hotels you will find adaptors for different types of plugs.
There are many internet points and cafés offering internet access. A direct internet connection is provided in hotel rooms and in addition, you will find Wi-Fi access available in many airports, hotels, train stations and other public places where travelers pass through or stop off.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO DRIVE IN ITALY
Driving licenses issued by any of the EU member states are valid throughout the European Union, including Italy. Drivers in possession of a license issued by any EU country do not require an international driving permit or a sworn translation of their own license.
DOCUMENTS AND VISA TO ENTER ITALY
European Citizens whose country is under the authority of the Schengen Treaty may enter Italy with a valid identity card or passport. Citizens from all other countries must show their passport on the border; where a visa is required, this must also be presented to the border authorities and must indicate the length of the holder’s stay and his or her destination.
Visa applications – specifying the reason for the trip – must be made to the Italian Consulate in the applicant’s country of residence, and are generally issued 90 days after the application has been made.
As visa regulations are continuously changing, we strongly recommend you to consult the official website of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.esteri.it/visti/) for updated and detailed information for foreigners regarding entrance visas for Italy and permits of stay. Information is offered in English and other languages.
WHAT'S THE WEATHER LIKE IN SEPTEMBER?
Italy’s in southern Europe and stretches out on the Italian Peninsula and into the Mediterranean Sea. The country’s shielded from cold northern winds by the Alps which gives it pleasant weather. There’s differences in weather around the country due to the peninsula and because much of Italy is mountainous. Most of the country’s south has fairly typical Mediterranean weather so you’ll get lots of warm and sunny weather in September. The amount of rain starts to rise as autumn gets closer and you’ll have cooler temperatures if you’re in the mountains.
Capital city Rome in the south gives a good idea of Italy’s weather and has an average high of 27ºC in September. Things are quite pleasant in the evenings, which cool to 15ºC. Humidity’s low while there’s 42mm of rain over six days. You can expect 12 hours of daylight with eight hours of sunshine each day at a high UV level, so make sure you have sun cream. Sunset’s around 7.45pm at the start of the month and gradually gets earlier.
English is generally spoken.
ATMs (known in Italy as bancomat) are widely available in Italy and most will accept cards tied into the Visa, Amex, MasterCard, Cirrus and Maestro systems. As a precaution, though, check that the appropriate logo is displayed on the ATM before inserting your card. Banks opening hours generally are 08:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:45 to 3:45 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Major cards such as Visa, MasterCard, Eurocard, Cirrus, Amex and Eurocheques are widely accepted; you might be asked for an Identity Card to prove you are possessor of it.
TAXES AND REFUNDS
A value-added tax of 22% (at current 2019 rate) is included in the price. Non-EU residents are in some cases entitled to a tax rebate. You will need to fill in a form in the shop and get it stamped by customs as you leave Italy.
In Italy tipping service, which usually ranges from 1 to 3 Euros depends on the restaurant, it is automatically added at the check and must be visible on the menu. Therefore, there is no need to tip. Normally, however, Italians just round up the bill, by a few Euros. Hotel staff, such as luggage handlers, happily accepts a small tip. Generally, no other public service workers expect tips. Also remember to take your receipt, even if paying cash. It is required by the law as you must be able to prove that you paid and the owner rang it in for tax purposes.