A visa may be required for visitors from some countries.
Check the “Visa and Travel” section of this web site for information on entry requirements.
For further details, visit the Italian Foreign Office’s website at:
No special vaccines are required for visitors to Italy.
Italy's national health system (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale or SSN, for short) is administered through local health authorities and provides low or no-cost health care to all EU citizens, including in-patient treatment.
If you are an EU citizen visiting Italy, you can take advantage of reciprocal health agreements (citizens of EEA member states, including Switzerland as of June 1, 2002 also have reciprocal agreements). Before arriving, you should apply for a certificate of entitlement to treatment (form E111) at least 3 weeks beforehand. (You should make a photocopy of the form and take it with you). If you need medical treatment, go to the foreigners' office (ufficio stranieri) in your nearest local health authority (Azienda Sanità Locale or ASL) and exchange it for a booklet covering your temporary stay (normally valid up to 3 months). This booklet contains instructions on how to obtain heath care in the outpatient clinics and hospitals directly run or accredited by the Italian National Health Service.
An E111 is no substitute for full holiday insurance, however, and you should make sure you take out a separate policy. If you are a non-EU citizen visiting Italy, you will need to have private insurance cover. Note that in Italy you will be required to pay in full for any medical treatment first before making a claim via your insurance company.Emergency health provision is available to all EU and non-EU visitors.
For further information, contact the ASLs (local health units) directly in your area. Consult the telephone directory, ask at a pharmacy or a policeman for the nearest ASL.
You can also dial 112 or 113 for information such as the address of the nearest hospital. In large cities, you can consult the local Teletext pages available on your television sets.
Hospital care: hospitalisation is completely free of charge. Nevertheless, if you wish a higher level of comfort, a private room can be assigned after payment of a daily fee or for part of the cost of the stay. Hospitalisation in public (and accredited) hospitals is either direct, through the emergency room where the E111 or E112 form is presented directly or through an accredited doctor’s prescription (using one of the forms contained in the booklet)
For serious or unexpected cases, a “Health Emergency Service” is available in all regions; dial 118 in these cases.
For more information, visit the Health Ministry’s website at
The official language is Italian. English is spoken in all hotels, restaurants and shops.
Time in Italy is one hour ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time.
Italy is renowned for its favourable climate, due mainly to the Mediterranean sea whose warm waters mitigate any extremes in temperature. The hottest month of the year is usually July (average daily minimum and maximum temperatures tend to be 20º/30º), and the coldest month is January (average daily minimum and maximum 4º/10º). The wettest month is November with an average rainfall of 129 mm, whilst the driest month is July with an average rainfall of 15 mm.
Some useful links for checking out the weather forecast in Italy:
Institute of Nuclear Physics of the University of Bari
In early March, the temperature in Rome is generally mild, ranging between 10 degrees Centigrade at night and 16/18 degrees Centigrade during the day. Some warm clothes for the night and a raincoat are recommended.
The local currency is the euro, divided into one-hundred cents. Traveller cheques can be cashed and currency can be exchanged in any bank and in many hotels. Main credit cards are accepted virtually everywhere.
Bank counters are open from 8.30 am to 1.30 pm and generally from 2.30 pm to 3.30 pm, from Monday to Friday. Some banks stay open until 4.00 pm.
220 Volts. Power plugs are different from both American and British standards. A plug adapter is recommended as well as a power converter if you are carrying electronic equipment which does not run at 220 volts.
In most areas, check-in is after 2.00 pm and check-out is by 11.00 am.
Please check for exceptions with your hotel upon arrival.
Many flights from the USA and the East land in the early morning. In this case, if you want to go to your hotel room as soon as you arrive, you should book your room at least one night earlier or make arrangements with your hotel’s reservation desk beforehand.
In Italy, rooms are usually labelled as single, double, double used as single, suites, executive rooms, and presidential rooms.
Italian food is known all over the world for its delicacy and tastiness.
There are different types of restaurants: pizzeria, tavola calda (lunch bar), cantina (wine bar), enoteca (restaurant with a special emphasis on wines), osteria (traditional food), locanda (inn), trattoria (small, informal restaurant). Usually, a regular meal (consisting of two courses, dessert, coffee and drinks, but no wine) costs around 20/25 euros.
Reservations are usually required at formal restaurants. In any case, reservations are recommended on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, since more people go out for meals on those days. Reservations are recommended on all days of the week in tourist resorts.
Not required, but expect to leave a 10% tip in restaurants.
Shops, shopping malls and Italian boutiques are open all day (usually 10.00 am to 7.30 pm) or close at lunchtime (from 9.30am to 1.00pm, then open from 3.30pm to 8.00pm).
All shops are open Monday to Saturday, with some exceptions on Monday mornings and Sundays (all shops closed on Sundays).
For details on the opening hours on Sundays and holidays, see the local papers or local tourist offices.
Value-added tax (IVA) is 20% on clothing and luxury goods. Foreign tourists from non-EU countries can claim a tax refund at the time of departure, provided they spend at least a certain amount at the same shop on the same day. Those who are eligible should ask the shop assistant for a receipt (with a description of the articles purchased) and a ‘tax-free cheque’. Upon departure from the EU (no later than 90 days after the date of purchase), these should be presented at the airport’s customs office before departing to receive the refund. Global Refund (website: www.globalrefund.com) can provide more information.
In Italy, cars are driven on the right side of the road. Use of safety belts is mandatory for the driver and all passengers. Watch out for speed limits (clearly visible). International driving licence is a must.
Headlights must be on when driving on suburban roads and motorways at all times.