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A Practical Guide to Italy

A Practical Guide to Italy - Italy

The Climate

With its temperate Mediterranean climate, Italy enjoys mild winters and hot, dry summers, with the weather varying according to the region you visit. Northern Italy tends to be cooler than southern Italy.

A Practical Guide to Italy - Italy

The Seasons


Spring (March - May) is the ideal time to plan a trip to Italy: the weather is mild and pleasant, and there are fewer visitors than in Summer. You can enjoy the beauty of the south before the temperatures soar. Sicily is particularly beautiful, mild and calm at this time of year. The wild flowers are in full bloom and many small towns hold unique Easter festivities.

A Practical Guide to Italy - Italy


Summer (June - August) is widely regarded as a very busy time, especially in some of the more touristy areas such as the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre. Tourist numbers are at their peak and the heat can be gruelling (especially in the larger towns).

The mountain and lake areas of the north are very busy in summer (especially in August) but the weather is milder than in the south.

If you're a beach lover, you may prefer these warmer periods to explore lesser-known southern areas such as Calabria or Puglia, which are bordered by a heavenly sea.

A Practical Guide to Italy - Italy


Autumn (September to November) is probably the best time of year to travel to Italy, offering the same advantages as spring, with less crowded sites and pleasant weather.

Not only is it harvest time, with the countryside turning to beautiful colours, but it is also a time for gastronomic festivities. We recommend Tuscany, Marche and Piedmont in particular to discover the harvest and truffle festivals.

Temperatures are starting to drop in the north, so it's a good idea to bring appropriate clothing.

A Practical Guide to Italy - Italy


Winter (December - February) is considered the low season in Italy. Some of the major cultural attractions such as the Vatican Museums, the Uffizi Gallery and other tourist highlights are much quieter and more pleasant to visit during this time of year. You can take your time to wander through the galleries and enjoy the art at your own pace.
This is obviously not the case with the mountains and ski resorts in the Dolomites, Valle d'Aosta and the Savoyard Alps west of Turin. It is advisable to book early for a skiing or snowboarding holiday.

Winters in the southern Italian cities are quite mild and temperatures generally remain above zero.

A Practical Guide to Italy - Italy

Travel tips to know before you go to Italy

Health: As a member state of the European Union, Italy has free health care if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). From the UK, if your EHIC has expired you would need to apply for the GHIC. The water is safe to drink and there are public fountains. However, we suggest that you buy bottled water.
We advise you to take insect repellent with you during the summer, as much of Italy is rife with mosquitoes.
Languages: The main language is Italian, but 50% of the population speaks a regional dialect, considered their mother tongue.

Opening hours: Banks are generally open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 1.30pm and then for a short period in the afternoon (2.30pm to 4pm).
Post offices are generally open between 8.30am and 7.30pm, Monday to Saturday, although smaller branches tend to close around 1pm.
Most shops and businesses are open from 8am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday and from 4pm to 7pm.
In general, on Sundays everything is closed except bars and restaurants, although some shops remain open in most of the tourist areas.

Time Zone: Italy’s time zone is Central European Time (GMT +1)

Getting around in Italy: Getting around in Italy is relatively easy, with good quality local buses and trains. Taxis are very popular and can be the quickest way to get around a city but remember to agree a fare with the driver before you start your journey.
Villanovo can arrange for a car to be hired and driven to your villa. Do not hesitate to contact us.

Safety: Italy is a generally safe country but some cities, such as Rome, are a paradise for pickpockets! Be careful with your bags and valuables, especially in popular areas, and be vigilant in crowded places, especially on public transport.

Currency & exchange rates: The currency in Italy is the Euro (EUR). You can check the current exchange rate by clicking here.
Taxes: A 10% VAT is already included in the rate of most hotels. However, no tax is added to a restaurant bill, although a service charge of between 10 and 15% is often added instead. On clothing, luxury goods and wine, VAT is charged at 22%.

Tipping: A tip of 5-10% in cash is usually given in restaurants. A tip of €2 is a standard tip for all other services and is greatly appreciated.

A Practical Guide to Italy - Italy

Passports/Visas: You may not need a visa to enter Italy, but you must ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your stay in the country. Citizens of Europe can enter the country and stay as long as they wish. Citizens of the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK will need to present a valid passport, but the stay is limited to 3 months. For all other countries, check with the local embassy before travelling or for more details.

Natural Disasters

Volcanoes: Mount Etna, located on the island of Sicily, has been erupting with increasing frequency in recent years sending hot ash into the air. Please take care and pay attention to the instructions of the local authorities. Keep yourself informed by following the media and contact your airline if you suspect a possible disruption to your flight.

Earthquakes: Some areas of Italy lie on a major seismic fault line, so minor tremors and more intense earthquakes can occur daily. Follow the instructions of local authorities if there is a risk.

Key Events in Italy

Italy offers its visitors a number of must-see events throughout the year. Here are some of the most beautiful Italian festivals to discover in summer.


Festival dei Due Mondi: The "Festival of the Two Worlds", held every year in June in Spoleto, has become one of the most famous performing arts festivals in Italy with a programme of concerts, ballets, films and operas, featuring the greatest international talents.

Arena di Verona Opera Festival: This event, which takes place in Verona every year, has a capacity of 20,000 seats in a Roman-era amphitheatre. They are always full for this, Italy's most famous open-air opera, which is over a century old.


Grande Opera alle Terme di Caracalla: Created in 1937, it hosts unforgettable opera performances under the stars in Rome's ancient Roman baths.

Sagre Paesane: This festival, which celebrates local gastronomy and traditional culture in villages all over Italy, is an excellent way to interact with the locals and discover great folk and festive traditions.


A Practical Guide to Italy - Italy


Palio di Siena: This famous horse race, which dates back to the Middle Ages, takes place in the Piazza del Campo, the central square. Jockeys from each of the city's 17 districts compete in this awesome spectacle and the winner is feted throughout the night in the streets of their district.

La Biennale di Venezia: The Venice Biennale is a contemporary art event founded in 1895, which has become one of the major art events in the world.

Festa di San Gennaro: This event is held every year in Naples at the Duomo in honour of the city's patron saint, the Bishop of Benevento, who was beheaded during the great persecutions of the year 305. The festivities, which last about a week, give you the opportunity to taste a number of culinary specialities.

Turin International Street Theatre Festival: Every year in September, the city of Turin organises a week-long festival, with numerous shows held on the streets of the city. A host of artists from all over the world come to Turin to showcase their talents.

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