Listed below are the top travel tips you need to know before you go to Italy including details about the currency, safety, getting around, languages, and opening hours.
As a member state of the European Union, Italy has free healthcare available provided you have an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The water is safe to drink and you will often find public fountains located in the streets and in the squares around cities, but we suggest you buy bottled water instead. Check with your local doctor to see if you need any vaccinations prior to your trip to Italy. We advise you to take an insect repellent with you as during the summer, much of Italy is bothered with mosquitoes.
The main language in Italy is Italian although you will hear many other different languages being spoken by natives such as French, Greek, German and Spanish among many others. Around 50% of the population speak a regional dialect as their mother tongue and it differs between different areas. English is considered to be the second language of the country with the majority of the country being able to speak it.
Banks are usually open from Monday to Friday from 8:30am - 1:30pm and then for a short period in the afternoon (2:30pm - 4pm).
Post offices are usually open between 8:30am - 7:30pm, Monday to Saturday although smaller branches tend to close around 1pm.
The majority of shops and businesses are open from 8am - 1pm, Monday to Saturday and then from 4pm - 7pm.
Generally, everywhere closes on a Sunday apart from bars and restaurants although in tourist hotspots several shops may remain open on a Sunday.
The time in Italy is GMT + 1.
Getting around Italy is relatively easy as there are numerous different methods of transport to choose from. Local buses and trains are of good value and are quite efficient getting you from A to B. If you decide to travel by train, make sure that you have your ticket validated before you board the train. Taxis are very popular and can be the quickest way to get around a city, but be sure to agree the rate you will pay before the journey starts. Italians drive on the right so bear this in mind if you decide to travel around by car. Villanovo can organise a rental car for you that can be delivered to your villa so don’t hesitate to contact us.
Italy is a generally safe country with low crime rates, however there is a higher level of petty crime, especially in busy city centres - a pickpocket's paradise! Look after bags and valuables, especially in popular areas and remain vigilant in crowded places and on public transport.
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 at the majority of hotels. However, no tax is added to a restaurant bill, although a service charge ranging between 10 and 15% is often added instead. On clothing, luxury goods, and wine, VAT is charged at 22%.
Tipping: a 5 - 10% tip in cash is usually acceptable in restaurants. A couple of euros is usual for all other services and is greatly appreciated.
You may not need a visa to enter Italy, however you must ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your stay in the country. Citizens of Europe and the United Kingdom can enter the country and stay for as long as they desire as long as they produce a valid passport. Citizens of the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia can enter Italy provided they have a valid passport, but are limited to a stay of only 3 months. For all other countries, be sure to check with your local foreign department before travelling or for more details click here.
Mount Etna, located on the island of Sicily has been erupting more and more frequently sending hot ash into the air. Please take care and follow instructions by local authorities. Be aware of what is happening in the media and get in contact with your airline if you suspect possible disruption to your flight.
Some parts of Italy lie on a major seismic fault line and so minor tremors and bigger earthquakes can be a daily thing. Please take care and follow instructions by local authorities in the event of this natural disaster.