Spring and Fall: 55 - 75°F Summer: 70 - 85°F Winter: 40 - 55°F. Bring comfortable shoes, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather coat. On the cruises, informal dress is the general rule but there may be some occasions were formal dress is required. Some religious sites may require modest dress to enter (no shorts or sleeveless tops).
Language: Italian is the local language. Limited English is generally spoken as well.
Passports and Visas: Passport required. Visa not required for American & Canadian tourist or business stays up to 90 days. For more information, please see our Visa page.
Tipping: This is a matter of personal discretion. Tips are appreciated and expected for good service in restaurants and other places. Although restaurant bills often include a service charge, this amount is not typically for the waiters/staff. A typical tip is approximately 10. For specific guidelines, please refer to http://www.righttravelitaly.com/page/tipping-8.html
Electricity: The voltage used is 220 volts. *Note: The U.S. uses 120 volts and you can purchase a converter and transformer at most hardware stores for your 120V appliances.
Shopping: Shops are generally open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., with some variations in Northern Italy, where the lunch break is shorter and shops close earlier. Prices are reasonable and the quality of goods is very high. Department stores such as La Rinascente, Coin, Upim, and Standa are found in many Italian cities and towns.
Things to buy: Clothes for men & women (dresses, shoes, gloves, silk ties, shirts) lacework, jewelry, leather goods (handbags, cases, boxes, luggage), ceramics, gold and silver items, alabaster woodwork, straw, embroidery, glass and crystal ware. It is advisable to carry merchandise purchased with you in order to avoid any inconvenience. All major credit cards are honored in Italy. A proof of purchase (receipt) must be kept.
Health Precautions: No inoculations are necessary when arriving in Italy or Switzerland from the U.S. but you should consult with your health care provider before traveling. To prevent Montezumas Revenge, avoid the tap water, including raw fruits and vegetables washed in tap water. Your stomach may still become upset due to the change in diet. Bring anti-diarrhea medicine just in case. *For the latest overseas travel health information, call the Center for Disease Controls travelers hotline at 404-332-4559. Or visit their web site at www.cdc.gov
Conservation/Code of Conduct: The social structure is heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic church and, generally speaking, family ties are stronger than in most other countries in Western Europe. Normal social courtesies should be observed. Dress is casual in most places, though beachwear should be confined to the beach. Conservative clothes are expected when visiting religious buildings and smaller, traditional communities. Formal wear is usually indicated on invitations. Smoking is prohibited in some public buildings, transport and cinemas. Visitors are warned to take precautions against theft, particularly in the major cities.
Luggage: Right Travel packages allow one piece of luggage per person, plus carry-on bag. Additional baggage will be subject to handling charges of up to $100 per piece.
As Right Travel will not be responsible for loss or damage to luggage and personal belongings, you MUST report any loss or damage immediately at the time of the incident and obtain a written report from the local authority for submission to your insurance provider. If you luggage is lost or damaged by the airlines, a baggage claim form MUST be filed with the carrier before leaving the airport. See http://www.right-travel.com/page.php?id=9 for Important Baggage Information for U.S. Travelers.
Departure Tax: There are currently no departure taxes in Italy, please see http://www.right-travel.com/page.php?id=7 for more information.
Travel Insurance: We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance as additional security in the case of cancellation or interruption of travel plans, lost or damaged luggage, travel delays, illness, or accident. Keep all boarding passes, ticket copies and receipts for expenses paid during your trip if it later becomes necessary to file a claim.
Local Emergency Phone # ambulance/medical: 118, fire, disasters: 115, police & general emergency: 112
January 1 New Years Day
January 6 Epiphany
Mar 28 Easter Monday
April 25 Liberation Day
May 1 Labor Day
June 2 Anniversary of the Republic
August 15 Assumption of the Virgin
November 1 All Saints Day
December 8 Immaculate Conception
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 St Stephen’s Day
*Note: In addition, local feast days are held in honor of town patron saints, generally without closure of shops and offices. These include:
Turin/Genoa/Florence: Jun 24 (St John the Baptist)
Milan: Dec 7 (St Ambrose)
Siena: Jul 2 and Aug 16, Palio horserace
Venice: Apr 25 (St Mark)
Bologna: Oct 4 (St Petronius)
Naples: Sep 19 (St Gennaro)
Bari: Dec 6 (St Nicholas)
Palermo: Jul 15 (St Rosalia)
Rome: Jun 29 (St Peter)
Trieste: Nov 3.
*Note: (a) *These holidays may not be observed in certain cantons. (b) There are additional regional holidays which are observed in certain cantons only.
Driving: Traffic drives on the right. There are more than 185,500 miles of roads in Italy, including over 3700 miles of motorway (autostrada) which link all parts of the country. Tolls are charged at varying distances and scales, except for the Salerno–Reggio Calabria, Palermo–Catania and Palermo–Mazara Del Vallo stretches which are toll-free. Secondary roads are also excellent and require no tolls. Road signs are international. Many petrol stations are closed 12 -3 p.m. Visitors are advised to check locally about exact opening times.
Car Regulations: Driving licenses and other traffic documents valid in other countries are recognized in Italy. Distances are indicated in kilometer (1 km = 0.621 miles). An international insurance certificate is required for citizens from non-EC countries. The wearing of seat belts in front and rear seats is obligatory. An appropriate harness system is obligatory for children from 2 to 12 years of age.
Gasoline: Almost all the service stations in the country are equipped with pumps for lead-free (95 octane) and diesel fuel. The fuel distribution network for gas-propelled vehicles is reasonably developed (ask for information at the Automobile Club dItalia offices). Service stations are open from 7 am to 12:30 pm and from 3 pm to 7:30 pm. Service is guaranteed 24 hours a day on the motorways. Automatic pumps, which accept 10,000 and 50,000 lire banknotes, function in the evenings and at night. Carrying gasoline in gas cans is prohibited.
Traffic Tips: On highways (autostrade) no U-turns are permitted and stopping is permitted only in emergency parking areas or parking lanes. The Italian Highway Code follows the Geneva Convention and Italy uses international road signs. Driving is on the right, passing on the left. Violators of the highway code are fined serious violations may also be punished by imprisonment. In cities and towns, the speed limit is 50 km/hr.
Papal Audiences, Vatican City
General audiences with His Holiness are usually held once a week (Wednesdays at 11 a.m.) in Vatican City. They may be held inside the Basilica itself or in the hall of the Papal Audiences (Aula Paolo VI, Seating 7000), and in summer in Saint Peters Square or in the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.
Catholics are requested to have a letter of introduction from their parish priest. For this audience women should dress modestly, with arms and head covered. Dark or subdued colors are requested. Men are asked to wear a tie and jacket.