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Overview
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Italy Travel Guides

The Basics:


Electricity

Electrical current in Italy is 230 volts, 50Hz. A variety of plugs are in use including the European-style two-pin plug.

Language

The official language of Italy is Italian. English is understood in the larger cities but not in the more remote parts of the country.

Tipping

Tipping is customary in Italy and 10-15% of the bill is acceptable in restaurants (unless, as is increasingly the case, a 15% service charge has already been added to the bill). Hotels add a service charge of 15-18%, but it is customary to tip the service staff extra. Italians rarely tip taxi drivers, but a 5-10% tip is always appreciated.

Safety Information

Tourists in Italy should be vigilant to ensure their safety in public places and tourist sites as the Italian Government has warned that the risk of international terrorist attacks has increased. Domestic terrorism continues, but targets are usually Italian authorities, however there is a possibility of being caught up in attacks. Tourists are vulnerable to pick-pocketing and muggings in the bigger cities, particularly on public transport, in crowded areas and around tourist sites, and should exercise caution when carrying large amounts of cash and valuables. Be particularly careful on bus 64 to St Peter's Square and around the main train station, Termini. Visitors should be wary of groups of children, some of whom will distract attention while the others try to steal what they can. Strikes by transport workers take place regularly throughout Italy and delays are possible.

Local Customs

In Italy, it is an offence to sit on steps and in courtyards near public buildings, including the main churches, in Florence; eating and drinking in the vicinity should also be avoided. Shorts, vests or any other immodest clothing should not be worn inside churches.

Business

Italians can be very formal and old fashioned, but are also warm and welcoming. Face to face communication is best, and often a third party introduction can speed initial negotiations. Business attire is formal and very stylish, and handshakes are the norm. First impressions count for a lot in Italy. Expect plenty of gesticulating and interruptions, or people talking over each other. Business cards are used. Unfortunately the bureaucracy in Italy can slow down deal-making. Business hours are usually 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, but can vary according to season and region.

Communications

The international access code for Italy is +39. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). All numbers must be preceded by 0, whether originating in Italy or out, unless calling a mobile phone. City/area codes are in use, e.g. 02 for Milan and 06 for Rome. There can be high surcharges on calls made from hotels and it is generally cheaper to use a calling card. Public telephone boxes take phone cards for local and international calls, which can be bought from newsagents. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts.

Duty Free

Travellers over 17 years from non-EU countries do not have to pay duty on Travellers from EU countries travelling within the EU are limited to 110 litres of beer, 90 litres of wine (of which 60 litres may be sparkling), 20 litres of fortified wine, 10 litres of spirits, 1kg of tobacco, 800 cigarettes, 200 cigars, 1kg of tobacco and 400 cigarellos, perfume up to 50g or 250ml eau de toilette, and other goods for personal consumption to the value of EUR175 per adult or EUR90 for children under 15 years. EU citizens are also able to claim tax back if the VAT rates in Italy are higher than those in their country of residence. Prohibited items include narcotic drugs, medicinal products, arms and weapons, explosives and protected animal and plant species.


Luxury Hotels in Italy >

Best Italy Hotel Rates

Straf Hotel and Bar

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Carlton Hotel Baglioni

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Bauer Il Palazzo

Stay 1 night and save from 551.12 USD *

Grand Hotel Villa Medici

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Villa le Maschere

Early Booking Bonus from 185.04 USD *

Hotel Gritti Palace

Book now and save! from 529.81 USD *

Grand Hotel Majestic - Gia Baglioni

Book early and save 10% from 259.15 USD *

Hotel Monaco and Grand Canal

from 153.11 USD *
See All Specials For Italy Luxury Hotels >

* Lowest nightly rate based on select dates. Please click on hotel for details.

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