Essential Travel Information for Italy
When to Go
All seasons are good seasons to visit Italy, but some seasons are just better than others. Spring time is by all means the best time to visit Italy, although there will be some rain, the landscape is beautiful, the flowers are blooming, and everything seems so friendly. Summer time is not a very good time to go if you are among those who like peace and quiet, the streets are filled with tourists and the weather is hot and humid. Winter is the perfect time to head for the Dolomites and the Italian Alps if you are a skier.
Italy has a typical Mediterranean climate, but with apennine weather conditions in places. The winters in Italy can get very cold but not too excessively. The summers do get fairly hot and humid, especially along the coast. Italy's weather conditions are strongly influenced by the altitude, as a large part of the terrain is occupied with hills and mountains and nearly the whole length of the country is exposed to the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Health and Safety
You shouldn't be too worried about your health or your safety on your trip in Italy. Italy is a place that provides beauty and pleasantness without the fear or the illness. You should however try to avoid wearing flashy clothes, too much jewelry, and carrying lots of baggage with you. The idea is to try and blend in with the locals, to avoid unwanted attention. Italy has no serious cases of violence or theft, but it does however have an liberal quantity of pickpockets, so be vigilant at all times. Your health shouldn't be a problem either, a few cases of travelers diarrhea have been experienced, but this is totally normal. Be sure to drink bottled water, as the water in Italy is rather hard and keep hydrated when you are going to be exposed to the sun or heat for extended lengths of time.
Visas and Passports
Citizens of Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, the EU, and the US do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days, but they do need a passport to enter Italy and to re-enter their own countries. Note that the Italian law requires foreigners to report to the police station "questura" of the city they are visiting within eight days of arrival. Some hotels will do this on behalf of you, if you give them your passport details.
Money and Currency
Italy's currency is the euro. ATM's are widespread and they accept all major credit card types, such as Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club. Most large establishments will accept credit cards, whereas small shops will only accept cash. Banking hours are from Mon to Fri from 8:30am - 1:30pm and from 3:30pm - 7:30pm. Services are usually included in the price of food and drinks, incase it is not a 10% fee will be gratefully received.