Indeed, Italy has a long history and rich culture. From ancient times, Italy has been influencing the cultural and social development of the Mediterranean Region. Especially, the history of the Roman Empire, which ruled the Mediterranean region for centuries since ancient Greece, has also had a profound impact on world history. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and many other famous artists and philosophers were based in Italy. And the smallest country in the world, the Vatican, is located in Rome which has significant importance in religion.
Tourists visit Italy not only for culture, art, history, religion but also for their gastronomy. Pizza, pasta, as well as a variety of appetizers and desserts add the excitement of travel. You can enjoy classic coffee, espresso, and gelato at a cheap price.
LANGUAGE : Italian
AREA : 3,013 million 4,000㏊
RELIGION : Catholic over 85%
CURRENCY : Euros
VOLTAGE : 220V
Italy has so diverse attractiveness throughout the country. Even their small towns are being loved by tourists. If you want to profoundly discover the country by visiting Rome, Florence, Venice, and small towns, plan a journey for the long-term and take your time.
1) Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Piazza Venezia, Campidoglio, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant'Angelo, The Mouth of Truth, Spanish Square, Popolo square, Condotti shopping street, Corso street, Vatican
1-2) Near Rome: Orvieto, Civita, Tivoli - Villa d'Este, Siena, Assisi
2) Florence: Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Museum (David Statue), Vecchio Bridge, Repubblica Square, Florence Leather Market, Central Market of Florence, Santa Maria Novella Church, Michelangelo Square, Cathedral of San Lorenzo
3) Venice : Grand Canal, San Mark's Square, San Mark's Basilica, Rialto Bridge, Rialto Fish Market, Doge's Palace, Bridge of Sighs, Santa Maria della Salute Cathedral, Accademia Museum, San Giorgio Magazzore Church, Murano, Burano
4) Milano: Milan Duomo Cathedral, La Scala Opera House, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Monte Napoleone Street, Brera Gallery, Sforza Castle, The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, The Naviglio Grande Canal, Arch of Peace, Lake Como
5) Verona: Arena, Bra Square, Juliet's House, Erbe Square, Signoria Square, Santa Anastasia's Cathedral, Stone Bridge, Castel San Pietro, Castel Vecchio Bridge
6) Southern Italy: Naples, Sorrento, Capri, Anacapri, Pompeii, Amalfi
7) Cinque Terre : A group of five villages (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso) where you can enjoy a fantastic view from the hills of the town.
Chilly Weather, December - March
The average minimum temperature is 4℃ and the average maximum temperature is 13℃. It is a bit chilly, but it is relatively mild if you go toward the South regions. However, as the daily temperature difference is large, we recommend you to bring your light coat for morning and evening. Also, the average number of rainy days is 8 to 9 days, so always keep a small umbrella in your bag.
Warm weather to enjoy walking tour, April - May
The daily temperature difference is still large, but the average minimum temperature is around 9-11℃ and the average maximum temperature is 20℃. Let's take a light cardigan or scarf. The average number of rainy days is 7 days in April and 4-5 days in May.
Hot and romantic summer, June - September
Typical summer weather but you can enjoy the wind under the shadow. The average minimum temperature is 16-18℃ and the average maximum temperature is 26-29℃. The daily temperature difference is still big. It doesn't rain much and it is relatively hot so be careful to hydrate yourself when traveling.
Cool weather after extremely hot summer, October - November
It is when the heat is gone and the day is getting cooler which would facilitate your traveling without any concern. Because of the big difference in daily temperature, we recommend you to take a light coat and small umbrellas in case of unexpected rain.
Generally, the price in Italy seems cheaper than in other European countries. There are many restaurants where you can enjoy various foods such as pizza and pasta at a low price. You can have a good coffee and a gelato almost anywhere and anytime at an affordable price. But, if you are planning to visit many museums or historical sites, you have to consider the entrance fee. You can expect to spend around 80 euros per day per person, excluding the accommodation.
Italian food is famous all around the world. The sauce and seasonings that are used in their cooks are varied so you can choose depending on your preference. From appetizers to desserts, Italian gastronomy is worth to try. We will introduce some of the most famous dishes you must try.
1) CARBONARA : One type of cream spaghetti which is based on egg yolks and is topped with cheese. It has a sticky taste.
2) AMATRICIANA : One of representative tomato sauce pasta of Italy with bacon and garlic. They use long and thick spaghetti noodles. It is originated from a region called Amatriche.
3) PIZZA : When you visit Italy, the country of pizza, you should try a pizza at least once because it is better cooked in their wood-fired oven. You can easily find them in restaurants or even as street food. The thin and chewy dough is the typical feature of Italian pizza. The price of one pizza starts at 3 euros.
4) LASAGNA : A type of pasta which started from the northern part of Italy. It is basically flavored with ragu sauce and it is put together with cheese. Although it is one kind of pasta, it is a completely different flavor from pasta. You may enjoy the soft and cheesy taste and texture in your mouth.
5) PROSCIUTTO & MELON : Prosciutto is an Italian ham and Italians often eat them with melon. Although it doesn't seem a good combination, it is a good appetizer mixed with prosciutto's salty taste and melon's sweetness. You can easily find them at restaurants or you can also purchase them from supermarkets and eat them at your rooms.
6) RISOTTO : If you get tired of flour-based food, ordering risotto could be a good idea. It is cooked with rice as the main ingredient and they add flavors with various ingredients such as tomato sauce, truffle, etc.
7) GNOCCHI : Mix dough of flour and potatoes. There is a variety of sauces such as cheese and tomatoes. It feels like a soft rice cake with a sweet flavor and sticky texture.
8) ARANCINI : Highly recommendable menu for breakfast or snack. You can easily found arancini when you enter a small restaurant that sells pieces of pizza. The most basic one is the fried dish with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and rice. Besides tomato sauce base, there are various flavors depending on where you visit.
9) T-BONE STEAK : If you are traveling in Florence, you should definitely try T-bone steak. It is usually cooked from 1kg and only be treated in a 1kg unit. 1kg T-bone steak is for two people. The steak is basically flavored which could be different from a typical European steak dish. The price differs from 40 euros to 70 euros, depending on the type of meat and restaurant.
10) GELATO : Don't forget the pleasure of dessert during the trip in Italy. On the sunny days, you would love to try Gelato. There are many gelato shops in the streets and the flavors are very varied. We recommend you to try three most famous places for gelato in Rome: Passeig, Giolitti and Old Bridge.
11) CANNOLI : Typical Italian dessert in Sicily. After frying the bread with the hole in the middle, the middle part is filled with cream, ricotta cheese, and fruit. There is a variety of size and taste.
12) TOMATO CAPRESE : It is an appetizer loved by many people because its recipe is really simple. It is a Caprese salad with tomatoes, mozzarella chese, olive oil, balsamic sauce, and basil.
Italy is very well connected within intercities by train. Even to visit a small town, it is easy to move by train. However, more frequently there is a delayed ride in Italy. So you might need to check your schedule once more on the signboards when you arrive at the train station. If you are planning to ride the train frequently, you can buy a Eurail Italy Pass. But, you might need to check its efficiency because you have to make a reservation for a high-speed train and the cost of a seat reservation is 10 euros.
1) TRANSPORTATION IN ITLAY BETWEEN CITIES
TRAIN : There are TRENITALIA and ITALO for the train rides. It is better to check both train companies for your departure time because the price is slightly different each time. By checking both websites, you can book one at a cheaper price.
BUS : There is a way to use buses such as EUROLINE. If the train ticket is so expensive or you do not have an available seat, check out the bus.
2) TRANSPORTATION IN ROME
There are buses, trams, and subways in Rome. But buses operate irregularly and it is hard to expect their interval. So, if your plan is scheduled quite tightly, we recommend you to use tram or subway, rather than buses. In Rome, most of the tourist spots are located closely. And you can use unlimited public transport for 100 minutes with a single ticket. You can purchase a single ticket at TABACCHI, stores, street kiosks, and subway stations. And do not forget to punch the ticket on the punching machine when you board on a bus or tram. Even if you have a ticket but not punched, they will be considered as an illegal free ride.
Single Ticket : It costs 1.5 euros and you can have a free ride of bus, tram, and subway for 100 minutes from your first use of the ticket.
Pass for 1 day/2days/7days : Each of them costs 7 euros, 12.5 euros, and 24 euros. You can enjoy unlimited public transportation for 24 hours, 48 hours and 168 hours.
HOW TO GET TO THE CITY CENTER FROM ROME AIRPORT
AIRPORT BUS (Fiumicino Airport) : It runs every 30 minutes cycling between airport and Termini station. There are several airport bus companies but they generally cost 6 euros and their journey takes about 70 minutes. If you are heading to the airport from Termini Station, you can purchase tickets in advance but not necessarily. But sometimes during the high season, it is difficult to get on the bus due to the high demand, so we recommend you to arrive there earlier than the exact time of ride. If you don't have any available seats on the bus, try the train.
TRAIN (Fiumicino Airport) : By using LEONARDO EXPRESS, you can reach the city center in 30 minutes. The one-way ride costs 14 euros. If you have enough time, you can use the non-express train which will take you 1 hour and costs 8 euros.
AIRPORT BUS (Ciampino Airport) : You can take this bus from the airport and Termini station and it takes about 40 minutes for 4 euros.
3) TRANSPORTATION IN FLORENCE
Public transportation in Florence consists of buses and trams with pretty good routes. You can buy the ticket from TABACCHI or small shops. Don't forget to punch the ticket when you board a bus or tram.
SINGLE TICKET : With a single ticket you can use transportation for 90 minutes without limitation. It costs 1.5 euros. If you buy a ticket on the bus or tram, the price gets up to 2.5 euros.
10 TICKETS : You can buy a bunch of single tickets at a lower price if you need ten of them. The total price is 14 euros.
HOW TO GET TO THE CITY CENTER FROM FLORENCE AIRPORT
AIRPORT BUS : It runs each 30 minutes and it costs 6 euros for a one-way ride. It takes about 20 minutes. You can find the bus stop by heading right from the airport exit.
TAXI : If you arrive late at night, you can use a taxi safely. The taxi fare is fixed at 22 euros. For the holidays it is 24 euros and after 10 pm it is 25.30 euros. You can load maximum of 7 pieces of baggage and for each of them, you have to pay one euro.
4) TRANSPORTATION IN VENICE
In Venice, a city of water, there is no regular public transportation but instead, you will find water buses and water taxis called VAPORETTO. You can buy the ticket from the office which is located in front of Santa Lucia Central Station, VAPORETTO dock, or other docks. Or even in TABACCHI you can ask for the ticket. Regardless of the type of card, you have to check your traffic card on the machine each time of the ride. Because if you don't have the record being checked in that certain ride, they consider it as an illegal free ride even though you have the appropriate card. If you have Rolling Venice Card, you can purchase VAPORETTO tickets at discounted prices.
SINGLE TICKET : It is available for 72 minutes and it costs 7.5 euros. You can't use for the transfer. So if you are planning to visit Murano or Burano, it is better to buy a 24 hours ticket.
24/48/72 HOURS PASS : Each of them costs 20 euros, 30 euros, and 40 euros. You can use unlimited transportation for a certain period of time.
WAY TO MURANO : Take the number 3 from Ferrovia just in front of Santa Lucia Station. It takes about 20 minutes.
WAY TO BURANO : From Santa Lucia Ferrovia D stop, take number 3 to Murano. And from Murano, transfer to number 12 to Burano. If you don't want to transfer, you can take a short walk from Santa Lucia station to Fondamente Nove A stop and from there take number 12 which drives you directly to Burano in 50 minutes.
In case of a student, prepare your international student ID card. Italy has relatively few student discounts compared to other European countries, but if you are planning to travel to other European countries, it is a good idea to have an international student card in your hand. Sometimes there could a discount in Italy too so when you buy a ticket ask them if there is any discount for a student. As Italy is a famous tourist country, you may often encounter long waiting line to enter. You can book the ticket in advance but usually, there is an extra reservation fee. If you are planning to travel during the non-high season, you can save your money by purchasing on-site. And if you have a lot of travel itinerary, it would be convenient to purchase in advance even if there is a reservation fee.
ROME PASS : Rome pass is recommendable if you are planning to visit many historical sites of Rome such as Colosseum, museums and art galleries. Please note that you can't use it for the Vatican Museum. With the pass, you can enter the sites without the charge or with a reduced price and you can use public transportation without any limitation during a certain period. There are two types; 48 hours pass and 72 hours pass. If you buy 48 hours pass at 28 euros, you can enter one site without any charge nor any waiting line (Colosseum, Foro Romano. Palatino consider as one site), use free public transportation for 48 hours, get a 50% off of entrance tickets for other tourist sites. Besides, with the 72 hours pass (38.5 euros), you will have a free ticket to enter two touristic sites without waiting line, 72 hours free and unlimited transportation and 50% discount of other entry tickets. Rome Pass starts counting from the moment you first use it at the site, including public transport, museums, and historical sites. You can purchase it at the tourist information center or TABACCHI. You can buy it in advance through online and receive it at the tourist information center.
ROLLING VENICE CARD : With a Rolling Venice card, you can purchase tickets of Venice's tourist attractions at the discounted fare. It is available for up to 29 years old and it costs 6 euros. Even if you are not planning to visit many places, it is worth to consider buying because the range of the discounts is wide.
The currency in Itlay is euro, thus, if you are traveling in Europe, you do not have to exchange the money twice. It is recommended to exchange money before the trip because it could be troublesome to find a currency exchange counter in the local area and sometimes there could be high commission fees.
1) BIALETTI MOKA POT: It is an espresso extraction device shaped as mini-kettle which is used in most of the Italian homes. Bialetti moka pot is famous for the adorable design and you may buy it at lower price than your country.
2) ITALY WINE : Italy is also famous for its wine production. It is one of the largest wine producing countries in the world, with more than 2,200 varieties of wine grapes produced in Italy.
3) LIMONCELLO : You should drink at least once when you visit southern Italy. It is a type of liqueur with lemon. It is traditional to make it with Sorrento lemon. Its alcoholicity is so strong that they usually drink a small amount of them. You can find them in various bottles, shaped as Italian peninsular, lemon, etc. Its yellow color and Italian representative shape make it a great souvenir.
4) ILLY & LAVAZZA COFFEE : Italy is famous for coffee. Illy and Lavazza are the top brands for Italian coffee beans. You can buy coffee beans, coffee machines, coffee cups, etc in their stores. And usually, the price of their products is cheaper than in other countries.
5) BALSAMIC VINEGAR : In Italy, when they eat appetizer bread or when they cook, they use a lot of balsamic vinegar. Therefore, there are many kinds of balsamic vinegar and the prices are cheap.
6) TRUFFLE OIL & SALT : Italian Piemonte truffle is considered as the highest quality. In Italy, it is discoverable to buy a wide variety of truffle and salt at an affordable price.
7) POCKET COFFEE CHOCOLATE : Inside the chocolate, it contains a thick espresso. It would be a pleasant souvenir and gift to remember your journey.
8) MARVIS TOOTHPASTE : It is called a Chanel of toothpaste products. It is luxurious from the package. The taste is various. And it is a natural toothpaste that does not contain any coloring matter. With its mint flavor, it gives a very clean feeling after brushing.
9) SANTA MARIA NOVELLA : Santa Maria Novella is the brand of cosmetics with more than 400 years of history. The store is located beside Santa Maria Novella Cathedral. The monks from the cathedral have used herbs and flowers to make medicines. Since then, the products have been sold and have been loved until now. Moisture cream and regeneration cream are popular items that you have to buy.
10) MARTET COSMETICS : There are cosmetics that can be purchased at a low price of 5 euros at the markets. Among them, Roberts rose water, Roberts rose cream and Cera di Cupra cream are known for their moisturizing function and price.
11) KIKO COSMETICS : Kiko, as Italian representative roadshop brand, is famous for its color cosmetics and is known for its vivid colors with a wide variety of choices. You can buy colorful lipsticks and eye shadow at a low price. It is also a good item for a gift.
12) LEATHER GOODS : Italian leather industry is very famous. From the Florence leather market to the leather shop all over Rome, they sell good quality leather products at very reasonable prices.
To get a tax refund in Italy, you should not be a resident in EU countries, and need to exit Italy within 3 months. Also, the minimum price spent should be over 154.95 euros.
When you get the tax refund form from stores, try to fill out the form with your information including email address, postal code, and phone number so that you can save the time at the airport.
If Italy is the final destination of your trip before going back to your country, you can get a tax refund at the airport in Italy. If you are visiting some more countries after Italy, you can get a tax refund at the last EU country you visit. If you have a transit of the airplane in another EU country, you still get a tax refund at Italy.
In the airport, you should proceed with the tax refund procedure before checking your baggage because if you send your baggage first, you may have trouble to show the products to customs. And if you have the products for a tax refund in your cabin baggage, you can use the office after passing the security check. There are some airports in which the tax refund counters are divided by the agencies. So, make sure to check the company and its corresponding line to wait. If you have documents for several agencies, it would be better for you to arrive at the airport 3-4 hours before departure time. In case of tax refund documents received from other EU countries, you can get a customs stamp at the customs counter and put it in the mailbox. If you only received a receipt, ask if you should put it in a mailbox or not.
You can get a refund by cash or card. When the counter is open, you can get a refund by cash, but when you arrive at the airport at late night or early morning, you can get a refund only by card as you can only put the documents in the post box. In this case, you have to write the name on the document which is the same as the cardholder. If you get a refund by cash, there is a certain fee but with the exchange rate, the difference between cash and card refund is not big.
There isn't a special tipping culture in Italy. Instead, the service fee is already included in the receipt and sometimes they separately charge CORTADO which is for the table. But sometimes local people leave some small changes when they consider that they had a great dining experience. You can ask for the bill at the table to make payment at restaurants, like in many other European countries.
Italy is one of the countries with many pickpockets. You have to carry your bags on your front side. If you have a backpack, make sure that you don't put valuable stuff in it. Additionally, there are occasions when valuables are often lost at the hotel, so it is recommendable to carry your valuables during your trip. Or if you want to leave valuables at your room, you should hang up a signpost that you do not need cleaning service. In Florence, some people put artistic drawings on the street where tourists usually take their eyes off the street because of Duomo's scale. And when you step on it by accident, they insist you pay for them. So be careful. Also, when you use public transportation, you have to pay attention when some strangers just talk to you or block your way. Because while you are in confusion, they grab your bags, cameras, smartphones, etc. Especially they target the tourists with suitcases.
In Italy, they use 220V but the plug is smaller than other ones. It is recommendable to take a multi-adapter.
You might easily find drinking water spots in Italy. If you can't find a supermarket nearby on a hot summer, you can drink that tap water.
Italy doesn't want to change the antique aspect of the city so the roads are still made of small stones. If you walk around wearing sandals or thin shoes, you will get tired easily. Therefore, it is recommended to wear shoes with a thick bottom. And, the sunlight in Italy is very strong. Don't forget your sunglasses.
It is hard to find a toilet in Italy. For some small cafes, they don't have a toilet so make sure to use a toilet when you find them. There is a public toilet in the train stations which you can use for 1 euro.