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USEFUL INFORMATION FOR TOURISTS

 Best Months to Travel  ATMs  Emergencies 
 Weather  Credit Cards  Holidays
 Tourist Registration  Traveller's Checks  Country Code 
 Trip Cancellation Insurance   Taxes  Public Telephones
 Medical Insurance  Medical Assistancein pdf  Electricity
 Currency   Pharmacies  
     
BEST MONTHS TO TRAVEL
The best months to travel in Italy are from April to June and from late September to October when temperatures are typically mild. August can be uncomfortably hot. In general, Italians go on vacation from August 15 to the end of the month; however, many Italians take the entire month off. During this period, known as "Ferragosto", many hotels, restaurants and shops are closed.

From late October until Easter, many hotels and restaurants renovate their facilities. Most attractions also operate on shorter winter hours during this period. Some hotels take one or two months off between November and February. Spas and beaches are closed during these cold winter months.

In terms of airline schedules, high season to Rome runs from June to the beginning of September. This is the most expensive and crowded period in Italy . Mid season is from April to May, from early September to October, and from December 15 to December 24. Low season is from November 1 to December 14 and from December 25 to March 31.

WEATHER
The summer in Italy ranges from warm to very hot, and is especially hot in the inland south. The nights tend to be cool, offering a welcome break from high day temperatures. The high temperatures begin in May and tend to last until October. Winters in north Italy are cold with rain and snow. In the south, the weather is warm year round, averaging 10°C (50°F) in the winter.
TOURIST REGISTRATION

Whether you are travelling to Italy for a vacation, on business, or as a student or researcher, it is important that you consult your country's embassy, or inform yourself otherwise, of your requirements to register yourself in Italy.

Tourist accommodation providers, such as hotels or privately owned apartments, will register you with the local police station upon arrival when you provide them with your passport. However, if you are staying for fewer than 20 days, this may be sufficient. If you are staying in a private home with family or friends, you must register yourself at the local police station within 3 days of your arrival in Italy.

If you are travelling within Italy for fewer than 3 months, you will generally be considered as a non-resident and you must register yourself at the Questura within 8 days of arrival in Italy (unless you will be staying for fewer than 20 days, as noted above).

TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE
Trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended for persons booking trips in advance of their intended date of departure. Trip cancellation insurance is intended to cover any financial loss incurred due to unforeseen circumstances causing you to go home early or back out of a trip entirely. Reasons meriting cancellation may include sickness, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, airline strikes or government-issued declarations of unsafe travel, among others. Notably, insurance policy details vary from one company to another, therefore it is recommended that you read the fine print and make sure that you fully understand the terms of the contract prior to purchasing your insurance. The following companies are well-known insurers:
MEDICAL INSURANCE

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Medical insurance is intended to cover any medical treatment that you may require during your trip. Whether your health plan covers you for overseas treatment or not, most hospitals require that you pay for your bills upfront. If the treatment is covered by your health plan, you will be refunded only after you have returned home and filed the necessary paperwork with your insurance company. As a precaution, you may want to purchase medical insurance, particularly if you will be travelling to a high-risk area or participating in high-risk activities during your trip. Medical insurance companies may also offer useful advice on medical services, including where to go for medical assistance and whether you are being charged correctly for medical services. The following are well-known medical insurers:
CURRENCY
The euro (€) is the official currency of Italy. Exchange rates are more favourable at the point of arrival; however, it is wise to exchange a small amount of money into euros prior to going abroad in case you can not find an exchange point immediately upon arrival. While abroad, you can change your money at a "cambio", hotels, shops, airports and some travel agencies, such as American Express and Thomas Cook. Ask about rates and commission fees first and shop around to get the best deal on your exchange. For current rates of exchange, see http://www.xe.com/ucc
ATMs
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are widely available throughout Italian cities and small towns. Look on the back of your bank card to see which network your card service belongs to -Cirrus, Star, Plus, Interac. Your bank may charge you every time your card is used at a different bank's ATM, and this fee will likely be much higher for international transactions than for domestic transactions.It may be useful to know your daily withdrawal limit before you leave, and if you take cash advances on your credit card from an ATM, keep in mind that credit card companies try to protect you and themselves from theft by limiting the withdrawal amount allowed outside of the card holder's country of residence. Also note that you will pay interest on cash withdrawals from your credit card from the moment of your withdrawal.Ensure that the PINs on your bank cards and credit cards will work in Italy . Six-digit PINs will not work. You will need a four-digit PIN. If you have a six-digit PIN, contact your bank or credit card company to ask for a new four-digit PIN for your trip.
CREDIT CARDS
Credit cards generally offer good exchange rates, are a safe way to carry money, and provide a record of your purchases. If you know your PIN, you can take a cash advance from your credit card at banks or ATMs. If you do not know your PIN, you can call the number on the back of you credit card well in advance of you departure and ask the bank to send it to you by mail. Some banks and credit card companies will provide you with your PIN over the phone if you are able to successfully answer their personal information questions. Be sure to keep the contact details of your credit card company with you when travelling in case you have any questions, or you wallet is stolen or lost.
TRAVELLER'S CHECKS
Most shops in major Italian cities will accept traveller's checks. You can purchase traveller's checks at almost any bank. Otherwise, you can contact one of the many companies that issue traveller' checks by phone or through the internet. Foreign currency traveller's checks are offered by American Express, Thomas Cook, Visa and MasterCard. You will pay the rate of exchange at the time of your purchase. Most companies will charge a transaction fee for each order, as well as a shipping fee if you order your traveller's checks online.If you decide to use traveller's checks, keep a record of the serial numbers apart from your checks in case you they are stolen or lost. This will help speed up the refund process.
TAXES
Italy imposes a value-added tax, called IVA, on most goods and services. Non-European Union citizens are entitled to a refund of the IVA if they spend more than €155, before tax, at any one store. To claim a tax refund, request an invoice from the cashier at the time of purchase and have it stamped before you leave at the Customs office in the airport (in the airport of the last European Union country you will be in before you leave the European Union). Upon your return home, mail the stamped invoice (keeping a copy for your own records) back to the original vendor within 90 days of the date of purchase. The vendor will send you a refund. You can request that the refund be credited to the credit card used to make the purchase, which is usually faster.
MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
If you become ill during your trip and require medical assistance, you can contact any foreign consulate and ask for a list of local doctors who speak English. Alternatively, you can ask your hotel concierge to recommend a local doctor or go to the emergency room (Pronto Soccorso) of the local hospital.
PHARMACIES
Pharmacies are open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. At most pharmacies, you will find a list of addresses for 24-hour pharmacies. Pharmacists can likely recommend the appropriate medicine or alternative if you describe your symptoms and many pharmacists in tourist areas speak can speak English.
EMERGENCIES
The following are emergency telephone numbers for Italy , which you can dial from anywhere in the country:
  • 12 - Telephone Directory Assistance Number
  • 112 - Carabinieri
  • 113 - Emergency Police Help Number (also ambulance and fire)
  • 115 - Fire Department
  • 116 - A.C.I. (Italian Automobile Club) road assistance.
  • 118 - Medical Emergencies
  • HOLIDAYS
    Businesses and shops in Italy are closed on the following National Holidays: Closings are also observed in the following cities on Feast Days honouring the patron saints:
  • New Year's Day, January 1
  • Epiphany, January 6
  • Easter Monday
  • Liberation Day, April 25
  • Labour Day, May 1
  • Festa della Rebubblica, June 2
  • Ferragosto, August 15
  • All Saints' Day, November 1
  • Feast of Immaculate Conception, December 8
  • Christmas Day, December 25
  • Santo Stefano, December 26
  • Venice -April 25, St. Mark
  • Florence , Genoa , Turin -June 24, St. John the Baptist
  • Rome -June 29, Sts. Peter and Paul
  • Palermo -July 15, St. Rosalia
  • Naples -September 19, St. Gennaro
  • Bologna -October 30, St. Saturnino
  • Trieste -November 3, St. Giusto
  • Bari -December 6, St. Nicola
  • Milan -December 7, St. Ambrose
  • ITALY - COUNTRY CODE
    The country code for calling Italy from outside the country is 39.
    PUBLIC TELEPHONES
    Public telephones are available throughout Italy. You will likely require a phone card (Carta Telefonica) to make calls. Phone cards can be purchased at news stands, tobacco shops and some bars.
    ELECTRICITY
    Electricity in Italy is usually alternating current (AC), varying from 42Hz to 50Hz cycles. The voltage can be anywhere from 115v to 220v. If you plan to use your own electronic appliances or devices in Italy, you may need a transformer and an adapter plug.

     
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