Italy at a glance
Like the fine wines it’s known for, Italy exhibits depth and character not seen in any other European country. Ultra-chic metropolises, cozy rustic villages and relaxed coastal towns flank this boot-shaped region. Its superb food is imitated in restaurants around the world, but never tastes as good as it does on Italian soil. Fashion here is sumptuous, lavish and trend-setting. The country is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, with 44. Art is plentiful and has been attracting visitors for centuries. Italy’s countryside offers active alternatives including hiking in the Dolomites, skiing in the Alps, cliff diving in Sardinia and volcano trekking in the islands. From its unforgettable cuisine and its legendary tourist attractions, to its relaxed lifestyle, Italy is a destination that will not disappoint.
While Italy has hundreds of cities, these are its most famous and most visited: Rome, Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Pisa, Turin and Venice.
Good to know about Italy
- Capital: Rome.
- Driver’s License: A valid driver’s license is accepted but an International Driving Permit is recommended.
- Entry Requirements: A valid passport.
- GMT Time: +1hr. Daylight savings time is applied.
- Languages: Italian officially. German, French and Slovenian are also spoken.
- National Airlines: Alitalia.
- Population: Approximately 58,147,733.
- Electricity: 220V, 50HZ
- Departure Tax: No departure tax to be paid locally at the airport.
- Taxes: The Value Added Tax (IVA in Italy) is 21% on most goods and services. Refunds can be made for the tax on certain goods and merchandise if you spend a minimum of 155 Euros in the same store on the same day and are not a resident of the European Union. You must ask for a tax-free receipt from the store, have customs stamp your form at the airport when departing and then mail it in for a refund once in your home country.
- Tipping: Tipping is not required but is greatly appreciated, especially in hotels and taxis. At restaurants ‘service’, a fee usually ranging from 1 to 3 Euros, is automatically added to the bill and must be displayed on the menu.
- Climate: Italy’s climate is quite varied from region to region. In general, all of the coastal areas exhibit a typical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot & dry summers.
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