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About your travel to Italy for your Italy Holidays

Italy is a boot shaped peninsula located at the north of the Mediterranean Sea, bounded by France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The best time for holidays in Italy to visit the art cities is spring, the mountains in the winter and the summer is the best time for the sea resorts of your Italian holiday.

Population - Approximately 60 million, mainly Catholic.

Capital - Rome

Size - 301,278 sq. km, with a coastline of 7,456 kms

Government - Democratic Republic. Italy is divided into 20 Regions. Rome is the capital city.

Language - Italian. There are different dialects, expressions and accents throughout the country.

Time Zone - Central European Time (CET) equals GMT plus 1 hour. Daylight saving during northern hemisphere summer

Passport and Visa Requirements - There are no visa requirements for holders of Australian or New Zealand passports for stays up to three months. For information on longer stays and work permits, please contact the Italian Consulate in your city.

Health Regulations - No inoculations are required although hepatitis B is always recommended.

Duty Free Regulations - Allowance for visitors over 18 years of age is 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco, 2 litres of wine and 1 litre of distilled spirits or 2 litres of sparkling wine.

Business/Banking hours - Banks are usually open Monday to Friday from 8.30/9.00 am to 12.30/1.00 pm and from 2.20/3.00 to 4.00 pm. ATMs available. Most businesses are open from 8.30am to 5pm.

Currency - Euro (€). 1 Euro = 100 cents. Credit cards are widely accepted. Best exchange rate is in banks. On entering or leaving Italian territory, non-resident travellers may carry European and foreign currency without restriction. However, if the amount of currency exceeds the equivalent of 10,000 Euro, a written declaration is required.

Postal and Phone Service - Italy has phone cards for public phones. Wide mobile phone service. Postal services from Monday to Friday.

Medical Services - High standard of services. Best services with private doctors. Travel insurance recommended.

Tipping - Service charges included with restaurants. Tipping optional.

Climate - Apart from the Alps, which have a mountain climate that varies with altitude, Italy has a continental climate in the north and a Mediterranean one in the south. Summer temperatures average 24 degrees throughout the nation but winter temperatures range from a January average of 1 degree in Bolzano, to 7 degrees in Rome and 12 degrees in Palermo and Sicily. Rainfall is average in the central and northern part of the country. The best time to visit the art cities is spring, the mountains in the winter and the summer, summer for the sea resorts.

Voltage and Plug Shape - 220 volt. Three pronged cylindrical plugs.

Personal Safety - Take care in cities and crowded places. Italy is considered quite secure.

Dress Requirements - Dress standards casual. Religious sites require modest dress.

Transport - Most direct flights ex Australia via Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok or Hong Kong. Italy is also reachable by train from the rest of Europe and by ship from the Mediterranean. There are internal air, train and bus networks and taxi services are available everywhere.

Driving - If you travel to Italy, driving is on the right hand side of road. Road Signs are in Italian only. Roads well maintained. Australian license Holders need an International driving license for car rentals. You pay tolls to use the extensive motorway network .

Accommodation - Full range of accommodation available from deluxe to budget. Most hotels include buffet breakfast in tariff.

Major Attractions - Rome, Florence, Venice, all the art cities, Pompeii, Vatican, Colosseum, Alps, ski and sea resorts, beautiful lakes. Italy has 19 national parks and nature reserves.

Food and Drink - Italian cuisine. Italian wine. Good value fruits, vegetables, salads. Cost comparable with Australia.

Water - Tap water not advisable in the cities. Ask locally. Bottled water available

Alcohol: No restrictions and freely available.

Entertainment - Italy has a rich and varied culture and nightlife.

Shopping - Shops are generally open from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 3.00/4.00 pm to 7.00 pm. However most shops in the city centres remain open throughout the entire day with the exception of one morning per week (usually Monday).

Public Holidays 2014
Wednesday Jan 1 New Year's Day National holiday
Monday Jan 6 Epiphany National holiday
Friday Apr 18 Good Friday Observance
Sunday Apr 20 Easter Day National holiday
Monday Apr 21 Easter Monday National holiday
Friday Apr 25 Liberation Day National holiday
Friday Apr 25 The Feast of St Mark Local holiday
Thursday May 1 Labor Day / May Day National holiday
Monday Jun 2 Republic Day National holiday
Tuesday Jun 24 The Feast of St. John (Florence, Genoa, Turin) Local holiday
Sunday Jun 29 The Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul (Rome) Local holiday
Friday Aug 15 Assumption of Mary National holiday
Friday Sep 19 The Feast of Saint Januarius (Naples) Local holiday
Saturday Nov 1 All Saints' Day National holiday
Sunday Dec 7 The Feast of St. Ambrose (Milan) Local holiday
Monday Dec 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception National holiday
Thursday Dec 25 Christmas Day National holiday
Friday Dec 26 St. Stephen's Day National holiday
Wednesday Dec 31 New Year's Eve Observance

In addition each city celebrates a public holiday on its "Saint Day", generally with closure of shops or offices.

Turin / Genoa / Florence: 24 Jun (St John the Baptist).
Milan: 7 Dec (St Ambrose).
Siena: 2 Jul and 16 Aug (Palio horserace).
Venice: 25 Apr (St Mark).
Bologna: 4 Oct (St Petronius).
Naples: 19 Sep (St Gennaro).
Bari: 6 Dec (St Nichola).
Palermo: 15 Jul (St Rosalia).
Rome: 29 Jun (St Peter).
Trieste: 3 Nov (St Giusto).

Popular locations in Italy that you might want to visit:

Click the map below for a larger view
Map of Italy