- Bring comfortable walking shoes as you tend to do a lot of walking in Italy.
- Pack light before you leave home, Italy isn’t a third world country so almost everything that you want and need can be found here.
- Bring any medicines you may need during your stay. However, don’t despair if you run out of medication whilst in Italy, there are pharmacies in all cities in Italy and in the larger towns some open 24 hours a day.
- If you’re visiting Italy as a tourist and intending to drive, you should obtain an international driving license before you leave. Once you become resident in Italy, you must have an Italian driver’s license.
- Buy or rent a car unless you live on the outskirts of town. Florence traffic can be chaotic, parking impossible and expensive, in general public transport is good. You will be able to walk or ride a bike to most places in Florence.
- Bring bulky electrical appliances. Most Italian houses have 3 kw/h power supplies, you can buy any appliances you may need here in Italy. For any appliances you insist on bringing, make sure you bring international power adapters for the plug sockets. Cameras, cell phones and portable computers have internal adapters and should be fine.
Major credit cards are widely accepted in Italy. You can easily identify which credit cards are accepted in each establishment by looking at the logos in the shop windows. You can draw cash on credit cards from ATM machines, most will give a selection of languages at the start of the transaction. You should be aware that you are likely to receive a fee of between 2.0% and 4.0% when making cash advances on a credit card.
You can use your ATM card from your bank in your home country on most ATM machines. Remember to activate the card for use in Italy with your bank in your home country prior to leaving. Please note most cards have a credit limit of 200 to 300 euros per transaction and/ or per day. You should check with your bank prior to leaving for Italy what your daily, weekly and monthly withdrawal limits are.
Cell phones can be rented or bought once you are here. Depending on how long you will be in Italy one alternative or another may make more sense. You do not pay to receive phone calls on Italian mobile phone plans.
Many people use pre-paid international phone cards for their overseas calls. If you have a cell phone already, you may simply want to buy a new sim card with an Italian phone company. You can chose between rechargeable sim cards and 2 year contracts that are billed directly to your credit card. For temporary visitors we suggest the rechargeable sim card solution as you can decide every time you recharge it how much credit you wish to recharge it with. Prepaid cards can be purchased at tobacconists, phone stores, bars and any other places where you can see signs advertising Ricaricard..
Another means to phone home is Skype, but as Internet connections are not always dependable there can be difficulties with this solution.
Internet is a difficult issue in Italy. In many large cities the phone lines are overloaded causing slow connections as almost all connections are still running on regular telephone lines. Optic fiber is almost not existent. Land lines all have minimum 2 year contracts and take months to install besides being quite expensive ( 40+ Euros per month)
Some rental apartments are already equipped with internet – dsl modems etc.. In other apartments it is possible to get a wireless modem and many companies offer an open contract that allows you to recharge every month. This kind of modem also has the advantage of being portable. The flaw of these contracts is that they do not offer unlimited usage.
If you are planning on a longer stay ( over a year) then you will need to apply to be put on the garbage tax list. To do this (once you have moved in) you will need to visit the tassa rifiuti urbani (tax on urban waste) office and inform them that you need to register. When you go, you will need to know the exact size of your apartment and of any other space that is included in your contract. Garbage tax is calculated on the size of the dwelling, not on the number of occupants. In Florence garbage is collected in large bins on street corners above or underground, though recycling is still a novelty many major cities are providing separate garbage collector for paper, for glass and plastic and for organic waste and for mixed garbage.
Holidays in Italy
||New Years Day
|Changes every year
|Monday after Easter Sunday
||Lunedi Dell’ Angelo
||Anniversary of Liberation
||Festa della Liberazione
||Festa dei Lavoratori
||Festa della Repubblica
||Ognissanti or Tutti I santi
||St Stephens Day
If you’re simply coming to Italy for a vacation then a good phrasebook will serve you well for most situations. However, if your plan is to stay longer then acquiring language skills should be a major part of your preparation. Luckily, there are a number of language schools in all the major cities. Internet is a great place to start as all major schools will have a website. Watching American re-runs on TV in Italian is another good didactic tool.
Citizens of the U.S, Canada and some other Non EU countries entering Italy for reasons of tourism, study or business do not need a visa for visits of the a duration inferior to 90 days. For longer stays there are several types of visas you can apply to for Italy: the most common ones are for business, family reunion, independent work, religious reasons, study, tourism and transit.