Tedx lands in Umbria for the first time … the upcoming TEDxAssisi will be held in Assisi on the 5th of November. Our travel agency “FuorITinerario – Discover your Italy” is a proud sponsor of the event. The theme is “back to simplicity”, and simplicity is a keyword of our approach to planning trips to Italy.Read More
Have you ever dreamed of being in the perfect place for emotions?
Italy has often been the background of unforgettable movies. Actors like Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Russel Crowe gave their faces to wonderful stories, making them real as the feelings you experienced (think about the Gladiator!)
The timeless charm of the eternal city will strike you with the ancient majesty that shines through the old twisted streets. Here are some suggestions about things to see and do. Have a good time in the capital of Italy!Read More
Italy has been one of the first EU Countries to adopt the new European currency: EURO (€).
The EURO € is available in coins with 8 denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 e 50 cents, €1 and €2. (Any Euro coin has a common side, and a National side, peculiarity of the issuing Country. The eight coins of any Country can be used in the whole Euro zone).
The banknotes are available in seven denominations (like in the other European Countries) corresponding to €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500. Mind: €200 and €500 banknotes are mainly used for high-value transactions and consequently aren’t usually accepted by shops, restaurants and hotels for limited purchases.
If you are without Euros on your arrival in Italy, you can change your currency into Euro at any bank, currency exchange offices in airports, ports and railway stations of the main cities. Also post offices of the main tourist places make Currency Exchange services. You can also withdraw Euros from the BANCOMAT (ATM) located outside any bank through your enabled credit card.
Travellers Check can be changed into Euro in most part of the hotels, shops and Exchange Offices.
Most part of the shops accept the main credit cards (VISA, MASTERCARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS). To see if shops, restaurants, etcetera accept credit cards make sure that they show your credit card’s brand on the entrance door.
ATMs in Italy are called BANCOMAT and are available as a matter of fact everywhere (either in the big cities and in the small centres). BANCOMAT terminals work like in the other Countries and the number of them that offers the option to carry out the operations also in other languages besides Italian is increasing more and more. Before inserting your card it is recommended to check if it is compatible with the ones accepted by the terminals (the brand must be both on the card and the terminal). Cirrus, BankMate and Plus are the most spread systems in the world.
If you are not sure that your card is usable abroad, it is advisable to check it before your departure together with your bank or the company that manages the credit card. Check also the daily withdrawal limits (remind to convert them into Euro), so that you can accurately calculate your budget.
Usually it is preferable to use debit card or BANCOMAT cards (ATM cards) for the withdrawals because their charges are lower than the ones concerning the credit cards.
In Italy the tipping system is very different from other countries. There’s no obligation for tipping and the same applies to the people working with our company. They are well paid and can make an honest living out of that. Tipping is an extra, it is not mandatory and it depends only on you: if you really appreciate the service they gave you can tip them, otherwise don’t. However, in Italy we do appreciate and reward an outstanding level of service. Usually customers choose to leave tips as sign of appreciation for an excellent service received. So, in case drivers, guides, etc. are providing you with an outstanding service and creating the conditions for your holiday to be unforgettable, you may want to show them your appreciation. A general rule of thumb would be: Euro 20-25 for a half day, and Euro 20 to 50 for a full day private guide/driver. The same applies to waiters in restaurants where service is included in your bill already, under the cost title “servizio”. When the service is not specified, it is included in the price of the dishes. Anyhow, when the food and the service have been perfect and particularly appreciated, Italians leave a tip for the waiter that served them as sign of appreciation for the excellent work (the amount is at the discretion of customers). In bars and cafes, the same rules as in the restaurants apply, even if in some Italian areas (especially in the Southern regions) people use to leave some coins on the counter as tip. It is important to remark that in the Italian bars the prices are increased if you decide to eat or drink sat at tables rather than standing at the counter.
It is not necessary to leave a tip to the taxi drivers (even because the fees are anyway extremely high compared to the ones applied in other Countries).
In the hotels it is recommendable to leave a tip to the person that carries your baggage to your room.
Once again, we stress that there is no obligation for tipping, it is an extra reward totally up to your judgment.
It is difficult to say how much cash to carry with you … it depends on your “shopping style”. Consider you can pay most restaurants and shops with credit cards. American Express is certainly less used in Italy than in the US, so it might happen that some shops take credit cards, but not Amex. You will need cash for small expenses though: cafes, souvenirs, snacks etc. Also taxis, even though you probably won’t take them often if at all, most of the times needs to be paid cash. And if you want to leave tips to guides and drivers, you will need to do it cash. I would suggest to take with you about 500 euros and then you can always carry some USD and you will easily change them, or even better check with your bank if you can withdraw cash at ATM with your cards. Just to give you an idea of the average cost of meals: a light lunch is € 10-15. However, if you eat street food on the go (which is usually incredibly tasty and delicious) the cost is much lower. Eating a pizza in a Pizzeria usually costs approx. € 10-15. Having dinner in a nice, simple, typical restaurant usually cost between € 20-35 (more if you take a bottle of wine).
All the hotels we select are locally/Italian owned and managed. We have visited them, we know the people who manage them and they have proven their style and elegance typical of the Italian character. At the same time, they are very attentive to the quality of service. In every room you will find: a private bathroom with shower or bath tub, hairdryer, courtesy set and towels (you will not find what is usually referred to as “face-cloth”), air conditioning, telephone and television.
The electrical power in Italy is 220volts, 50Hz. Verify if your electric/electronic hardware travelling with you is compatible with this voltage or use the appropriate transformer.
Power sockets have 3 round holes. You can find adaptors for electric sockets different from the Italian ones both in Italy and abroad in the most important shops that sell electric material or in the specialized shops inside the airports.
It is superfluous to remark that Italian food is considered the best in the world!
You will have all the necessary time during your Tour with FuorITinerario – Discover Your ITaly to discover and enjoy the delicacies offered by the Italian food. Anyway, it is worth to dedicate now a while to describe the Italian way of eating.
The typical Italian Breakfast is made of cappuccino (mind that Italians drink cappuccino just at breakfast; they will tolerate the foreigners that drink a cappuccino after lunch or dinner even if will give them a horrified look because it transgress the tradition!) and cornetto or brioche usually stuffed with jam or chocolate. When Italians do not have breakfast at home, they usually have it in bars standing at the counter. The hotels that we accurately selected meet foreign tourists needs and always offer a big buffet breakfast, very often supported by fresh local products and in any case you can order bacon, eggs and the like.
In the past, Lunch was the main daily meal and was eaten in family. Anyway, nowadays the frenetic rhythms of the modern life upset this tradition so people eat lunch outside and takes just a sandwich, a dish of pasta or a mixed salad. Lunch is usually between 12.30 pm and 2.30 pm.
Dinner never starts before 7.30-8pm and has become the main meal in which Italian families join together after a busy working or studying day.
Most Italian restaurants have opening hours (at Lunch and Dinner) in line with Country traditions. Anyway, the restaurants in the tourist places are more flexible with their opening hours so that they can meet foreign tourists different habits.
The traditional Italian lunch and dinner are made of various courses. Generally starters are served first and after that we can find a first course (pasta, rice or soup) and a main course (meat or fish) with vegetables. In the end of the meal a cake or fruits are usually served whereas the coffee comes only when the cake is finished. Please don’t be scared if in the first days you cannot complete the 3-course marathon belly filler: nowadays the restaurants are used to serve both Italian and foreign customers that order only 1 or 2 courses (for example starters and first course, main course and starters or only main course with vegetables).
The Pizza deserves a special remark: all the Italians, Northern, Southern, young, old, love pizza. You can eat it during the day at any time: as snack, as fast lunch or at a dinner with friends. You can find pizza by the slice “Pizza al Taglio” everywhere and you can eat it standing or sitting in a pizzeria.
In conclusion of this section, we deem useful to show you a classification of the catering places in Italy:
• The Bar sells coffee, cappuccino and other hot beverages together with snacks, ice-creams and alcoholics
• The Gelateria only sells the delicious Italian handmade ice creams
• Pizzerias are specialized in pizzas and sometimes in some simple dishes like pasta or salads
• The Trattoria and the Osteria are small informal restaurants where you can taste typical regional dishes at reasonable prices
• The Ristorante is a more formal place with Italian typical menu (starters-appetizers, first courses-pasta or soup, second courses- entree: meat, fish or vegetarian, dessert)
• The Paninoteca and the Fast Foods serve almost exclusively sandwiches, toasts, appetizers and beverages (can be found mainly in the big cities).
• The Enoteca (wine bar) is a popular marriage of a wine bar and an osteria where you can sit and order from a host of local and regional wines by the glass snacking on finger foods (that reflect the region’s fare).
The average cost of a light lunch is EURO 10-15. However, if you eat street food on the go (which is usually incredibly tasty and delicious) the cost is much lower. Eating a pizza in a Pizzeria usually costs approx. EURO 10-15. Having dinner in a nice, simple, typical restaurant usually cost between EURO 20-35 (more if you take a bottle of wine).
Italian food is extremely variegated and offers several possibilities of choices. Usually, travelers that come to Italy and need special diets can meet their food needs very easily.
You will realize that the owners and the waiters of the restaurants selected by FuorITinerario – Discover your ITaly will do absolutely all they can to meet your needs and show you the outstanding variety of the Italian food as well as their proverbial flexibility and their attitude to be customer oriented. If you need something particular, please don’t hesitate to talk with us in advance.
Public phones are quickly disappearing because of the proliferation of mobile phones. By now they are only in the main streets of the cities, in the airports and in the train stations. It is possible to make phone calls from public phones with the following coins: 10, 20, 50 cents or 1 Euro or by prepaid phone cards purchasable in the tobacco shops and news kiosks (mind that in order to use them you have to fold and remove the corner at the left bottom of the card). In the same places you can buy prepaid phone card to make international phone calls at discounted prices both from mobile phones and home phones.
To make urban and extra-urban phone calls in Italy it is necessary in any case to digit the area code of the city or the town you need to call: for example to make a call inside Rome it is necessary to dial 06 + the phone number, to call Rome from Florence it is still necessary to dial 06 + the phone number, whereas if you need to call Florence from Rome it is necessary to dial 055 + the phone number. Don’t worry to search all the area codes because now it is habit to indicate the area code before any phone number. This area code does not exist for mobile phones.
To make International calls from Italy it is necessary to dial the code 00 before the number whereas the code to call an Italian country from a foreign Country is 39.
In Italy mobile phones work through GSM system. To connect to the Italian network you have to make sure that your company enabled the International roaming service on your number.
Please note that our exclusive Italy private tour packages include the following unique feature: upon your arrival you will receive a welcome pack containing an Italian smart phone with a pre-charged SIM card to be used to stay in touch with us at all times, access internet, use maps, etc.
It is very easy to connect to Internet in Italy.
Any hotel accurately selected by us gives the opportunity to connect to the Internet by means of your own laptop, tablet and/or PC desks provided by the hotel.
Wi-Fi hotspot coverage is constant and quickly growing. Nowadays, many public places such as airports, cafés, restaurants, etc. offer Internet connections.
Italian is the official language of Italy. Italian derives directly from Latin (the language of the old Romans) and through the centuries and after successive evolutions it standardized within the daily Italian which is based on the dialect spoken in Tuscany. One interesting feature of Italy’s linguistic development is that almost every town and small region has its own distinct dialect. Nowadays, especially in the major cities and towns, several dialects closely resemble standard Italian, while others -still practiced in the countryside- are in a league of their own.
Nowadays a vast majority of Italians can speak English and many of them can express themselves also in a third language (French, Spanish, German, etcetera). Moreover Italians have very good communicative skills so in the most part of the cases it will be very easy and nice to understand and make yourself understood!
Usually shops are opened Monday-Saturday 8am-8pm with variable hours. The opening hours of shops change according to the market sector and from region to region.
Often in the big cities or in the tourist areas the shops are open more hours and can be opened also on Sundays. In the most remote areas sometimes the shops close during the lunchtime and in a mid-week day.
Banks in Italy are opened from Monday to Friday 8. 35 am-1.35 pm and 3-4 pm and closed on Saturday and Sunday as well as in the festivities.
Pharmacy opening hours are similar to the ones of any other shop (from 8.30-9.00 am to 12:30 pm, 1.00 pm; from 3.30-4.00 pm to 7.30-8.00 pm Monday-Saturday). In the big Italian cities pharmacies are open all day. In every city it is always available at least one pharmacy open also during the night and in the festival days (the hours, the shifts and the addresses are shown on the shop window of any pharmacy).
Medicines are sold almost always in pharmacy and need medical prescription. Some kinds of medicines without need of prescription can be bought also in the parapharmacies and some supermarkets.
The post offices are open 8.30 am-1.30 pm Monday-Friday. On Saturdays they are open 8.30 am-12.30 pm. In every medium and large sized city there is always a Central Post Office that has longer opening hours (8.00 am-6.30 pm Monday-Saturday). You can find the list of all the Italian Post Offices on the website of Poste Italiane.
The stamps can be purchased inside the Post Offices but also in tobacco shops. It is always recommendable to specify the Country of destination to send the mail because the fees can change very much according to the Country.
The letter boxes are red and you can find them in every Post office and also near tobacco shops and along the main roads.
If you need emergency medical care during your stay you can call 118 or go to the First Aid of the nearest hospital.
You will find well-equipped and organized hospitals in all the cities. Anyway, in the towns and in the most remote areas you will always find the Duty Doctor “Guardia Medica” and the medical service available round the clock. Even railways stations and airports are equipped with emergency medical services.
If you need to follow specific medical treatments, it is recommendable to bring with you the medical prescription with all the information about the treatments and the necessary medicines.
EU citizens have free access to public Health Care in Italy providing they are travelling with the appropriate European Medical Insurance Card (or similar document) issued by their National Health Organizations. For all other foreign visitors we suggest to take out a Health insurance.
It is not necessary any specific vaccination to travel in Italy.
FuorITinerario – Discover your ITaly Tours are “no smoking” tours.
Anyway, if you are a smoker you are welcome to participate in our tours but you are invited to respect some basic rules: we can book for you hotel rooms specifically designed for smokers and you can find in the hotels common areas for smokers; it is usually forbidden to smoke in the restaurants during the meals (many restaurants don’t have smoker lounges so it is very common to see groups of smokers smoking during the meals outside the restaurant) and it is forbidden to smoke inside the minibuses.
According to your country of origin the requirements and the procedures concerning the tourist entrance to Italy can noticeably change.
For further information concerning the entrance to Italy (tourist visa, maximum stay time, required procedures, etc) we invite you to consult the website of the local Italian Embassy/Consulate.
Please note that you are directly responsible to obtain all necessary documents required to enter Italy as a tourist and so to take part in our tours.
(For purchases made in Italy by EU non-resident travellers)
In Italy the prices shown in the shops already include VAT. In the most part of the consumption goods the VAT rate is 20%.
In compliance with EU legislation, non-resident travellers can ask a VAT refund on any product purchased in Italy for personal usage or as present. The value of these products have to exceed 154,94 Euro purchased in a single shop and such the goods should leave the EU territory within three months after the purchase was made.
Remember to keep a copy of all the receipts issued by the shops at the time of the purchases because both the products and the receipts shall be checked by the customs office at the airport from which you will leave EU territory. After that, the receipts and the required stamped forms are sent to the shop which will refund VAT will be performed both in Euro cash or directly as credit on your credit card. For further information concerning the procedure relative to this refund please visit the Custom’s agency website.
Moreover there are companies specialized in this kind of refunds. In exchange of a percentage of the refund, they can take care of all the related procedures.
Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
The time difference between Italy and some major cities is as follows:
London: -1 hour
New York: -6 hours
Chicago: -7 hours
Denver: -8 hours
San Francisco: -9 hours
Ottawa: -6 hours
New Delhi: +3,5 hours
Beijing: +6 hours
Canberra: +8 hours
Wellington: +10 hours
Daylight savings time is observed from the end of March to the end of October.
Below you can find a list of the main Italian festivities.
During these dates offices, banks and shops are closed. On the contrary, museums are usually open except at Christmas and New Year’s Day.
1 January (New Year’s Day)
6 January (Epiphany)
Easter and Easter Monday according to the year
25 April (The Liberation Day)
1 May (The work Day)
2 June (The Republic Day)
15 August (Assumption)
1 November (All Saint’s Day)
8 December (The Immaculate Conception)
25 December (Christmas)
26 December (Boxing Day)