Useful facts to help you plan your visit to Italy
- Public Holidays
- Weights & Measures
- Money, Banks etc.
- Useful Telephone Numbers
One important factor may be the festival calendar. Like Spain, Italy has a lot of festivals and saint’s days etc. and you may wish to co-ordinate your Italy travel accordingly.
|PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 2012|
|1 Jan||New Year’s Day (Capodanno)|
|6 Jan||Epiphany (Epifania)|
|9 Apr||Easter Monday (Lunedi di Pasqua)|
|25 Apr||Liberation Day (Liberazione Italia)|
|1 May||Labour Day (Festa del Lavoro)|
|2 Jun||Feast of the Republic (Festa della Repubblica Italia)|
|15 Aug||Feast of the Assumption (Ferragosto)|
|1 Nov||All Saints’ Day (Ognissanti)|
|8 Dec||Immaculate Conception (Immacolata Concezione)|
|25 Dec||Christmas Day (Natale)|
|26 Dec||St Stephen’s Day (Santo Stefano)|
Note: There are also local feast days held in honour of the patron saints of particular towns and cities, but shops and offices usually don’t close. These include:
Venice: Apr 25 (St Mark).
Turin/Genoa/Florence: Jun 24 (St John the Baptist).
Rome: Jun 29 (St Peter & St Paul – Patron Saints of Rome).
Siena: Jul 2 and Aug 16, Palio horserace.
Palermo: Jul 15 (St Rosalia).
Naples: Sep 19 (St Gennaro).
Bologna: Oct 4 (St Petronius).
Trieste: Nov 3 (St Giusto).
Bari: Dec 6 (St Nicholas).
Milan: Dec 7 (St Ambrose).
Festivals and Events worth noting
- February/March: Shrovetide carnivals, celebrations before Lent, the Venice one is particularly famous.
- March/April: Holy week and Easter celebrations throughout Italy, good but crowded in Rome where the Pope is at the head of the procession on Good Friday.
- April/May: Jazz festival in Milan.
- May: Palio Balestra (medieval crossbow contest on horseback) using antique weapons held in Gubbio.
- June: Historical regatta of the four Ancient Maritime Republics involving boat race between rival sea towns of Pisa, Venice, Amalfi and Genoa. Spoleto’s world famous arts festival is held in June.
- July: The Umbria Jazz festival is held every July in Perugia and is one of the most popular festivals in Italy.
- July/August: The medieval Palio festival where ancient clothed riders race bareback around the town’s square in Siena (held both months).
- September: The Joust of the Saracen, performed by “combatants” dressed in ancient suits of armor held in Arezzo. Italian Grand Prix held in Monza.
- October: Truffle hunts, market and fair held in Alba. Feast of St. Francis held in Assisi.
- November: Feast of San Martino (Nov. 11th), Sigillo festival: a wine and chestnut event held in San Martino.
- December: La Scala opera season opens in Milan.
Italy, along with Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, forms part of the border-free travel zone subject to the Schengen Agreement. EU passport holders can come and go as they please. Citizens of the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand are among those who may enter Italy as tourists without a visa and stay up to 90 days.
Rabies (only found in the Alps), Leishmaniasis (transmitted by sandflies in coastal regions) and Lyme Disease (Trentino, northern Italy). And the cost of medical care – come with insurance.
GMT/UTC +1 (+2 in summer)
220V (some 125V still found 50Hz, 2-pin (round) plug
The Euro (€)
As of January 1, 2002, the euro (€) replaced the national currency of 12 countries within the European Union, including Italy. You can exchange currency at any bank branch (hours are listed below). Automatic cash machines can be found in most commercial centres.
- Bank Opening HoursBanks in Italy are from Monday to Friday from 8:35 a.m. to 1:35 p.m. and from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.; in many tourist areas they are open continually from 8.30 a.m. to 4p.m. and closed all day on Saturday and Sunday and of course national holidays.
- Currency exchangeCurrency exchange can be carried out at all bank branches, ATMs or exchange offices (Ufficio di Cambio) at airports, seaports and railway stations in the main cities. ATMs in Italy are known as Bancomats. There are plenty around in the large cities and even in small towns. At the beginning of the transaction, the ATM asks you for your preferred language.
Check out the current Euro exchange rate with your currency here (close the new window to return): TRAVEL SIGNPOSTS CURRENCY CONVERTER
The country code for Italy is 39. As public telephones in Italy do not accept coins, if you need to use one you’ll have to buy a phone card. These are sold at most tobacconists , post offices, some newsagents and occasionally machines near the phone booths.
- Carabinieri (army corp which is also a police force) 112
- Police (more serious emergencies) 113
- Fire Brigade 115
- Medical Emergency 118
- Car rescue service 116
- Operator (English speaking) 170
- International Directory Enquiries 176
Lost Credit Cards/Travelers’ Cheques
- American Express 06.72282
- Diner’s Club 800 864 064
- Euro/Mastercard 800 819 014
- VISA 800 819 014