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Italy

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN TRAVELLING TO ITALY
 
SEASONAL HIGHLIGHTS
June to August – Summer 
September to October – Autumn 
November to March – Winter
April to May – Spring
 
Italy is a popular year-round destination with long hot summers and cool winters which brings snow to higher ground.  Temperatures and climatic conditions vary from one side of Italy to the other and travellers should be prepared for all weather conditions.
 
WHAT TO PACK
As you plan what to wear in Europe, keep in mind that the trick is to pack and wear layers. We suggest layering like this: tank top or t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, jersey and then jacket. Alpine wear is required in the Ski Resorts. Always pack something to protect yourself against rain showers.
 
RETAIL HOURS
Monday to Saturday 10h00 to 18h00 or 19h00, although Department Stores often say open longer.  Outside the main areas, some shops might close at lunchtime.
 
MONEY MATTERS
Italy is a member of the European Union with the Euro being the official currency.
 
Currency: Euro (EUR). EUR1 = 100 Cents. 
Credit Cards are widely available and ATM’s are very prevalent.
 
DRINKING WATER
Tap water is generally safe to drink except for some rural areas. The inscription 'Acqua Non Potabile' means water is not drinkable.
 
TIPPING / PORTERAGE  
Porters Euro 0.50 to Euro 1 per bag
Housekeepers Euro 0.75 to Euro 1 per day
Doormen Euro 1 to Euro 2 if they hail you a taxi.
You can tip your Taxi Driver but it is not expected.  If they are extra helpful feel free to tip, they will appreciate it.  It is a good practise to agree a final fare before the journey begins.
In restaurants a service charge is often included but must be indicated on the bill.  Some restaurants add an extra charge for dinner ware and extras (tablecloth, silverware, plates, bread, etc.) but this is normal. Check your bill.  If service charges are not included people usually round up the bill (leave 20 Euro for an 18 Euro bill for example).
Tour Guides are tipped between Euro 5 and Euro 10 per person per day. 
 
TRAVEL RESPONSIBILITY 
Learn a few words of the local language so you know what’s considered polite in terms of eating, greeting and local values.
Appropriate behaviours by travellers helps ensure local communities continue to be hospital and friendly.
Respect other people’s cultures and avoid imposing your beliefs.
Adhere to the hotel’s water or energy conservation policies.
Buy locally made crafts and support local skills. 
 
GENERAL INFORMATION 
Italian is the official language.  Many people speak at least some English. 
South African passport holders require a Schengen Visa.
Italy is on Central European time. They are 1 hour behind S.A during their winter months (November to March) and are on the same time as S.A during their summer months (last Sunday in March to the Last Saturday in October)
For Italy there are two associated plug types, types C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. 
Italy operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
 
WHAT THINGS COST
Meal Inexpensive Restaurant : Euro 10 to Euro 20
Meal for 2 people, midrange Restaurant 3 Course: Euro 35 to Euro 60
McMeal at McDonalds (or equivalent): Euro 6.50 to Euro 8.50
Domestic Beer (0.5 Lt Draught) :  Euro 3 to Euro 5
Imported Beer (0.33 Lt Bottle) : Euro 3 to Euro 5
Cappuccino (Regular) : Euro 1 to Euro 1.80
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 Lt Bottle) : Euro 1.25 to Euro 3
Water (0.33 Lt Bottle) : Euro 0.50 to Euro 1.50
 
OUR RECOMMENDATIONS 
A lot of public restrooms will charge you a small fee to use them, so just keep some change on hand to pay the fee.
Lock valuables away while travelling and always be vigilant of your belongings. Never leave them unattended.
Always be aware of pick pockets irrespective of where you are in the world.


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