Italy Travel FAQs

Here are some Italy travel FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) that always come up in discussion. If you don’t see your answer here, just send an email! [email protected]

What documents do I need to travel to Italy?

If you’re from the U.S., you only need a valid passport for stays of up to 90 days. For citizens of the E.U., you do not need a visa and there is no time limit. For more detailed information, contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

What is Italy’s time zone?

Italy is in the Central European time zone, which is GMT/UTC + 1h during Standard Time and GMT/UTC + 2h during Daylight Saving Time

What about spending money? Should I exchange my cash for local currency (Euro) or use a credit card?

Cash is always preferred in Italy, and you’ll get the best exchange rate when you draw money directly from an ATM (called “Bancomat”). But in the tourist cities, most businesses will accept major credit cards, as long as it has a chip.

Is Italy a safe place to visit?

Yes, Italy is very safe. In the big cities, petty crimes (pick-pockets) are a bit of an issue. But random violent crime is almost unheard of throughout most of the country.

What about food allergies and sensitivities in Italy? Do I need to worry when I go to a restaurant?

Italians are aware of these types of concerns, and most establishments will try very hard to accommodate you. Just make sure that you’ve translated your needs into proper Italian before your trip, and be ready to present them in writing as needed. Here is more information on Restaurants in Italy.

Can I drink the water in Italy.

Yes, in fact you SHOULD drink the public water. It’s considered excellent. Buy a bottle once, and then refill it at public water fountains.

Will my electrical appliances work in Italy?

Your appliances will “work,” but be careful. The electrical current in Italy is 50 Hz and 220 volts, as opposed to 110 volts in the U.S. An adapter alone may not be sufficient, depending on the device. For cell phones and tablets, yes, an adapter should be fine. But for things like hair dryers, you would also need a converter. Better to just borrow one from the hotel.

What’s the proper amount to tip a waiter in Italy?

One of the most common Italy travel FAQs is about tipping. You don’t “need” to tip in Italy. If you had great service at a restaurant, you can leave 1-2€ per person. Although tipping 15%–20% is normal in the United States, this is considered excessive in Italy, and in some cases, can even be a bit insulting.

What about the bathrooms? I’ve heard that it can be challenging to find a public restroom at times.

Yes, it is true, it can be a challenge to find a public restroom when out and about. Best advice is to go into a “bar” (i.e. one of the many coffee bars) and purchase an espresso or bottle of water. Much more information here: Bathrooms in Italy

What if I get sick while in Italy?

You’ll find farmacie (pharmacies) all over Italy where you can get basic medication and ask the pharmacists health-related questions. This is often the first stop for Italians. If you are in real trouble, don’t hesitate to call 118 for an Ambulance (equivalent to 911 in the U.S.). Emergency Room care is quite good and there is no cost for tourists and locals alike.

Do they speak English in Italy?

Many Italians do speak English in the major cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice. That being said, it’s always best to learn a few phrases before you go. Here’s a free crash course to get you started.

How should I dress while in Italy?

Italians tend to dress nicely, even for daily tasks. Shorts and sandals are only worn at the beach. When you visit churches, it is important that you cover your shoulders, upper arms, knees, and toes. Some people carry a jacket or small sweater just to put on when entering churches.

Italy Travel FAQ

More Italy Travel FAQs: My Most Popular Blog Posts

Now let’s get off the beaten path and talk about some topics that you might not have considered yet. These aren’t necessarily my favorite articles, only the most popular according to my Google statistics. Apparently, people who want advice for visiting Italy are curious about superstitions, sex, and the proper use of a bidet. Go figure.

  1. The Italian Dating Scene – OK, this one isn’t so hard to understand. Everybody wants to find love, and finding love in Italy seems oh-so “romantico,” no?  The truth is, I’m far from being expert. I “got lucky” once, but all of my previous attempts at wooing Italians girls fell flat. But the topic is ripe for lively discussion.
  2. Catholicism and Other Superstitions – This is subject that I return to from time to time simply because I find it so fascinating. I’ve often encountered a very blurry line between religion and superstition in Italy. For example, to get rid of an evil eye curse (malocchio), you need the help of an elderly Catholic woman who invokes a prayer to Mother Mary on your behalf to put an end to your streak of bad luck. It’s just one big mystical stew.
  3. Regional Differences in Italy – I caught a lot of grief from Italians with this post, due to the fact that I cited several stereotypes about regional characteristics among Italians. I was NOT the one promoting these stereotypes, mind you, only repeating what I’ve heard from Italians themselves. Still, you know what they say about the messenger…
  4. The Best Way to Learn Italian – Almost every day I get an email or two from someone soliciting my advice about learning Italian. Besides my own language journey, I also have taught English to Italians, so I have a unique perspective on both sides of the equation. The bottom line is, for rapid language acquisition among adults, nothing beats a good software program. Hands down, this is the fastest way to learn the basics—to get the vocabulary and grammar swirling around in your brain. To actually learn to USE the language, conversation with native speakers is the only way. Full immersion, as they say.
  5. The Bidet in Italy – Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! This handy little invention of modern plumbing can really brighten your day.

Have another question about Italy Travel FAQs? Don’t hesitate to contact me: [email protected]

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