Italy Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, Rome tourist information, Italy food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in Rome. Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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Italy Travel Guide

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Full country name: Italian Republic
Area: 301,340 sq km
Population: 58,13 million (July 2010 est)
Capital City: Rome
Language: Italian, French, German, Croatian, Serbian
Religion: Roman Catholic 90% (approximately; about one-third practicing), other 10% (includes mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant community)
Government: Republic, EU Member
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +1 (+2 in summer) (Central European Time)
Dialling Code: 39
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs:
Currency: Euro
Average yearly salary: USD29,900

Budget: €5-10
Mid-range: €10-20
High: €20-30
Top: €30+
Budget: €8-40
Mid-range: €40-120
High: €120-200
Top: €200+

Italy is a modern, industrialized nation. Tight budget travelers will find find eating and sleeping in Italy expensive. It is possible squeeze by on around €40/day if you stay in hostels, prepare your own food, avoid drinking much alcohol and don't visit too many museums. A budget of €100-150 a day will enable you to stay in comfortable hotels, eat out regularly in restaurants and visit lots of museums and galleries. Hiring a car will double your expenses.

Geography: Italy is located in Southern Europe, and is mainly a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia. It borders Austria along 430 km, France 488 km, Vatican City 3.2 km, San Marino 39 km, Slovenia 232 km, Switzerland 740 km. Much of Italy is covered by mountains. The Dolomite mountains which extend across northern Italy are part of the Alps mountain range. The Apennine mountains cut down the center of Italy, stretching from north to south, dividing the east and west coasts. The Po Valley, just south of the Dolomite mountains, is the basin of the Po River. It is fertile farm land. Italy includes two large islands: Sicily and Sardinia. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, with active volcanoes and earthquakes. Sardinia is basically mountains rising out of the ocean. Italy also has two independent countries within its borders. Vatican City is the center for the Roman Catholic Church, and is the world's smallest country. San Marino, on the north east coast of Italy, is an independent republic.

Climate: Summer is hot, especially in the south. Spring and autumn are mild with fine, sunny weather. Winter in the south is much drier and warmer than in northern and central areas. Mountain regions are colder with heavy winter snowfalls.

Recommended clothing: Lightweight cottons and linens are worn during the summer, except in the mountains. Light- to mediumweights are worn in the south during winter, while warmer clothes are worn elsewhere. Alpine wear is advised for winter mountain resorts.

Social conventions: The family ties in Italy are much stronger than in any other Western country, since the nation is heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic church. You should dress casually, but smart. Beachwear can only be worn in the beach or by the pool. Smoking is prohibited in public buildings, cinemas and transport.

Health: There are no specific health risks associated with traveling to Italy. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is recommended for EU travelers.

Food & Drink: The wonderful cuisine of Italy is known all over the world. Practically everybody adore pastas and pizzas, but that is not all that Italian cuisine can offer. Owing to the climate, a variety of fruits and vegetables can be found in Italy. Owing to being a peninsula, fish and seafood is plentiful. One should note, that Italian diet is actually very healthy. The American-style pizzas, we are used to, are much heavier that the traditional Italian ones. Homegrown extra-virgin olive oil or vitamin-packed tomatoes are good for everyone's health. There is a variety of cold meat/sausages (salame, mortadella, prosciutto crudo) and all sorts of marvelous cheeses (made from cow's, sheep's, goat's or buffalo's milk) that Italy can offer. Italian coffee is considered to be one of the best coffees in the world. It is of an excellent taste and various kinds to choose from. Since Italy is a major wine producer, there are many, fabulous Italian wines to choose from.

Public Holidays:
Jan 1
- New Year's Day
Jan 6 - Epiphany
Mar 28 - Easter Monday
Apr 25 - Liberation Day
May 1 - Labour Day
Jun 2 - Anniversary of the Republic
Aug 15 - Assumption.
Nov 1 - All Saint's Day
Nov 7 - World War 1 Victory Anniversary Day
Dec 8 - Immaculate Conception.
Dec 25 - Christmas Day
Dec 26 - St Stephen's Day

Note: In addition, local feast days are held in honour of town patron saints, generally without closure of shops and offices.
These include:
Turin/Genoa/Florence: Jun 24 (St. John the Baptist)
Milan: Dec 7 (St Ambrose)
Siena: Jul 2 and Aug 16, Palio horserace
Venice: Apr 25 (St Mark)
Bologna: Oct 4 (St Petronius)
Naples: Sep 19 (St Gennaro)
Bari: Dec 6 (St Nicholas)
Palermo: Jul 15 (St Rosalia)
Rome: Jun 29 (St Peter)
Trieste: Nov 3

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

Schools & colleges listing on Learn4Good:Location
Accademia Europea Di Firenze, FlorenceFlorence, Italy
Accademia Riaci, Florence - Summer CoursesFlorence, Italy
John Cabot University, RomeRome, Italy
Koiné - Italian Language Centre in RomeRome, Italy
ABC DE' Conti, FlorenceFlorence, Italy
Language and Music for Life (LMFL), FlorenceFlorence, Italy
Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School in FlorenceFlorence, Italy
Accademia del Lusso, MilanMilan, Italy
Florence Culinary Arts SchoolFlorence, Italy
Language and Music for Life (LMFL), FlorenceFlorence, Italy

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