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A country that needs no introduction, where ancient treasures sit side by side with modern shopping centres; where gastronomic cuisine is as popular as simple regional fare and where the natural beauty and wonders will never cease to amaze.
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Destinations > Italy
Food, wine, family, love, art, history, culture, architecture and an exuberant love of life are all things synonymous with Italy. This beautifully romantic country of vivacious people is home to more UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world, and with a fascinating array of architectural icons depicting its beguiling 2500-year history, it’s no wonder that Italy is a dream destination for those after a rich and educative journey filled with colour and passion. And food – there is always more food.
The best time to visit Italy is from April to June and September to October. The weather is milder and more comfortable, the colours are rich and the crowds are manageable. The country's top tourist spots are filled with visitors from June through to mid-September. Try to avoid visiting in August if you can - the weather is very hot and the Italians are also on holidays so places can be crowded and shops and restaurants closed.
A city for art lovers, romantics and history buffs, aptly dubbed the ‘cradle of Renaissance’. View Michelangelo’s David at Galleria dell’Academia and Da Vinci’s work at the spectacular Uffizi Gallery.
Tuscany’s museums and streets are bursting with paintings, sculpture, frescoes and architectural masterpieces from across the ages. Fantastic food and wine draws foodies to the region’s beautiful countryside and charming hill towns.
Built upon 117 islands with 409 bridges and 150 canals, there are no cars in Venice, so transport is on small ferries or by gondola. Get lost in an enchanting maze of ancient and ornate buildings.
Known as the ‘eternal city’ and home to the epic ruins of the Colosseum, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City and the stunning Sistine Chapel – which houses Michelangelo’s frescoes on its barrel-vaulted ceiling.
Stretching from Sorrento to Salerno, this magical coastline connects a string of pretty towns with azure waters. Visit sobering Pompeii, where an entire ancient city is preserved under volcanic ash and rock.
In Northern Italy, The Lakes district is a holiday mecca. Pretty villages accessible by boat surround the famous Lago di Como and the City of Como is known for its antique markets.
Italy is a big country and unless you opt for a one-base holiday you will probably find yourself travelling around a fair bit. Both rail and bus services are good value and relatively efficient while regular ferries service the islands. Internal flights can be worthwhile for some of the longer journeys – and may even work out cheaper than travelling by train.
The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor.
Vaccination against Hepatitis A is recommended for travellers to Italy. Depending on a travellers itinerary and activities, vaccination against Hepatitis B may also be considered.
Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. Australians travelling to Italy should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. For further information please visit the Smartraveller website, www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Italy
For the most up to date information regarding visas for Australian passport holders to Italy, visit www.dfat.gov.au/visas/
Italians generally are effusive in their public behavior. There is a great deal of public embracing and kissing upon greeting people. It is also polite to sit close to people and to interact. Italian gazes are intense. It is felt that someone who cannot look you in the eyes is trying to hide something. Elders expect and get respect. They enter a room first. Men stand for women and youngsters for adults. Gazing intently at strangers is common, and Italians expect to be looked at in public. Italians have little respect for lines and generally push their way to the front. There is great care given to preserving one's bella figura, dignity. Violating another's sense of self–importance is frowned upon.
Electrical Plug type: European
Voltage: 220-240 volts
Modem type: American and Italian
Country Code for Italy: +39
Visa Global Assist: 800 781 769
Emergency Services: General - 112 Ambulance - 118 Fire - 115 Police - 113. As a matter of common practice, the 112 number will have English speaking staff. Other services may not always have English speakers available.
Opening hours in Italy depend on the kind of business, the season and sometimes the city. Italian business hours are generally from 8am to 1pm, and from 3pm to 7pm, Monday-Friday, with an afternoon lunch break lasting for approximately 2 hours. This break may be shorter in most major cities. Most shops are closed on Sunday but you can find at least one shop open. Shop opening hours are not rigorous in many cities in Italy.
Tips are not customary in Italy, and used only if a special service is given or as thanks for high quality service. Almost all restaurants (with the notable exception of those in Rome) have a price for the service and waiters do not expect a tip but will not refuse it, especially if given by foreign customers. In cafés, bars, and pubs it's not uncommon, on paying the bill, to leave the change. Recently tip jars near the cash register are becoming widespread. Leaving the change is also quite common with taxi drivers. When using a credit card, it is not possible to manually add an amount to the bill, but you can leave some coins as a tip.
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