Need a basics overview to prepare for your vacation? Experience Italy like never before by booking with your travel advisor.
As well as in cash, purchases can be paid for using the most common credit cards. This payment system is common in Italian shops, which generally display the symbols of the credit cards they accept on the outside door. If you pay by credit card you will be asked to show an identity document. Travellers cheques (in USD or Euros) can also be cashed in Italian banks.
Italian is the official language of the country, although accents and dialects may vary widely from one region to another. A large number of local dialects are spoken in Italy.
There are two regions, however, which have a second official language: the Aosta Valley, where French is also spoken, and Trentino Alto Adige, where German is also spoken. In these regions, road signs, as well as place names, for example, appear in both languages. There are also a number of small areas in which languages other than Italian are used, although these languages do not have official status: in Friuli-Venezia Giulia there is a Slovenian-speaking area, and in Calabria (in the Bovesìa area) and in Apulia (in the Grecia Salentina zone), Greek is spoken in some areas. In Sicily, in Piana degli Albanesi, you will find the largest Albanian community in Italy, where the Albanian language is widely used, even in official documents and on road signs.
Public transportation throughout Italy is readily availble.
The Italian high-speed rail network allows moving easily throughout the peninsula and to reach various Italian cities comfortably in just a few hours, taking advantage of numerous on-board services such as free Wi-Fi, catering service, assistance for the disabled, unaccompanied children's service, pet and bicycle transport.
It is easy to reach Italy and travel around the country once you arrive. Italy offers excellent air links with the rest of the world, but it is also possible to come here by train, by sea or by using the extensive motorway network. It is also easy to travel around within the country. All the main cities are connected with frequent daily flights. The rail network is spread over more than 15,000 kilometres, offering uniform cover throughout Italy, while travelling by coach or car is even more convenient still, with a dense network of motorways, dual carriageways and trunk roads allowing visitors to reach any location in the country simply and rapidly. To reach all of Italy's islands from the mainland, regular ferry services depart from the main towns and cities along the coast.
Of course it's much easier to simply have private transportation taken care of so you have nothing to stress about.
The climate in Italy
The climate varies considerably from the north to the south of Italy. In the north of the country - the area between the Alps and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines - the climate is harsh, with very cold winters and very hot, particularly humid summers. In central Italy the climate is milder, with a smaller difference in temperature between summer and winter and a shorter and less intense cold season than in the north; summers are longer, but the sultriness of the northern cities is mitigated by the sea. In southern Italy and the islands winters are never particularly harsh, and spring and autumn temperatures are similar to those reached in the summer in other areas of Italy.
Temperatures vary widely in Italy, in the north, centre or south of the country. The table below illustrates the monthly average minimum and maximum temperatures for three cities, one for each climate area.
Be sure to discuss weather conditions with your travel advisor to pack smart!