Republic since 1861. Head of State: President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi since 1999. 


Italian is the official language. Dialects are spoken in different regions. German and Ladin are spoken in the South Tyrol region (bordering Austria). French is spoken in all the border areas from the Riviera to the area north of Milan (border with France and Switzerland). German is spoken around the Austrian border. English, German and French are also spoken in the biggest cities and in tourism and business circles. 


Roman Catholic with Protestant minorities. 


GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in September). 


220 volts AC, 50Hz. 


Telephone: Full IDD service available. Country code: +39 (followed by 06 for Rome, 02 for Milan, 011 for Turin, 081 for Naples, 041 for Venice and 055 for Florence). Outgoing international code: 00. Telephone kiosks now only accept phone cards, which can be purchased at post offices, tobacconists and certain newsagents. Fax: all hotels have facilities. Telegram: Both internal and overseas telegrams may be dictated over the telephone. Post: The Italian postal system tends to be subject to delays. Letters between Italy and other European countries usually take a week to ten days to arrive. Stamps are sold in post offices and tobacconists. Post office hours: 08:00/08:30-12:00/12:30 and 14:00/14:30 -17:30/18:00 Monday to Friday; Saturday mornings only. 


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


Currency: Euro

Coins: there are 8 euro coins denominated in 2 and 1 euros, then 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. Every euro coin will carry a common European face. On the obverse, each Member State will decorate the coins with their own motifs. No matter which motif is on the coins they can be used anywhere inside the 12 Member States. 
The common European face of the coins represents a map of the European Union against a background of transverse lines to which are attached the stars of the European flag. The 1,2 and 5 cent coins put emphasis on Europe's place in the world while the 10, 20 and 50 present the Union as a gathering of nations. The 1 and 2 euro coins depict Europe without frontiers.

Notes: there are 7 euro notes. In different colors and sizes they are denominated in 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 euros. The notes will be uniform throughout the euro area; unlike coins, they will have no national side. The designs are symbolic for Europe's architectural heritage. They do not represent any existing monuments. Windows and gateways dominate the front side of each banknote as symbols of the spirit of openness and cooperation in the EU. The reverse side of each banknote features a bridge from a particular age, a metaphor for communication among the people of Europe and between Europe and the rest of the world.

Currency exchange: Travellers cheques, cheques and foreign money can be changed at banks, exchange offices and airports, and very often at main hotels (generally at a less convenient rate). 
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express are widely accepted. Check with your credit card company for merchant acceptability and other facilities which may be available. 
Travellers cheques: Travellers cheques are accepted almost everywhere.
Currency restrictions: Check with the embassy before departure. Import and export of both foreign and local currency is limited to 10,000.00 Euros. If it is intended to import or export amounts greater than this, the amount should be declared and validated in Italy on form V2. 
Banking hours: These vary from city to city but, in general, 08:30-13:30 and 15:00-16:00 Monday to Friday


The following goods may be imported into Italy without incurring customs duty by passengers over 17 years of age arriving from countries outside the EU with goods bought duty-free: 
200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco; 750ml of spirits (over 22%) or 2 litres of fortified or sparkling wine; 60g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette; 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extract; 100g of tea or 40g of tea extract. 
Abolition of duty-free goods within the EU: On June 30 1999, the sale of duty-free alcohol and tobacco at airports and at sea was abolished in all 15 EU member states. Although there are now no limits imposed on importing tobacco and alcohol products from one EU country to another, (with the exceptions of Denmark, Finland and Sweden, where limits are imposed), travellers should note that they may be required to prove at customs that the goods purchased are for personal use only.


Jan 1 New Year's Day. Jan 6 Epiphany. Easter. Easter Monday. Apr 25 Liberation Day. May 1 Labour Day. Aug 15 Assumption. Nov 1 All Saints' Day. Dec 8 Immaculate Conception. Dec 25 Christmas Day. Dec 26 St Stephen's Day. 
In addition, local feast days are held in honour of town patron saints, generally without closure of shops and offices. These include: 


  Special Precautions Certificate Required
Yellow Fever No No
Cholera No No
Typhoid & Polio No -
Malaria No -
Food & Drink Read below -

Tap water is generally safe to drink. Bottled water is available. The inscription "Acqua Non Potabile" means water is not drinkable. Milk is pasteurized and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are considered safe to eat. 


A reciprocal health agreement with the rest of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway allows reduced cost dental and medical (including hospital) treatment on presentation of form E111; a fee must be paid, plus part of the cost of any prescribed medicines. Insurance is advised for specialist treatment. 


  Passport Required? Visa Required? Return Ticket Required?
Full British Yes No No
Australian Yes No No
Canadian Yes No No
USA Yes No No
Other EU Read below No No
Japanese Yes No No



Passport valid for 6 months required by all except: nationals of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Spain and Switzerland with a valid national ID card. 


Required by all except the following for stays of up to 90 days:

Validity: Short-stay (single- and multiple-entry): valid for 6 months from date of issue for stays of maximum 90 days per entry. Transit (single- and multiple-entry): valid for a maximum of 5 days per entry, including the day of arrival. Visas cannot be extended and a new application must be made each time. 

Application to: Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy); see address section. Postal applications are not acceptable. Travellers visiting just one Schengen country should apply to the Consulate of that country; travellers visiting more than one Schengen country should apply to the Consulate of the country chosen as the main destination or the country they will enter first (if they have no main destination).