FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS|
How long in advance should I contact you?
You should start planning your trip at least 6 months prior your desired time of departure.
Do you provide information on airfares, car rental and Insurance?
We will be glad to provide you with the airfare quotes as well as car rentals or information through our official travel agent.
Do you do last minute reservations?
No we believe the secret of a good trip is planning ahead of time.
Do you have US references
Yes we will be glad to provide you with a list of recent clients.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT ITALY
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
- International flights require check-in up to 3 hours prior to departure.
- Pack light! You are allowed only one small carry-on and one suitcase.
WHAT TO PACK
As of September 26, 2006 travelers may carry through security checkpoints travel-size toiletries (3 ounces or less) that fit comfortably in ONE, QUART-SIZE, clear plastic, zip-top bag.
for more info: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm#0
- You cannot bring liquids or gels on board. This includes bottles of water, drinks, shampoo, toothpaste. BUT, you can put the toiletries in your checked luggage.
- You can bring lip balm on board, also solid deodorant, soaps, eye drops (up to 4 oz.)
- You can bring sandwiches and some food items on board. NO Yogurt, pudding, soft cheese etc.
- Electronics can be brought on board (computers, cell phones, iPods, etc.)
- Spring-Summer: cotton light colored T-shirts, Bermuda shorts, skirts, tank tops, windbreaker and sweatshirts/fleece.
- Fall-Winter: cotton sweaters and heavier pants are a good idea. Wool jackets and raincoat. Take an extra pair of shoes in case of rain. Dress in layers.
- Tip: Pack a large scarf or a shirt to carry with you on boat rides. It may also come in handy when you visit a Church.
- Pack a carry on with one or two changes of clothing and toiletries in the event your luggage is delayed. Pack your prescriptions in your carry on.
- Don't forget your passport and ID. Also, bring your American driver's license.
- In case of theft or loss of your passport carry a photocopy of it on you at all times.
- If you lose your passport, contact the nearest US Embassy/ Consulate. You will need a copy of your birth certificate or passport as well as additional piece of ID (U.S. driver license).
- Electricity voltage in Italy is 220 volts. US equipment will need a special adaptor plug (2 pin rounded).
DURING YOUR FLIGHT
- Drink lots of fluids, preferably water. Avoid alcohol. Avoid salty foods. Eat when you are hungry.
UPON ARRIVAL TO YOUR HOTEL
At check-in, the concierge will take your passport to register your data for routine police report and it will be returned to you generally by the next day.
Try to adjust to local time. You need at least 6 hours of daylight to help your body adjust. Take a shower when you arrive and don't think you should have breakfast when it is almost afternoon. Have an early dinner and try to stay awake until 10:00 PM local time. Drink lots of fluids (water).
- Italy is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the US. I.e. if you call 2:00pm local time, it will be 8:00am in the US.
Banks: hours: 8:30 am to 1:30 PM and 2:30pm to 3:30 PM
You can exchange currency at a bank or at the many money exchange windows. Banks will give you better rates.
Charge on plastic as much as possible so you don't carry cash but be aware you will be charged an additional % by your credit card company on top of the exchange rate. Get cash as you travel at the ATM machines.
Safety tip Scatter money in different pockets or use a money belt. Use Travelers check or ATM card (make sure you get PIN # valid for abroad). When you are at the ATM machine, beware of your surroundings.
Stores opening hours 9:00am - 1:00 pm and 3:30pm - 7:30pm
Return policies after you purchase you can only return your goods for store credit or exchange size, etc. It will be almost impossible to get a refund.
IVA (value added tax) is included in your purchase. US citizens can claim 20% VAT tax on goods purchased over Euro 155 (per purchase), in stores displaying Tax Free sign. You must have your passport. The store will provide you with an invoice that you must get stamped at customs (showing merchandise and receipt) as you leave the country. You must mail the stamped invoice back to the store before you leave Italy. Mailboxes are usually next to the custom office or just outside the terminal. Pass customs before check-in.
Shopping at a Supermarket: when purchasing vegetables or fruit, you must weigh your own purchase before you get to the cashier.
Plastic bags: you must bag you own purchases and will be charged for plastic bags. You can bring your own.
- Train: punch tickets at the yellow machines at front of the tracks before boarding the train. It is not required if you are traveling on Eurostar Speed Trains.
Cancellation and refund policy for Eurostar tickets:
- You may change your tickets at the ticket office at the railway station before your departure at no charge.
- If you miss the train, you can make new reservations at the ticket office, valid 24 hrs, at a charge of 3,00 Euro per ticket.
- If you do not use your train ticket you may return it at the railway station, before the scheduled departure, and you will obtain either a bonus valid 6 months, or a refund of the ticket value less 20%.
- You may obtain cash refund for your train tickets within the 24 hrs following the scheduled departure, less a 50% of the ticket value.
- Bus: tickets must be purchased at T (tabaccaio / most display a sign with a white T on a dark background.). In Florence and Rome, after validation, ticket is valid for 60 min.
- Taxi - yellow or white. Unauthorized taxi drivers will call out to you to entice you to use their service. Do not do so.
- Vaporetto tickets - 3 day personal pass = Euro 30 (best if you buy it as soon as you get to Venice).
- All tickets must be validated as soon as the vehicle is boarded to avoid hefty fines.
- Gas stations: The schedule is generally 7am to noon and 2.30 PM to 7:00 PM. On Highways (Austostrade) they stay open 24/7. In most small towns pumps will be closed on Sunday. Watch out for strikes. Keep abreast of local news.
- Always lock your car when stopping for a snack at gas stations. Do not leave valuables in your car.
Churches: no shorts or short skirts. No sleeveless shirts or tank tops for both men and women.
Opening hours: 7:00 am - 12:00 PM and 2:30 PM - 6:30 PM
- At a bar, having a cappuccino or coffee at the counter is cheaper than seating at a table.
- At restaurants, bread (pane) and table settings (coperto) = service charge will be included in your bill.
- Tipping is not as strict as in the US, but if you are satisfied you are welcome to leave Euro 5 / 10 (cash) at restaurants. Guides and drivers on private tours should be tipped Euro 20-30.
- Restaurants are required by law to give customers official receipts. Don't leave the restaurant without it.
- Restaurants will be open for lunch 12.30-2pm and for dinner 7.30-10.00. To avoid "closing day's disappointment" check with restaurant or concierge.
USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS
American Consulate addresses and phone #s
- Roma: (Embassy) Via Vittorio Veneto 119/A Ph. 06/46741
- Milan: Via Principe Amedeo 2/10 Ph. 02/290351
- Firenze: Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci 38 Ph. 055/266951
- Naples: Piazza della Repubblica 1, Ph. 081/5838111
- Genova: Via Dante 2, Ph. 010/584492
International Operators for collect calls: 170
for international information: 4176
An Italian pharmacist is well qualified to give you advice on minor ailments and to dispense prescriptions. There's generally one open all night in the bigger cities and towns. You can check in the local newspaper for listings, the concierge at your hotel can help.
Emergency care at hospitals is free to non-residents of Italy.
Travel in 1st class and prefer to book your seat.
- Rome Naples 2hrs
- Rome Florence 1hr.40minutes
- Florence-Venice 2hrs.40minutes
- Florence-Milan 1hr.40minutes
- Rome-Naples 3hrs
- Naples Florence 6 hrs
- Florence Venice 3hrs
- Florence Milan 4hrs - avoid fog hours in the winter. Always drive in the middle of the day.
- Rome Tuscany (Siena) 2hrs
Trip Interruption Insurance is highly recommended.