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Italy Archives

About the county

Italy, the birthplace of pasta and pizza provides a wide range of choices for artwork lovers to experience. A temperate climate exists here with very hot summers and not so cold winters. The weather is the best in spring and autumn with pleasant temperatures and scenic views. At that time of the year, the place isn?t crowded much and things can be enjoyed in leisure. Incase of emergency call 112. For fire call 115 and for ambulance call 118.

Culture

Italian is widely spoken and is the official language. English isn?t very familiar to the locals. Family ties are of utmost importance here and hence social courtesies mean a lot to the locals. There is a great impact of the Roman Catholic Church on the culture here. There is a high content of chlorine in tap waters, so bottled water is recommended for staying fit during the trip. Since Italian is spoken on a wide scale, it is highly recommended to learn few common Italian phrases which can be of great use. Social gatherings call for formal wear, but one can dress in casuals otherwise. At some religious places, sleeveless shirt and shorts are frowned upon. So they are better avoided. Purses and wallets should be well guarded and in case of any theft, police should be informed about the incident.

Site Seeing

The first thing to check out is the leaning tower of Pisa, where Olympics originated. At places like museums and art galleries, photography, especially flash photography is restricted. Check out the ticket counter for more information. Italy should be majorly discovered on foot for a thorough viewing of all the beautiful buildings and monuments. Coaches and trains are a good option to get to a tourist spot.

Shopping

Shops here are open from 9am to 8pm, closed for lunch. Quality of goods is great although the prices are very less. Items like crystals, lacework, leather good, and jewelry can be bought at the stores. Remember to hold on to the receipt. Tipping of 10% is customary along with the service tax levied on the bill. Italy is famous for top designers of the world, so do buy clothes and accessories to update your wardrobe. Cruises have formal gatherings in the evening, so ensure to buy a cocktail dress or some formal wear, though casuals can be worn at other times.

Electricity

The voltage used is 220 volts and 50 Hz frequency.

Getting there

Alitalia is the national airline of Italy. Many other flights connect to Italy from USA, Canada and Australia and there is big competition to attract passengers giving a wide range of offers to travelers. Rome airport is located 26 km away from the city and it takes 45 minutes to get there from the airport. Trains connect directly to Termini Station from where one can take taxi to get to their destination. Duty free shops, bank, car hire and restaurants are the other services provided at this airport. Milan has another famous airport here, which is at a distance of 45km away from the city.

Brindisi, Ancona, Naples and Venice are the major seaports of Italy. Italian State Railways connects many European cities. But, Eurostar provides the fastest train service.

If choosing to drive, don?t forget to carry international driving license and international insurance certificate. Roads connect Italy to France, Austria and Switzerland. Many coach services are provided from the neighboring countries.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco
2. 2liter of wine and 1liter of spirits (over 22 per cent) or 2liter of fortified or sparkling wine
3. 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette; 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extract (if over 15 years of age)
4. 100g of tea or 40g of tea extract
5. Gifts not exceeding ?89.96 (if entering from an EU country), ?175 (if entering from a non-EU country).



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Attending Sporting Events on Your Italy Vacation

Sports and Italians go together like spaghetti and meatballs! The most popular sports are soccer, rugby and cycling. Winter sports are also very popular during that season. Italians are serious spectators and fierce competitors. During your Italy vacation you may decide to look up which sporting events are going on that you may be able to attend. You will definitely experience Italy culture and the passion that they bring to competition.

With soccer the passion is very understandable because Italy has won the World Cup 4 times and is actually the current title holder after the 2006 World Cup Series. With their 4 total wins they hold the record of being the second most successful team since the championship began and are second only to Brazil. If you are a sports fan you may be interested in seeing a match during your Italy vacation. Select Italy is a company that will allow you to experience this. They can arrange tickets for you to see Series A and Series B games in some of the major cities in Italy. You can request a specific city on their website and they have staff who will confirm pricing and other details with you after they receive your request.

If you would rather see something else while you are in Italy on vacation they can also arrange tickets for you to see anything from auto racing to basketball to tennis. Tickets obtained through this company will be up to 25% higher than their face value as the company adds on fees and processing costs for providing travelers with this great service. Select Italy may be contacted through their website at www.selectitaly.com/sports.php

If you are going to see a soccer match in Italy during your vacation you may be concerned about what you have heard about the dangers and sometimes violence at these events. Italians as you know are very competitive and passionate about their soccer. It is best to make sure that you either wear the colors of the Italian home team or something else that is not in line with the opposing team’s colors. Companies like Select Italy will advise you which colors to wear if you want to support the Italian team and which colors to stay away from depending on which match you want to see. Another thing to remember is that many of these Italian soccer matches have a designated area for their die-hard fans.

If a fight would break out it would be more likely to be between someone who sits in that designated area with someone who supports the opposing team. As a visitor you would probably feel most comfortable sitting in a neutral central location. Select Italy will not insure you or assume any liability for anything that may happen at any of these matches that they help you attend.

If you are interested in seeing sporting events when in Rome for your Italy vacation, you can always find out what is going on at the Flaminio Stadium. It was built for the 1960 Olympic Games in Italy and now has all kinds of sporting events going on from rugby to equestrian. It is very accessible from many hotels in Rome.



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Taking pictures when you go on vacation is extremely important. It will allow you to re-visit all those fond memories and also make for great conversation pieces when you return home. On your Italian vacation there will be many opportunities to take tons of pictures. The country is famous for its beautiful architecture, amazing landscapes and friendly people. There is a photo opportunity every corner you turn. You will want to remember what the Vatican looked like when you first saw it or the huge Colosseum. If you visit Tuscany, you will see architecture at its best and you will be able to take pictures of all the wonderful buildings and structures like the leaning tower of Pisa. Even quaint chapels and little Old Italian ladies make for perfect shots that cannot be missed during your vacation to Italy. There are a few things to remember if you want to be able to take great shots each time.

Make sure your subject matter is within the frame of your shot. You must always check the corners and edges in the shot before you click. This will reduce the chances of amateur mistakes like missing top halves of heads. Also look for patterns and symmetry especially when shooting buildings on your Italy vacation. For example if you are taking a picture of a street scene, try to have all the buildings in your shot on an angle. Simple patterns and simple subjects also make for beautiful shots especially when you use natural light.

The best times to shoot for the best shots are early in the morning or late in the day. This is because film or digital sensors in digital cameras are much more sensitive to light than your eyes so what may seem to be a normal bright day could show up in your prints as too bright and washed over. You will do best to also always make sure the light is behind you unless you are shooting people. If you take pictures of people who are looking into the sun you end up with squinted eyes in your pictures. You can also avoid this by taking pictures early morning or late in the day when the sun is not as powerful.

Another technique to use for your photographs during your Italian vacation is to change your point of view from the subject. For example shots looking up usually turn out beautiful so try taking some pictures on your knees. Other variations include taking close ups rather than always trying to get too much into the frame of the picture. Also, to make for some great photography during your Italy vacation, try one of the most powerful techniques that professional photographers use. Avoid placing all your subjects in the middle of your frame. Have the subject on an edge or in a corner and click. It is important to remember that even amateurs can take great looking pictures and an Italian vacation presents tremendous opportunities to practice taking pictures.



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When traveling to Italy there are several things you must have. The least of these are a passport and maybe even a visa. If this is your first time traveling out of the US you will need to apply for a passport. You may also need to apply for a passport if your old one has expired, is damaged or lost. Applying for a passport is a fairly simple process which may be as simple as a trip to the post office but be sure to start early so you can be ready for your Italy vacation. There are stories of people who have had to cancel vacations because their passport was not ready. You don’t want to do this as it will be very disappointing and also expensive especially if you have reserved an airline ticket or some sort of package vacation.

The US Department of State asks that you allow six months for them to process your passport application however some travelers have found it only took a few weeks for them to receive their passports. You can apply online however first time applicants must apply in person. The main supporting document that is required is a valid original US birth certificate. Passport applicants are sometimes surprised to find that their original birth certificate needs to be submitted to the Department of State with a promise of it being mailed back. Many people tend to be leery of this especially because they have found how difficult it is to get a replacement birth certificate. However, most report that within a short period of receiving their new passports, their birth certificates arrive in the mail safe and sound. For all the details on where the 9000 passport application accepting facilities are and how to apply for a passport for your Italy vacation you can go to www.travel.state.gov/passport

If you are a US citizen you will not need a visa to go on an Italy vacation. However you must show that your airline ticket includes a return back to the US. If you are planning to travel to Italy for reasons other than a vacation the requirements are different and usually stricter. When on vacation in Italy you can stay for a maximum of 3 months at a time but remember that this is a combined period to include any time spent in several other European countries. Italy has an embassy in Washington DC that can process visas for non-US citizens. They must go to the embassy for personal interviews. If you are going to Italy for a vacation the prime concern of the Italian government is that you plan to return to your country. Therefore they always ask for proof that you have a full-time job especially if you are a non-US citizen.

The Department of State recommends that during your Italy vacation you register your presence there with the US embassy. This is important in case someone needs to contact you for an emergency home or in case of a disaster abroad so your whereabouts can be confirmed.



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All about Money and your Italy Vacation

If you are traveling to Italy for vacation, you need to be aware of some basics about the currency. Travelers are usually concerned with several questions. What is the currency conversion rate? Where can I change my dollars into Euros when I arrive? Can I use my travelers’ checks? Are ATM machines readily available? What if I need a larger amount of cash and I need a bank? Can I use my major credit card at many places? What about tax-free shopping?

These are all great questions to ask before you go on your Italy vacation and each one has an answer that will be addressed here. First of all it is important to know that Italy uses the European Euro. There is no “Italian currency.” One dollar ($1) is equivalent to approximately 0.70 euros. The currency conversion rate can fluctuate daily so it is best that you check for a more accurate figure before you leave for your vacation to Italy. You can find the most current exchange rate at The Universal Currency Converter website which is www.xe.com/ucc/

How can you get Euros once you arrive in Italy for your vacation? There will be an exchange office at the airport when you arrive. This is usually most accurate if you are arriving in a main city. Exchange offices may also be available at railway stations in the main cities. You can always also get Euros at any ATM or bank. This leads in to the next question about the availability of ATMs. There are ATMs all over Italy mainly in big cities but also in some smaller towns. But you need to know that in Italy ATMs are called “bancomats.” During your Italy vacation you will find that these bancomats work just like they do in the US and you will get the chance to select your language of preference from the screen when you begin. You can use your credit or debit card to get money (euros only) out of the bancomat as long as there is a Cirrus or BankMate symbol on that machine and your card.

You could always find out from your Credit Card Company or bank if their cards can be used worldwide before you leave for your vacation to Italy. Most businesses accept major credit cards in Italy and you should always look for the credit card signage stickers on doors of shops just like there are in the US. Travelers’ checks are also widely accepted in the major cities.

If you need a larger sum of cash than the bancomat will provide during your Italy vacation you will find that there are banks all over Italy especially at the main tourist attractions. Most Italian banks close for about an hour and a half for a lunch break during the week and are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays.

People taking an Italy vacation will be glad to find out that non-resident visitors may claim a refund for the tax they pay on many of their purchases. You can go to www.globalrefund.com to pursue a refund.



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The Romantic City Of Tuscany

If you’re looking for a romantic holiday with your lover, there’s not much that comes near to a European Holiday in Tuscany. Tuscany is in Northerly Italy and boasts pretty towns, cities and towns that are full of beans, culture and pretty design. If you need to go to one of the most pretty places on earth, these are some tips on visiting romantic Tuscany. If you like rich history, monumental perspectives and excellent food, Tuscany is the ideal place to visit. Tuscan has always had a rich history and many writers and painters have made many books and paintings showing the fantastic thing about Tuscany. The largest town in Tuscany is Florence and there are fantastic historic monuments, cobble stoned streets and pretty pieces of humanities. One of the most renowned works of art is the Michelangelo’s sculpture of David found at the famous Academy.

Florence is also famous for its pretty churches and smashing sculptures across the town. Tuscany has extremely mild weather and is ideal for growing wine. Some of the finest tasting wines in the world come from this area in Italy. Many folks like to enjoy the amazing cuisine and drink wine while watching the nightfall over the red clay homes. For many of us Tuscany is pure nirvana. Tuscany is really easy to get to and only some hours train ride from Rome.

There are multiple smaller airports round the area except for travelers from America it is perhaps simplest to travel straight into Rome and then take a smaller flight or train ride to Florence.



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