What You Need to Know when You Travel to Italy

Travelling in the Bel Paese is one of those rare experiences in life. Italy is blessed with its natural beauty. Old cities like Venice, a name which later became synonymous to architectural excellence, Rome and Sicily all adds up to its natural splendor. As a land of artistic and architectural treasures, Italy is dedicated to preserving its three thousand years of history. Italy is one of the biggest producers of wine. Traveling a destination like Italy is certain to provide lot of entertainment and pleasure which you will endeavor for all your life.

Italy is "la dolce vita" (the sweet life), and many people that travel to this incredible country never want to leave.

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The climate of Italy is highly variable, depending on how far north or south you are. The Italian Alps make up most of the northern part of Italy, where winters are very cold and snowy and summers are warm and often rainy. The region surrounding Lombardy is protected from winter storms, making for clement weather much of the year. The Po Valley is a land of extreme weather, with chillingly cold winters and hot summers. As you go farther south, weather conditions get more and more idyllic.

Cultural Heritage

Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. High art and monuments are to be found everywhere around the country. Its great cities of art, like Rome, Venice and Florence are world famous and have been attracting visitors for centuries. Besides its art treasures Italy also features beautiful coasts, alpine lakes and mountains. No wonder it is often nicknamed the Bel Paese (beautiful country).


In Italy food is culture. It's part of the life style and history of the Country. Italian cooking is all about fresh ingredients, locally grown and prepared simply.

Each Italian region with its own unique history has left its mark on Italian cooking. In this section we explore the history and cultural significance of Italian foods and traditions linked to the cuisine.

From risotto and polenta, to pasta, gnocchi and of course, pizza, it always seems to taste so much better when in Italy. Albeit big distribution, supermarket and foreign markets make available fresh ingredients all year long, Italians know that a given food tastes great only in its season.

Take a cooking class organized just for you and you will learn the secrets of authentic Italian cuisine: how make your own pizza or cook your pasta the Italian way, and many other secrets.

Wine divine

The Italian lifestyle is completed by the famed Italian wines. Some of the most apreciated wines in the world come from Italy and Italian enologists are much sought after from foreign wanting to start a wine production.

Italian wines are produced by all walks of life; from the multi-national corporations to traditional wineries, to families tending their own vines for the kitchen table.

Some like Barolo, Chianti, Brunello, Primitivo. However you may also stumble upon a vino della casa in a local trattoria that is just as memorable. Take a degustation and wine tour while you are travelling to Italy.


Although normally store hour are 9:00 AM to 1:00PM and 3:30 - 8:00 PM, in many large cities and tourist areas stores often stay open 9:30AM to 7:30 PM. Popular department stores are open from 9:30 AM to 7:30 PM.

Some excellent purchase options are: Clothes for men and women (dresses, shoes, gloves, silk ties, shirts); lacework, jewellery, leather goods (handbags, cases, boxes, luggage), ceramics, gold and silver items, alabaster, woodwork, straw, embroidery, glass and crystal ware.

Pharmacies have the same opening hours as shops, from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 and from 3.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.; in the larger cities, some pharmacies are open 24 hours. For emergencies during the night, or when the pharmacies are normally closed, a number of them remain open, on a rotational basis. A calendar listing the nearest one open can be found on the doors of all local pharmacies.


Safety only becomes an issue in tourist-heavy cities, especially in Rome, and pick pocketing and theft is a consistent problem. Reduce the likelihood of your belongings being stolen by keeping a wary eye out while visiting the ATM and keeping your bag between your legs on the bus. Groups of gypsies, mostly unkempt women and children, often hang out around train stations, pick pocketing unsuspecting tourists.

National Public Holidays

There are 12 national holidays on the Italian calendar:
- 1 January - New Year’s Day
- 6 January - Epiphany
- Easter Sunday (date varies from year to year)
- Easter Monday (the day after Easter Sunday)
- 25 April - Anniversary of the Liberation
- 1 May - Labour Day
- 2 June -Republic Day
- 15 August - Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Ferragosto)
- 1 November - All Saints Day
- 8 December - Immaculate Conception
- 25 December - Christmas Day
- 26 December - Boxing Day

Plan your tour by month


It's generally cold, with the freezing tramontana wind sweeping down from the north. January 29, 30 and 31 are known as the "giornate della merla" (days of the blackbird) and are supposed to be the coldest of the year. A winter vacation has some advantages however, once the Christmas holidays are over (after January 6), the sights are almost deserted and you will find a warm welcome everywhere.


It is the shortest month. It can be almost as cold as January, although winter is traditionally held to be at an end if the weather is good on the Feast of Candlemas (February 2). Beautiful the festivals during the Carnival especially in Venice. Again, tourists are few and far between and cheap flights and hotel rooms abound. Come and visit Venice and Verona or Rome and the South.


In March the weather is notoriously capricious. It is still chilly, and often windy and rainy too. The days are longer however, as March 21 officially marks the start of spring. Tourism picks up, especially when Easter falls early. Come and visit Milan and Florence as well as Amalfi Coast and Pompeii.


Many Italians take a city break at Easter, adding to the crowds. High season rates are charged at hotels everywhere. The weather is a little warmer. Come and visit all the most important art cities in Italy.


This is the month of the beautiful flowers in Italy. Temperatures are warm but not too hot for sightseeing. The major sights are crowded - not only with visitors from abroad but also with Italian schoolchildren, as schools often organize trips. Visit Como Lake and Garda Lake as well as the countryside in Piedmont and Tuscany.


June is similar to May, later in the month the temperature can rise steeply, particularly in the south. June 21 is the longest day of the year. Seaside resorts begin to fill up after schools close at the beginning of the month. Enjoy the Liguria and the lake sightseeings.

July and August

They are too hot. Although it is no longer true that everything shuts down in August, the cities are best avoided at this time. Enjoy the sea or the Alps with beautiful walking paths.


The best time of year to visit Italy. Temperatures are beginning to drop and the weather is usually dry. Summer resorts are less crowded after the schools open in the middle of the month.
Autumn officially begins on September 23. Enjoy Tuscany and Umbria.


A very good time for visiting Rome and the South. In northern Italy and at higher altitudes, however, temperatures may already be quite low, particularly at night.


A stylish holiday in the Renaissance city of Florence. The days are short, although rarely very cold.
If you do opt for a November vacation, don't miss tasting the new wine ("vino novello") and chestnuts that abound at this time of year.


The cold weather returns: you can forget about sitting outside on the piazza sipping a cappuccino. The days are at their shortest.
With the holiday season, prices begin to rise and hotels to fill up: book early to avoid disappointment.
If you decide to come to Italy over Christmas and the New Year, try visiting some of the less famous sights: you will see something different and avoid the worst of the crowds.

For any other information please ask your travel consultant!