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About Italy

Welcome to Italy! History, culture, food, and fashion come together in beloved Italy, a country that almost needs no introduction. From Capri’s dazzling beaches to Venice’s ancient canals, the ‘Bel Paese’ is home to some of the world’s most inspiring destinations. Art lovers can find some of the world’s great masterpieces here, while history buffs can explore the Roman ruins, ancient palaces, and the Vatican. It’s not easy to choose which regions to visit in Italy, but no matter where you land, we’re sure you’ll have made a good decision.

Of course, there’s nothing more appealing about Italy than its cuisine. To taste la dolce vita, travelers flock to Italy to enjoy dishes made from simple, wholesome ingredients like fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. Additionally, there are endless wellness-oriented attractions throughout the country, from natural thermal springs in Tuscany to organic spas and retreats at idyllic villas. Whether you’re looking for a beach vacation or cultural exploration, Italy truly has it all. 

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Best Time To visit

The best time of year to visit Italy is from mid-April to June and from September to October, as temperatures will be the most pleasant during these times. However, the summer months of June, July, and August are the hottest and most humid, in addition to being more crowded. You should also keep in mind that many Italians go on holiday in August, leaving a lot of stores closed while they are away.

Italy has some fantastic festivals and events throughout the year, which can be a great reason to visit, from the Carnevale di Venezia in February to the Festa della Repubblica in Rome in June. During the summer, you’ll also find outdoor concerts like the Puccini Opera Festival in Tuscany that draw music lovers worldwide.

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What to expect

When visiting Italy, you can expect to experience some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. Italy’s landscapes are as varied as its cities, from snow-capped mountains to miles of golden beaches. In the north, you’ll find the vibrant fashion capital of Milan as well as scenic Venice, fair Verona, and artistic Florence. If you like to ski, be sure to visit the world-class winter resorts in the Dolomites. In the south, you can enjoy a taste of the Med in seaside towns like Amalfi and Sorrento. Or, let your adventures lead you to the preserved ancient city of Pompeii or the bustling piazzas of Rome, where you can experience the history of the Roman Empire firsthand. 

Italy is a paradise for foodies, with pizza and pasta just the beginning. From simple paninis to the sophisticated flavors of regional specialties, Italian cuisine is renowned for its rich flavors and fresh ingredients – no additives here. Wine enthusiasts will also be in heaven as Italy is home to some of the best vineyards in the world, with wine from each region boasting distinctive characteristics.

Staying healthy on your trip through Italy shouldn’t be difficult, considering there are endless activities here that promote well-being. For example, you can ride bikes or go hiking in the Italian Alps, spend a few hours doing water sports, or take a relaxing yoga class on the beach. We also recommend visiting the seaside town of Sardinia, one of the world’s ‘Blue Zones.’ It is home to some of the oldest people on earth, partly attributed to their primarily plant-based, lean Mediterranean diet and their community-oriented solid mindset.

No matter where you go in Italy, you can expect to experience friendly hospitality – the Italians are known for being warm, open people who appreciate the good life! Welcome to Italy!

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Things to know

Italy is a country steeped in history dating back millennia, with some of the oldest sites and artifacts from antiquity in existence. The earliest known settlements in Italy date back to the Paleolithic period. The Roman Empire was established in 27 BC, with Rome as its capital. During this time, the Romans constructed numerous engineering marvels, from military structures to roads, aqueducts, baths, and many well-known buildings and monuments, including the Colosseum and Pantheon. While the Roman Empire fell in 476 AD, its impact spread far and wide, and its mark on history cannot be overstated.

In 1861, Italy became unified under a single government. This period of unification marked the start of a new era for Italy, as it saw massive industrialization and urbanization and an eventual shift to democratic rule. Today, Italy is still one of the most influential European countries and a major cultural force in the world. 

Language: The official language is Italian, although English is widely spoken in the major cities. If you go off the beaten path, it’s very likely that people won’t speak English, so it’s best to learn some simple phrases ahead of time and bring your Italian dictionary with you.

Time Zone: Italy is on Central European Time (CET), which is six hours ahead of New York (EST) and one hour ahead of London (GMT).

Currency: The official currency in Italy is the Euro (EUR).

Plugs & Voltage: Italy never standardized their sockets, which makes things a bit tricky. Primarily, you’ll find the EU standard plug in types C and F, but you will occasionally find type L in Italy as well. It’s best to bring a world adapter when you travel to Italy to cover all your bases. The supply voltage is 230V.

Safety: On the whole, crime rates are low in Italy. However, if you are traveling to big cities like Rome and Milan, beware of pickpockets in crowded public areas. 

Opening Hours: Shops in Italy are typically open from around 9:30am to 7/7:30pm with a break at lunchtime from 1-3pm. 

Sites: Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Vatican City, Cinque Terre, Venice Canals, St. Mark’s Basilica

Common Sayings:

  • Ciao – Hello
  • Yes – Si 
  • No – No
  • Please – Per favore
  • Thank you – Grazie 
  • You’re welcome – Prego 
  • Excuse me – Scusi

Organic Groceries: The most popular organic supermarket chain in Italy is NaturaSì, which has locations throughout the country. You can also find organic food at local markets, specialty shops, and restaurants.

Vegetarian/Vegan: Many traditional Italian dishes are naturally vegetarian or vegan and can be enjoyed without any special modifications. For example, pasta with marinara sauce, caponata, and risotto can all be made in a vegetarian and vegan-friendly way. You can also find many places with substitutions available, like gluten-free pizza made with vegan cheese.

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how to get around

There are many ways to get around Italy, from train rides to car rentals and everything in between. Italy has an extensive railway network with local and national services. If you’re going across the country, trains are usually the most efficient way to get around, with fast speeds and frequent service. Italy also has buses in many cities, but keep in mind that your journey will be slower.

Renting a car is another great option if you want to explore remote areas of the country. However, if you’re going only a short distance, you should hop on a Vespa like the locals instead.

Of course, many places in Italy, like Venice, make more sense to travel by sea than by land. You can always take a ferry to many coastal towns and islands, enjoying an inexpensive boat journey with beautiful views.

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destinations

Pompeii

Milan

Parma

Pompeii

Cinque Terre

Bologna

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