Frequently Asked Questions
Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, renowned throughout the world for its incredible food, wine, culture, architecture, fashion and stunning landscapes. With so many amazing cities and regions in one country and dozens of beautiful islands there are many reasons why Italy is considered to be one of the most romantic destinations in the world. For first-time visitors to Italy, below we have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions we get regularly about what to expect during your trip.
1. Do I need a converter to charge devices such as cell phones, laptops, and other electrical appliances?
You’ll definitely need a converter or an adapter in order to charge your electrical devices when you get to Italy. Head to your local electronic shop and ask about which adapters or converters are specific to Italy. Purchase one before you leave for your destination since travel adapters are hard to locate and are generally a little overpriced once you are abroad.
2. I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to tip in Italy, is this true?
Yes and no. Tipping is not expected in Italy so most waiters, cab drivers, etc. probably won’t be offended if you don’t tip. If you feel like you’ve received exceptional service, there is certainly nothing wrong with tipping. Some managers won’t understand what the tip is and simply pocket the money for themselves. If you’re going to tip, just make sure you give it directly to the person it is intended for, or add an explanation to the manager.
Don’t be alarmed when you find a cover charge on your restaurant bill known as “coperto” this is standard practise and can very from Euro 1.50 to Euro 2.00 per person. This is charge for service and also covers things like a basket of bread which nearly always accompanies a meal.
If however you are traveling with a group or you are having guided tours and other services here in Italy, keep in mind the following:
Tipping in Europe is a custom. It is the usual practice in Italy to leave a tip to the hotel staff at the end or during your holiday. Tips are also left to taxi drivers, local guides and tour directors, at bars, restaurants and anytime you receive an efficient service, to show your appreciation.
Tipping for Groups:
The last day of the tour is the customary time to extend gratuities to your guide and driver.
For general guidance, we recommend:
Motor coach Driver: € 4 euro per person per day
Local on site Guides: € 1-2 euro per person per tour Tour Director: € 6 euro per person per day
Tipping for Private Tour Services
Recommended per day in total:
local guide 20€ at the end of guided visit -
driver full day 30€ per person at the end of the trip -
driver half day 20€ tour escort-
drivers short drive transfer and assistant 10€
Where needed tour director full day: 20€ per person per day at the end of the trip.
3. Can I use my ATM and Credit cards in Italy?
Using your ATM or credit cards in Italy should not be an issue but it’s important to make sure that you consult your bank first. Most credit and debit cards have a security lock that prevents them from working overseas (to prevent fraud) so make sure you get the lock removed before you travel.
It is also quite common if you pay for an item in a store or supermarket by credit card, that the cashier may ask for a form of ID so have your passport or driver's license at hand.
4. What should I bring with me that’s essential?
The two most basic things you’ll need are any prescribed medications you’re taking, and adapters for any electrical components you brought with you, including your phone. All of Europe uses 110V outlets, half the voltage of North America’s 220V outlets. So, make sure you have enough adapters for everything from your smartphone to your hairdryer. Don’t bring non-essential items like food or snacks, other than what you need on the plane, as you’ll be surrounded by amazing restaurants, open-air markets, and bodegas.
Pro-traveler’s tip: Don’t bring any appliances more than five years old—these won’t work in Europe, even with an adapter, as they are not 110/220V compliant like today’s appliances are. Older appliances require converters, which are heavy and unwieldy, so try to avoid them if possible.
What if I need an over-the-counter medication while I'm in Italy?
There are pharmacies (farmacias) all over most towns in Italy, and the hours are good at most locations. You can use Google on your smartphone to locate the nearest farmacia, and even those that are open 24 hours a day and on Sundays. If something happens to you medically and a doctor in Italy prescribes you medicine, you can also fill these at any corner farmacia with ease.
5. Dietary Restrictions: Vegetarian, Gluten Free and Vegan
Italy is one of the best countries in Europe for accommodating the dietary needs of pretty much everyone and in fact there are many vegetarians and vegans in Italy as well as gluten free options at numerous pizzerias and various other establishment! Just tell them what you need and mention any allergies and most establishments will be happy to work with you to provide you the best possible options!
6. How Should I Dress? Can I Wear Shorts and Tennis shoes?
The advice? We advise to not and consider this: When a pickpocket is looking for his mark, we think [dressing better than the average American tourist] shifts his attention to someone else.We also answered this question on the blog, though more from a style point of view than a safety one. Here’s our guide we hope can help with dressing from our Blog!
1. Simple is best. Bring basics comfortable articles that are versatile and dress them up when necessary. The greatest fashion trends are always timeless and begin with taking care of your body, your skin and your grooming. Italians put a lot of time into taking care of themselves and in fact Italy is considered to be one of the healthiest countries in the world, with people taking sports and self-care very seriously, simplicity with a touch of elegance, color and sophistication is the name of the game here and the occasion – time of day and the weather is going to determine what you wear, however there are a few simple and yet cardinal rules.
Footwear Suggestions We suggest you bring:
We recommend always versatile, light-weight and comfortable footwear since Italy is a place where you will be doing a lot of walking and get to some of the most beautiful locations there may be some steep stairs involved. We recommend always versatile, light-weight and comfortable footwear and here are some shoes you will need to have!
- 1 pair of Flat Shoes
- 1 pair Running Shoes
- 1 Pair of Dress Up Shoes for both men and women (either flats or high-heels for women).
- In the summer, we also suggest as a pair of flip-flop or a pair of open-toe sandals which are light-weight and comfortable to walk in. However, Italians make beautiful sandals particularly on the Amalfi Coast or Capri – this is the place to buy sandals and so you may want to wait to get here to buy sandals.
Like in all major cities worldwide, when visiting busy tourist attractions, or when using public transport keep a close eye on your personal belongings ensuring bags, handbags and rucksacks are firmly zipped up. Be cautious of people who approach you asking for directions or help with maps, its can be used as a form of distraction on unsuspecting tourists to pickpocket belongings.
Do remember that Italy is a Catholic country and that you are expected to have your shoulders and knees covered inside all churches - this goes for both men and women.
7. Are there Hairdryers at Hotels?
Almost all hotels in Italy provide hair dryers as well as beauty kits with shampoo and essential cleaning products.
8. Do hotels offer dry cleaning and laundry services?
For the most part all hotels offer some type of laundry or dry cleaning service at additional cost.
9. Is Italy child friendly?
Yes ! Italians and restaurants in Italy are very accommodating for families who are traveling with young children. You will not always find a “child’s menu” however ask your server for a smaller portion or something simple for children and they will nearly always oblige with your request. Although Italians love babies, don’t be surprised by lack of changing facilities ! So be prepared and always having a little towel handy for an improvised changing mat. The common brands of baby products are available in Italy and you can pick up diapers, food and milk in a Farmacia or in the supermarket.
10. Hotel City Taxes $$$$$
Hotel city taxes exist all over Italy are for the most part are payable only in person at hotels. They range from city to city and town to town from 1 Euro per person per night in small towns to 10 Euro per person per night in places like Venice at five star hotels. The category of hotel you stay at and the city or town you are staying in will determine the local city taxes.
You can opt not to pay the city tax if you do not feel you should be paying it and there is a special form that you can ask from the hotel.
For Customized Holidays or Expert Advice for travel in Italy or the Mediterranean, Please get in touc with your travel agent or have them
Direct In Italy: +39 338 351 6912
Toll Free: 1-866-779-2565