As part of the European Union, Italy uses the euro. You can change US dollars at banks and currency exchange agencies for the best rates, hotels and some shops can also change them for you, but the rate will likely be much higher. ATMs are also an efficient way to get money in the local currency.
Italy has 230 V at 50 Hz, with a type C, F or L socket. America's electrical currents are 120 V at 60 Hz, with a type A or B socket, so you'll need a converter and an adapter.
Wireless and wired Internet access is widely available throughout Italy. Many of the hotels we use offer this service free or at a small charge. There are also Internet cafés in main cities that allow you access, usually for a small charge.
Phoning home from another country can be expensive. All hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room. This charge can be very high. It is always cheaper for you to use public telephones (payphones) if your cell phone is not set for international calls. Your Travel Director can explain how to dial internationally if you are unsure.
Italy travel guides are always quick to point out that the country is a shoppers dream! You'll find everything from designer boutiques to quaint little arts & crafts shops. You can browse the famous shopping streets, Via dei Condotti in Rome, the Quadilatero d'Oro in Milan, Via de' Tornabuoni in Florence, but for better prices you might want to look for street markets or smaller shops. Ask your Travel Director, Local Travel Expert, or local host for advice. If you buy a DVD, make sure it can be played on an American Zone 1 player (or Zone 0, which will play on any machine). And always get a receipt!
Global VAT Refund for European Countries: VAT is Value Added Tax and is included in the price of goods in European Union countries. Non-European Union residents may qualify for a refund of part of the VAT portion of purchases made in Europe. Note that only participating outlets displaying the Global Refund logo qualify and minimum purchase values apply. As they are quite complex, it is impossible to fully outline the rules of each country here. Please check with participating outlets, or visit the website www.globalrefund.com
We suggest the following tipping rates: Taxis 10-15% of the fare on the meter, Restaurants and bars 10-15% of the total bill. If a service charge has already been added there is no need to tip as much or at all.
Rome has a bus and subway network if you don't want to walk. Buy tickets in advance from newsstands or vending machines at subway or bus stations (exact change only). You can use a taxi, but look for an official white or yellow one. Renting a bike or a scooter is also an option, but watch out for traffic!
Florence has a good bus system, though you can get almost anywhere on foot. Purchase tickets at the ATAF ticket booth or a tobacconist. Taxis are also an option; call Taxi Radio or Taxi Socota to arrange this service.
In Venice you'll want to make at least one trip in a vaporetto, gondola or water taxi. Vaporetti are water buses, and can be crowded, but they are the least expensive way to travel throughout the city. You can buy a single ticket or a travelcard, which is a good option if you plan on doing a lot of traveling.
You'll probably be able to walk to whatever you want to see and do in Sorrento. If you want to explore further out, you can take a ferry to Capri and other coastal villages, or a bus to some of the delightful Amalfi Coast towns.
Traveling from city to city in Italy is easily done by train or bus.
Generally, casual jeans or slacks, shirts, sweaters, a jacket and comfortable walking shoes are all you'll need. If you plan on an evening at a nicer venue, dressier clothes may be called for. Don't forget to pack swimwear and a sun visor or hat.