Horseback riding in Italy

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Equestrian tours in Italy

Italy Mini Guide
    Source: World Travel Guide


Travelling around Italy remains one of those rare experiences in life - like a perfect spring day or the power of first love - that can never be overrated. In few places do history, art, fashion, food and la dolce vita ("the good life") intermingle so effortlessly. In Italy, you'll find sunny isles, glacial lakes and fiery volcanoes, rolling vineyards and urban landscapes harboring more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country on Earth. Few places offer such variety and few visitors leave without a fervent desire to return.

The artistic and architectural treasures of Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples draw visitors tot hem like moths to flame. Not content with Romans conquering most of the know world, the Venetians dispatched Marco Polo to uncharted lands off the map, while Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo kick-started the Renaissance in Western art and architecture.

Look around at all the splendid palaces, paintings, churches and monuments and wonder at the centuries of hard graft and the unswerving devotion to traditional techniques. Like the local art, wine is also designed to elevate your spirits. From the neatly-banded stone terraces of the Cinque Terre, which snake from sea level to terrifying precipices, to the blousy hillsides of Chianti, the riverine plain of the Po valley and the volcanic slopes of Etna, Italian wines are lovingly made to complement the carefully-sourced regional cuisine on your plate.

Much like its food, this country is an endless feast of experiences. No matter how much you gorge yourself, you'll always feel as though you're still on the first course. Do you go skiing in the Dolomites, or cycling in wine country? Do you dive the sin-split waters of Sardinia, climb Aeolian volcanoes or stalk markets stalls in Naples? the choice is dazzling and bewildering. So take the advice of the locals. Slow down, sit back, tuck in that napkin and get ready to begin.


Passport Required?









Other EU


Visa Required?









Other EU


Return Ticket Required?









Other EU




A passport valid for six months beyond the length of stay and issued within the past 10 years is required by all nationals listed in the chart above except (1) British and other EU nationals holding a passport or national ID card which is valid for the duration of stay.

If travelling from one border-free Schengen country to another however, EU nationals are not required to show a passport or national ID card. They must, however, still travel with a passport or ID card to prove their identity if necessary.

EU nationals are not required to possess a return ticket or show sufficient funds.

Passport Note

There are no formalities required to enter the Vatican City, but entry will always be via Rome, and you must therefore comply with Italian regulations. 

There is free access only to certain areas of the Vatican City; these include St Peter's Church, St Peter's Square, the Vatican Museum and the Vatican Gardens. Special permission is required to visit areas other than those mentioned.

There are no border formalities in San Marino, provided you comply with Italian regulations. 


Not required by all nationals referred to in the chart above for the following durations:
(a) nationals of EU countries for an unlimited period;
(b) nationals of Australia, Canada and the USA for stays of up to 90 days.

Note: Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements (see Contact Addresses).

Types and Cost

Schengen visas are available to short-stay travelers from non-member states (cost: €60/ £51.60). Reduced fees are available for some nationalities and for children. The single-entry visa allows travelers to enter the Schengen area once and travel within it. The multiple-entry visa allows you to enter and leave the Schengen area multiple times within the allocated time permitted.


Schengen visa: up to 90 days within a six-month period. 




Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

Currency Exchange

Foreign money can be changed at banks, railway stations and airports and very often at major hotels (generally at a less convenient rate).

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

MasterCard, American Express, Cirrus, Maestro, and Visa are widely accepted. Some restaurants charge an extra 'service fee' if you pay the bill by credit or debit card- ask the establishment whether this is the case before using your card. ATMs are widely available throughout Italy. Look for the 'Bancomat' sign for machines with multilingual interfaces. Pickpocketing and petty thievery can be problematic in tourist areas, so rake care to keep belongings secure and be vigilant when making cash withdrawals.

Traveller's Cheques

Traveller's cheques are rarely accepted even at banks. Expect high exchange rates at banks and at exchange offices. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Euros, Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.

Currency Restrictions

Restrictions apply.

Banking Hours

These vary from city to city but, in general, Mon-Fri 0830-1330 and 1500-1600.

Exchange Rate Indicators


April 2018









Special Precautions



Hepatitis A










Yellow Fever


Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.

Food and Drink

Tap water is generally safe to drink. Bottled water is available. The inscription ‘Acqua Non Potabile' means water is not drinkable. Milk is generally pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are safe to eat.

Health Care

A good standard of health care is available throughout Italy, although public hospitals tend to be better in the north than the south. Pharmacists sell over-the-counter medication and can advise on minor illnesses. They can also point you in the direction of more specialised help, if required. They keep the same hours as other shops, although some remain open at night on a rotation basis for emergency purposes. A list of those is usually on display in pharmacy windows. 

For European visitors who are taken ill or have an accident, free or reduced-cost treatment is available - in most cases on production of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). These should be obtained before leaving for Italy. The EHIC gives access to state-provided medical treatment. Travellers from other countries should find out if they are covered by other reciprocal arrangements. Australia, for example, has such an agreement as long as long as citizens carry their Medicare card. In most larger cities, English-speaking doctors or a translator service is usually available. Most dentists are private.

Dial 118 for an ambulance in an emergency. For emergency treatment, go to the pronto soccorso (casualty) section of the nearest public hospital, where you can also get emergency dental treatment.

Other Risks

The World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, polio and hepatitis B.

Getting There

Getting There by Air

The national airline is Alitalia (AZ) (website: Other airlines flying to Italy from the UK include British Airways (, easyJet (, and Ryanair ( Seasonal carriers flying to Italy from the UK include, Monarch Airlines, and Thomson Airways. American Airlines ( flies from the US to Italy.

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Rome is 2 hours 30 minutes, and from New York is 8 hours 25 minutes.

Main Airports

Rome (FCO) (Fiumicino) (website: is 32km (20 miles) southwest of the city (journey time - 30 to 55 minutes). To/from the airport: There is a direct rail link to Termini Station in central Rome and a bus service to the city centre and to Ciampino airport. Taxis are also available to the city. Facilities: Outgoing duty-free shop, car hire, ATMs, bank and bureau de change and bar/restaurants.

Rome (CIA) (Ciampino) (website: is 15km (9 miles) from the city (journey time - 30 to 40 minutes). To/from the airport: Buses are available to the underground station Anagnina and to the city centre. Taxis are also available. Facilities: Bank/bureau de change, car hire, duty-free and souvenir shop and cafe.

Pisa (PSA) (Galileo Galilei) (website: is 1.6km (1 mile) north of Pisa (journey time - 10 minutes). To/from the airport: Trains and buses run from Pisa airport to the centre of Florence (journey time - 1 hour). Rail services connect with arrivals and departures of all international flights and major domestic services. Facilities: Bank/bureau de change, car hire, shops and cafe.

Milan (MXP) (Malpensa) (website: is 45km (29 miles) northwest of the city (journey time - 30 minutes). To/from the airport: The Malapensa Express train connects terminal one with the centre of Milan (journey time - 40 minutes). A free shuttle bus connects the airport terminals. Taxis are available. Facilities: Duty-free shops, banks/bureaux de change, business centre, left luggage.

Departure Tax


Getting There by Water

Main ports: Ancona (website:, Brindisi (website:, Naples (website:, Venice (website:, Cagliari (, Civitavecchia (, Genoa, Livorno (, and Palermo (  

Main ferry operators: Grimaldi Lines (, SNAV (website:, Liberty Lines (, Toremar (, and Navigazione Libera del Golfo (website: The main international routes are from Greece and Croatia. There are also links from Tunisia to Sicily and from Corsica to Italy. Cruise ships call at ports such as Genoa and Citavecchia.

Getting There by Rail

Trenitalia runs regular services covering national and international routes (tel: +39 06 6847 5475; website: High-speed trains run between Italy and cities in France, Germany, and Switzerland. Schedules and tickets are available from ItaliaRail (

Rail Passes

InterRail: offers unlimited first- or second-class travel in up to 29 European countries for European residents of over six months with two pass options. The Global Pass allows travel for 22 days, 15 days, one month, five days in 10 days, or 10 days in 22 days across all countries. The One-Country Pass offers travel for three, four, six or eight days in one month in any of the countries except Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. Travel is not allowed in the passenger's country of residence. Reductions are available for travelers under 26. Children under 12 are free when traveling with an adult using an Adult Pass. Supplements are required fro some high-speed services, seat reservations, and couchettes. Discounts are offered on Eurostar and some ferry routes. Available from InterRail (

Eurailpass: Offers unlimited train travel in up to 28 countries. Tickets are valid for 15 days, 21 days, one month, two months, three months, five days in 10 days, 10 days in two months, or 15 days in two months. The Global Pass allows travel across all participating countries. The Regional Pass lets you travel in two bordering countries. The One Country Pass offers travel on one of 27 countries.

Adult passes are valid for first-class travel, while youth passes (under 26) are valid for second-class travel. Children under 12 are free when traveling with an adult using an Adult Pass. The passes cannot be sold to EU citizens or residents. Available from Eurail (

Getting There by Road

Routes to Italy run through Austria, France, Slovenia and Switzerland and most routes use the tunnels under the Alps and Apennines. Trenitalia runs regular daily services called auto al seguito (trains carrying cars), especially during the summer holiday season, covering national and international routes. These services operate from special railway stations and are generally bookable at the departure station. Owners must travel on the same train.

The documents required are the log-book, valid driving licence with Italian translation, passport, Green Card insurance and national identity plate fixed to the rear of the vehicle. For more information on routes, contact the Italian State Tourist Board (see Contact Addresses).

Eurolines (tel: 0870 514 3219 or 0871 781 881, in the UK; website: runs regular coach services from the UK to Italy. Passes: Travellers can book a 15- or 30-day pass. Available from Eurolines (website:



Italy is characterized by a Mediterranean climate with got, dry summers and cool, wet winters. July is the hottest month with temperatures up to 30C (86F) and January is the coldest month. It is a great destination to visit year round, particularly if taking a city break, though for the warmest and most reliable weather April to June us the prime tourist season. Most Italians take their holiday un July and August so prices, and crowds, and soar during these months, which are also the hottest of the year. If you're keen to avoid the main scrum of peak season but still bank on mild weather, late September to October is a good choice.

Required Clothing

Lightweight clothes are worn during the summer, except in the mountains. Winter demands light- to mediumweights in the south, but warmer clothes elsewhere. Alpine wear is advised for winter mountain resorts.



Italian Embassy in the UK

14 Three Kings Yard, Mayfair, London W1K 4EH, UK
Tel: (020) 7312 2200.
Political enquiries only.

Embassy of the Italian Republic in the USA

3000 Whitehaven Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 612 4400.
Opening times: Mon-Fri 1000-1230 (visas by appointment only).

British Embassy in Italy

Via Venti Settembre 80A, Rome, 00187
Tel: +39 6 4220 0001.
Opening times: By appointment only.


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