- Bring comfortable walking shoes as you tend to do a lot of walking in Italy.
- Pack light before you leave home, Italy isn’t a third world country so almost everything that you want and need can be found here.
- Bring any medicines you may need during your stay. However, don’t despair if you run out of medication whilst in Italy, there are pharmacies in all cities in Italy and in the larger towns and cities you will find pharmacies open 24 hours a day.
- If you’re visiting Italy as a tourist and intending to drive, you should obtain an international driving licence before you leave. Once you become resident in Italy, you must have an Italian driver’s licence.
- Buy or rent a car unless you live on the outskirts of town. Italian traffic can be chaotic parking impossible and in general public transport is good. You will be able to walk or ride a bike to most places in Florence.
- Bring bulky electrical appliances. Most Italian houses have 3 kw/h power supplies, you can buy any appliances you may need here in Italy. For any appliances you insist on bringing, make sure you bring international power adapters for the plug sockets. Cameras and portable computers have internal adapters and should be fine.
Major credit cards are widely accepted in Italy. You can easily identify which credit cards are accepted in each establishment by looking at the logos in the shop windows. You can draw cash on credit cards from ATM machines, most will give a selection of languages at the start of the transaction. You should be aware that you are likely to receive a fee of between 2.5 and 4.0% when making cash advances on a credit card.
You can use your ATM card from your bank in your home country on most ATM machines. Remember to activate the card for use in Italy with your bank in your home country prior to leaving. Your best bet is to locate either the Cirrus or BankMate symbol both on the ATM machine and your card to ensure that the card is usable. You need to be aware that there is a credit limit of 200 to 300 euros per transaction and/ or per day on most cards. You should check with your bank prior to leaving for Italy what your daily, weekly and monthly withdrawal limits are.
Cell phones can be rented or bought once you are here. Depending on how long you will be in Italy one alternative or another may make more sense. You do not pay to receive phone calls on Italian mobile phone plans. You can used the cards below to call overseas with a cell phone.
Many people use prepaid cards to pay for their phone usage. You can decide every time you recharge it how much credit you want to put on. Prepay cards can be purchased at tobacconists, phone stores, bars and any other places where you can see signs advertising Ricaricard.
It is also possible to purchase phone cards that are billed directly to your credit card.
One of the best ways to phone home is on Skype, so it’s a sensible idea to make sure your family, friends and loved ones are connected to Skype prior to you leaving.
If you are planning on a longer stay then you will need to apply to be put on the garbage tax list. To do this (once you have moved in) you will need to visit the tassa rifuiti urbani (tax on urban waste) office and inform them that you need to register. When you go, you will need to know the exact size of your apartment and of any other space that is included in your contract. Garbage tax is calculated on the size of the dwelling, not on the number of occupants. In Florence garbage is collected in large bins on street corners , though recycling is still a novelty many major cities are providing separate garbage collector for paper, for glass and plastic(usually bell shaped), for garden cuttings and for mixed garbage.
Holidays in Italy
||New Years Day
|Changes every year
|Monday after Easter Sunday
||Lunedi Dell’ Angelo
||Anniversary of Liberation
||Festa della Liberazione
||Festa dei Lavoratori
||Festa della Repubblica
||Ognissanti or Tutti I santi
||St Stephens Day
If you’re simply coming to Italy for a vacation then a good phrasebook will serve you well for most situations. However, if your plan is to stay longer then acquiring language skills should be a major part of your preparation. Luckily, there are a number of language schools in all the major cities so if you are serious about learning then finding a place to learn should be too difficult. The internet is a great place to start as all major schools will have a website.
Citizens of the U.S and Canada do not need a visa to enter Italy for up to 90 days if the purpose of their trip is tourism or business related. Italy has a number of available visas; the most common ones are for business, family reunion, independent work, religious reasons, study, tourism and transit.
Paying rent and utilities in Italy
Rent is usually paid one month in advance though this can vary depending on the landlord. As long as rent isn't paid in advance at any greater than two monthly instalments then the landlord is entitled to request a deposit equivalent to between one and three months rent. At the end of the lease the deposit must be returned within two months of the expiry of the lease (less any amounts which may be due to the landlord for damages, redecoration etc).
On long term rentals utilities such as gas, electricity and water are usually charged to the tenant separately to the rent however there are some cases where the rent is inclusive of all or some of these utilities. Short term leases are usually on an all inclusive basis.
On long term rentals, an inventory list will be drawn up documenting a list of the property’s contents, the condition of fixtures and fittings and the general state of the property.