Area : 9,301 sq mi km2
Population : 1,700,000 inhabitants
Those wanting to go to Olbia (on the north western coast) will benefit from reduced flight times. The low cost British airline Easyjet flies to Olbia five times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Departure from London Gatwick (a return ticket costs as little as £60, all taxes included). The direct flight from London to Olbia lasts an hour and a half. www.easyjet.com
There is another Sardinian town that you can fly to with easyJet: Cagliari (South).
Elmas airport is five miles northwest of Cagliari. A shuttle bus goes to the town centre (Piazza Matteotti) every hour. It costs 5 euros (£3). If you take a taxi the journey will cost you 20 euros (£18).
Beware of pickpockets, especially in the city. A bag hanging from your shoulder can easily be snatched, so opt for a money belt instead and beware of anyone who approaches you on the streets. Also remember not to leave valuables in your hotel room.
Italian is the official language. French and English are generally spoken by people working in the tourism industry.
For British nationals a valid passport of less than 10 years is necessary. It is strictly forbidden to smoke in bars and restaurants with no separate areas for smokers and non-smokers. Anyone buying imitation goods is liable for a 10,000-euro fine - cut down to 3,333 euros if paid within two months following the offence.
87% of the Italian population is catholic
The currency is the euro, which consists of 100 cents. Mastercard and Visa are the most widely accepted credit cards and can also be used to withdraw cash from cash machines. Cash can be changed and travellers cheques cashed in banks, which are open from 8:30am to 1:30pm and from 3:00pm to 4:00pm during the week.
From January 2007, Milan has had a toll gate for vehicles in the town centre. It was inspired by the congestion charge in London, but with a different system of application. It only applies to those not living in the town centre, applicable every weekday.
As of June 2012, the cost of a single ticket (75 minutes of travel time) on the vaporetto is 7 Euros. The Venitian Vaporetti network also serves the lagoon islands (Lido, Murano, Burano), with a pass available that can cover you for your whole visit. For any shorter journeys, a gondola, traghetto or simply walking is recommended.
The Main Islands (Sardinia and Sicily)
These two islands are accessible by regular flights, as are most other large Italian cities.
The railway network is quite dense and provides a relatively cheap means of transport. Buses can also be used to travel to areas not accessible by train and are usually the most cost efficient mode of transport if you are staying within one region. To rent a car, your national license is sufficient. The speed is limited to 30mph in town, 56 mph outside the town centre and 80 mph on the motorway.
No particular vaccine is required, but check your vaccination updates. Get a European Health card (ask for it at your local social security centre) to be covered for medical expenses. If you need medical care in the country, the expenses will be reimbursed once you return to your country, on presentation of the justifying documents.
Voltage is 220V. An adaptor will be necessary for UK plugs
Italy welcomes more than 46.1 million visitors every year, making it the fifth most popular tourist destination worldwide
Most goods and services are taxed at 19%. In restaurants, if the service is not included, leave 15% of the bill's total. In other cases, leaving a tip is not common practice.
To call Sardinia from the UK, please dial: 00 39 + no. of your correspondent.
To call the Uk from Italy, dial: 00 44 + no. of your correspondent, without the initial 0.
14 Three Kings Yard
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7312 2200
Consulate of Italy
38 Eaton Place
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7235 9371
Italian Tourism Offices
Chiasso dei Baroncelli 17r
Telephone: 055 230 21 24
Via Marconi, 1
Telephone: 02 72 52 43 00
Piazza dei Martiri, 58
Telephone: 081 40 53 11
Via Parigi, 5
Telephone: 06 48 89 92 55
Piazza San Marco, 71f
Telephone: 041 520 89 64
Via XX Settembre 80
Telephone: (+39) 06 4220 0001/06 68 60 11