Area : 302000.0 km2
Population : 60418711 inhabitants
Italian is the official language. French and English are generally spoken by people working in the tourism industry.
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).
4 hrs 10 mins. Catania is 1, 217 miles from London.
Allow two and a half hours for the flight between London and Naples. Two airlines offer direct flights to the ancient capital of Parthenope: British Airways and EasyJet.
Airline companies operating flights to Calabria include Alitalia and Air Malta.
Whilst various low-cost airlines fly to this part of Italy, Ryanair are worth a special mention for their flights between London Stansted and Pescara.
The principal airports of Lombardy are the two Milan airports of Linate and Malpensa as well as Orio al Serio, on the outskirts of Bergamo, where most of the low cost companies land in the region. Milan, being, together with Rome, the main hub of Alitalia, the capital of Lombardy is very well served.
Airlines operating flights to Bari include TUIfly, EasyJet, Ryanair, Meridiana, and SkyEurope. Airlines operating flights to Brindisi are TUIfly, AirBerlin, Ryanair, EasyJet, AirItaly, BluExpress.
The airports of Parma and Bologna are the two main hubs in Emilia-Romagna. Ryanair offers direct flights to both airports, while both British Airways and easyJet fly to Bologna. Alitalia also flies from London to the two cities although not necessarily directly. There are a host of other airlines which operate flights to the region with stopovers.
Turin is serviced by many budget airlines (Ryanair, Air Italy, Wind Jet, On Air, Blue Express, Spanair, etc.) and standard carriers (Meridiana, Alitalia, British Airways, etc.), some of which offer daily flights from London. This administrative centre is also one of Europe's larger rail hubs.
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.
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