2013 General Information: ITALY

Language
Official Language is Italian.
In the main tourist areas, language is no problem. The people of Florence are very helpful to foreigners and most of them can speak at least a little English, although with a strong accent sometimes.

Temperatures in Florence
The four seasons in Florence are very well distinct with extremes of temperature in summer and winter with potential heavy rainfall in spring and autumn.

Currency
The currency in Italy is the Euro.
Banks offer most favorable exchange rates, unlike exchange booths at airports, rail and bus stations, hotels, stores, and privately run exchange firms, you may find less favorable rates, but more convenient hours. Plenty of exchange offices are located along the main streets such as: Via Calzaiuoli, Via Por Santa Maria and around the central train station.

Electricity
The electrical current in most of Italy is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC); the United States runs on 110 volts, 60 cycles AC current. In the United States wall outlets accept plugs with two flat prongs. In Italy, instead, you need continental-type plugs, which have two round prongs.

If you bring your own 110-volt devices, you will need a voltage converter, unless your appliance is designed to also work with 220 volts electricity (dual voltage).

Voltage Converter could not be easy to find in Italy. If you need one, get it before you leave home.

International Dialing Code
Italy country code: +39, city code: 055 (always dial the 0 - even from abroad).
- To call the U.S.: dial 00 + 1 + phone number.
- To call Europe: Your country code (0044 - 0034 - 0033 etc...) + phone number.

Emergency Numbers
(Calls can be made, for free, from any telephone.)

  • Tel: 113: State Police - Emergency assistance. Call this number for immediate assistance if you are the victim of a crime.

  • Tel: 115: Fire Department

  • Tel: 118: Ambulance - Medical Emergencies

Ministry of the Foreign Affairs (Entering Italy)
All foreigners intending to enter Italy must provide the documentation required to justify the reasons and duration of their stay as well as, in some prescribed cases, the availability of adequate economic means and lodging.

In some cases you need a visa, application for which can be made at the Italian Diplomatic and Consular Representations in your country of residence.

For more information please check out: http://www.esteri.it/visti/index_eng.asp.

Closest Hospital to the Congress Center & Exhibition Center
Ospedale Santa Maria Nuova
P.zza S.M.Nuova, 1
10-Minutes walking from Duomo Square

Florence Pharmacies (24-hrs service)
(In Italy Pharmacies sell mostly all medicines, but also some personal care products too.)
- Farmacia all'Insegna del Moro piazza San Giovanni 20/R
Tel: +39 055-211343
- Farmacia comunale, 13 Santa Maria Novella (Inside S.M.N. central train station)
Tel: +39 055-21676

Opening and Closing Times in Florence
Banks: usually they are open weekdays 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Churches: Most are open from early morning until noon or 12:30, when they close for two hours or more; they open again in the afternoon, closing about 7:00 p.m. or later.

Museums: Hours vary and may change with the seasons.

Shops: there are individual variations, depending and climate and season, but most are open 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. In the city center most shops are open for lunchtime, from 10.00 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.

Tipping
In Italy service, which usually ranges from 1€ to 3€ per person, depending on the restaurant, is automatically added to the check and must be visible on the menu. If you liked the place or the service, just round up the bill, a few Euro.

Tipping cab drivers is unusual, but appreciated, especially if they help you with your luggage and provide you with useful info about getting around in that particular place.

Tipping hotel porters and hotel concierge if he/she is helpful in making your stay easier or more pleasant is appreciated also.