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State Emblem of ItalyFlag of Italy Italy
Italian Republic






Currency: The Euro (€) = 100 cents.
Dialing code: 39.
Time: GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in September).
Local time now:

Region: Western Europe.
Capital: Rome.

Main cities : Milan, Naples, Turin, Palermo, Genoa, Bologna, Florence, Bari, Catania, Venice.
Land and Resources: Italy is bordered on the north by Switzerland and Austria, on the east by Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea, on the south by the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, on the west by the Tyrrhenian, Ligurian, and Mediterranean seas, and on the northwest by France. More than half of Italy consists of the Italian Peninsula. On the northern frontiers are the Alps. The central Apennines consist of several chains. Italy has many rivers, of which the Po and the Adige are the most important. The chief peninsular rivers are the Arno and the Tiber. Both the northern and peninsular regions of Italy have numerous lakes. The principal lakes of northern Italy are Lake Garda, Maggiore, Lake Como, and Lugano. The peninsular lakes, which are considerably smaller, include Lake Trasimeno, Bolsena Lake, and Bracciano Lake.
Climate: The climate of Italy is highly diversified, with extremes ranging from frigid in the higher elevations of the Alps and Apennines to subtropical along the coast of the Ligurian Sea and the western coast of the lower peninsula. The average annual temperature, however, ranges from about 11° to 19°C (52° to 66°F).
Government: The president is head of state, though the duties of the office are mostly ceremonial. Executive power is in the hands of the prime minister and a Council of Ministers. The country is divided into 20 regions.
Population: Most of the people are ethnic Italians, although there are small groups of German- and French-speaking Italians, as well as Slovene Italians and Albanian Italians.
Languages: Italian. English is understood in the larger cities but not in the more remote parts of the country.
Religion: The great majority are members of the Roman Catholic Church.
1 January - New Year
19 March - Saint Joseph’s Day
25 April - Liberation Day
1 May - Labour Day
2 June - Anniversary of the Republic
15 August - the Assumption and Ferragosta
1 November - All Saints’ Day
2 November - All Souls’ Day (Il Giorno dei Morti)
6 December - Feast Day of Saint Nicholas
25 December - Christmas

Visa: Travellers from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland do not need a visa to visit Italy for three months or less. South African nationals require a valid passport and visa for travel to Italy. All Schengen countries issue a standard Schengen visa that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all. Travellers are advised to have a return or onward ticket plus all documents required for their next destination, and sufficient funds to cover period of intended stay in Italy.
Customs regulations: The following goods may be imported without incurring customs duty by passengers over 17 years of age arriving from countries outside the EU with goods bought duty-free: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco; 2l of wine and 1l of spirits (over 22 per cent) or 2l of fortified or sparkling wine; 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette; 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extract (if over 15 years of age); 100g of tea or 40g of tea extract; gifts not exceeding €89.96 (if entering from an EU country), €174.82 (if entering from a non-EU country).
Transportation: International and domestic air connections are good. Ferry services run to the islands, and an extensive railway network provides convenient and usually efficient links between towns and cities. The motorway system is also extensive, although long traffic jams are not unusual in parts of the north, particularly on the stretch between Florence and Bologna and on the approaches to cities such as Milan. Public transport in cities is very efficient and consists mainly of buses, trams, and taxis. Rome and Milan have underground railway systems, and in Venice there is water transport.
Sightseeing: World-famous art collections are housed in numerous Italian cities. Among the most important art museums are the Uffizi Gallery and Medici Chapel in Florence, the National Museum in Naples, and, in Rome, the Villa Giulia Museum, the Galleria Borghese, and the National Gallery of Modern Art. The Vatican City has important art collections in its museums and chapels, the most famous of which is the Sistine Chapel. An international biennial exhibition of visual arts in Venice is world renowned.
Travel by boat is part of the attraction of romantic Venice. Venice’s palaces, towers, domes, residences, and commercial structures were designed in a remarkable variety of architectural styles, including Italian, Arabic, Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist, and Baroque. The Colosseum is probably one of the most universally recognized symbols of Rome. The Roman Forum. The central church of Roman Catholicism, Saint Peter’s Basilica is in the Vatican City. Island Isola Bella is now a popular tourist destination. The alluring sights along the Amalfi Coast attract many sightseers and make tourism the chief industry in the region.
Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of Italy’s best-known mountain resorts, used by both summer hikers and winter skiers.
The mild climate and beautiful scenery along the coast make it a popular tourist destination. Major Italian ports and resorts on the Adriatic Sea include Venice, Trieste, Ancona, Pescara, and Bari.
Money: Those arriving in Italy with foreign currency can obtain Euros through any bank, ATM or bureaux de change. Travellers cheques can be exchanged with ease in the large cities, not so in the smaller towns. Credit cards are accepted in upmarket establishments and shops around the cities.
Communications: All numbers must be preceded by 0, whether originating in Italy or out, unless calling a mobile phone. There can be high surcharges on calls made from hotels and it is generally cheaper to use a calling card. Public telephone boxes take phone cards for local and international calls. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts.
Shops and cafes: Shops are usually open from 8:30 or 9:00 to 13:00 or 13:30 and from 15:30 or 16:00 to 19:00 or 20:00, although an increasing number of shops do not close for lunch. Many stores, particularly grocery stores, close one afternoon of the week
Tipping: Tipping is customary in Italy and 10% of the bill is acceptable (unless a service charge has already been included).
Health and safety: There are no specific health risks associated with travel to Italy. EU citizens can make use of Italy's health services provided they have completed an E111 form. The Italian Government has warned that the risk of an international terrorist attack in the country has increased, and tourists should be vigilant in public places and tourist sites. Tourists are vulnerable to pick-pocketing and muggings in the bigger cities, particularly on public transport, in crowded areas and around tourist sites, and should exercise caution when carrying large amounts of cash and valuables.
Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz. A variety of plugs are in use including the European-style two-pin one.
Important phone numbers:
Inquiries - 100
Police - 112
Ambulance - 118
Fire brigade - 115
Italian Embassy
12, Grey Street Deakin A.C.T. 2600
Tel: + (61-6) 2733333
Fax: + (61-6) 2734223
Italian Embassy
275 Slater Street 21st Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
Tel: + 1 613 232-2401
Fax: + 1 613 233-1484
Italian Embassy
2 Sanlitun Dong'erjie
Tel: +86 (10) 6532 2131; +86 (10) 6532 2187
Fax: +86 (10) 6532 4676
Italian Embassy
Karl Finkelnburgstasse,49/51
Tel: + (4928) 8220
Fax: + (4928) 822169
Italian Embassy
5-4, Mita 2-chome Minato Ku
Tel: + (813) 34535291/1/2/3/4/5
Fax: + (813) 34562319
Italian Embassy
7, Inkognitogaten 0258
Tel: + (4722) 552233/4; + (4722) 557250
Fax: + (4722) 443436
Russian Federation
Italian Embassy
Uliza Vesnina ,5 121002 Mosca G-2
Tel:+ 7095 2411533/4/5/6
Fax: + 7095 2539289
Italian Embassy
Oakhill Djurgarden
Tel: + (468) 245805
Fax: + (468) 6600505
United Kingdom
Italian Embassy
14 Three Kings Yard London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7312 2200
Fax: +44 (0)20 7312 2283
United Nations
Italy (Mission: New York)
2 United Nations Plaza
New York
N.Y. 10017
Tel: + 1 212 486 9191
Fax: + 1 212 486 1036
Italian Embassy
1601 Fuller Street NW
Washington D.C.
Tel: + (1 202) 3285500/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/
Fax: + (1 202) 3285593; + (1 202) 4832187

Encarta World Atlas

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