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Before you leave, do check the expiry date on your passport or travel document. Indeed, to enter Italy, you will need to show border control a valid identity document that will not expire in the six months following your date of arrival.
Also, before you leave home, do photocopy all important documents (the inside page of your passport containing all your details, your credit cards, tickets, driving licence, travel insurance, if you took it out) and take a copy with you somewhere other than where you keep the original documents. This way, in the event of loss or theft, it will be extremely easy to replace these documents even temporarily.

EU TOURISTS Italy is one of the 15 European countries that signed the Schengen agreement, which abolished the borders between the 13 EU member states (Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxemburg, Denmark, Sweden and Finland) as well as Iceland and Norway. This means that citizens of countries who signed this agreement are not forced to show their identity card or passport at the time of entry in one of the other Schengen countries. In actual fact, for these travellers the border no longer exists and tourist visas are not necessary either, nor are they requested from citizens of the other 12 countries in the European Union.
European Union citizens who want to live and work in Italy do not need to show any permit to do so; however, they need to register with the local police station if they get residency in Italy.

For tourists arriving from non-EU countries, in particular from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United States, you won’t need to ask for a tourist visa if your stay in Italy lasts less than 90 days. For all other tourists, you will need to obtain a tourist visa even for shorter visits. Entry visas, which are generally valid for 90 days, can be granted for a maximum of six months.


Should you find yourselves in tricky situations, here are the public law enforcement authorities in charge of the safety of citizens and foreigners staying in Italy.
The State police is a civil force under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in charge among other things of the prevention and repression of crimes, such as robbery and theft, and of the bureaucratic handling of residence permits and tourist visas. State police officers are easy to spot because they wear a blue uniform which is also reflected in the colour of the cars in which they travel (generally in groups of three): the so-called flying squads. In all of the 107 provincial capitals into which Italy is divided, you will find a Questura (Police Headquarters), the main operating station for the police in that area. In larger cities, in addition to a Questura, you will also find several police detachments, one for each district or area, the so-called commissariati (police stations).
The Carabinieri police corps is a symbol of Italy: in the most isolated mountain villages, it is often the most evident sign of the presence of the State. Established as a corps of guards protecting the king in 1814 (and therefore almost 50 years before Italian Unification), the Carabinieri are a proper army corps, engaged both in missions abroad as well as in safeguarding public order in Italy. As a military force, the Carabinieri police corps is under the authority of the Ministry of Defence. They can be recognised by their characteristic black uniforms with a red stripe, and the cars they travel in are the same colour. Since they are a military force, they live in barracks.
The Guardia di Finanza, or finance police, specialises in the battle against tax fraud, financial crimes and drug trafficking. It is a military body under the authority of the Ministry of Economics, but it is not part of the armed forces, but rather of the police force. As a matter of fact, it shares with the State Police the responsibility of border control. Its officers are easy to spot because they wear pale grey uniforms. The Forestry corps is the Italian State police in charge of protecting the environment and the landscape. It is also in charge of Alpine rescue, avalanche forecasts, the fire-fighting service and civil protection in the event of earthquakes or other natural disasters.
Last but not least, every city or town has its own set of traffic wardens, the vigili urbani. They are the ones you should contact for information on the city’s street network, such as no entries and one-way roads, or to challenge a parking ticket or to retrieve your car if it has been towed away or clamped.


Calling an ambulance is easy. Just dial 118 from any phone, both public and private, anywhere on the peninsula. For emergency treatment, you can go directly to the pronto soccorso casualty department, a ward you will find in every public hospital.
Healthcare in Italy is excellent (and free of charge), although you might come across some differences between one region and the next. In any case, it’s no accident that the WHO (World Health Organization) recently ranked Italian healthcare second in the world.
An efficient communication network between regional hospital poles and a unique emergency call system ensures emergency healthcare every day of the year at any time of day or night, and immediate admission to specialist facilities. Every region has hospital facilities to face any emergency and guarantee assistance to tourists for any type of pathology.
In fact, all foreign visitors are entitled to exactly the same services as Italian citizens as far as free medical emergency treatment in public hospital emergency wards is concerned. The Italian national health service is also part of the integrated European Union healthcare system (which also includes Norway, Switzerland and Iceland) for the total refund of health expenses incurred for all types of medical assistance in public facilities. However, to obtain free healthcare during your stay in Italy, ask your national health service for an EHIC form (European Health Insurance Card) before you leave.

In an emergency, you can also go to a chemist's where a doctor is always on duty and can provide useful advice or recommend over-the-counter medicine for common ailments. In the larger cities, it is not unusual to find that the doctors speak English. Also, in peak season, all the major tourist resorts offer purpose-provided medical facilities with multilingual staff providing assistance to tourists at any time of day or night.
Lastly, no vaccinations are required to enter Italy.

Emergency and/or Medical Assistance in Sorrento

24 Hour service
For cases of sudden illness, accident, injury, unconsciousness
Call free from either normal or mobile phone; coins or phone card are not required from public call boxes

24 Hour service
“Santa Maria della Misericordia” Hospital - Corso Italia - Sorrento - Tel. 081.5331112

A) Non-Italian tourists from EU countries and from certain non-EU countries that have signed agreements with Italy (Argentina, Brazil, Switzerland, Croatia, Macedonia, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Principality of Monaco, Republic of San Marino, Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro) holders of Form E111 or equivalent, issued in their home country at the time of departure may make use of health services in accordance with current Italian law:
for clinic/casualty visits:
submission of Form E111 or equivalent;
submission of a prescription issued by the on-duty doctor of the Tourist Medical Unit or GP;
appointment booked via the CUP (Unified Appointments Centre) Service provided only in italian language;
payment at the due subsidized rate;

B) Tourists from EU countries without Form E111, from non-EU countries that have signed agreements with Italy but who do not hold the equivalent of Form E111 and tourists from non-EU countries without signed agreements with Italy must pay the entire cost of services received, the basis of which are:
The rate are those specified in the current agreement:
General Practitioner clinic € 15,49 holiday address € 25,82
Paediatrician (freely chosen) clinic € 25,82 holiday address € 36,15

Monday - Saturday, 8 am to 8 pm
July - September

Sant’Agnello - Via Mariano Lauro, 1 - Phone 081.5331111
Vico Equense c/o De Luca e Rossano Hospital - Via Caccioppoli, 6 - Phone 081.879111
Massa Lubrense – Via Roma – Phone 081.8089135

Documents :
E111 or equivalent
Personal tax code/National Insurance number
Any documentation to confirm current or ongoing treatment

A list of voluntary workers of the hospital workers association providing services in foreign languages at the S.Maria della Misericordia Hospital, is available at the local health administration office in Sorrento.

Emergency numbers

A modern, efficient network of operating stations of the various law enforcement forces and emergency centres links up all the police forces, bodies and agencies into a single system, to answer emergency calls made anywhere in Italy. Access to this network is quick and easy. Just call the national emergency numbers, which any Italian citizen knows, and which are very easy to remember.

113 This is the national helpline for all emergencies, to report robberies, thefts or assaults, accidents and also health emergencies. This number corresponds to the network of State Police operating centres and it is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

112 Dial 112 to access the Carabinieri police headquarters. Since 1991, the European Union introduced 112 as the only emergency number for all member states, with the very aim of facilitating tourists and foreign citizens in general in their movements within the continent. For this very reason, a foreign language response service is also available if you dial this number.

115 In the event of fire, smoke or gas leaks, you can also make a direct call to the Fire Brigade, which is present all over Italy and also provides rapid response in the event of earthquakes or other disasters.

118 If you call this number from anywhere in Italy (including the islands), you can contact the healthcare and ambulance network for transport to the nearest hospital or health facility. A helicopter ambulance service is also available to get to more remote or inaccessible locations.

803.116 This is the number to dial for roadside assistance, if your engine breaks down or in the event of another problem with your car that prevents you from travelling. When you dial this number, a distress call will be routed to the nearest ACI (the Italian Automobile Association) office, who will send out mechanics to repair or if necessary tow your car. The service is available 24 hours a day, but it is not free of charge, although ACI members are entitled to large discounts.

1515 This is the number to dial for the State Forestry Corps environmental emergencies. It is available 24 hours a day throughout the year. The Forestry corps is in charge of safeguarding the environmental and landscape heritage and, in particular, of forest fires, a constant emergency especially during the summer months.

1530 If your pleasure boat breaks down or if you are in an emergency situation in Italian waters, you can contact the national coastguards directly on this number.

Money and Banks

The currency in Italy is the Euro, the common European currency in use together with another 11 countries in the European Union since January 2002 (with the addition of Slovenia since 1st January 2006). There are seven different banknotes: Euro 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. The coins, on the other hand, come in eight different sizes, two Euro coins (Euro 1 and Euro 2) and six different cent coins (1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents). Using credit cards to withdraw money is very easy, thanks to the large number of ‘bancomat’ cashpoints throughout the country, linked up to all the major international circuits. Credit cards can also be used to pay directly in hotels, restaurants, shops and supermarkets. In any case, if you need to exchange some currency, you can do so at the bank, the post office or in one of the private-owned bureaux de change, keeping in mind that their commissions are higher.
Citizens who are not residents of the European Union who spend more than Euro 155 while shopping in Italy can ask for a VAT refund (19%) on departure. The refund only applies to purchases made in the circuit of shops displaying the “tax free for tourists” sign in the window. You will need to fill in a form at the time of purchase and have it endorsed by Italian customs on departure. The refund can be obtained in all the main airports or credited directly onto your credit card.

OPENING HOURS On working days, shops are generally open from 9 am to 1 pm in the morning and then from 3/4 pm to 7/8 pm in the afternoon, on weekdays and Saturday. Shops are closed on Sunday, although department stores and hypermarkets stay open all day from 10 am to 7/8 pm throughout the week and some even stay open on Sunday morning. Chemists tend to have the same opening hours as other shops; the majority of chemists are closed on Saturday afternoon, Sunday and on national holidays, but every municipal administration organises a rota system to ensure a few chemists are open at any time during the week. Chemists that stay closed are forced to display a sign in the window indicating the nearest open chemists. Banks usually open at around 8:30 am and close at 1:30 pm, and they reopen in the afternoon between 3 or 4 pm and 6 or 7 pm, from Monday to Friday. At the weekend, however, bureaux de change agents in all the major cities and main tourist resorts are in full swing. Post offices are open all day without a lunch break from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm from Monday to Saturday. Some central offices close at 1 pm on Saturday. Cafés and bars are open all day and some even stay open until the early hours. Nightclubs and other nightlife hotspots open around 10 pm but things only really begin to get going at around midnight. Italians looking for fun do so at their own pace, and they may only be ready to actually go out the front door at around the time people in other countries are going to sleep after a night out. So don’t rush to the nightclub entrance early: go out for dinner first at about 9 or 10 pm (a normal dinner time, especially in the South of Italy) and take your time.

Embassies and consulates

You will find the embassies of more than 200 countries in the capital, Rome. It is at these embassies that you can find out the cultural initiatives of various countries in Italy, along with business opportunities, and the procedures to follow to work in Italy or to obtain teaching qualifications. Below are details of the embassies of countries whose citizens make up a large part of the flow of tourists to Italian locations. The complete list is available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Via Antonio Bosio 5, 00161 Rome – Tel.: +39.06/852721 or the freephone emergency number 800877790

Via G.B. de Rossi 27, 00161 Rome – Tel.: +39.06/445981

Via Bruxelles 56, 00198 Rome - Tel.: +39.06/8848186

Piazza Farnese 67, 00186 Rome – Tel.: +39.06/686011

Via San Martino della Battaglia 4, 00185 Rome – Tel.: +39.06/492131

Piazza Campitelli 3, 00186 Rome – Tel.: +39.06/6979121

Via Quintino Sella 60, 00187 Rome – Tel.: +39.06/487991

The Netherlands
Via Michele Mercati 8, 00197 Rome – Tel.: +39.06/3221141

Via Gaeta 5, 00185 Rome - Tel.: +39.06/4941680; 06/4941681; 06/4941649

Via Barnaba Oriani 61, 00197 Rome – Tel.: +39.06/809571

Via XX Settembre 80a, 00187 Rome – Tel.: +39.06/42200001

Via Vittorio Veneto 119-121, 00187 Rome – Tel.: +39.06/46741

Consulates can be of great help to tourists of various countries who unfortunately encounter some difficulty while in Italy. Consulates can provide assistance in specific individual and collective emergency situations and issue travel documents for the return trip home in the event of lost or stolen passports. Consulates of those countries with established frequent relations with Italy can be found in the major Italian cities. In Milan, among others, you will find the Australian, Canadian, French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Russian, Chinese, Swiss, British and US consulates. In Naples, you will find French, German, Dutch, Swiss, British and US diplomatic offices. There are also French, German and British consulates in Venice. German, British, US and Chinese consulates are also open in Florence. Last but not least, in Palermo, you will find Dutch, Russian (another consulate is in Genoa) and British diplomatic offices.

National Holidays

National Holidays
Everyone’s on holiday in August. This statement doesn’t really make sense anywhere else in the world, but it is an essential truth in Italy: the majority of Italians go on holiday in August and, consequently, many shops and restaurants in the large cities close for business for at least part of the month, although there are some undoubted advantages in terms of accessibility to architectural sites, monuments and museums, and the more convenient travel on public transport. Other extended holiday periods are marked by religious festivities: Christmas and Easter. In any case, the majority of cities and towns in Italy celebrate their patron saint on a particular day and the religious celebrations often mingle with pagan rites and celebrations, accompanied by the closure of schools and public offices. Alongside the religious festivities, there are also several national holidays which, over the course of the year, are dedicated to pagan celebrations of the republic. During these celebrations, shops remain closed and public offices unfurl the Italian flag.

6th January: Epiphany (or Befana)
March-April: Easter and Easter Monday (Sunday and Monday)
15th August: The Assumption (Feast of the Assumption)
1st November: All Saints Day
8th December: Immaculate Conception Feast
25th December: Christmas
26th December: St. Stephen’s Day

1st January: New Year’s Day
25th April: Liberation Day (commemorating the liberation of Italy by Allied troops, marking the end of WWII)
1st May: May bank holiday (very popular among workers throughout the peninsula, who celebrate this holiday with concerts and events all over Italy - the concert held in Rome every year in honour of Italian workers is abounding in talent and completely packed)
2nd June: Festival of the Republic (celebrated every day with a military parade hosted in the capital before the President of the Republic)

Road regulations

Road regulations
Demerit points driving license alond roads and highways

Driving on the right-hand side of the road, wearing seatbelts at all times and mandatory use of low beam headlights on motorways and main roads outside built-up areas even during the day. There are just a few simple rules to keep in mind to travel freely on Italian roads and motorways. These road rules are contained in an amalgamated law (Codice della strada or Highway Code) and have been standardised to comply with European regulations on car and motor vehicle traffic.

So in Italy, as in the rest of continental Europe, people drive on the right-hand side of the road, and you overtake on the left. When you reach a crossroads, always give way to cars approaching from your right. You must fasten your seatbelts whether sitting at the front or at the back of the vehicle (if the car is fitted with rear seatbelts). If you're not wearing your seatbelt and you are stopped by the police, you may have to pay a fine on the spot. As in the rest of Europe, warning triangles and reflective vests (fluorescent yellow or orange, to be worn as soon as you get out of the car) are compulsory in the event of car breakdown and parking in dangerous areas or fast roads and motorways.
The polizia stradale or highway police, or other law enforcement force are authorised to run random breathalyser tests. The legal blood alcohol limit while driving on Italian roads is 0.05%.
Speed limits are 130 kilometres per hour on motorways and 110 kilometres per hour on highways and main roads outside towns, or even lower where specified by signs. The fine for driving over these speed limits increases according to the number of excess km/h you were travelling at, although the maximum fine is Euro 260. A driving licence points system was introduced a few years ago to punish undisciplined drivers as far as suspending their licence for more serious offences or when the points limit has been reached. To ensure speed limits are respected, a large number of Autovelox electronic speed cameras have been installed throughout the entire network of Italian roads and motorways.

You do not need to have a driving licence to ride small mopeds, up to 50 cc, but you do need to be at least 14 years old and you cannot carry passengers. You need to be sixteen to drive a motorcycle up to 125 cc. For two-wheelers above 125 cc, you need to be 18 or over and have a motorbike driving licence. You cannot ride mopeds below 150 cc on motorways under any circumstances. Helmets are compulsory for mopeds and motorcycles of any engine size.

Telephone and Internet

Calling Italy from abroad is very simple. Just dial the international dialling code 00 followed by the code for Italy 39 and then the desired number, including the local area code starting with 0. For example, if you want to call a number in Rome from abroad, dial: 00 39 06 +++++++. The same procedure applies to make calls abroad from Italy: dial 00 followed by the country code and the desired number. International calls can also be made from public phones using a phone card. Phone cards from Euro 1 to 10 can be purchased from cafés, tobacconist’s, newsagents and post offices. Don’t forget to check the expiry date on the back and to tear off the little triangle on the top left edge of the card before you use it. All the main cities in Italy also offer call centres, where you can make international calls at a more convenient rate compared to public phones.

To make collect calls from a public phone, just dial 170. The number for international directory enquiries is 176, while the number for Italian directory enquiries is 12. The local dialling codes always start with 0 and can have two, three or even four digits. The phone number after the local dialling code varies from four to eight digits depending on the location. Freephone numbers, referred to in Italy as numeri verdi (literally green numbers) have no dialling code and generally start with 800. As for mobile phones, Italy uses a GSM 900/1800 system, compatible with the rest of Europe and Australia, but not with North America.
Before you leave, do check with your mobile phone operator whether you will be able to use your phone in Italy or whether you can insert a pre-paid SIM card in it (your passport is usually requested to do this). The four main mobile phone operators in Italy (TIM, Vodafone, Wind and Tre) offer pre-paid SIM cards for as little as Euro 10 (sometimes on special with Euro 10 credit top-up).

Internet: the digital cabling of the whole regional territory is in progress. ADSL is already present in the regional capital and the main provinces. Hotels have dedicated channels for quick connection. There are no limitations for surfing the Internet or e-commerce activities.

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