Traveling to Italy? Here’s What You Should Know

Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo at dusk behind the River Tiber.

Traveling around the United States is easy. You know what you are going to be getting yourself into when crossing state lines. No big deal. Have you thought about going abroad? This guide will help you understand everything you need to know before going to Italy. As with every major city, normal precautions such as common sense and general situational awareness are required for you to stay safe.

Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of your trip of a lifetime…

Italy (Officially: Repubblica Italiana)



Official Language: Italian

Time Zone: UTC +01:00 w/ daylight saving time.

Measurement System: Metric (kg, cm, C°).

Currency: Euro (€)

Country Code: +39

Outlets & Plugs: Italy uses 230v-50Hz. Plug types C, F, and L are common. If you wish to safely use items like hair dryers, hair curlers, coffee machines and other larger electronics, you may require a power converter/transformer instead of an adaptor.

<<<<< ATM >>>>> Very Common

It is easy to find ATMs in urban areas and smaller tourist-centric areas.


<<<<< Credit & Debit >>>>> Widely Accepted

Most restaurants and businesses will accept debit and credit cards. It is highly recommended that your cards have the embedded chip. You can request an upgrade through your bank to avoid running into issues.


<<<<< Tipping >>>>> Not Expected

Not expected but can leave extra tip. While not necessary for taxis and restaurants, tips should be left for tour guides (~€10).


<<<<< Internet/WiFi >>>>> Slower | Very Common

Internet is about 50% slower than the United States. WiFi is generally easy to find and is available in most establishments available for free to customers.


<<<<< Phone/SIM >>>>> Inexpensive

Depending on locale, SIM cards are available from 5 telecom carriers for under $10 and will give you 3GB of data only. The carriers are TIM, 3, Vodafone, Wind, and Iliad.

***Brandon’s Tip: If arriving by plane, find a stand in the airport. It will be difficult to find SIM cards for sale once you are out and about.


<<<<< Safety >>>>> Must Read

Always check with the Department of Homeland Security to keep abreast of travel advisories for your destinations. Register with the STEP program to keep local U.S. embassies aware of your presence.


<<<<< Vaccinations >>>>> None Required

No specific vaccines are required before entering the country. It is recommended that travelers are up-to-date with normal immunizations.


<<<<< Driving >>>>> RightIDP Required

Italy drives on the right side of the road. Exercise increased caution while driving and understand that in specific areas such as Rome and other major cities, drivers do not always follow road markings. Also note that an International Driver’s Permit is required to rent a car. Right turn on red is strictly prohibited throughout the country unless provided a green turn arrow.

***Brandon’s Tip: Check your credit card’s benefits; some cards include rental car coverage so long as you decline the insurance provided by the rental agency. I recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve card for this specific benefit.


<<<<< Emergency Services >>>>>

Dial 112 for all emergency services in Italy.