ITALY

ITALY

ITALY

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Name: Colosseum
Location: Rome, Italy
The Colosseum, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. It is the largest amphitheatre ever built. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir, Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81–96).

The Colosseum could hold, it is estimated, between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators; it was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.

Although partially ruined because of damage caused by earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is still an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. It is one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions and also has links to the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit "Way of the Cross" procession that starts in the area around the Colosseum.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosseum
Name: Leaning Tower of Pisa
Location: Pisa, Italy
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its nearly four-degree lean, the result of an unstable foundation. The tower is situated behind the Pisa Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in the city's Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo), after the cathedral and the Pisa Baptistry.

The tower's tilt began during construction in the 12th century, due to soft ground on one side, which was unable to properly support the structure's weight. The tilt increased in the decades before the structure was completed in the 14th century. It gradually increased until the structure was stabilized (and the tilt partially corrected) by efforts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. In 1990 the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but following remedial work between 1993 and 2001 this was reduced to 3.97 degrees, reducing the overhang by 45 cm at a cost of £200m. It lost a further 4 cm of tilt in the two decades to 2018.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaning_Tower_of_Pisa
Name: Venice
Location: Italy
Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges.

The 697–1797 Republic of Venice was a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as an important center of commerce (especially silk, grain, and spice) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century.

Parts of Venice are renowned for the beauty of their settings, their architecture, and artwork. Venice is known for several important artistic movements—especially during the Renaissance period—has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music. Although the city is facing some major challenges (including financial difficulties, pollution, an excessive number of tourists and problems caused by cruise ships sailing close to the buildings), Venice remains a very popular tourist destination, an iconic Italian city, and has been ranked the most beautiful city in the world.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO ITALY.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Italian
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Time zone: CET (UTC+1) / CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +39
Local / up-to-date weather in Rome (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Italy travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Italy, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO ITALY.

Italy uses the euro, like several other European countries. One euro is divided into 100 cents. The official symbol for the euro is €, and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.

All banknotes and coins of this common currency are legal tender within all the countries, except that low-denomination coins (one and two cent) are phased out in some of them. The banknotes look the same across countries, while coins have a standard common design on one side and a national country-specific design on the other. The latter side is also used for different designs of commemorative coins. The design on the national side does not affect the use of the coin.

Italy plans to phase out the one- and two-cent coins in 2018, rounding prices to the nearest five-cent increment.

BY TRAIN:

Trains in Italy are generally a good value, frequent, and of uneven reliability. On some high-speed routes there is a choice between “Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori” (privately owned) and “Trenitalia” (state owned). On other routes, either Trenitalia or a regional operator provides the service.

  • Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, +39 060708. NTV’s “.Italo” high-speed trains serve major cities. It is a luxurious service, and for some routes and dates, their prices are lower than the competition’s.
  • Trenitalia, +39 892021. Trenitalia runs a wide range of train types: high-speed trains (Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca), Intercity, regional trains (Regionali, Regionali Veloci) and international trains (Eurocity, Euronight). High-speed trains are very comfortable, travelling up to 360km/h and stopping only at major stations and connect only the main cities. They charge a supplement to the standard ticket, which includes the booking fee. Regional trains are the slowest, cheapest and least reliable, stopping at all stations. Intercity trains are somewhere between high-speed and local trains. They are generally reliable.

Train types:

On long-distance trains there are 1st and 2nd classes. A 2nd class ticket costs about 80% the price of a 1st class ticket. On high-speed trains you can also choose between basic, standard and flexible tickets. Basic tickets are of course the cheapest. During commuter hours, on major north-south routes during the holidays, or before and after large political demonstrations, trains on the lower train types are often overcrowded.

Although between Milan and Naples (including Bologna, Florence and Rome), high-speed trains cut travel times in half, on other routes, such as between Rome and Genoa, Naples and Reggio Calabria, Venice and Trieste, they travel on the traditional line, with only marginally shorter travel times compared to Intercity trains.

On long routes, such as Milan – Rome or Milan – Reggio di Calabria, Trenitalia operates special night trains: Intercity notte. They depart around 22.00 and arrive in the morning.

Getting tickets:

The lines to buy tickets are often long and slow, so get to the station early. There are efficient, multilingual, touch-screen ticket machines, but the lines for them are often long, too, because there are few of them.

You can also buy tickets online on the Trenitalia website; you will receive a code (codice di prenotatione (PNR)) that is used to pick up the ticket from a ticket machine in the station (“Self Service”). The site will show the “best” (usually more expensive) connections – you may select to “show all connections” to see if there are slower but cheaper connections available.

For high-speed and intercity trains you can also choose a ticketless option. You get a PNR code via email and board the train directly. On board you must tell the conductor your PNR code.

High-speed trains can fill up, so if you’re on a tight schedule, buy the tickets in advance. In general, you should buy the tickets before boarding the train. Fines start at €50. If you’re running late and have no ticket, it’s probably best to talk directly with the conductor (il controllore or il capotreno) outside the train before boarding.

Trenitalia Pass: you buy a number of days of travel to be used within 2 months, however you still have to pay a supplement on the compulsory reservation services, i.e. TBiz, Eurostar Italia, and Intercity which will be €5-25, depending on the train type. Details are on the Trenitalia website, and also on the International Rail website.

Rules:

You must validate the ticket before boarding most trains, by stamping it in one of the white boxes (marked Convalida). Tickets that specify the day and time of travel do not need to be validated.

The cheapest way to travel in a region is to buy a zone ticket card. A chart displayed near the validating machine tells you how many zones you must pay between stations. To buy a zone card for the next region, get off the train at the last station, buy the ticket, and board the next train (usually departing in about an hour).

A smoking ban in public places is in effect in Italy. Smoking on any Italian train is subject to a fine.

BY PLANE:

The advent of low-cost carriers made domestic air travel cheaper. When booked in advance, plane tickets for long trips are often cheaper than train fares. Alitalia, Ryanair, Easyjet and Blue Express operate domestic flights while small, new airlines appear and disappear often.

BY CAR:

Italy has a well-developed system of motorways (autostrade) in the North, while in the South it’s a bit worse for quality and extent. Most motorways are toll roads. The autostrade are marked with green signs, while general highways are marked with blue signs. Speeding on the autostrade is nowadays less common than in the past. There are automatic systems to punish speeding and hazardous driving. Italian Highway Patrol (Polizia Stradale) operates unmarked cars equipped with advanced speed radars and camera systems.

The tolerated alcohol limit is 0.50g/L in blood, or zero for drivers under 21 years of age or with less than 3 years of driving experience.

Fuel prices are in line with those in western Europe and more expensive than in North America and Japan. As of December 2016, prices were about €1.65/L for gasoline and €1.53/L for diesel.

Traffic in large Italian cities is heavy and finding a parking spot ranges from a challenging to an impossible enterprise at times. Park your vehicle at a park-and-ride facility or somewhere in the outskirts and use public transport. Be careful with Zone a Traffico Limitato or ZTLs (Limited Traffic Zones). They are restricted areas in the historical centres of many cities, where only authorized vehicles are permitted. Many tourists are fined (about €100) for entering a ZTL unknowingly.

EU licences are automatically recognized. If you don’t have an EU driving licence, you need an International Driving Permit in addition to your home driver’s license in order to drive. To obtain a recognition of your driving licence (adeguamento or tagliando di riconoscimento) you will need to pass a medical examination.

All motor vehicles in Italy must have insurance (assicurazione) for at least third party liability.

BY BUS:

Local:

Buy town bus tickets from corner shops, bus-company offices or automated machines before boarding (on some systems, tickets might be bought on-board from an automated machine). Buying tickets from the bus driver is generally not possible.

The payment system for most mass transit in Italy (urban trains, city buses, subway) is based on voluntary payment combined with variable enforcement. Tickets are bought before boarding and validated on an on-board machine; inspectors may board the vehicle to check the passengers’ tickets and issue fines to those lacking a validated ticket. The inspectors are generally recognizable by some item displaying the company’s logo. When issuing a fine, inspectors are allowed to ask to see your documents, and they have to give some sort of receipt with date, time and location. They are never allowed to directly collect the fine (which generally can be paid at a post office). Assaulting an inspector during his work is a serious offense.

Daily, weekly, monthly and year-round tickets are generally available, in addition to multi-use tickets. These may or may not need to be validated. In almost every city there’s a different pricing scheme, so check ticket formulas and availability in advance. For tourists it may be very convenient to buy daily (or multi-day) tickets that allow unlimited travel within a single day or period. Major cities have some type of City Card, a fixed-fee card allowing travel on local public transportation, visits to a number of museums, and discounts in shops, hotels and restaurants.

Check for these possibilities at local tourist offices or on the city’s website (which is often of the form www.comune.cityname.it as for example www.comune.roma.it).

Intercity:

Intercity buses used to be a niche market in Italy, but now Megabus, Flixbus and others have filled the vacuum.

BY BOAT:

Approaching Italy by sea can be a great experience and is a good alternative to traditional onshore “tours”. A yacht charter to Italy is a fulfilling way to experience the country. Although the yacht charter industry is smaller than one would expect for this incredibly popular tourist destination, there are many reasons to choose a yacht over a more conventional onshore approach. The Italian coast, like the French coast, attracts luxury yacht charters of the highest standards. “Touring” Italy from a private yacht is surprisingly convenient and comfortable. Italy’s dramatic coastline is best appreciated from the sea. You may take a swim whenever you like, and many famous sights are near the seashore. Cruising on a private yacht shields one from the crowds and traffic infesting popular destinations.

Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Sardinia and Sicily are the main nautical regions. Each has its own flavor and is rewarding in its own particular way.

EAT:

As one of the world’s most renowned culinary traditions, it is unsurprising that Italian cuisine can be very good. That said, there are also many tourist traps that serve overpriced and mediocre food. Finding the right place to eat is therefore important; ask locals for their recommendation if possible, or perhaps even ask your hotel or look at online review sites for recommendations. The downside is that it is rare to find English-speaking waiters in the non-tourist-trap restaurants, so be prepared to have to speak some Italian.

Cuisine:

Italian food inside of Italy is different than what they call “Italian food” in America. It is truly one of the most diverse in the world, and in any region, or even city and village you go, there are different specialities. For instance, it could be only misleading to say that Northern Italian cuisine is based on hearty, potato and rice-rich meals, Central Italian cuisine is mainly on pastas, roasts and meat, and Southern Italian cuisine on vegetables, pizza, pasta and seafood: there are so many cross-influences that you’d only get confused trying to categorize. And in any case, Italian cuisine, contrary to popular belief, is not just based on pasta and tomato sauce – that’s only a tiny snippet of the nation’s food; rice, potatoes, lentils, soups and similar meals are very common in some parts of the country. Italian food is based upon so many ingredients and Italians often have very discriminating tastes that may seem strange to visitors.

For instance, a sandwich stand might sell 4 different types of ham sandwiches that in each case contain ham, mayonnaise, and cheese. The only thing that may be different between the sandwiches is the type of ham or cheese used in them. Rustichella and panzerotti are two examples of sandwiches well-liked by Italians and tourists alike. Also, Italian sandwiches are quite different from the traditional Italian-American “hero”, “submarine”, or “hoagie” sandwich (which by the way mean nothing to any Italian). Rather than large sandwiches with a piling of meat, vegetables, and cheese, sandwiches in Italy are often quite small, very flat (made even more so when they are quickly heated and pressed on a panini grill), and contain a few simple ingredients and often without lettuce or mayonnaise.

The term panini may be somewhat confusing to travellers from Northern Europe where it has erroneously come to mean a flat, heated sandwich on a grill. In Italy the term is equivalent to “bread rolls” (plural – the singular is panino) which can be simple rolls or sometimes with basic filling. However instead of a sandwich why not try a piadina, which is a flat folded bread with filling, served warm and typical of the coast of Romagna?

Americans will notice that Italian pasta is usually available with a myriad of sauces rather than simply tomato and Alfredo. Also, Italian pasta is often served with much less sauce than in America. This is, in part, because pasta in a restaurant is usually regarded as the first course of a three- or four-course meal, not a meal in itself.

Structure of a traditional meal: Usually Italian meals for working days are: small breakfast, one-dish lunch, one-dish dinner. Coffee is welcomed at nearly every hour, especially around 10:00 and at the end of a meal. At the weekends and in restaurants (for other occasions), a meal typically consists of: antipasto (appetizers: marinated vegetables, mixed coldcuts, seafood, etc.), primo (pasta or rice dish), secondo (meat or fish course) often with a side dish known as a contorno, and dolce (dessert).

Like the language and culture, food in Italy differs region by region. Local ingredients are also very important. In warm Naples, citrus and other fresh fruit play a prominent role in both food and liquor, while in Venice fish is obviously an important traditional ingredient.

Breakfast in Italy: this is very light, often just a cappuccino or coffee with a pastry (cappuccino e cornetto) or a piece of bread and fruit jam. Unless you know for certain otherwise, you should not expect a large breakfast. It is not customary in Italy to eat eggs and bacon and the like at breakfast – just the thought of it is revolting to most Italians. In fact, no salty foods are consumed at breakfast, generally speaking. Additionally, cappuccino is a breakfast drink; ordering one after lunch or dinner is considered strange and considered a typical “tourist thing”. A small espresso coffee is considered more appropriate for digestion.

Another enjoyable Italian breakfast item is cornetto (pl. cornetti): a croissant or light pastry often filled with jam, cream or chocolate.

Lunch is seen as the most important part of the day, so much that Italians have one hour reserved for eating (and in the past, another hour was reserved for napping). All shops close down and resume after the two hour break period. To compensate for this, businesses stay open later than in most other European towns, often until 8 pm. Good luck trying to find a place open during the so-called “pausa pranzo” (lunch break), when visiting a small town, but this is not the case in the city centers of the biggest cities or in shopping malls.

Dinner (i.e. the evening meal) time varies by region: in the north it is usually around 8 pm (even 7 pm in the homes), but it gets progressively later the further south one goes, up to 10 pm.

In Italy, cuisine is considered a kind of art. Great chefs such as Gualtiero Marchesi and Gianfranco Vissani are seen as half-way between TV stars and magicians. Italians are extremely proud of their culinary tradition and generally love food and talking about it. However, they are not so fond of common preconceptions, such as that Italian food is only pizza and spaghetti. They also have a distaste for “bastardized” versions of their dishes that are popular elsewhere, and many Italians have a hard time believing that the average foreigner can’t get even a basic pasta dish “right”.

Do not expect the kind of dedicated, focused service you will find in American restaurants. In Italy this is considered somewhat annoying and people generally prefer to be left alone when consuming their meal. You should expect the waiter to come and check on you after your first course, maybe to order something as second course.

Italy’s most famous dishes like pizza or spaghetti are quite lame for some Italians, and eating in different areas can be an interesting opportunity to taste some less well known local specialties. Even for something as simple as pizza there are significant regional variations. That of Naples has a relatively thick, soft crust while that of Rome is considerably thinner and crustier. (Both styles are thin-crust compared to American-style pizza, however.)

When dining out with Italians, read the menu and remember that almost every restaurant has a typical dish and some towns have centuries-old traditions that you are invited to learn. People will appreciate when you ask for local specialties and will gladly advise you.

In Northern Italy, at around 17:00, most bars prepare an aperitivo, especially in cosmopolitan Milan, with a series of plates of nibbles, cheese, olives, meat, bruschetta, etc. This is not considered a meal and it is considered gauche to indulge oneself in eating it as if it were dinner. All this food is typically free to anyone who purchases a drink but it is intended to be a pre-meal snack.

Specialties:

Cities and regions have their own specialties, including:

  • Risotto – Carnaroli or Arborio or Vialone Nano (etc.) rice that has been sautéed and cooked in a shallow pan with stock. The result is a creamy and hearty dish. Meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and cheeses are almost always added depending on the recipe and the locale. Many restaurants, families, towns, and regions will have a signature risotto or at least style of risotto, in addition or in place of a signature pasta dish (risotto alla Milanese is a famous Italian classic). Risotto is a typical dish in Lombardy and Piedmont.
  • Arancini – Balls of rice with tomato sauce, eggs, peas and mozzarella cheese that are deep fried. A Sicilian specialty, they are now common nationwide.
  • Polenta – Yellow cornmeal (yellow grits) that has been cooked with stock. It is normally served either creamy, or allowed to set up and then cut into shapes and fried or roasted. It is common in northern mountain restaurants, usually eaten with deer or boar. In the Veneto region, the best polenta is “polenta bianca”, a special, tasty, and white cornmeal called “biancoperla”.
  • Gelato – This is the Italian word for ice cream. The non-fruit flavors are usually made only with milk. Gelato made with water and without dairy ingredients is also known as sorbetto. It’s as fresh as a sorbet, but tastier. There are many flavors, including coffee, chocolate, fruit, and tiramisù. When buying at a gelateria, you have the choice of having it served in a wafer cone or a tub; in northern Italy you’ll pay for every single flavour “ball”, and the panna (the milk cream) counts as a flavour; in Rome you can buy a small wafer cone (around 1,80€) a medium one (2,50€) or a large one (3,00€) without limit of flavours, and the panna is free.
  • Tiramisù – Italian cake made with coffee, mascarpone, and ladyfingers (sometimes rum) with cocoa powder on the top. The name means “pick-me-up”.

Pizza:

Pizza is a quick and convenient meal. In most cities, ‘Pizza al taglio shops sell pizza by the gram. When ordering, point to the display or tell the attendant the type of pizza you would like (e.g. pizza margherita, pizza con patate (roasted or french fries), pizza al prosciutto (ham), etc.) and how much (“Vorrei (due fette – two slices) or (due etti – two-tenths of a kilogram) or simply say “di più – more” or “di meno – less, per favore”). They will slice it, warm it in the oven, fold it in half, and wrap it in paper. Other food shops also sell pizza by the slice. Italians consider those a sort of second-class pizza, chosen only when you cannot eat a “real” pizza in a specialized restaurant (pizzeria). Getting your meal on the run can save money—many sandwich shops charge an additional fee if you want to sit to eat your meal. Remember that in many parts of the country pizzas have a thinner base of bread and less cheese than those found outside Italy. The most authentic, original pizza is found in Naples – often containing quite a few ingredients, but most commonly pizza margherita (tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella di bufala) or margherita with prosciutto.

The traditional, round pizza is found in many restaurants and specialized pizza restaurants (pizzerie). It is rare to find a restaurant that serves pizza at lunchtime, however. Do not expect to find the American-style thick-crust pizza in Italy.

Take-away pizzerias (pizzerie da asporto) are becoming ubiquitous in many cities and towns. These are often run by north African immigrants and quality may vary, though they are almost always cheaper than restaurants (€4-5 for a margherita on average, though sometimes as low as €3) and are also open at lunchtime (a few are also open all day long). Some will also serve kebab, which may also vary in quality. Though take-away pizzas are also considered “second-class pizza” by most Italians, they are quite popular among the vast population of university students and they are usually located in residential areas. This is not to be confused with the ever so popular “Pizza al Taglio” shops in Rome. These are a sort of traditional fast food in the Capital City and can be found at every corner. Quality is usually very good and pizza is sold by the weight; you choose the piece of pizza you want, then it is weighed on a scale and priced.

Cheese and sausages:

In Italy there are nearly 800 types of cheese, including the famous Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano, and over 400 types of sausages.

Open-air markets offer a variety of cheeses and meats and are always open on Saturdays and usually other days, except Sunday, as well.

Restaurants and bars:

Italian bars in the center of major cities charge more (typically double whatever the final bill is) if you drink or eat seated at a table outside rather than standing at the bar or taking your order to go. This is because bars are charged a very high tax to place tables and chairs outside, so since most people do not use tables anyway, they had decided long ago to only charge those who do. The further away you are from the center streets, the less this rule is applied. When calling into a bar for a coffee or other drink you first go to the cash register and pay for what you want. You then give the receipt to the barman, who will serve you.

Restaurants always used to charge a small coperto (cover charge). Some years ago attempts were made to outlaw the practice, with limited success. The rule now seems to be that if you have bread a coperto can be charged but if you specifically say that you don’t want bread then no coperto can be levied. This has happened mainly because of backpackers who sat at a table, occupied it for an hour by just ordering a drink or a salad and consuming enormous amounts of bread.

Some restaurants now levy a service charge, but this is far from common. In Italian restaurants a large tip is never expected. The customary 15% of the United States may cause an Italian waiter to drop dead with a heart attack. Just leave a Euro or two and they will be more than happy.

The traditional meal can include (in order) antipasto (starter of cold seafood, gratinated vegetables or ham and salami), primo (first dish – pasta or rice dishes), secondo (second dish – meat or fish dishes), served together with contorno (mostly vegetables), cheeses/fruit, dessert, coffee, and spirits. Upmarket restaurants usually refuse to make changes to proposed dishes (exceptions warmly granted for babies or people on special diets). Mid-range restaurants are usually more accommodating. For example, a simple pasta with tomato sauce may not be on the menu but a restaurant will nearly always be willing to cook one for kids who turn their noses up at everything else on the menu.

If you are in a large group (say four or more) then it is appreciated if you don’t all order a totally different pasta. While the sauces are pre-cooked the pasta is cooked fresh and it is difficult for the restaurant if one person wants spaghetti, another fettuccine, a third rigatoni, a fourth penne and a fifth farfalle (butterfly shaped pasta). If you attempt such an order you will invariably be told that you will have a long wait (because the time required for cooking isn’t the same for all the types of pasta)!

When pizza is ordered, it is served as a primo (even if formally it is not considered as such), together with other primi. If you order a pasta or pizza and your friend has a steak you will get your pasta dish, and probably when you’ve finished eating the steak will arrive. If you want primo and secondo dishes to be brought at the same time you have to ask.

Most restaurants do not offer diet food. The few that do usually write it clearly in menus and even outside.

To avoid cover charges, and if you are on a strict budget, many Italian railway stations have a buffet or self-service restaurant (Termini station in Rome is a great example of the latter). These are reasonably priced and generally the food is of a high quality.

Gastronomia:

A gastronomia is a kind of self-service restaurant (normally you tell the staff what you want rather than serving yourself) that also offers take-aways. This can give a good opportunity to sample traditional Italian dishes at fairly low cost. These are not buffet restaurants. The food is sold by weight.

DRINK:

Bars, like restaurants, are non-smoking.

Italians enjoy going out during the evenings, so it’s common to have a drink in a bar before dinner. It is called Aperitivo.

Within the last couple years, started by Milan, a lot of bars have started offering fixed-price cocktails at aperitivo hours (18 – 21) with a free, and often a very good, buffet meal. It’s now widely considered stylish to have this kind of aperitivo (called Happy Hour) instead of a structured meal before going out to dance or whatever.

Wine:

Italian wine is exported all over the world, and names like Barolo, Brunello, Prosecco, Valpolicella and Chianti are known everywhere. In Italy wine is a substantial topic, a sort of test which can ensure either respect or lack of attention from an entire restaurant staff. Doing your homework ensures that you will get better service, better wine and in the end may even pay less.

So before reaching Italy, try to learn a little about the most important wines of the region you are planning to visit. This will greatly increase you enjoyment. Italian cuisine varies greatly from region to region (sometimes also from town to town), and wine reflects this variety. Italians have a long tradition of matching wines with dishes and often every dish has an appropriate wine. The popular “color rule” (red wines with meat dishes, white wines with fish) can be happily broken when proposed by a sommelier or when you really know what you are doing: Italy has many strong white wines to serve with meat (a Sicilian or Tuscan chardonnay), as well as delicate red wines for fish (perhaps an Alto Adige pinot noir).

Unlike in the UK, for example, the price mark-ups charged by restaurants for wines on their wine list are not usually excessive, giving you a chance to experiment. In the big cities, there are also many wine bars, where you can taste different wines by the glass, at the same time as eating some delicious snacks. Unlike in many other countries, it is unusual for restaurants to serve wine by the glass.

The vino della casa (house wine) can be an excellent drinking opportunity in small villages far from towns (especially in Tuscany), where it could be what the patron would really personally drink or could even be the restaurant’s own product. It tends to be a safe choice in decent restaurants in cities as well. Vino della casa may come bottled but in lower-priced restaurants it is still just as likely to be available in a carafe of one quarter, one half or one litre. As a general rule, if the restaurant seems honest and not too geared for tourists, the house wine is usually not too bad. That said, some house wines can be dreadful and give you a nasty head the next morning. If it doesn’t taste too good it probably won’t do you much good, so send it back and order from the wine list.

Italians are justly proud of their wines and foreign wines are rarely served, but many foreign grapes like cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay are increasingly being used.

Beer:

Although wine is a traditional everyday product, beer is very common as well. Beer did not belong to the Italian tradition in the way that wine does, but in the last 30-odd years there has been an explosion of English-style pubs in every town, big or small, with usually a huge selection of any kind of beer, ale, stout and cider, from every country in the world.

Major Italian beers include Peroni and Moretti and these are usually the ones offered by daytime cafes. If you are serious about beer drinking, there are many bars that specialise in serving a wide range of bottled beers (see city articles for more details), as well as Irish pubs and similar establishments. There is an increasing number of micro-breweries around the country. They often are run by local beer enthusiasts turned brewers, running small breweries with a pub attached. Their association is called Unionbirrai.

In the Trieste region it is far more common to drink Slovenian beers and the most popular brands are ‘Union’ and ‘Zlatorog’. Surprisingly it is often cheaper to buy Slovenian beer in Italy (Trieste) than in Slovenia itself.

Other drinks

  • Limoncello. A liquor made of alcohol, lemon peels, and sugar. Limoncello can be considered a “moonshine” type of product (although usually made with legally obtained alcohol) as every Italian family, especially in the middle-south (near Naples) and southern part of the country, has its own recipe for limoncello. Because lemon trees adapt so well to the Mediterranean climate, and they produce a large amount of fruit continually throughout their long fruit-bearing season, it is not unusual to find many villa’s yards filled with lemon trees bending under the weight of their crop. You can make a lot of lemonade, or better yet, brew your own limoncello. It is mainly considered a dessert liqueur, served after a heavy meal (similar to amaretto), and used for different celebrations. The taste can be compared to a very strong and slightly thick lemonade flavor with an alcohol tinge to it. Best served chilled in the freezer in small glasses that have been in the freezer. It is better sipped than treated as a shooter. A derived beverage is Crema di Limoncello, a mix of limoncello and heavy cream, giving it a milder flavour.
  • Grappa is a highly alcoholic drink made by distilling grape skins after the juice has been squeezed from them for winemaking, so you could imagine how it might taste. If you’re going to drink it, then make sure you get a bottle having been distilled multiple times.
  • San Pellegrino is the most famous sparkling water in Italy and considered among the best. It can be found throughout Europe and beyond, but the best place to enjoy its distinct experience is in Italy itself. San Pellegrino can be found in almost every Italian supermarket or grocery store, and is also served in many restaurants. It can be enjoyed at room temperature or chilled.

Limoncello and grappa and other similar drinks are usually served after a meal as an aid to digestion. If you are a good customer restaurants will offer a drink to you free of charge, and may even leave the bottle on your table for you to help yourself. Beware that these are very strong drinks.

Coffee:

Bars in Italy offer an enormous number of possible permutations for a way of having a cup of coffee. What you won’t get, however, is 100 different types of bean; nor will you find “gourmet” coffees. If you like that kind of stuff, better take your own. A bar will make coffee from a commercial blend of beans supplied by just one roaster. There are many companies who supply roast beans and the brand used is usually prominently displayed both inside and outside of the bar.

The following are the most basic preparations of coffee:

  • Caffè or Caffè Normale or Espresso – This is the basic unit of coffee, normally consumed after a meal.
  • Caffè ristretto – This has the same amount of coffee, but less water, thus making it stronger.
  • Caffè lungo – This is the basic unit of coffee but additional water is allowed to go through the ground coffee beans in the machine.
  • Caffè americano – This has much more water and is served in a cappuccino cup. It is more like an American breakfast coffee but the quantity is still far less than you would get in the States. It started as an attempt to replicate the type of coffee preferred by occupying American soldiers during World War II, hence its name.

So far so good. But here the permutations begin. For the same price as a normal coffee, you can ask for a dash of milk to be added to any of the above. This is called macchiato. Hence, caffè lungo macchiato or caffè americano macchiato. But that dash of milk can be either hot (caldo) or cold (freddo). So you can ask, without the barman batting an eye, for a caffè lungo macchiato freddo or a caffè Americano macchiato caldo. Any one of these options can also be had decaffeinated. Ask for caffè decaffeinato. The most popular brand of decaffeinated coffee is HAG and it is quite usual to ask for caffè HAG even if the bar does not use that particular brand.

If you are really in need of a pick-me-up you can ask for a double dose of coffee, or a doppio. You have to specify this when you pay at the cash register and it costs twice as much as a normal coffee. All the above permutations still apply, although a caffè doppio ristretto may be a bit strange.

Additionally, if you need a shot of alcohol, you can ask for a caffè corretto. This usually involves adding grappa, brandy or sambuca; “corrected” being the Italian expression corresponding to “spiked”. Normally it is only a plain coffee that is corrected but there is no reason why you could not “correct” any of the above combinations.

Then there are coffee drinks with milk, as follows:

  • Cappuccino – Needs no introduction. If you don’t like the froth you can ask for cappuccino senza schiuma.
  • Caffè latte – Often served in a glass, this is a small amount of coffee with the cup/glass filled up with hot milk.
  • Latte macchiato – This is a glass of milk with a dash of coffee in the top. The milk can be hot or cold.

Finally, in the summer you can have caffè freddo, which is basically plain coffee with ice, caffè freddo “shakerato” (shaked ice coffee) or cappuccino freddo, which is a cold milky coffee without the froth.

This list is by no means exhaustive. With a vivid imagination and a desire to experiment you should be able to find many more permutations. Enjoy!

In major cities and touristic areas you can find a good variety of accommodations, from world-class brand hotels to family-managed bed & breakfasts and room rentals, but hostels are really few. Camping is a good way to save money and camping sites are usually well managed, but especially during summer, managers tend not to accept last-minute groups of young people (given the high chance of problems that such groups of Italian guys tend to cause), so you’d better book in advance. Farmstays are an increasingly popular way to experience Italy, particularly in rural areas of Tuscany, Piedmont, Umbria, Abruzzo, Sardinia and Apulia. They provide a great combination of good and healthy food, wonderful sights and not-so-expensive prices. If you prefer self-catering accommodations, it’s quite simple to find them on the wonderful Amalfi Coast or the less commercial and more genuine Calabria coast.

Hotel star ratings can only be taken as a broad indication of what you will get for your money. There are many marvellous 2-star hotels that you will want to return to every year and many 5-star hotels that you will never want to set foot in again. The star rating, as in all countries, is based on a bureaucratic assessment of the facilities provided and does not necessarily relate to comfort. Often the only difference between a 3-star and 4-star hotel is that the latter offers all meals while the former only offers breakfast.

Italy is a great place for all forms of shopping. Most cities, villages and towns, are crammed to the brim with many different forms of shops, from glitzy boutiques and huge shopping malls, to tiny art galleries, small food stores, antique dealers and general newsagents.

  • Food is definitely one of the best souvenirs you can get in Italy. There are thousands of different shapes of pasta (not only spaghetti or macaroni). Then every Italian region has its local specialty like cheese, wine, ham, salami, oil and vinegar. Don’t forget to buy Nutella. Note that some non-European countries (notably, the United States) have strict rules about what food items can be brought into the country from outside. Cured meats (and other uncooked produce) that you purchase in Italy may not be allowed into your country – check with your embassy or your customs agency to be sure, before you spend a large amount of money on something that may get confiscated.
  • Italian fashion is renowned worldwide. Many of the world’s most famous international brands have their headquarters or were founded in Italy.Milan is Italy’s fashion and design capital. In the city one can find virtually every major brand in the world, not only Italian, but also French, English, American, Swedish and Spanish. Your main place for la-crème-de-la-crème shopping is the Via Montenapoleone, but the Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni, Via Sant’Andrea and the Corso Vittorio Emanuele are equally luxurious, if less-prominent shopping streets. The Corso Buenos Aires is the place to go for mass-scale or outlet shopping. And, the beautiful Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the centre and Via Dante boast some designer boutiques, too. Virtually every street in central Milan has clothing stores of some kind. However, Rome and Florence, are also fashion centres, and boast being the birthplace of some of the oldest fashion and jewelry houses in Italy. When in Rome, the chic and beautiful Via dei Condotti, leading to the Spanish Steps, will be your primary point of shopping reference, with boutiques, but subsidiary streets such as Via dei Babuino, Via Borgognona, Via Frattina, Via del Corso and the Piazza di Spagna. In Florence, Via de’ Tornabuoni is the main high-fashion shopping street, and there you’ll find loads of designer brands. However, in both cities, you’ll be able to find a plethora of chic boutiques, designer or not, scattered around the centre. Prestigious brands such as Armani, Gucci and Prada can of course be found in Italian cities; since their pricing is set internationally, they will likely not be much cheaper than they are in your homeland.
  • Jewelry and accessory shops can be found in abundance in Italy. There are many jewelry and accessory stores which hail from Italy. Vicenza and Valenza are considered the country’s jewelry capitals, which are also famous for their silverware and goldware shops. All over Italy, notably Vicenza, Milan, Valenza, Rome, Naples, Florence and Venice, but also several other cities, you can find hundreds of jewelry or silverware boutiques. Apart from the famous ones, there are some great quirky and funky jewelry stores scattered around the country.
  • Design and furniture is something Italy is proudly and justifiably famous for. Excellent quality furniture stores can be found all over, but the best deals are in Milan. Milan contains among the top design rooms and emporia in the world. For the newest design inventions, attend the Fiera di Milano in Rho, where the latest appliances are exhibited. Many Italian cities have great antique furniture stores. So, you can choose between cutting-edge, avant-garde furniture, or old world antiques to buy in this country, which are, by average, of good quality.
  • Glassware is something which Venice makes uniquely but which is spread around the whole of the country. Venice is famously the capital of Murano (not the island), or glassware made in different colours. Here, you can get goblets, crystal chandeliers, candlesticks and decorations made in multi-coloured blown glass, which can be designed in modern, funky arrangements, or the classical style.
  • Books can be found in bookshops in any city. The main book and publishing companies/stores in Italy include Mondadori, Feltrinelli, Hoepli or Rizzoli. Most big bookstores are found in Milan, Turin and nearby Monza, which are the capitals of Italy’s publishing trade (Turin was made World Book Capital in 2006), however other cities such as Rome have many book shops. 99% of the books sold are in Italian.
  • Art shops are found throughout Italy, notably in Florence, Rome and Venice. In Florence, the best place to buy art is the Oltrarno, where there are numerous ateliers selling replicas of famous paintings. Usually, depending in what city you’re in, you get replicas of notable works of art found there, but also, you can find rare art shops, sculpture shops, or funky, modern/old stores in several cities.
**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Italy
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Name: Colosseum
Location: Rome, Italy
The Colosseum, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. It is the largest amphitheatre ever built. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir, Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81–96).

The Colosseum could hold, it is estimated, between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators; it was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.

Although partially ruined because of damage caused by earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is still an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. It is one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions and also has links to the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit "Way of the Cross" procession that starts in the area around the Colosseum.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosseum
Name: Leaning Tower of Pisa
Location: Pisa, Italy
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its nearly four-degree lean, the result of an unstable foundation. The tower is situated behind the Pisa Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in the city's Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo), after the cathedral and the Pisa Baptistry.

The tower's tilt began during construction in the 12th century, due to soft ground on one side, which was unable to properly support the structure's weight. The tilt increased in the decades before the structure was completed in the 14th century. It gradually increased until the structure was stabilized (and the tilt partially corrected) by efforts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. In 1990 the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but following remedial work between 1993 and 2001 this was reduced to 3.97 degrees, reducing the overhang by 45 cm at a cost of £200m. It lost a further 4 cm of tilt in the two decades to 2018.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaning_Tower_of_Pisa
Name: Venice
Location: Italy
Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges.

The 697–1797 Republic of Venice was a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as an important center of commerce (especially silk, grain, and spice) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century.

Parts of Venice are renowned for the beauty of their settings, their architecture, and artwork. Venice is known for several important artistic movements—especially during the Renaissance period—has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music. Although the city is facing some major challenges (including financial difficulties, pollution, an excessive number of tourists and problems caused by cruise ships sailing close to the buildings), Venice remains a very popular tourist destination, an iconic Italian city, and has been ranked the most beautiful city in the world.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice
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Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

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