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Practical Information

This section is dedicated to make your arrive in Italy easier giving you practical information about the services you will need the most: time, bank holidays, currency, emergency numbers, banking, post offices, electricity, telephone and internet connections, transports, car and driving.

Click here to find out the first things to do once in Italy


Italy is in the Central European Time Zone (CET). It is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1). Summertime (in Italian ora legale) is observed in Italy as in most European countries from 1996. The time is shift forward by 1 hour to Central European Time (it always changes between the last Saturday and the last Sunday of March until October). On the contrary, the last weekend of October time is shift back again by 1 hour (in Italian ora solare).





1 January


New Year’s Eve

6 January







Lunedì dell'Angelo

Easter Monday

25 April

Festa della Liberazione

Liberation Day

1 May

Festa dei lavoratori

Labour Day

2 June

Festa della Repubblica

Republic Day

15 August


Celebrations for the ending of the summer

1 November


 All Saints’ Day

8 December

Immacolata Concezione

Ascension Day

25 December



26 December

Santo Stefano

Boxing Day

*Easter takes place every year on Sundays on different dates between March/April, and it  is always followed by Easter Monday.


The national currency is the Euro . For more information about euro exchange with other world currencies click here.


Carabinieri: 112
Police: 113
Fire Service: 115
First Aid/Ambulance: 118


Opening hours: Monday to Friday (8.30 am – 1.30 pm; 2.30 pm - 4 pm)
In general bank opening hours vary according to the bank and the town. Some banks open all day without a lunch break and/or on Saturday mornings. On the day before a bank holiday, banks are often closed in the afternoon. Please note that banks situated at airports and railway stations have longer opening hours for changing money as do currency exchange bureaus in cities.
To open a bank account, citizens must be aged eighteen residents or non-residents and possess a valid ID and the Italian tax identification number. Proof of a legal address in Italy (i.e. utility bills) may be requested by some banks. The current account (conto corrente) conditions vary depending on the bank: in most cases, a debit card (Bancomat) is issued as well as a cheque-book (libretto degli assegni). Current accounts can also be registered as joint accounts (conto corrente cointestato). In general, no fees are charged when you withdraw cash from your own bank's ATM as well as when paying in shops within the country. Before opening a bank account, it is recommended to get all the information needed since banks can offer different solutions (i.e. fees included or not for account management, withdrawal of money, etc.) and they may have special conditions or accounts for children, young people, pensioners, students, family, etc..

For a practical glossary of banking terminology, click here.


Opening hours:  Monday to Friday ( 8.00 am – 7 pm);  Saturday (8.00 am – 1 pm). Some Post offices, during summertime,  are open only in the morning.
At any Italian Post office is possible to send regular parcels or express couriers, telegrams, express mail, documents and to pay postal giro slips for i.e. utility bills, etc.. Moreover Poste Italiane offers additional services: banking services, currency exchange services, savings and current accounts, mobile phone contracts, etc. Online services are also available. For more information, please visit Poste Italiane.
To open a postal account, the following documents may be required: passport or ID; Italian tax identification number (Codice Fiscale); recent utility bill and permit of stay (for Non EU-EEA citizens). For more information, please visit Poste Italiane.
For information regarding types of postage available in Italy and other useful tips please visit the Expats in Italy webpage.


Electricity in Italy, as in the rest of Europe, comes out of the wall socket at 220 volts alternating at a 50 cycles per second (in the US, electricity comes out of the wall socket at 110 volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second). Plugs and sockets are European standard but, in some cases, you may need an adaptor for Italian plugs Type L.


It is possible to apply for a fixed telephone line and an internet connection (ADSL up to 7 MBit/sec., flat connection, internet-key or Wi-Fi) by signing a contract with one of the telecommunications companies operating in Italy. The contract has to be registered in the name of the person living in the house/flat, who must have a permit of stay (if non EU-EEA citizen) and an Italian tax identification number. The telephone bill is usually bi-monthly and inclusive of a fixed monthly fee plus the charge for telephone calls and VAT (IVA). It is possible to use a mobile phone (telefonino or cellulare) GSM DUAL BAND by simply buying a new SIM card. Some useful tips:

  •  when calling Italy from abroad, for fixed telephone lines dial the country code + 39 + the local/town code (e.g. Rome 06; Milan 02) followed by the telephone number;
  •  when calling Italy from abroad, for mobiles dial the country code + 39, followed by the Italian mobile number;
  •  when calling abroad from Italy, dial 00 (code for international calls) + country code + the local/town code, followed by the telephone number.

For more information about mobile phones, models, providers and network, visit the webpages of Expats in Italy dedicated to phones and mobile phones.


Getting around Italy, from north to south or from east to west, is quite easy thanks to a well-developed rail network, motorways and many airports which let you move freely from a city to another. In big cities like Milan, Rome, Florence, Turin, etc. public transport services (buses, trams, subway, etc.) are available as well as bicycle paths. For more information about transports in Italy, visit the webpage of Understanding Italy.

Motorways - in Italy there are more than 3,400 km of motorways. They are mostly well maintained, fast and fairly free of traffic and they operate on a toll system. For more information, visit the official website of Autostrade per l’Italia and the Automobile Club Italiano - ACI (the Italian breakdown organisation) (available only in Italian).
Airports - In Italy there are important international airports (Milan Malpensa, Roma Fiumicino, Venice Marco Polo, etc.) from where main international airline companies operate. Domestic flights are also provided. Click here for a map and a list of the Italian airports.
Railway – Italy is served well by the rail network. Tickets must be purchased at the Train Stations. In general reservation for a place is not required for regional trains but is compulsory for high speed trains (i.e. Intercity, Eurostar, Freccia Rossa). Train fares are very reasonable. For more information visit Trenitalia website.
Buses - in Italy buses are comfortable, modern, fast and the service is good. By bus is possible to go from one city to another (Servizio Extraurbano) or moving within a city (Servizio Urbano). Moreover, small cities without train stations usually have bus stops. In general the bus fares are economic.
Ferries – Ferries connect mainland Italy with its many islands (i.e Sardinia, Sicily, etc.). Some of these are equipped to take cars. Moreover, ships and ferries connect Italy with other Mediterranean countries. For more information about the major ferry terminals and timetables, visit traghettiweb.


When driving in Italy, the following should be borne in mind:

  • The minimum driving age is eighteen for cars, fourteen for scooters, sixteen for motorcycles up to 125cc and twenty for motorcycles up to 350cc.
  • Foreign citizens with permanent residence in Italy who have a motor vehicle registered abroad are obliged to register it and to apply for a homologation certificate at the local Motorizzazione Civile office.
  • Insurance in Italy is compulsory for all types of vehicles. Therefore before coming to Italy, an extension of the car insurance for Italy is needed. It must be asked at the insurance company. More information can be provided by the Authority in charge in the country of origins and by the insurance company.
  • A ‘green card’ (carta verde) – temporary frontier insurance valid for 15, 30, 45, 90, 180 days – can be purchased before entering Italy. It is compulsory only for vehicles registered in other countries except for those registered in EU and EEA countries.
  • A photo-card driving licence issued in another country - including EC driving licences and green licences - authorises the holder, when in Italy, to drive motor vehicles of the categories indicated in it. EU-EEA citizen can freely drive in Italy as long as the driving license remains valid. In case of damage, theft, etc. or the driving licence expires at least one month before citizens must contact the Motorizzazione Civile and apply for recognition. Non EU-EEA citizens coming from those countries that have reciprocal agreements with Italy can drive in Italy with their own driving license within one year after becoming resident in Italy (an updated list of countries can be found on the following webpage After this period they need to exchange (Conversione) their driving license. If a Non EU-EEA citizens wish to stay in Italy but they will not apply for the residency, they can drive with their own driving licence accompanied by an International Driving Permit (IDP), issued by the foreign country that released the driving licence.
  • Citizens belonging to countries without reciprocal agreement with Italy need to apply for a new Italian driving licence which means they have to take both the practice and theory examinations.

For more information about car and driving in Italy contact the Motorizzazione Civile office near you. Additional information and useful tips can be found on the European Commission – Your Europe and webpage of The Informer.

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Last update : 24 Nov 2014 - 13:48