Pasta, piazzas, poetry and the World's most legendary leaning tower - these are just some of the fine points that coach holidays to Italy have to offer. Whether you're on the hunt for historic architecture or cities within cities on a coach tour to Rome, seeking supreme cuisine in Tuscany, or in search of romance on a coach trip to Venice or Verona, escorted Italy tours offer it all. For relaxation, Italy's Northern Lakes of Garda, Como, Maggiore, and Iseo provide outstanding natural beauty, while further south, the Bay of Naples and Sorrento offer unrivalled coastal scenery and the impossible-to-ignore presence of Vesuvius, the only active volcano on European mainland.
There are more than 30,000 hotels throughout the country. Charges vary according to class, season, services available and locality. The Italian State Tourist Board (see Contact Addresses) publishes the official list of all Italian hotels and pensions (Annuario Alberghi) every year. Service charges are included in the rates. VAT (IVA in Italy) operates in all hotels at 10% (19% in deluxe hotels) on room charges only. Visitors are required by law to obtain an official receipt when staying at hotels. Motels are located on motorways and main roads.Grading: Hotels are graded on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.
Simple, family-run accommodation in basic rooms.
Villas, flats and chalets are available for rent at most Italian resorts. Information is available through daily newspapers and agencies in the UK and from the Italian State Tourist Board or the tourist office (Azienda Autonoma di Soggiorno) of the locality concerned.
Bed and breakfast, and home stays (where breakfast is not provided) are becoming increasingly popular in Italy. Visitors have the opportunity to meet local people in their own homes. Accommodation can range from simple to luxurious.
Known as agriturismi, accommodation in converted farm buildings, which ranges from self-catering accommodation in simple barns to luxurious hotels in former farm villas. Particularly popular in Tuscany. Accommodation is graded.
These consist of bungalows and apartments, usually built in or near popular resorts.
Camping is very popular in Italy. The local tourist office in the nearest town will give information and particulars of the most suitable sites. On the larger campsites, it is possible to rent tents/caravans. There are over 2,300 campsites and full details of the sites can be obtained in the publication Campeggi e Villaggi Turistici in Italia, published by the Touring Club Italiano (TCI). The Touring Club Italiano offers campsites already equipped with fixed tents, restaurants, etc.
There are over 100 youth hostels run by the Italian Youth Hostels Association (see Accommodation Information below). During the summer season in the major cities, reservations are essential and should be made at least a week in advance. There are also student hostels in several towns.
Federalberghi (National Hotel Association) Via Toscana 1, 00187 Rome, Italy Tel: (06) 4274 1151. Website: http://www.italyhotels.it/ Italian Confederation of Campers Via Vittorio Emanuele 11, 50041 Calenzano (Florence), Italy Tel: (055) 882 391. Website: http://www.federcampeggio.it/ Touring Club Italiano Corso Italia 10, 20122 Milan, Italy Tel: (02) 85261. Website: http://www.touringclub.it/ Associazione Gestori Alloggi Privati (AGAP) (bed and breakfast/home stays in Florence) Via de’ Neri 9, 50122, Florence, Italy Tel: (055) 505 1012. Agriturist Corso V Emanuele 101, 00168 Rome, Italy Tel: (06) 852 1342. Website: http://www.agriturist.com/ Associazione Italiana Alberghi per la Gioventù (Italian Youth Hostels Association) Via Cavour 44, 00184 Rome, Italy Tel: (06) 487 1152. Website: http://www.ostellionline.org/
For European visitors who are taken ill or have an accident, free or reduced-cost treatment is available – in most cases on production of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC gives access to state-provided medical treatment only. Note that the EHIC replaces the Form E111, which is no longer valid. Most dentists are private.
Euro (EUR; symbol Eur;) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of Eur;500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of Eur;2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
Traveller’s cheques, cheques and foreign money can be changed at banks, railway stations and airports, and very often at major hotels (generally at a less convenient rate). Many UK banks offer differing exchange rates depending on the denominations of currency being bought or sold. Check with banks for details and current rates.
Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted.
Traveller’s cheques are widely accepted. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller’s cheques in Euros, Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.
These vary from city to city but, in general, Mon-Fri 0830-1330 and 1500-1600.
(a) Italy is a signatory to the 1995 Schengen Agreement. (b) The regulations stated below also apply to San Marino and the Vatican City.
Passport valid for at least three months beyond length of stay required by all nationals referred to in the chart above except:(a) 1. EU nationals holding a valid national ID card. Note: EU nationals are only required to produce evidence of their EU nationality and identity in order to be admitted to any EU Member State. This evidence can take the form of a valid national passport or national identity card. Either is acceptable. Possession of a return ticket, any length of validity on their document, sufficient funds for the length of their proposed visit should not be imposed.
Not required by all nationals of countries referred to in the chart above for the following durations:(a) nationals of EU countries for an unlimited period apart from nationals of Bulgaria and Romania who may stay for up to 90 days;(b) nationals of Australia, Canada and the USA for stays of up to 90 days.
In addition, local feast days are held in honour of town patron saints, generally without closure of shops and offices. These include: Turin/Genoa/Florence: 24 Jun (St John the Baptist).Milan: 7 Dec (St Ambrose).Siena: 2 Jul and 16 Aug, Palio horserace.Venice: 25 Apr (St Mark).Bologna: 4 Oct (St Petronius).Naples: 19 Sep (St Gennaro).Bari: 6 Dec (St Nichola).Palermo: 15 Jul (St Rosalia).Rome: 29 Jun (St Peter).Trieste: 3 Nov (St Giusto).