Our Trip To Italy April 2007
It was our first trip to Italy.
W e expected to see a lot of ancient civilisation( ROME, POMPEII), the religious center of the World (VATICAN CITY), icons of Italy (NICOLOSSEUM, LEANING TOWER OF PISA, VENICE, TREVI FOUNTAIN), wonderful statues and frescos, paintings, architecture and the culture of a country known for its history and its famous people( MICHAELANGELO, LEONARDO DA VINCI, GALILEO, ST PETER, ST FRANCIS OF ASSISSI,MARCO POLO).
All these we visited and saw the beauty of Italy.
Some advice we wished to give new visitors:
Parking for coaches are always very far from the tourist spots so be prepared to walk a lot. Try and get comfortable sport shoes.
During summer it can be very hot so buy lots of water to drink during your trip.
Water can be bought at different prices in the country. Rome and Vatican city are the most expensive with 500cc of water costing 3.50 euros while at Florence we were able to get 12 litres of water for only 0.99 euros.
The sun can also be very glaring to the eyes. We advise bringing good UV block sunglasses or wear a hat or cap.
Most of the big shops uses the major credit cards such as VISA, MASTERCARD, DINERS CLUB, AMERICAN EXPRESS but for the small stall holders selling souveniers cash is still important.
Bring sufficient cash for incidental buying of souvenier, food, icecream, even the usage of toilets etc. Remember that there are many pickpockets in Italy so keep your valuables(cash, credit cards, and passports) in a body pouch. It is safer than to lose your valuables to the pickpockets.
All services and goods carry a value added tax of 20% which can be refunded at the customs in the airport provided the amout is large enough. Get a form filled up at the shop where you buy the goods.
The hotels in Italy are generally comfortable but do not come with amenities like kettle, teabags or coffee. So if you need to boil water, bring along a travel kettle. Remember to bring the the right plug for the electical socket.
There is no airconditioning in most hotels but there are heaters for winter. Services like porters are slow so expect to receive your luggage late. It is better if you can bring the luggage up to your rooms yourselves.
Most Italians speak very little English. So try to learn a few Italian phrases.
Internet services cost about 5 euros for half an hour.
We found that there are a lot of illegal immigrants such as Africans and Asians selling fake goods along the roadside.
Once on the way to our hotel there was a blockage ot the road by the police as a result of strike by some workers working in factories. As a result the coach had to U turn and go by an alternative route.
Not all the toilets are free. Some cost 0.5 to 1 euro per entry. Best places to use a toilet would be at MacDonalds or you may be able to use a toilet at a food shop provided you buy food from them. No purchase means no usage of their toilets.
Bring sufficient batteries for your camera or bring the charger for your camera. If you don’t then all the pictures which you take for your vacation will be wasted. The cost of batteries are very high in Italy.
Photo taking are prohibited in many places in Italy especially where there are frescos as the flash damages the painting. Examples are Sistine Chapel, Pompeii, Assissi.
Churches or Basilica are places of worship so your dress code should be decent-no mini skirts and exposed shoulders. Silence is also important!
The largest lemon in the world can be found in Sorrento.
Finally enjoy your trip to Italy as we did with all these tips and precautions.