COUNTRY BRIEF: Italy is located in the south of Europe in the central part of the Mediterranean. In the north, Italy borders on Switzerland and Austria, in the east – on Slovenia, in the northwest – on France and is washed by the waters of four seas – the Adriatic in the east, in the south – the Ionian, in the west – the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian. Italy owns the islands – Sicily, Sardinia, Elba and several small islands. Two independent states are also located on the territory of the Apennine Peninsula: the Vatican and San Marino.
According to UNESCO, 70% of the world’s heritage is concentrated in Italy.
ROME – the capital of Italy, one of the most important cities in Europe, once the political and cultural center of the mighty Roman Empire. The “Eternal City” occupies 12 hills, and the historical center is located on seven of them: the Capitol, Palatina, Viminal, Exviline, Caelia, Aventina and Quirina. The Tiber River crosses Rome from north to south. Visit St. Paul’s Square, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum. During the day it is nice to sit at the famous fountains of Tre Vi (three roads), in Piazza Navona, in Plaza de España. On the territory of Rome there is a separate city – the state of the Vatican (40 hectares).
VENICE – a city on water, built on stilts, this is the most amazing city in Italy, which is definitely worth a visit.
FLORENCE– the capital of the Italian Renaissance, the world center of art and culture, where most of the cultural heritage of Italy is concentrated. Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Boccaccio, Galileo, Giotto – they are all Florentine. From here originates the powerful Medici dynasty. Florence has managed to preserve its historical appearance and now it is an open-air museum, where they enjoy the atmosphere of grace and beauty.
MILAN is the largest industrial and business center, the richest city in Italy. The most significant international exhibitions and conferences, symposiums are held here. Milan is the center of Italian fashion, a shopping paradise. Large supermarkets and boutiques of all famous fashion houses are located here
RELIGION: Catholicism. The Vatican is the religious “capital” of Catholics around the world.
Italy’s monetary unit is the euro (EURO). 1 euro includes 100 euro cents. Credit cards of any well-known banks are accepted for payment.
MEALING: Breakfast is usually included in the price of the room (BB), if you did not order meals from us, then for an additional fee, most hotels will offer you two (HB) or three meals a day (FB)
EXCURSIONS – We recommend booking individual excursions with an English-speaking guide in advance.
CLIMATE: According to Bridgat, Italy has a Mediterranean climate, cooler in the north, hot and arid in the south.
KITCHEN: Being in Italy and not trying the national Italian cuisine means not learning a lot about who the Italians are. Even from ancient times in Italian cuisine, an amazing taste of a lamb, suckling pig or kid – Abbacchio al Cacciatore has remained. Saltimbocca alla Romana – veal fillet with ham and sage. There are a lot of varieties of pasta (pasta), the most famous are: Bucatini all’Amatriciana, Fettucine al burro or the traditional Pasta fagioli (with white beans). Among the variety of pizzas is the classic “napoletana” with tomatoes and anchovies, olives and mozzarella cheese. Pizza “Margherita” has the colors of the national flag: red tomatoes, white mozzarella cheese, green basil. A kind of “closed” pizza calzone (calzone) keeps inside all its flavors, which can be enjoyed only by opening the dough stuffed with minced meat. Polenta is a northern Italian cornmeal dish. Ready-made corn porridge – polenta – is usually served with spicy grated cheese and various sauces. Carpaccio are thin slices of raw beef seasoned with vinegared olive oil and/or lemon juice. Also try an appetizer of ham pieces with melon, figs or peaches.
Speaking about Italian cuisine, one cannot fail to mention Italian cheeses – an indispensable element of the Italian meal. The most famous Italian cheeses are gorgonzola (gorgonzola) and parmesan (in Italian “parmigiano”).
Coffee and ice cream – Italians have no equal here. Italian wines have had an excellent reputation since ancient times.
SHOPPING: Shops are usually open all day – from nine in the morning to eight in the evening, some are open on Sunday as well. Lunch breaks are usually from 13:00 to 15:30. Sales season – “Saldi” lasts in Rome from mid-July to mid-September and between Christmas and the first week of March. Traditional Italian souvenirs include straw hats, brooches with various versions of Venetian masks, elegant porcelain dolls and clowns. A wide variety of fur clothes and very good shoes, the price is from 25 to 100 euros and more.
TIPS: Not required. But if you were satisfied with the service, then it is customary to leave 5 – 10% of the invoice amount. In Italy, it is customary to tip waiters, porters, taxi drivers, maids, etc.
COMMUNICATION: It is convenient to call from street payphones. To pay, use coins or phone cards, which are sold in a tobacco or magazine kiosk, in a bar. GSM cell phones work without problems. Calls to Russia: 007 + area code + subscriber number. Calls to Italy from Russia: 8-10-39 + area code + subscriber number. Calls in Italy between cities, as well as to mobile phones: be sure to dial “O” before the code.
Useful phone numbers
Help line – 100, police – 112, accidents – 113, ambulance – 118. Embassy of the Russian Federation in Rome – 06/4 941 681.
ELECTRICAL VOLTAGE: 220 V., Euro sockets