As in any country, in Italy it is helpful to keep in mind a few basic precautions so that travel is as smooth as possible.
Use our checklist and rest easy when visiting the Bel Paese.
1. – Buy all tickets for travel and transport from authorized vendors only. Alternatively, purchasing tickets online sometimes guarantees extra promotions and/or discounts.
2. – Ride in authorized taxis only, marked by official signs and identification. Ask for the driver’s cost estimate for your route in advance, read rules and regulations posted inside taxi, and maintain an eye on the cab’s meter from beginning to end of your journey. Remember that any transport of baggage usually guarantees first bag free of charge. Always ask for an official receipt for the price you pay.
3. – Check and double-check map locations for your lodging and general area of touristic interest. Measure distances from airports/stations and chosen lodging. Stay informed about lodging prices and finer details when booking and checking out.
4. – When possible, always pay with traceable instruments (debit, credit card, travelers’ checks and even smartphone), but be sure to have cash on hand for places that do not accept cards or electronic payments of any kind.
5. – Always exercise your right to ask for receipts upon payment, and pay attention to charges and look for official government signs on the receipt (vendors often attempt to pass off unofficial pieces of printed paper as receipts so as to avoid paying taxes).
6. – Seek out information points that offer maps, advice and other help in any city you visit.
7. – Know opening hours and terms of entry in the museums, galleries, churches and archaeological sites you want to see (e.g. many monuments and institutions are closed on certain holidays, while many allow free entry to those European citizens under 18 or over 65).
8. – Do not purchase tickets of entry to museums or archaeological sites from unauthorized sellers or persons without official tour guide accreditation, and do not trust promises to advance your place in line. Remember that access to public spaces is always free.
9. – Don’t flash valuables on the street, and get away as quickly as possible from groups or individuals trying to distract you by asking for information or money.
10. – Keep all personal effects in a safe place (documents, telephones, computers and other devices), and do not entrust them to strangers.
11. – In restaurants, pizzerias, fast food and take-away establishments, always look at the menu with prices, remembering that table service usually costs more than counter service or take-away. Restaurateurs are obligated to exhibit all costs for both service and menu items.
12. – Excepting some cases, bathroom use is free in bars and restauarants. Some establishments ask for payment or a tip. Railway and bus stations often require coins for payment.
13. – The water in public fountains is potable, unless otherwise indicated, and a glass of tap water at the bar is always free.
14. – Anytime you have a bad sense of your surroundings or are confronted with danger – or your rights as a client/tourist/traveler are not respected, advise local authorities immediately.