Italy is a beautiful country containing beaches, mountains, ancient history and vibrant industry. From the ruins of Rome to the splendor of Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice to the home of Dolce & Gabbana in Milan, Italy has unforgettable sights. When you get tired of sightseeing, sit down at a caffe for authentic pizza, local pasta or unforgettable desserts and that's not even mentioning the coffee!
COVID-19 Update: Italy was hit particularly hard during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Currently, the country plans to reopen its borders to outside visitors starting June 3, 2020. If you are planning to visit Italy now, there are still plenty of great things to see and do. However, it is more important than ever before that you invest in trip and travel insurance to protect you against costs related to canceled or postponed trips or getting sick in a foreign country.
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
- Must-See Landmark: The Roman Forum, Rome
- Must-Try Food: Margherita Pizza
- Most Common Language: Italian
- Emergency Services Telephone Number: 118
Entering Italy is the only way to enter Vatican City. Technically its own country, the Papal Seat is only accessible through Italy. You can easily visit the small nation through the city of Rome as there are no official checkpoints or border patrols between the two cities.
Italy is opening up to outside visitors again. Although some destinations will be reopening slowly, there are still lots of exciting things to do and see in this Mediterranean country. Consider outdoor activities and destinations until you feel safe being around larger crowds.
Travel Insurance Plans for Italy
With a wide range of plans on the market, it may be difficult to select a plan. To find the plan that's best for you, first assess the condition of your health then take a look at your travel plans. From there, you can compare plans side by side with our compare tool. For travelers with pre-existing conditions, senior travelers and those looking for more complete coverage, a comprehensive plan is the best option. If you are looking for basic coverage at an affordable price, a limited plan may be the way to go.
Visas and Documentation
If you are planning on visiting Italy (or any country in the Schengen area) for 90 days or less for holiday or leisure, you can either enter with just your passport or with a Schengen Visa, depending on your home country. Most countries in North and South America, including Canada, Mexico and the United States, can enter the Schengen area without a visa. Citizens of most African and Asian countries, however, will need this visa and are required to carry travel medical insurance for the duration of their stay. For more information and to see if you need a visa for your trip to Europe, check the Schengen Visas official site.
To receive a Schengen Visa, you must prove that you have travel insurance that includes medical coverage and emergency evacuation. You may need additional documentation if you plan to work or study while in the Schengen region.
Weather and What to Pack
The weather in Italy varies widely by region and time of year. Northern Italy can get quite cold in the winter and even have snow in places. Central and Southern Italy tend to be warmer. In the summer, expect high temperatures and humidity. Be sure to research the weather of the place you are visiting and pack appropriate clothing.
If you forget any essentials, don't worry—you can always purchase them at your destination. However it is often more cost and time effective to simply bring your favorite supplies with you when you travel.
Common Words and Phrases in Italian
- Yes: Si [see]
- No: No [noh]
- Please: Per favore [pohr-feh-vohr-eh]
- Thank You: Grazie [grah-see-eh]
- Cheers: Saluti! [Sal-oo-tee]
- Hello/Goodbye: Ciao [chow]
Etiquette and Cultural Norms
It is always a good idea to be polite and respectful, especially when you are visiting a foreign country. In Italy, it's important to dress conservatively and be respectful in churches. Avoid wearing tank tops, spaghetti straps, short shorts or other sleeveless garments, as these are considered taboo in most churches. It's also a good idea to silence your cellphone or turn it off while you are in a place of worship.
- Rome: This ancient capital is home to the ruins of the Roman Forum and the Coliseum in addition to surrounding Vatican City and its accompanying cathedrals and museums. There is so much to see and do in Rome that it's a must-see destination for any world traveler.
- Venice: This city of canals is a magical experience for anyone. This is one of the few places in the world where you can turn a corner and feel like you just stepped back in time without sacrificing all of the modern amenities we enjoy.
- Cinque Terre: These five colorful towns on the Italian Riviera are a photographer's dream. Hike along the path between these towns or take the train to explore each of these scenic areas or you can pick one and relax on the beach with a drink and a good book.
- Milan: One of the fashion capitals of the world, Milan is full of art in every form. Check out wonderful landmarks like the Milan Cathedral, the Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology.
- Florence: Nestled on the Arno river, this town is home to some of the most iconic pieces of art and architecture in the world. Visit the Uffizi museum to catch a glimpse of some of the greatest pieces in Western Art including the Birth of Venus and Spring by Botticelli. Visit the famous David statue at Galleria dellAccademia and Brunelleschi's famous Dome atop the Florence Cathedral.
Health & Safety Tips
Italy is a fairly safe country to visit. However, there is a high risk of pickpocketing and low-level scams. If you are taking public transportation, be sure to keep your purse, backpack or bag closed and in your hands at all times. If you are wearing a backpack, take it off and hold it in front of you to avoid bumping other passengers and staying aware if someone attempts to open your bag. Phones, wallets and cameras are particularly at risk of being stolen.
You may see people on the street asking for money, however they may be more interested in where you are keeping your wallet. Consider giving to local charitable organizations rather than giving money to those on the streets. Also, be wary of people offering to take a picture of you with your camera or phone (particularly in front of famous landmarks) as they may plan to run off with your device as soon as you hand it over.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for Italy: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.
Please note that vaccines for COVID-19 are not yet available.