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Language: Italian (official language)

Religion: Roman Catholic

Currency: Euro (EUR) - Italy is a member of the Eurozone. ATMs (known in Italy as “bancomat”) are widely available in Rome and all types of credit cards are accepted. Remember that every time you withdraw cash, there will be a transaction surcharge. Find out from your bank the exact amount. Most shops and restaurants have credit card services.

Tipping: in the more expensive restaurants is expected, with around 5 to 10 percent being the usual amount. Taxi drivers do not have to be tipped even if a tip is welcome.

Health: No particular health risks

Time difference: GMT + 1 hour

Dialling code: 0039 -6

Temperature: In summer, weather is generally hot with average minimum temperatures between 15 to 17 °C and average maximum temperatures between 27 to 30 °C.

Electricity: the electrical system in Italy is 220 volts. To use 120 volt appliances you need both a transformer and an adapter plug. Both of these can be purchased in electrical stores or travelers' shops before arriving in Italy (which is best) or in Italy after you arrive.

Banks: in general, banks are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm and in the afternoon from 2:45 to 3:45 pm or 3 to 4 pm. There are many money exchange offices throughout the city, which are open all day, 7 days a week. Banks and exchanges charge a commission and/or a fee.

Passport & VISA: European Citizens whose countries are in the Schengen Area can enter Italy just on a valid identity card or passport. Citizens from all other countries must show their passports; where a visa is required, this must also be presented to the border authorities and must indicate the length of the holder's stay and his or her destination.

Visa applications - specifying the reason for the trip - must be obtained at the Italian Consulate in the applicant's country of residence, and are generally issued 90 days after the application has been made. There are no limits to what may be bought or carried on trips within the European Union, provided such purchases are for the traveller's own personal use.

VAT: Value-added tax is nearly always included in quoted prices. If you are a non-EU resident and you spend more than €155 on a purchase, you can claim a refund when you leave the EU. The refund only applies to purchases from affiliated retail outlets that display a ‘Tax Free for Tourists’ sign.

Smoking regulations: Smoking is not permitted indoors in public buildings and other places open to the public. This also includes restaurants, pubs and clubs. In some places there are designated smoking zones.

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