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Getting here & advice about your stay

Entry requirements

Visas
British nationals do not currently need a visa to enter Italy. For more information about entry requirements, contact the Italian Embassy.

Passport validity
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

The Italian authorities have confirmed they will accept British passports extended by 12 months by British Embassies and Consulates under additional measures put in place in mid-2014.

UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Italy.

 

Safety and security

Overview
Demonstrations may occur with little or no warning in cities. You should avoid any protests, political gatherings, or marches.

Approximately three million British nationals visit Italy every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

Local laws and customs
By law you must be able to show some form of identification at all times. In most cases a photocopy of the data page of your passport should suffice, but you may be asked to accompany the police to collect the original document, or to produce it within 12 hours. The police will normally ask for your full passport if you are stopped while driving.

In the Rome area, restaurants must display a menu outside the restaurant, only charge for bread if the customer specifically requests it, inform the customer of the prices being charged before he/she orders, give a proper receipt and not make any cover charge (coperto).

You should be aware that in some Italian towns and cities you may be fined for dropping litter and in some towns or cities it is an offence to sit on monument steps or to eat and drink in the immediate vicinity of main churches and public buildings.

Illegal traders operate on the streets of all major Italian cities, particularly tourist cities like Florence, Venice and Rome. Do not buy from illegal street traders. You could be stopped by the local police and fined.

Many major cities in Italy now impose a small tax on tourists. The tax is levied by hotels and is usually not included in any pre-paid arrangements or package deal. The rate of tax varies from city to city, and can depend on the star rating of the hotel. Hotels often ask for payment of this tax in cash. Make sure you get a receipt. For more information check with the local tourist information office.

Crime
Crime levels are generally low but there are higher levels of petty crime (particularly bag snatching and pick-pocketing) in the big city centres, such as Rome. Be aware that thieves can use a variety of methods to distract you.

Take care on public transport and in crowded areas in city centres, particularly in and around Termini station in Rome and at other main stations.

Be particularly vigilant on trains to and from the main airports in Italy (especially Fiumicino airport) and when unloading your baggage from trains and coaches.

Use a hotel safe for valuables where possible.

Alcohol and drugs can make you less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you are going to drink, know your limit. Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Do not leave food or drinks unattended at any time. Victims of spiked drinks have been robbed and sometimes assaulted.

Those in hire cars can sometimes be targeted by thieves, and robberies from cars have been reported particularly in and around Rome, Milan and Pisa and on the road from Catania airport as well as at motorway service stations. Always lock your vehicle, never leave valuables on show and avoid leaving luggage in cars for any length of time.

Make sure Euro notes received from any source other than banks or legitimate Bureaux de Change are genuine.

Bribery and corruption
Bribery is illegal. It is an offence for British nationals or someone who is ordinarily resident in the UK, a body incorporated in the UK or a Scottish partnership, to bribe anywhere in the world. In addition, a commercial organisation carrying on a business in the UK can be liable for the conduct of a person who is neither a UK national nor resident in the UK or a body incorporated or formed in the UK. In this case it does not matter whether the acts or omissions which form part of the offence take place in the UK or elsewhere.

The UK government takes a very serious view on bribery and corruption, and any UK company considered to be involved in corrupt practices will feel the full weight of the law bear down on them under the UK Bribery Act 2010. The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published a number of documents on their website. See: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-
strategy
for assistance in this area.

As far as Italy is concerned, bribery and corruption represent major problems that cost the country around €60bn a year. Public tenders are generally regarded as the most at risk from corruption, particularly those associated with procurement, waste management, construction, health and defence. To prevent corruption, businesses participating in public tenders are required to produce very detailed information and documentation. The country has a National Anti-Corruption Authority (see: www.anticorruzione.it/portal/public/classic) and anti-corruption legislation which is aligned with relevant international standards. A new, more restrictive anti-corruption law was approved by parliament in May 2015.

Terrorism
There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners.

There are isolated cases of domestic terrorism. Attacks carried out by the extreme left-wing and secessionist groups have generally been aimed at official Italian targets, mainly in the form of small bombs and incendiary devices.

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

[Source: FCO Overseas Business Risk (July 2015)]

Health
Visit your health professional at least four to six weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country-specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website: www.travelhealthpro.org.uk/locations/italy and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/europe--russia/italy.aspx

Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website: www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/Pages/Healthcareabroad.aspx 

Health insurance
If you are visiting Italy you should get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. The EHIC is not a substitute for medical and travel insurance, but it entitles you to state-provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as for Italian nationals.

If you do not have your EHIC with you or you have lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate. The EHIC will not cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or non-urgent treatment, so you should make sure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 118 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.

 

Travel

Local travel
Only use officially licensed taxis. These will have a taxi sign on the roof. Make sure the meter in the taxi has been reset before you set off.

Tickets on public transport must be endorsed in a ticket machine before you start a journey. The machines are usually positioned at the entrance to platforms in railway stations, in the entrance hall to metro stations and on board some buses and trams. Officials patrol public transport and will issue an on the spot fine of €100 to €500 Euros (reduced to €50 Euros if paid immediately) if you do not hold an endorsed ticket. Tickets can be purchased from shops displaying the ‘T’ sign, and are usually bars or tobacconists.

Pedestrians should take care at Zebra crossings. Vehicles do not always stop, even though they are required to under the Italian Traffic Code.

Industrial action
Transport strikes are often called at short notice. For more information visit the Italian Ministry of Transport website (in Italian). See: www.mit.gov.it/mit/site.php?p=scioperi

Road travel
You can drive in Italy with a UK driving licence, insurance and vehicle documents. If you are driving a vehicle that does not belong to you then written permission from the registered owner may be required. On-the-spot fines can be issued for minor traffic offences.

In 2014 there were 3,381 road deaths in Italy (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 55.6 road deaths per 1,000,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 27.7 road deaths per 1,000,000.

Private and hire cars are not allowed to enter the historic centre of many Italian cities without an official pass. If your hotel is in the centre of one of these cities, you can buy a pass from most car hire companies. The boundaries of historic centres are usually marked with the letters ZTL in black on a yellow background. Don’t pass this sign as your registration number is likely to be caught on camera and you will be fined.

There is a congestion charge for Milan city centre. For further information see the Milan Municipality website: www.comune.milano.it/wps/portal/ist/en

To reduce pollution, the city authorities in Rome sometimes introduce traffic restrictions on specific days whereby vehicles with odd or even number plates are not allowed on the roads in the ‘fascia verde’ area (covering most of Rome). For further information, including exceptions, see the Rome Municipality website: www.comune.roma.it/pcr/it/homepage.page

See also the European, AA, RAC and Italian Police guides on driving in Italy.

Road hauliers
Trucks over 7.5 tonnes (75 quintali) are not allowed on Italian roads (including motorways) on Sundays from 7:00 am until midnight, local time. These restrictions do not apply to trucks that have already been granted an exception (e.g. those carrying perishable goods and petrol supplies).

Winter sports
If you are planning a skiing holiday, you should contact the Italian State Tourist Board for advice on safety and weather conditions before you travel. Address: 1 Princes Street, London W1R 9AY. Telephone: 020 7355 1557 or 1439. Website: www.italiantouristboard.co.uk

Off-piste skiing is highly dangerous. You should follow all safety instructions meticulously given the dangers of avalanches in some areas. See: www.avalanches.org/eaws/en/main for up-to-date information.

Italy has introduced a law forcing skiers and snowboarders to carry tracking equipment if they go off-piste. The law also obliges under-14s to wear a helmet. There are plans for snowboarders to be banned from certain slopes.

 

Natural disasters

Volcanoes
Mount Etna has been erupting with increasing frequency sending plumes of ash into the air. Monitor local media and contact your airline if you are concerned about possible disruption to flights. In addition there is low-intensity volcanic activity on the island of Stromboli.

Earthquakes
Many parts of Italy lie on a major seismic fault line. Minor tremors and earthquakes are almost a daily occurrence. To learn more about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake visit the Protezione Civile website: www.protezionecivile.gov.it/jcms/en/rischio_sismico.wp

[Source: FCO Travel advice (Feb 2016)]

 

FCO Travel Advice
If you are travelling to Italy for business, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website has travel advice to help you prepare for your visits overseas and to stay safe and secure while you are there.

For advice please visit the FCO Travel section pages on the gov.uk website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy

[Source: BEIS, FCO Travel advice (Feb 2016)]

 

Travel insurance
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. See FCO Foreign Travel Insurance: www.gov.uk/guidance/foreign-travel-insurance

[Source: FCO Travel advice (Feb 2016)]


 

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