Blog Stories about Italy: 14 Things To Love About Italy| Can’t Miss Dishes of Cinque Terre | Cyclists Guide to Puglia | 5 Palate Pleaser in Puglia |
From Mediterranean climate and culture to alpine mountains the long history, diverse geography, charming people, and of course wonderful food make Italy a top destination! Add the culture of cycling and you will not only be welcomed but respected when you come to tour by bike!
In Italy, we focus on some of its finest regions, including Puglia/Apulia, Piedmont, Umbria, Venetto, Dolomites, and Tuscany. The climate is great, the sites are many and of course awe inspiring. Tuscany itself is unrivaled as a cradle of all-time art. One can find examples of every age and style. The cycling is challenging as the most important scenic villages we pass are perched on hilltops such as Pienza, Montalcino, Siena, and you can visit Castellina, and go to Florence at the end.
In Umbria, you traverse a similar terrain with perched villages but can also enjoy superb examples of Etruscan civilazation, Roman remains, and examples of Renaissance works as well. In Umbria you will visit Castiglione, Perugia, Assisi, Todi, and Orvieto.
Both local and long distance call require the proper area code before dialing the number. Ex: to place a call within Rome you must dial 06 + phone number.
To call Rome from Florence : 06 + phone number; to call Florence from Rome : 055 + phone number.
When calling a cellular phone, drop the zero of the area code, ex: 397 + phone number of the cellular.
To call USA or Canada from Italy: 001+area code+ phone number.
Cellular coverage in Italy is excellent. In Italy, as in most countries in the world, the cell phone standard used is the GSM standard. If your current cell phone does not have this capability, you will need to either rent or purchase a cell phone that will work on the overseas networks. Your current cellular provider can give you what is known as a SIM card, which is the brain of the phone and you can easily slip into the GSM phone. This way, you will be able to retain your current phone number in the US or Canada. If your phone isn?t equipped to work in Europe, you might want to rent a phone. We recommend Cell Hire, who makes it convenient since they deliver the phone to your home before your departure: www.cellhire.com
Emergency telephone #s
12 Phone Directory Assistance
112 for Carabinieri’s service
113 for Emergency Police Help
115 for the Fire Department
116 for the A.C.I. (Italian Automobile Club)
– for road side assistance
118 for Medical Emergencies
176 International Inquires
JANUARY 1 New Year’s Day
JANUARY 6 Epiphany
APRIL 25 Liberation Day
MAY 1 Labor Day
AUGUST 15 Assumption of the Virgin
NOVEMBER 1 All Saints Day
DECEMBER 8 Day of Immaculate Conception
DECEMBER 25 Christmas Day
DECEMBER 26 Santo Stefano (Boxing Day)
Offices and Shops are also closed in the following cities on the local feast days honoring their patron Saints:
APRIL 25 San Marco (VENEZIA)
JUNE 24 San Giovanni Battista (FIRENZE, GENOVA, TORINO)
JUNE 29 San Pietro e Paolo (ROMA)
JULY 15 Santa Rosalia (PALERMO)
SEPTEMBER 19 San Gennaro (NAPOLI)
OCTOBER 4 San Petronio (BOLOGNA)
OCTOBER 30 San Saturnino (CAGLIARI)
NOVEMBER 3 San Giusto (TRIESTE)
DECEMBER 6 San Nicola (BARI)
DECEMBER 7 Sant’Ambrogio (MILANO)
The electrical current in Italy is AC – the cycle is 50Hz 220 V. A tourist carrying electrical appliances to Italy should have a transformer, either obtained before leaving your country or bought at an electrical appliance shop in Italy. Plugs have round prongs, not flat, therefore an adapter plug is needed.
Rome, capital of Italy, as well of the region. Other important cities are Frosinone, Latina, Viterbo and Rieti.
Florence is the capital of Tuscany. Other important cities are Siena, Pisa, Arezzo, Pistoia, Lucca, Livorno, Grosseto, and Massa Carrara.
There is a great deal of variety in the landscape in Italy, although it is characterized predominantly by two mountain chains: the Alps and the Apennines. The former extends over 600 miles from east to west. It consists of great massifs in the western sector, with peaks rising to over 14,000 feet, including Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc), Monte Rosa and Cervino (the Matterhorn). The chain is lower in the eastern sector, although the mountains, the Dolomites, are still of extraordinary beauty. At the foot of the Alpine arc stretches the vast Po Valley plain, cut down the middle by the course of the river Po, the longest in Italy (390 miles), which has its source in the Pian de Re (Monviso) and flows into the Adriatic through a magnificent delta. The Alpine foothills are characterized by large lakes: Lake Maggiore and the lakes of Como, Iseo and Garda. The Apennines form the backbone of the peninsula, stretching in a wide arc concave to the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Corno Grande (Gran Sasso d’Italia) is the highest peak. A large part of central Italy is characterized by a green hilly landscape, through which the rivers Arno and Tevere (Tiber) run. The southern section of the chain pushes out to the east forming the Gargano promontory and, sloping down further south, the Salentine peninsula. It then proceeds to the west with the Calabrian and Peloritano massif stretching across the Strait of Messina into Sicilia. The principal islands are Sicilia, rising up to the great volcanic cone of Etna (10,860 feet) and Sardegna. The main archipelagos are the Tremiti Islands in the Adriatic Sea, the Tuscan Archipelago, the Pontine Islands, the Aeolian Islands and the Egadi Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Sicilia.
The moderating influence of the sea and the protection given by the Alpine barrier from the cold north winds join to bless Italy with a temperate climate. Nevertheless, the weather varies considerably according to how far one is from the sea or the mountains. The winter is very cold in the Alps, cold and foggy in the Po Plain and the central Apennines mild and even warm on the Ligurian coast, the Neapolitan coast and in Sicilia. The summer is hot and dry, but the temperature is mitigated on the coast by sea breezes and in the Apennines and Alps it is pleasantly cool. In mountain areas, winter is ideal for skiing, and summer for excursions, hiking, etc. Seaside and lake resorts, with their excellent hotel facilities, have an intense tourist season in the summer, while the cities that are rich in art treasures are ideal in spring and autumn.
Italian breakfast is quite different from American or English. Colazione is usually light: cappuccino (coffee and milk) and a brioche (sweet pastry), or simply espresso (black-short-strong coffee) .
Pranzo (lunch) is the big meal except in the industrialized cities. It consists of antipasto (starter) a primo piatto (pasta, rice or soup), a secondo piatto (meat or fish) with contorno (vegetable or salad), then frutta ( fresh fruit). Finish with espresso and maybe a grappa or amaro (strong digestive liqueur).
Cena (dinner) is similar to lunch. Nowadays there is a tendency of having a light lunch, then dinner becomes the major meal.
Gelato (ice-cream) has hundreds of different flavours and can be enjoyed at anytime of the day as well as the granita (crushed ice with flavoured syrup).
Italian drinks include aperitifs, blended principally over a base of the world-famous Piedmont Vermouth; dessert wines, such as Moscato, Marsala and Malvasia from Sicily and sparkling wines from Piedmont, Veneto, Tuscany and the Islands. Italy also has excellent beers and a great variety of effervescent mineral waters.
ROME – getting there:
Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, the main airport, is located 35 km/22 miles from the city center. By bus: Night bus operated by CO.TRA.L to Rome Termini rail-
way station and Rome Tiburtina station. Ticket price is about ?5.16 (ticket can be pur
chased also on the bus). By train: Special train ?Leonardo Express? to Termini railway sta
tion operates a service every 30 minutes from 06.37-23.37 (ticket fare ?8.00). There is also another metropolitan train (FM1) to Tiburtina rail- way station, Fara Sabina and Orte (ticket price ?4.70). By taxi: Taxi to Rome city centre takes approx. 45-50 minutes and costs about ?36.00. We recommend you to use only authorized taxis (white vehicles with a taxi
meter are available at the arrival terminal) (Tel. 06-3570). By car: The airport is approx. 32 km to the city centre. Different car rental agencies operate at the air- port arrival terminal. Link with motorway A1 Rome- Fiumicino – Exit 30 to GRA (ring road). Tourist office: Tel. 06 36004399.
Ciampino – By bus+underground: Bus operated by CO.TRA.L departs from Terminal 2 and stops at Anagnina subway station (take train to city centre). By bus+train: Bus service to Ciampino railway station and train to Rome city centre. By taxi: Taxi rank is located oppo
site the International Arrivals hall. In addition to current standard fares, supplement for luggage and night time are requested. By car: The airport is approx. 14 km to the city centre. Different car rental agencies operate at the air- port arrival terminal. Via Appia Nuova in direction of Rome to reach the old city centre in approx. 20 minutes.