In general, Italy possesses a temperate Mediterranean climate as it is protected by the Alps and the seas. However, weather varies dependent on region and how far one is from the ocean or the mountains. The coldest month of the year is in January where temperature falls below freezing. During the summer, many local Italian businesses are closed for the entire month of August – this is the favored time to take vacation to cooler spots.
While each region has their own dialects, the official national language is Italian, which is spoken by the vast majority (93%) of people. In the large cities such as Rome, Florence, Italy and Milan, English is mostly understood. However, before beginning a conversation to an Italian in English, it is considered polite to first ask if they comprehend English; otherwise it may be considered rude/impolite.
National Holidays and Festivals
January 1 – New Years Day
January 6 – Ephiphany
March or April – Easter Sunday
March or April – Easter Monday
April 25 – Liberation Day
May 1 – Labor Day
June 2 – Anniversary, Founding of the Republic
August 15 – Feast of the Assumption
November 1 – All Saints
December 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception
December 25 – Christmas Day
December 26 – St. Stephen’s Day
In Italy the Euro is the standard currency used. US dollars may be exchanged at the airport exchange office (cambio) or at any bank. Most travelers find Italy to be quite expensive. All bills are inclusive of service charges so tipping is not required. Credit cards are widely accepted with the exception of in rural areas.
The electrical current in Italy is 220V with wall outlets accepting plugs with two rounded prongs.