Geographical position: Republic of Italy is situated in the south of Europe and comprises the Italian peninsula and the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia. Italy shares its northern alpine boundary with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The independent countries of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within Italian territory.
Territorial area: Total: 301,230 km2
Water: 7,210 km2
Mainland: 294,020 km2(including Sardinia and Sicily)
Population: 58,462,375 inhabitants.
Italy is largely homogeneous in language and religion. The German minority lives in South Tyrol (Italian: Alto Adige), the Slovenian minority around Trieste, and the French one in the Aosta Valley region.
Political system: Parliamentary democracy.
Official language: The official language is Italian, as well as German in South Tyrol and French in the Aosta Valley region.
Time zone: Italy belongs to the GMT +1 time zone. The zone changes to GMT +2 the last Saturday in March until the last Sunday in October.
Religion: Although the majority of population are Roman-Catholics (85%), there are also old Protestant and Jewish communities as well as the growing Muslim community.
Capital: Rome (2,775,000 inhabitants)
Coastline: Italy has a total of almost 8,490 km of coastline, including the peninsula itself as well as numerous islands in the sea surrounding the country.
Highest peak: Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco): 4,810 m above sea level.
Climate: The north of Italy has a true continental climate, while the coastal areas of the peninsula as well as the islands have a typical Mediterranean climate. The areas of Apennines and Alps have mountainous climate, and at the highest peaks sometimes also polar. The east coast of the peninsula is not as wet as the west coast, but is usually colder during winter. The east coast north of Pescara is occasionally affected by the cold bora winds in winter and spring, but the wind is less strong here than around Trieste.
The summer temperature in the Adriatic area: 25-35°C.
The sea temperature during summer: 21-25°C.
Euro (€) - 1 EUR = 100 cent
Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cent and 1 and 2 EUR
Bank notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 EUR
Foreign currency can be exchanged in banks and exchange offices.
Average costs of a meal (plus wine) for two: 60 €
Electricity: Voltage of city power grid - 220V, frequency 50Hz.
Water: Tap water is potable.
Telephone code: The telephone code for Italy is + 39.
||1st January - New Year
6th January - Epiphany
||Easter and Easter Monday
25th April - Liberation Day
||1st May - Labour Day
||2nd June - Republic Day
||15th August - Assumption
||1st November - All Saints' Day
||8th December - Day of Immaculate Conception
25th December - Christmas Day
26th December - Santo Stefano (Boxing Day)
31st December - New Year's Eve
Working hours: Offices and shops are closed on Sundays. However, during the high season it's possible to do the shopping every day in almost all shops in tourist destinations.
Important telephone numbers: In emergency cases you can dial one of the following numbers:
Police Emergency Number: 113
Blue Phone emergency number - children-related emergency: 114
Fire Department: 115
Medical Emergencies: 118
Calls to these numbers are free of charge, and can be dialled both from telephone booths and mobile phones.
Mobile telephone network: There are three GSM operators in Italy: TIM (Teleco Italia Mobile), Vodafone and Wind (only UMTS mobile phones). Note that cell phones from North America will not work in Italy, unless they are Tri-band. If you are coming from abroad and you are going to make a consistent number of calls, the easiest and most convenient way is to buy a "pay-as-you-go" SIM card and put it in your mobile phone.
Cuisine: Italian food is extremely popular - various kinds of pastas, pizzas, risottos, or many other meals based on meat or seafood, tiramisu for desert, etc.