General information

Italy is a member state of the European Union and of the Schengen area. As a result, citizens from the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada and the United States do not require a visa to enter Italy for up to a 90-day stay. Only a valid passport or EU identity card is required for travel to Italy. Passports must be valid for at least three months after the date you plan to leave Italy. Holding a valid Schengen visa or a residence permit issued by one of the Schengen member states also permits you to enter Italy. If you have questions about the eligibility of your entrance to Italy you can contact us or the Italian embassy in your country for more information.
Italy’s currency has been the euro (€) since 2002. Debit and credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops, while ATMs are widespread.
Italy is a safe country. Italian people are open, kind, and often willing to help travellers. It is a family-friendly destination. However, be aware of pickpockets and purse-snatchers, and always take care of yourself and your belongings in the same way you would do in your country.
No vaccinations are required for travel to Italy. Concerning the Covid-19 requirements, if you have any concerns, please contact us before departure.
It is strongly recommended that all travellers take out adequate insurance coverage for medical expenses arising from illness or accident including emergency repatriation. Note that credit cards sometimes provide such insurance but there is commonly a high insurance excess amount. Velstana offers comprehensive travel insurance via its partner Chapka Assurances powered by Europ Assistance. Contact us for further information.
Additionally, public tap water in Italy is safe and drinkable. Nevertheless, you will not be able to order it in restaurants, as only bottled mineral water is served.
The country’s emergency phone number is 112.
South Italy is a delightful destination all year long. It has something to offer every traveller in each season.
The climate in Puglia is mediterranean, with hot and dry summers while the temperature is mild in the winter. The average annual temperature is 20°C and the region enjoys nearly 300 sunny days per year and little rain.
From experience, spring and the months of September and October are ideal for exploring the region’s treasures, its countryside and spectacular coastline, and Puglia is not crowded.
South Italy offers a wide range of accommodations. Hotels are the most common type of accommodation in the country, from standard to top-end. If you are looking for a more authentic experience,there is also a substantial offer of typical farmhouses – called masseria – and agritourism B&B across the region. They are comfortable and provide an opportunity to spend a night in unique places and taste locally produced food and wine. Velstana handpicks the best accommodation that matches your requirements and tastes.
South Italian cuisine is delicious and offers thousands of flavours and countless gastronomic delights. It is fresh, simple, and authentic. During your journey into Puglia and Basilicata, you should try the many specialties such as ear-shaped pasta (orecchiette), bread, cheese, meat and succulent wine.


Apulia has two international airports located in Bari and Brindisi, which are both conveniently situated to get around the region. They are both well connected by air transport (direct flights) to many European cities, offering many flight options.
Bari and Brindisi Airports are also good options to start exploring Apulia’s neighbouring region, namely Basilicata. For example, you can reach Matera, Basilicata’s treasure city, within a 50-minute drive from Bari Airport.
You can also get to Apulia by high-speed train, although it is a long ride. After reaching Northern Italy (Milan, Turin or Venice) in the first step, it takes about 7 to 9 hours to get to Bari by direct train. 
Hiring a car (or driving your own car) remains the most convenient way to explore the South Italian regions of Puglia and Basilicata, as it offers you flexibility throughout your journey.
To minimise your carbon footprint and promote green mobility, Velstana recommends that you hire an electric car in this region, as the network of charging stations has been expanding rapidly.  
The Apulian railway network has remained somewhat archaic and it is not always convenient to get around, as trains are slow and infrequent. To get to smaller towns and villages, you will have to get on local buses, but you may not be able to reach directly secret spots and off-the-beaten-path places that Velstana may recommend.
For slow tourism enthusiasts, the region is relatively flat and home to secondary roads with little traffic, which is nice for cycling while taking in the views. Hiking and trekking fans will also find a wide range of trails and paths along the coast and in the countryside.
In order to make your tailor-made journey as smooth as possible, Velstana recommends and arranges for you the best ways to get around the country, including hiking, cycling, car rental, private transfers, or car rental with a driver via its partner companies.
Driving in Italy is generally safe and easy. The roads are in excellent condition. The road signs are clear and consistent with those used throughout Europe.
Speed limits for cars are 50 km/h in urban areas; 90 km/h in rural areas, and 130 km/h on motorways.
Be aware that there are Limited Traffic Zones (Zona Traffico Limitato) marked by a road sign in the centre of most major Italian cities, which are used to reduce congestion and pollution in high-traffic areas. It is forbidden to drive in those areas, and if you enter an active ZTL without permission, cameras at the entry points will take a photo of your car and licence plate and you will receive a fine.
Italian laws are very strict concerning drinking and driving: drunk driving is prohibited and the blood alcohol content limit is 0.5g/l.


Italian is the official language. Many locals speak one foreign language, usually English, Spanish or French, in tourist areas.
Travellers from the EU can fully enjoy their home tariff without roaming surcharges. In other words, calls (to mobile and fixed phones), text messages, and data services are charged at domestic rates, that is, the same price as calls, texts, and data within your home country. The same rule also applies to any calls or text messages you receive. However, we always recommend double-checking your provider’s roaming rates.
Italy’s phone code is +39.
There are three major service providers in the country, namely Vodafone, WindTre, and TIM.
Most hotels and accommodations in Italy offer free internet access to guests. Restaurants, bars, and cafes may also share their wireless access to the internet for free.

Other practical information

Italy is a predominantly Christian country with Roman Catholicism as the dominant religion. 
In Italy, the power plugs and sockets are European-type with a standard voltage of 220V or 230V.
Italy is located in the Central European Time Zone (UTC +1), meaning it is the same time as in Paris, Brussels or Berlin and one hour ahead of London. 

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