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Grand Canal, Venice

  • Italy is a large country in Southern Europe.
  • The capital of Italy is Rome.
  • It is known as one of the birthplaces of Western culture.
  • It is also home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world.
  • Italy’s distinct shape of a boot makes it one of the most recognizable countries in the world.
  • Being a peninsula, most of the country is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea leading to nearly 8000 km of stunning white sand beaches.
  • Rolling green hills dotted in olive groves and wineries dominate the rural landscape of Italy.
  • There are two major mountain ranges in Italy that cover more than 75% of the landscape, the Alps and the Apennine.
  • Italy’s population is over 59 million, with more than half of the population living in the northern third of the country.
  • Italy has the fourth largest population in the European Union.
  • Many parts of the Italian culture are deeply rooted from ancient Greek and Roman civilizations.
  • Italian is the official language spoken by the majority of the population, but as you travel throughout the country, you will find there are several distinct Italian dialects corresponding to the region you are in.
  • Italy has two major islands as part of its country: Sardinia, which is an island off the west coast of Italy, and Sicily, which is at the southern tip of the boot.
  • Italy is well-known for its art, culture, and several monuments, among them the leaning tower of Pisa and the Roman Colosseum, as well as for its food, and wine.


  • Spain, Austria and France had their turns at controlling the peninsula until Italy was unified in 1861.
  • In 1922, Benito Mussolini easily seized power due to economic and political instability. He established a dark, Fascist dictatorship.
  • Mussolini’s alliance with Nazi Germany led to Italy’s defeat in World War II.
  • Italy became a Republic after the result of a popular referendum held on June 2, 1946.
  • In 1949 Italy became a member of NATO
  • In 1957, Italy was a founding member of the European Economic Community (EEC), which became the European Union (EU) in 1993.


    Taormina Beach

    • Italy has three active volcanoes: Vesuvius, Etna, and Stromboli.
    • Italy is often called the Bel Paese, which means beautiful country.
    • Italy is home to the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites – more than 40.
    • Italy has 20 regions and 6 islands.
    • The Vatican is a separate sovereign nation, its own country.
    • The thermometer is an Italian invention.
    • The piano hails from Italy.
    • With almost 40 million visitors, Italy is the fourth most visited country in the world.
    • The average Italian consumes 26 gallons of wine a year.
    • The typewriter is an Italian invention.
    • The Italian Wolf is considered the national animal of Italy.
    • Italy has over 3,000 museums.
    • Everyday 3,000€ gets tossed into the Trevi Fountain.
    • The average consumption of pasta in Italy is 25 kg/person per year.
    • Italy holds the Guinness record for having the most elevators.
    • Venice has over 400 footbridges.

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Colosseum, Rome

  • Staying in a comfortable hotel, eating out regularly and visiting lots of museums and galleries, may cost at least 150-200 € a day
  • All the bills include the service charges, so tipping is not necessary, although it is widely customary in restaurants and in hotels.
  • If you plan to travel through countryside or rural regions you probably should not rely on your credit cards, in many small towns they’re accepted only by a small number of shops and restaurants.
  • Medium range restaurant could cost 50-100 €, while a fancy restaurant could have you spending up to 300 €.  However you can still find basic restaurants where 20 € will get you a good meal or lunch.
  • Pint of beer will cost about 4 €, which is the same price as a cheap bottle of wine
  • For a decent hotel room with a bathroom it will cost anywhere from 50-100 €, but expect to pay a lot if you are looking for something fancy.
  • Vatican Museums – Adult 15€,  Children 8€
  • Coliseum; Rome – 8€
  • Venice Museums – Adult 16€, Children 10.5€
  • Florence Galleria Degli Uffizi 6.5€
  • Milan – Half day (3 hours) walking tour (Duomo, Sforzesco Castle and Museum, Last Supper) 200€,  Single ticket for last supper 8€


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Mount Etna

Important phone numbers

State Police – 113

Financial Police Force – 117

Fire Department – 115

Forestry Department – 1515

Coast Guard 1530

Traffic Reports – 1528

  • Italy is a safe country to travel like most developed countries.
  • There are few incidents of serious violence. Almost every major incident is attributed to organized crime or anarchist movements and rarely, if ever, directed at travelers or foreigners.
  • Petty crime can be a problem for unsuspecting travelers.
  • Travelers should note that pickpockets often work in pairs or teams, occasionally in conjunction with street vendors.
  • The rate of violent crimes in Italy is considered “moderate” and while some violent crimes are committed against travelers, this is normally not a problem.


Click here to see Canadian Government Travel Reports and Warnings on  Travel Reports offer information on safety and security, local laws and customs, entry requirements, health conditions and other important travel issues.


San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

  • The climate of Italy is that of typical Mediterranean countries.
  • August is the hottest month of the year.
  • The long mountain ranges in Italy impact the weather significantly, as you can experience very different weather going from town to town.
  • The Northern part of Italy has hot summers and cold winter
  • The winters in Northern Italy rarely drop below freezing during the daytime.
  • The Southern part of Italy enjoys mild winters and long, dry, hot summers.
  • Some regions in the south of Italy can experience no rainfall for the whole summer season
  • Mountain areas such as the Alps and the Apennines have long, cold winters long and short, cool summers.

Places to See

Statue in Rome

Roman Ruins

  • From the south, in Sicily, to the north of the country Italy is full of reminders of the Roman empire
  • In Taormina, Sicily check out the Roman theatre, with excellent views of Mt. Etna on a clear day
  • Also in Sicily, don’t miss the well-preserved mosaics at Piazza Armerina
  • Moving north to just south of Naples, you find Pompeii and Herculaneum, covered in lava by Mt. Vesuvius
  • Rome and every street in the center seems to have a few pieces of inscribed Roman stone built into more recent buildings
  • Don’t miss the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Aqueducts, and the Appian Way
  • Further north, the Roman amphitheatre at Verona is definitely not to be missed




Christian Italy

  • The Vatican is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Don’t miss St Peter’s and the Vatican Museum
  • Rome, itself, has over 900 churches; a large number of these are worth a quick visit
  • Throughout Italy there is some truly amazing Christian architecture covering the Romanesque (700-1200); Gothic (1100-1450); Renaissance (1400-1600); and ornate Baroque (1600-1830) styles
  • Frescoes and mosaics are everywhere, and quite stunning
  • Don’t just look for churches: in rural areas there are some fascinating monasteries to be discovered
  • When planning to visit churches, note that all but the largest are usually closed between 12:30 and 15:30

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The Renaissance

  • Start with a visit to Piazza Michelangelo in Florence to admire the famous view
  • Then set about exploring the many museums, both inside and outside Florence, that house Renaissance masterpieces
  • The list of famous names is endless: in architecture Ghiberti (the cathedral’s bronze doors), Brunelleschi (the dome), and Giotto (the bell tower)
  • In literature: Dante, Petrarch and Machiavelli
  • In painting and sculpture: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Masaccio and Boticelli

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Mount Etna

  • Mount Etna or Mongibeddu in Sicilian and Mongibello in Italian, it is an active volcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania
  • It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the alps and Europe, currently standing about 3,326 m (10,910 ft) high




Da Michele

  • This famous place was described by experts and journalists as “The sacred temple of pizza”
  • Michele opened his first pizzaria in 1906, since then, five generations of master pizza makers have carried on the work of the founder

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  • Holds some of Italy’s best-preserved medieval and Renaissance hill towns
  • Abruzzo is an excellent place to see some of Italy’s best preserved landscape

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San Gimignano

  • Is a small walled medieval hill town in Tuscany
  • Famous for its medieval architecture, especially its high towers – Of the 72 that once existed, 13 remain today
  • A popular destination for day trippers from Florence, but spend the night here and the city quiets down and takes you back in time

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  • Capri is an Italian island in the Gulf of Naples
  • It has been a major resort destination since Roman time
  • During summers, the island sees a lot of tourists, who mostly stick to the major towns

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  • A major city in northern Italy
  • Turin is well-known as the home of the Shroud of Turin and host of the 2006 Winter Olympics
  • Located right near the Alps, with the Po River flowing through the city, and villas dotting the surrounding area

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Cinque Terra

  • Five towns located on cliffs overlooking the ocean, Cinque Terra is simply breathtaking
  • Spend the day walking the 12km trail that connects each town, exploring their tiny streets, and stopping at little cafes
  • Explore the olive groves in the hills





  • The city of lovers
  • Venice is a great place for couples and families
  • Hang out in St. Mark’s Square, stroll through tiny alleys, and take a gondola ride through the canals
  • Venice may be an expensive city but it is worth every Euro.

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  • Birthplace of the renaissance and home to the David
  • For art lovers and foodies, Florence offers an array of goodies
  • It’s right in Tuscany, home of Italy’s premier wine country

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  • The capital wasn’t built in a day and you’ll need a lifetime to see it
  • With so many sites and places to see, you’ll never be at a loss for things to do
  • Whether it’s exploring the ancient roman forum and walking where Caesar did, seeing the Vatican, or making a wish at the Trevi Fountain, Rome is an obvious stop for anyone’s trip to Italy

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Communication Etiquette:
• Greetings are happy but formal
– Handshake with direct eye contact
• Once a relationship develops
– Air kiss of both cheeks
– Wait until invited to move to first name basis
• Many Italians will use calling cards which are a bit larger than traditional business cards

Business Etiquette:
• Prefer to do business with people they know
– Third party introduction is appreciated and will ease the relationship
– They will want to know things about you personally before conducting business
– Take time to ask them similar questions so they know that you want to develop a working relationship as well
• They are very expressive
– Will use hand gestures and facial expressions to communicate
• Make sure they trust you- be trust worthy
• Appointments are mandatory
– Make in writing
– 2-3 weeks ahead
• Goal of initial meeting is to develop trust and a foundation to build a strong relationship
• Dress is a big priority in Italy
– Men – Dark colored suits – conservative
– Women – Business suits or conservative dresses
– Wear nice accessories for both men and women
• Business cards are exchanged on first meeting
– Title or degrees
– They like to know where you fit in an organization

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