TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Italy, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States such as:
- Traffic lights are limited and often disobeyed.
- Motor scooters are very popular, and their riders may behave unexpectedly.
- Drivers frequently pass on superhighways (autostrada) at very high speeds.
- Rural roads are generally narrow, often have no guardrails, and inconsistent speed limits.
- Seat belt use is compulsory.
- You must use headlights year-round and at all times outside of urban areas.
- During the autumn/winter months, it is compulsory to have either winter tires or carry snow chains if driving outside urban areas.
- If you are stopped, under certain conditions you are expected to pay the police officer issuing the ticket immediately. Be prepared to pay in cash in local currency. Local police can confiscate your car if you cannot pay the fine.
- Be careful when crossing streets even when using a marked crosswalk with a green walk (avanti) light illuminated.
- Fines are imposed if driving without the proper permits in historic downtown areas of cities and towns throughout Italy. Cameras photograph the license plates of cars illegally driving in parts of the city that require a permit. The fines imposed for these violations are forwarded to the driver?s home in the United States to request payment. For definitive legal guidance or to contest a fine, you should consult a lawyer licensed to practice in Italy. See the U.S. Embassy of Rome?s transportation page for more information.
See our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the Automobile Club d?Italia (A.C.I.). For information on obtaining international drivers licenses, contact the American Automobile Association (AAA) via telephone at (407) 444-7000 or fax (407) 444-7380.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Italy?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Italy?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Italy should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.
For emergency services in Italy, dial 112.
Ambulance services are widely available, but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards.
Medical facilities are available but may be limited outside urban areas. Public hospitals may not maintain the same standards as hospitals in the United States. It is not possible to obtain an itemized hospital bill from public hospitals, as required by many U.S. insurance companies, because the Italian National Health Service charges one inclusive rate for care services and room and board. Private hospitals require you to pay for all services up front and get reimbursed later from your insurance company.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
- We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
- In Italy, end-of-life directives are not legal. Tourists should know that by law, hospitals will continue with lifesaving procedures indefinitely regardless of a person? preferences stated in a will or advanced directive.
Prescription Medications: The Italian Ministry of Health sets rules defining who and how prescriptions and medications can be imported into Italy. However, the Ministry of Health website does not have information in English. According to the Ministry of Health, foreigners entering Italy are allowed to bring personal medications for a period of 30 days, but it is recommended that travelers also bring a copy of their prescription with them. Travelers should not bring excess supplies of prescription drugs into the country and cannot bring prescription drugs for other people.
The import of medications into Italy by courier services or by mail is strictly regulated by Italian Customs laws. Italian customs clears all incoming shipments of medications, even small amounts for personal use, and will allow them to clear customs only upon presentation from the receiving party of a statement signed by a physician licensed in Italy, certifying:
That the medication is essential for the patient, that he/she would be put in a life-threatening situation without it.
That there is no substitute or equivalent medication available on the Italian market.
Delays in the release of medications by Italian Customs received by mail or by courier services are common.
In parts of Italy, the lack of adequate trash disposal and incineration sites has led to periodic accumulations of garbage in urban and rural areas. In some cases, residents have burned garbage, resulting in toxic emissions that can aggravate respiratory problems.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For further health information:
Air Quality: Many cities in Italy have air pollution levels similar to those in major U.S. cities. Visit the European Environment Agency?s website for information on air quality in Italy.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Health facilities in general:
- Adequate health facilities are available throughout Italy but health services may be below U.S. standards.
- Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.
- Travelers should make efforts to obtain complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures before agreeing to any medical care.
- Medical staff may speak little or no English.
- Generally, in public hospitals only minimal staff is available overnight in non-emergency wards.
- In most cases, patients bear costs for transfer to or between hospitals.
Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery
- Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on Medical Tourism.
- Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on Medical Tourism, the risks of medical tourism, and what you can do to prepare before traveling to Italy.
- We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
- Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.
- Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.
Local laws and Special Circumstances
You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Your U.S. passport will not prevent you from being detained, arrested, or prosecuted. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI RIGHTS: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Italy. Same sex civil unions are legally recognized in Italy. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State’s Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. The following conditions in Italy may prove challenging for travelers with mobility related disabilities:
- Narrow, streets with cobbled stones are pervasive in Italy;
- Many sidewalks lack ramps, and some streets lack sidewalks altogether or, as in Venice, feature stairs and narrow pedestrian bridges;
- Many hotels, attractions and means of public transportation do not have ramps, elevators, or accessible bathrooms.
- Advance planning can go a long way in securing accommodation for travelers with disabilities. We recommend:
- Inform airlines and hotels of your accessibility needs when making reservations to allow them time to prepare accommodations;
- Call ahead to restaurants, museums, and other facilities to find out if they are accessible;
- Train stations in Italy have accommodations for wheelchair riders. With advanced notice, a person with a disability can receive assistance when transiting through a station. More information is available at Trenitalia’s website addressing disabled travelers.
- Hand-controlled rental cars are available in Italy from major car rental companies. Contact the car rental company well in advance of your trip in order to preserve the vehicle.
- Italy functions on 220-volt current. To recharge a power wheelchair, you may need a transformer to convert 220 to 110 volts and a plug adapter to fit Italian electrical sockets.
- Guide dog owners must present the documentation required by European Union Member States in order to enter Italy with a dog.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Strikes and other work stoppages frequently occur in the transportation sector (national airlines, airports, trains, and bus lines); reconfirm any domestic and/or international flight reservations if you are traveling during one of these events.
Women Travelers: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack ? including knives, firearms, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and vehicles ? to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:
- High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
- Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
- Places of worship
- Shopping malls and markets
- Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and commercial flights)
For more information, see our Terrorism page.
Politically motivated violence in Italy is most often connected to Italian internal developments or social issues. Italian authorities and foreign diplomatic facilities have found bombs outside public buildings, have received bomb threats, and have been targets of letter bombs, firebombs and Molotov cocktails in the past several years. These attacks generally occur at night, and although they have not targeted or injured U.S. citizens, you should remain aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity to local authorities.
Several major earthquake fault lines cross Italy, and earthquakes are frequent. High tides in Venice, flooding, and avalanches in mountainous areas may occasionally occur. The Italian Civil Protection agency has a robust capability to assist Italians and foreigners in the area of a natural disaster. Information about crisis preparedness and on-going crises affecting parts of Italy can be found on the Civil Protection web site at: Civil Protection Italy. General information about disaster preparedness is also available online from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Detailed information on Italy’s fault lines is available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Italy also has several active volcanoes, including Mt. Etna in eastern Sicily. Travelers to Sicily should be aware of the possibility for travel disruptions, including airport closures, in the event of volcanic activity, and are advised to check the website of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia for detailed information and daily updates. Italy has many other areas of potential volcanic activity especially in the vicinity of Naples. Any visit to an active volcano or volcanic field bears a certain amount of risk. Eruptions can occur with little to no warning. Travelers should exercise caution, follow posted instructions, stay on authorized trails, and use reputable tour operators. .
CRIME: Italy has a moderate rate of crime, especially for theft and economic crimes; violent crimes are rare. U.S. citizens should be aware of the following local circumstances:
- Tourists can be fined or detained for buying counterfeit goods (usually fashion accessories).
- Travelers must purchase train, bus, or metro tickets and validate them by punching them in validating machines prior to boarding (usually near the entrance of the train or metro or on the bus). Tickets may be purchased at tobacco stores or kiosks or, in some cities, via Apps or SMS. Failure to follow this procedure may result in an on-the-spot fine by an inspector on the train, bus, or metro. If the violator does not pay the fine on the spot, it will automatically double and be forwarded to the violator?s home address.
- Be alert that many municipalities of cities in Italy have issued local restrictions banning certain activities in fountains or on monuments, such as eating, drinking, sitting, or bathing, as well as regarding the consumption of alcohol both indoors and outdoors after certain hours of the night.
- Violating these regulations can result in fines. Tourists are advised to check the official website of each city they plan to visit to learn the details.
- Thieves sometimes impersonate police officers. If you are stopped by a plainclothes policeman, ask for a uniformed officer or insist on seeing an officer’s identification card (documento). Do not hand over your wallet and immediately report the incident to the actual police at a police station or by dialing 112 from a local phone.
- Do not leave bags unattended. Most reported thefts occur at crowded tourist sites, at airports, car rental agencies, on public buses, metros and trains, and at the major railway stations. Never leave baggage alone in a car, including in a closed trunk. For more information on trains and security, please see the Italian railway police?s advice for travelers.
- Be alert to criminal schemes. Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets operate at major tourist destinations, in train stations, bars, and cafes. Some travelers have reported incidents in which criminals used drugs to assault or rob them. Thieves on motor scooters regularly snatch purses or bags off pedestrians. Resisting these thieves can be dangerous.
- Keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up at all times to avoid car-jackings and thefts while you are waiting in traffic.
The U.S. Secret Service in Rome is assisting Italian law enforcement authorities in investigating an increase in the appearance of ATM skimming devices. Here are some helpful hints to protect against and identify skimming devices:
- Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or secured inside a bank/business.
- Cover the keypad with one hand as you enter your PIN.
- Look for gaps, tampered appearance, or other irregularities between the metal faceplate of the ATM and the card reader.
- Avoid card readers that are not flush with the face of the ATM.
- Closely monitor your account statements for unauthorized transactions.
Demonstrations occur frequently and can be anti-American in nature, especially in areas hosting U.S. military bases. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.
- Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent.
- Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
- Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.
- Security Messages for U.S. citizens pertaining to demonstrations can be found on the Embassy?s website.
Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Italy. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:
- Romance/Online dating
- Money transfers
- Lucrative sales
- Contracts with promises of large commissions
- Grandparent/Relative targeting
- Free Trip/Luggage
- Inheritance notices
- Work permits/job offers
VICTIMS OF CRIME: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should seek medical attention at the nearest public hospital as soon as possible. U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are also encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance at +(39) 06-4674-1. Report crimes to the local police by dialing 112. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- Help you find appropriate medical care
- Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- Provide a list of local English-speaking attorneys
- Provide information on victim?s compensation programs in the United States
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost passport
Victim Compensation in Italy:
- Italy has a program which provides financial compensation for victims of terrorism, organized crime, hit and run drivers and violent intentional crimes.
- If you are a victim of terrorism or organized crime in Italy, you are entitled to economic (special compensation and a life income) and non-economic benefits (special access to certain state jobs).
- In case of death, victims will include family members. You must file the application with the local Prefect?s office (Prefettura – the local representative for the Ministry of Interior) where the crime occurred, providing the date, location, injuries, and losses resulting from the crime.
- If you are a victim of a hit and run driver, you can apply for compensation of damages to the Fondo Di Garanzia per le Vittime della Strada but only if: (i) the responsible vehicle cannot be identified, is not covered by car insurance, or it circulated against the owner?s will; (ii) if the car insurance company went bankrupt; or (iii) if the accident was caused by a foreign vehicle with a license number that does not match or does not match anymore that same vehicle. U.S. citizens should consult an attorney licensed to practice in Italy to clarify time limits for a specific legal action.
Victims of hit and run drivers and their families may seek assistance by reaching out to an Italian non-governmental organization (NGO) called Associazione Italiana Familiari e Vittime della Strada (AIFVS), ?Association of Italian Family Members and Victims of Hit and Run Drivers?. AIFVS provides legal and psychological assistance through a network of professionals associated with the NGO. Please visit AIFVS for more details.
If you are a victim of a violent intentional crime, you are entitled to compensation from the Italian government to cover the medical and welfare expenses you incurred, except for sexual assaults and murders cases where the compensation is due even if no medical and welfare expense was sustained. To be eligible for the compensation, your annual income must be within a certain limit. In addition, you must prove that you have already unsuccessfully tried to enforce the decision ordering compensation for damages. We recommend you contact an attorney licensed to practice in Italy for more information.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy or nearest Consulate for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules with regard to best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
Traveling Through Europe: If you are planning to visit or travel through European countries, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement.
- Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. If you plan on transiting a Schengen country, review our U.S. Travelers in Europe page.
- You will need proof of sufficient funds and a return plane ticket.
- For additional information about visas for the Schengen area, see the Schengen Visa page.
- U.S. citizens who arrive at an Italian Port of Entry without a valid travel document ? including passports that have been previously reported lost or stolen – will be denied admittance into Italy and returned to their point of origin. This regulation is strictly enforced in Italy.
- U.S. citizens may enter Italy for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. All non-residents are required to complete a declaration of presence (dichiarazione di presenza). Prospective residents or anyone intending to stay in Italy for longer than 90 days must obtain a permit of stay (permesso di soggiorno). Additional information may be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Polizia di Stato.
- Non-EU visitors must obtain a stamp in their passport upon initial entry into a Schengen country. Many borders are unstaffed, so you may need to request a stamp at an official point of entry. Travelers arriving from another Schengen country must request the declaration of presence form from a local police office (commissariato di zona), police headquarters (questura), or their place of stay (e.g., hotel, hostel, campgrounds), and submit the form, along with a copy of your passport, to the police or to their place of stay within eight calendar days of arrival. Failure to complete a declaration of presence is punishable by expulsion from Italy.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Italy.
Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites. For general information about Italian customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page and our Italian Customs website.
Travel Embassy and Consulate
Via Vittorio Veneto, 121
00187 Rome, Italy
Telephone: +(39) 06-4674-1
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(39) 06-4674-1
Fax: +(39) 06-4674-2244
The Rome consular district includes the regions of Lazio, Marche, Umbria, Abruzzo, and Sardinia.
U.S. Embassy to the Holy See
Via Sallustiana, 49
00162 Rome, Italy
Telephone: +(39) 06-4674-1
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(39) 06-4674-1
Fax: +(39) 06-575-8346
U.S. Consulate General Florence
Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci, 38
50123 Florence, Italy
Telephone: +(39) 055-266-951
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(39) 06-4674-1
Fax: +(39) 055-215-550
The Florence consular district includes the regions of Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna (all except the Provinces of Piacenza and Parma), as well as the Republic of San Marino.
U.S. Consulate General Milan
Via Principe Amedeo 2/10
20121 Milano, Italy
Telephone: +(39) 02-290-351
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(39) 02-290-351
Fax: +(39) 02-2900-1165
The Milan consular district includes the regions of Valle D’Aosta, Piemonte, Lombardia, Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Liguria, and Emilia-Romagna (Provinces of Piacenza and Parma only).
U.S. Consulate General Naples
Piazza della Repubblica
80122 Naples, Italy
Telephone: +(39) 081-583-8111
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(39) 081-583-8111
Fax: +(39) 081-583-8275
The Naples consular district includes the regions of Campania, Molise, Basilicata, Puglia, Calabria, and Sicilia.
U.S. Consular Agent – Palermo
Via G.B. Vaccarini 1
Telephone: +(39) 091-305-857
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Naples
Fax: +(39) 091-625-6026
Monday through Friday 9:00 AM-12:30 PM by appointment only.
U.S. Consular Agent – Venice
Viale Galileo Galilei 30
30173 Tessera, Italy
Telephone: +(39) 041-541-5944
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Milan.
Fax: +(39) 041-541-6654
Monday through Thursday, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, by appointment only.