Information for Travellers to Italy
Situated in Mediterranean Europe, Italy has land frontiers with France in the north-west, Switzerland and Austria in the north and Slovenia in the north-east. The peninsula is surrounded by the Ligurian Sea, the Sardinian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, the Sicilian Sea and the Ionian Sea in the south and the Adriatic Sea in the east. Italian is the language of the majority of the population but there are minorities speaking German, French, Slovene and Ladino.
There is a great deal of variety in the landscape in Italy, although it is characterized predominantly by two mountain chains: the Alps and the Apennines. The former extends over 600 miles from east to west. It consists of great massifs in the western sector, with peaks rising to over 14,000 feet, including Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc), Monte Rosa and Cervino (the Matterhorn). The the chain is lower in the eastern sector, although the mountains, the Dolomites, are still of extraordinary beauty.
At the foot of the Alpine arc stretches the vast Po Valley plain, cut down the middle by the course of the river Po, the longest in Italy (390 miles), which has its source in the Pian de Re (Monviso) and flows into the Adriatic through a magnificent delta. The Alpine foothills are characterized by large lakes: Lake Maggiore and the lakes of Como, Iseo and Garda. The Apennines form the backbone of the peninsula, stretching in a wide arc concave to the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Corno Grande (Gran Sasso d'Italia) is the highest peak.
A large part of central Italy is characterized by a green hilly landscape, through which the rivers Arno and Tevere (Tiber) run. The southern section of the chain pushes out to the east forming the Gargano promontory and, sloping down further south, the Salentine peninsula. It then proceeds to the west with the Calabrian and Peloritano massif stretching across the Strait of Messina into Sicilia.
The principal islands are Sicilia, rising up to the great volcanic cone of Etna (10,860 feet) and Sardegna. The main archipelagos are the Tremiti Islands in the Adriatic Sea, the Tuscan Archipelago, the Pontine Islands, the Aeolian Islands and the Egadi Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Sicilia.
Visas: Italy, along with Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, forms part of the border-free travel zone subject to the Schengen Agreement. EU passport holders can come and go as they please. Citizens of the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand are among those who may enter Italy as tourists without a visa and stay up to 90 days.
Health risks: none
Time: GMT/UTC plus one hour (two hours ahead in summer)
Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Australia embassy in Italy City: Rome, Corso Trieste, 25, 00198 Rome Italy Phone: (06) 852721 Web Site: www.australian-embassy.it/
Cameroon embassy in Italy City: Roma, 282 Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, 00186 Roma Italy Phone: (06) 6547150
Canada embassy in Italy City: Rome, Via Zara, 30, 00198 ROME Italy Phone: 06- 445.98.1 Web Site: www.canada.it
Costa Rica embassy in Italy City: Rome, Via Bartolomeo Eustachio, 22 00161 Roma Phone: (00396) 44251046
Dominican Republic embassy in Italy City: ROMA, EMBAJADA EN ITALIA, Va Domenico Cheline 10. Int. 4, 00197 ROMA ITALIA Phone: (011-39-06) 807-4665
Japan embassy in Italy City: Roma, Via Quintino Sella, 60, 00187 Roma Italy Phone: 06-487991, Web Site: www.ambasciatajp.it
Lebanon embassy in Italy City: Rome, Via Giacomo Carissimi, 38 Italy Phone: 06 8440521
Mauritius embassy in Italy City: Rome, Via Alfredeo Serranti 14 00136 Roma Italy Phone: 63 449 7586
United States embassy in Italy City: Rome, Via Vittorio Veneto 119/A - 00187 Roma Phone: (39) 06 46741 Web Site: http://www.usis.it