Italy Travel Information


The leaning tower. The Venetian canals. The churches of Rome. With a Globus Italy vacation, you will go beyond these must-see sights to experience the real Italy. We weave together personal insights and unique cultural experiences to create a most enriching vacation for you to enjoy.
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Fast Facts

Italy Fast Facts
Capital: Rome, Italy Population: 58.1 million Time Zone: GMT + 1 hour Electricity: 230V/50Hz

Italian Highlights


Chianti, the most famous Italian wine, comes from the Chianti region of Tuscany. Only wines from this region can properly be called Chianti, although some winemakers will lead you to believe otherwise.

Florence Travel

In Florence, four of Michelangelo's unfinished works line the hallway leading to his famous masterpiece, David. These half-man, half-rock creations are called "prisoners" because he believed his sculptures were imprisoned in the stone until he released them.

Venice Travel

While plying the waters of Venice in your own gondola, you may notice a distinct leftward curve of the prow. While aesthetically pleasing, it's actually designed to offset the force of the oar and keep the gondola from spinning in circles.

Rome Travel

For centuries, the Colosseum in Rome was only home to exotic plants. After the fall of the Empire, the arena became abandoned. Seeds inadvertently transported from Africa and Asia began to grow, resulting in more than 400 species of flora.

Sicilian Cuisine: The Taste of the Sun

In Sicily, the sun illuminates the land as the sea provides plenty of moisture. The result is an array of fresh home-grown produce. That, combined with the influence of the island's first settlers, creates a culinary tradition that is a delight to all the senses.

In Palermo, unique combinations of flavors like citrus, mint, saffron, chilies, raisin, chocolate, wine and honey exhibit the city's early Arab influence. On the east coast, where the Greeks settled first, fish, olives, beans and vegetables are the preferred staples. Classic Sicilian dishes include caponata (sweet and sour eggplant relish), panelle (chickpea fritters), sfincioni (pizza with onions and anchovies) and pasta alla Norma (pasta with fried eggplant, tomato sauce and ricotta cheese).

In addition to the island's signature entrees, Sicily serves up some of the world's most decadent desserts. Perhaps the most famous delicacy is the cannoli alla cassata, a more cake-like take on the standard cannoli. But it doesn't end there. Dozens of other sweet dreams include filled pastries, fried pastries, cookies, cakes, candied fruit, sorbet, and granita.

Legend even has it that the world's most adored after-dinner indulgence, ice cream, was invented in Sicily during Roman times, when a relay of runners would bring snow down from Mt. Etna to be flavored and served to wealthy patricians.


San Gimignano, Italy: The City of Towers

The medieval town of San Gimignano, tucked away in the Tuscan hills, is a short, scenic drive from Florence or Pisa, and well worth the trip. Known across Italy as the "City of Beautiful Towers," the stony village has a fable of towering egos to tell.

San Gimignano hit its heyday in the late Middle Ages as its strategic location along the route to Rome made it central Italy's most important trading center. As the town grew, space within the city's protective walls became scarce. So the town council declared that buildings could be no more than 17 yards wide by 24 yards deep.

Not to be undone by the new regulations, the wealthy families of San Gimignano began setting their sights on the sky. One after the other, the town's most affluent residents built white stone towers, each taller than the one before, in a desperate attempt to symbolize the owners' pride and power. Eventually, 72 dueling towers stood within the city's walls.

The thirteenth century was a tumultuous one for the Tuscan town, as it changed hands repeatedly. And although it fought hardily throughout those decades and secured its independence, San Gimingnano was ultimately overcome by the Black Plague in 1348. In fact, the epidemic wiped out all but a quarter of its inhabitants. After accepting an offer to be taken under the wing of Florence, the city soon fell into decline. In the centuries that followed, towers collapsed unmourned until only 14 remained.

As the Renaissance produced a more enlightened Florentine culture, the fledgling town found some patrons who worked to preserve the remaining towers as well as some priceless works of art within the city walls. Their work is apparent today, as a step through the gates of San Gimignano immediately transports modern travelers back to a time when the size of a family's tower determined their place in society.


Italian Phrases

Where can I find__? Dove si trova__? doveh see trova
Where is... Dov'è... dov eh
...the exit? ...l'uscita? loo sheeta
...the taxi stand? posteggio dei taxi? eel post-ayj-jo day taxee
...the bus stop? fermata dell'autobus? la fermahta del-owtoboos
...the subway? metropolitana? la metro-poleetana
...the train station? stazione? la statzioneh
...the bank? cambio eel kamb-yo
...the money metropolitana? la metro-poleetana
exchange? valuta? vahlootah? ATM? ...un Bancomat? oon bank-o-mat
...the post office? ...l'ufficio postale? loof-feecho postah-lay
...the bathroom? bagno? eel banyo
...the telephone? telefono? eel telay-fono
It's... È... eh
...left. ...a sinistra. ah see-neestra
...right. ...a destra. ah destra
...straight ahead. ...sempre diritto. sempray dee-ree-to
Is this the train to__? È questo il treno per__? eh kwesto eel trayno pair__?
Where can I... Dove posso... dove pos-so a ticket? comprare il biglietto? komprare eel beel-yet-to?
Is this seat free? È libero questo posto? eh leebairo kwesto posto?

Currency Information

If you are in the process of planning your vacation and need information on currency exchange rates, click here to access our currency converter tool. While you're on vacation you will need spending money for meals and entrance fees not already included, beverages, excursions, gratuities and shopping.

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