Campania is not an easy destination for travellers with disabilities. Cobbled streets, hair-raising traffic, blocked pavements and tiny lifts make life difficult for travellers with limited mobility, vision or hearing. The steep slopes of many Amalfi Coast towns pose a considerable obstacle.
That said, positive changes are slowly being made. For instance, the ruins of Pompeii now feature a wheelchair-friendly itinerary, while a growing number of city buses (including the R2 in Naples) are set up with access ramps and space for a wheelchair.
Italy's national rail company, Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com), offers a national helpline for passengers with disabilities at 199 303060 (7am to 9pm daily). To secure assistance at Napoli Centrale, you should call this number 24 hours prior to your departure.
For more information and help, try the following organisations:
- Accessible Italy Specialises in holiday services for people with disabilities. This is the best first port of call.
- Turismo Accessibile (www.turismoaccessibile.org) Gives a rundown of accessible museums, hotels, restaurants and beaches in Naples.
- Moveability.org (https://moveability.org) Offers information on disability-friendly tourism in the Campania region.
- Italia.it (www.italia.it/en/useful-info/accessibility.html) Italy's official tourism website has a handful of useful links for travellers with disabilities.
- Sage Traveling (www.sagetraveling.com) Offers advice and tailor-made tours to assist mobility-impaired travellers in Europe.
Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guides from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.
Getting There and Around
Accessible Travel Online Resources
Accessible Travel Agencies
Gentle haggling is common in markets; in all other instances you’re expected to pay the stated price.
Dangers & Annoyances
Naples has a reputation for being unsafe. The following are some basic safety tips:
- Pickpockets are highly active on crowded transport and in crowds. Avoid keeping money, credit cards and other valuables in easy-to-reach pockets, especially coat and back pockets.
- Never leave bags unattended on a train. At cafes and bars, loop your bag's strap around your leg while seated.
- Be cautious of strangers who want your attention, especially at train stations and ports.
- Wear bags and cameras across your body and away from the road to avoid scooter-riding petty thieves.
- At archaeological sites, beware touts posing as legitimate guides.
On the Road
Car theft is a problem in Naples, so it pays to leave your car in a supervised car park. If you leave your car on the street, you'll often be approached by an unofficial (illegal) parking attendant asking for money. Clearly, you don't have to pay them, but if you refuse you run the risk of returning to a damaged car. In case of theft or loss, always report the incident to the police within 24 hours; ask for a statement, as otherwise your travel-insurance company won't pay out.
Avoid buying mobile phones and other discounted electrical goods from vendors on Piazza Garibaldi in Naples and at street markets. It's not unusual to get home and discover that you've bought a box with a brick in it. At Napoli Centrale, ignore touts offering taxis; use only registered white taxis with a running meter.
Neapolitan traffic requires some getting used to. Drivers are not keen to stop for pedestrians, even at pedestrian crossings, and are more likely to swerve. Locals simply step off the footpath and walk through the (swerving) traffic with determination. It is a practice that seems to work, but if you feel uncertain, wait and cross with a local.
In many cities, roads that appear to be for one-way traffic have lanes for buses travelling in the opposite direction – always look both ways before stepping onto the road.
Free admission to many galleries and cultural sites is available to people under 18 or over 65; in addition, visitors aged between 18 and 25 often qualify for a 50% discount. In some cases, free admission and discounts only apply to EU citizens.
For Naples and elsewhere in Campania, consider buying a Campania Artecard, which offers free or reduced admission to many museums and archaeological sites. The three-day card includes free public transport. The cards can be purchased online or at participating sights, including museums.
Youth, Student, Teacher Discounts
These cards offer thousands of discounts on cultural attractions, restaurants, shops, clubs and courses. See their respective websites for further details.
|European Youth Card (Carta Giovani)||www.eyca.org||€14||under 31 yr|
|International Student Identity Card (ISIC)||www.isic.org||US$20, UK£12, AUD$30, €10-15||full-time student|
|International Teacher Identity Card (ITIC)||www.isic.org||US$20, UK£12, AUD$30, €11-18||full-time teacher|
|International Youth Travel Card (IYTC)||www.isic.org||US$20, UK£12, AUD$30, €11-15||under 31 yr|
Embassies & Consulates
Emergency & Important Numbers
|Italy's country code||39|
|International access code||00|
Entry & Exit Formalities
- EU and Swiss citizens can travel to Italy with their national identity card alone. All other nationalities must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the length of stay in Italy.
- By law you should have your passport or ID card with you at all times. You'll need one of these documents for police registration every time you check into a hotel.
Visitors coming into Italy from non-EU countries can import the following items duty free:
|Spirits & liqueurs||1L|
|Wine||4L (or 2L of fortified wine)|
|Cigarettes||200 (or 50 cigars)|
|Other goods||up to a value of €430 for air/sea travellers (€300 for other travellers)|
Generally not required for stays of up to 90 days (or at all for EU nationals); some nationalities need a Schengen visa.
Italy is one of 26 member countries of the Schengen Convention, under which 22 EU countries (all but Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania), plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, have abolished permanent checks at common borders.
Legal residents of one Schengen country do not require a visa for another. Residents of 28 non-EU countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and the USA, do not require visas for tourist visits of up to 90 days (this list varies for those who want to travel to the UK and Ireland).
All non-EU and non-Schengen nationals entering Italy for more than 90 days, or for any reason other than tourism (such as study or work), may need a specific visa. For details, visit www.esteri.it/mae/en/servizi/stranieri or contact an Italian consulate. You should also have your passport stamped on entry as, without a stamp, you could encounter problems when trying to obtain a permesso di soggiorno (residence permit). If you enter the EU via another member state, get your passport stamped there.
Non-EU citizens who want to study at a university or language school in Italy must have a study visa. These can be obtained from your nearest Italian embassy or consulate. You will normally require confirmation of your enrolment, and proof of payment of fees and adequate funds to support yourself. The visa covers only the period of the enrolment. This type of visa is renewable within Italy but, again, only with confirmation of ongoing enrolment and proof that you are able to support yourself (bank statements are preferred).
Italy is a surprisingly formal society; the following tips will help you avoid any awkward moments.
- Greetings Shake hands and say buongiorno (good day) or buonasera (good evening) to strangers; kiss both cheeks and say come stai? (how are you?) for friends. Use Lei (you) in polite company; use tu (you) with friends and children. Only use first names if invited.
- Asking for help Say mi scusi (excuse me) to attract attention; use permesso (permission) when you want to pass by in a crowded space.
- Eating and drinking When dining in an Italian home, bring wine or a small gift of dolci (sweets) from a local pasticceria (pastry shop). Let your host lead when sitting and starting the meal.
- Gestures Maintain eye contact during conversation and when toasting.
A travel-insurance policy to cover theft, loss and medical problems is a good idea. It may also cover you for cancellation or delays to your travel arrangements. Paying for your ticket with a credit card can often provide limited travel-accident insurance and you may be able to reclaim the payment if the operator doesn't deliver. Ask your credit-card company what it will cover.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance. You can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
Internet access in southern Italy has improved greatly in the past few years, with most hotels, B&Bs, hostels and even agriturismi offering free wi-fi. On the downside, public wi-fi hotspots remain thin on the ground and signal strength is variable.
Despite its Mafia notoriety, Campania is relatively safe, and the average tourist will only have a brush with the law if robbed by a bag snatcher or pickpocket.
Drugs & Alcohol
Possession of any controlled substances, including cannabis or marijuana, can get you into hot water. Those caught in possession of 5g of cannabis can be considered traffickers and prosecuted as such. The same applies to tiny amounts of other drugs. Those caught with amounts below this threshold can be subject to minor penalties.
The legal limit for blood-alcohol levels is 0.05% and random breath tests do occur.
Italian Police Organisations
Polizia statale (state police) Theft, visa extensions and permits.
Carabinieri (military police) General crime, public order and drug-law enforcement (often overlapping with the polizia statale).
Vigili urbani (local traffic police) Parking tickets, towed cars.
Guardia di finanza Tax evasion, drug smuggling.
Guardia forestale (aka Corpo forestale) Environmental protection.
If you run into trouble in Italy, you're likely to end up dealing with the polizia statale (state police) or the carabinieri (military police). The former wear powder-blue trousers with a fuchsia stripe and a navy-blue jacket; the latter wear black uniforms with a red stripe and drive dark-blue cars with a red stripe.
- If you're detained, your arresting officers should give you verbal and written notice of the charges laid against you within 24 hours.
- You have the right to an interpreter if you do not speak Italian.
- You have no right to a phone call upon arrest, though you do have the right to have your relatives and consular authorities informed.
- The prosecutor must apply to a magistrate for you to be held in preventative custody awaiting trial (depending on the seriousness of the offence) within 48 hours of your arrest.
- You have the right not to respond to questions without the presence of a lawyer.
- If the magistrate orders preventative custody, you have the right to contest this within 10 days.
ATMs at Naples' Capodichino airport and major train stations; widely available in towns and cities. Credit cards accepted in most hotels and restaurants.
The seven euro notes come in denominations of €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5. The eight euro coins are in denominations of €2 and €1, and €0.50, €0.20, €0.10, €0.05, €0.02 and €0.01.
Credit & Debit Cards
Bancomats (ATMs) are widely available throughout Campania and are the best way to obtain local currency. International credit and debit cards can be used in any Bancomat displaying the appropriate sign. Cards are also good for payment in most hotels, restaurants, shops, supermarkets and tollbooths.
Check any charges with your bank. Most banks now build a fee of around 3% into every foreign transaction. In addition, ATM withdrawals can attract a further fee, usually around 1.5%.
If your card is lost, stolen, or swallowed by an ATM, you can telephone toll-free to have an immediate stop put on its use:
Amex 800 928 391
MasterCard 800 870 866
Visa 800 819 014
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
You can change money in banks, at the post office or in a cambio (currency-exchange bureau). Post offices and banks tend to offer the best rates; currency-exchange bureaus keep longer hours, but watch out for high commissions and inferior rates.
Tipping is generally optional.
- Bars Neapolitans usually place a €0.10 coin on the bar when ordering their coffee; if drinks are brought to your table, leave a small tip.
- Hotels Tip porters about €5 at high-end hotels.
- Restaurants If servizio (service) is not included on your bill, leave a euro or two in pizzerias, or 10% of the bill in restaurants.
- Taxis Most people round up to the nearest euro.
Opening hours vary throughout the year. We’ve provided high-season opening hours; hours will generally decrease in the shoulder and low seasons. Hours can be fickle at some smaller businesses.
Banks 8.30am–1.30pm and 2.45–3.45pm or 4.15pm Monday to Friday
Cafes 7.30am–8pm or later
Post offices 8am–6pm Monday to Friday, 8.30am–1pm Saturday; smaller branch offices close 1.30pm weekdays
Restaurants Noon–3pm and 7.30–11pm or midnight
Shops 9am–1pm and 3.30–7.30pm (or 4–8pm) Monday to Saturday, some close Monday morning and some open Sunday
- The opening hours of museums, galleries and archaeological sites vary enormously. Many museums are closed on Monday or (less commonly) Tuesday or Wednesday.
- Currency-exchange offices usually keep longer hours, though these are hard to find outside major cities and tourist areas.
- Restaurant kitchens often shut an hour earlier than final closing time. Most places close at least one day a week, often on Monday. Many restaurants are closed for at least two weeks in August, while those in coastal resort towns are usually closed in the low season, between November and Easter.
- In larger cities, supermarkets may stay open at lunchtime or on Sunday.
Poste Italiane (www.poste.it), Italy's postal system, is reasonably reliable, though parcels do occasionally go missing.
Francobolli (stamps) are available at uffici postali (post offices) and authorised tobacconists (look for the big white-on-black 'T' sign). Since letters often need to be weighed, what you get at the tobacconist for international airmail will occasionally be an approximation of the proper rate. Tobacconists keep regular shop hours.
Postal Service Rates
The cost of sending a letter by aerea (airmail) depends on its weight, size and where it is being sent. Most people use posta prioritaria internazionale (international priority mail), Italy's most efficient mail service, guaranteed to deliver letters sent to Europe within three working days and to the rest of the world within four to nine working days. Using posta prioritaria, mail up to 50g costs €3.50 within Europe, €4.50 to Africa, Asia and the Americas, and €5.50 to Australia and New Zealand. Mail weighing 51g to 100g costs €4.30 within Europe, €5.20 to Africa, Asia and the Americas, and €7.10 to Australia and New Zealand.
Poste restante (general delivery) is known as fermoposta in Italy. Letters marked thus will be held at the counter of the same name in the main post office in the relevant town.
You'll need to pick up your letters in person and you must present your passport as ID.
Most Italians take their annual holiday in August, with the busiest period occurring around 15 August, known locally as Ferragosto. As a result, many businesses and shops close for at least part of that month.
National public holidays:
New Year's Day (Capodanno) 1 January
Epiphany (Epifania) 6 January
Easter Monday (Pasquetta) March/April
Liberation Day (Giorno della Liberazione) 25 April
Labour Day (Festa del Lavoro) 1 May
Republic Day (Festa della Repubblica) 2 June
Feast of the Assumption (Assunzione or Ferragosto) 15 August
All Saints' Day (Ognisanti) 1 November
Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Festa della Immacolata Concezione) 8 December
Christmas Day (Natale) 25 December
Boxing Day (Festa di Santo Stefano) 26 December
- Smoking Smoking in all closed public spaces (from bars to elevators, offices to trains) is banned. Unfortunately for nonsmokers, smoking is extremely common in open spaces, including at outdoor restaurant and cafe tables.
Taxes & Refunds
A 22% value-added tax known as IVA (Imposta sul Valore Aggiunta) is included in the price of most goods and services. Non-EU residents who spend more than €155 at one shop at a single time can claim a refund when leaving the EU. The refund only applies to purchases from stores that display a ‘Tax Free’ sign.
When making a purchase at a store that offers tax-free shopping, ask for a tax-refund voucher, to be filled in with the date of the purchase and its value. When leaving the EU, get this voucher stamped at customs and take it to the nearest tax-refund counter where you’ll get an immediate refund, either in cash or charged to your credit card. For more information, see www.taxrefund.it.
- All of Italy occupies the Central European Time Zone, which is one hour ahead of GMT. When it is noon in London, it is 1pm in Italy.
- Daylight-saving time (when clocks move forward one hour) starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.
- Italy operates on a 24-hour clock, so 3pm is written as 15:00.
- Public toilets are rare in Naples.
- Bars and cafes usually have toilets, although you may need to buy a coffee before you can use them. Public toilets are readily available at museums, and there are public toilets at the main bus and train stations.
- Several public toilets have attendants, who'll expect a small tip – €0.50 should do.
- There are free toilets at Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The quality of tourist offices varies dramatically. Most offer brochures, maps and leaflets, even if staff are uninterested in helping in any other way.
Local & Provincial Tourist Offices
Main tourist offices are generally open Monday to Friday; some also open on weekends, especially in urban areas or during the peak summer season. Affiliated information booths (at train stations and airports, for example) may keep slightly different hours. Be aware that in some popular tourist centres, private tour operators may style their business as a general 'tourist information' point. In reality, they are set up to sell their own tours and offerings.
Tourist Offices Abroad
The Italian National Tourist Office (www.enit.it) maintains offices in 22 cities on five continents. Contact information for all offices can be found on its website.
Travel with Children
With a little planning and some background information on the region's gripping history, Naples and the Amalfi Coast are guaranteed to hook young, curious minds. After all, this is the land of giant gladiatorial arenas, mysterious catacombs, hissing craters and bubbling beaches. Jump in!
Best Regions for Kids
- Naples, Pompeii & Around
Capital attractions: step back in time at Pompeii, Herculaneum and Oplontis, explore ancient cisterns, passageways and ghoulish cemeteries below lively city streets, get experimental at a science museum and sidle up to a sizzling geological freak.
- The Islands
Water babies: seek your own perfect swimming cove on a private boat on Procida, sail into a sparkling, magical grotto on Capri, or pool-hop at a sprawling thermal-spa resort on lush, volcanic Ischia.
- The Amalfi Coast
Surf and turf: chill out on a summertime boat trip, get splash-happy at a coveted beach, hike high above the coastline, and take in a little history at a quirky paper museum in Amalfi.
- Salerno & the Cilento
Wild and cultured: learn about ancient medicine at a multimedia museum, attend a children's film festival, or run wild in wide open spaces, riding rivers, feeding farm animals and sorting out your stalactites from your stalagmites.
Campania for Kids
Children are adored in Campania and welcomed almost anywhere. On the downside, the region has few special amenities for junior travellers, and the combination of Naples' breathless pace, the Amalfi Coast's twisting coastal road, and the stroller-unfriendly cobbled stones at archaeological sites can prove challenging. With a little adaptation and an open mind, however, young families will find that Campania is a richly stimulating, rewarding destination.
- MAV (Museo Archeologico Virtuale), Ercolano Campania's ancient ruins brought back to life with holograms and videos.
- Museo della Carta, Amalfi Explore the region's proud papermaking tradition in an historic Amalfi paper mill.
- Città della Scienza, Bagnoli A superfun science centre just west of Naples.
- Museo Virtuale della Scuola Medica Salernitana, Salerno An interactive museum dedicated to medieval medicine.
- Giffoni Film Festival, Giffoni Valle Piana, Salerno Europe's biggest children's film festival.
Thrills & Spills
Negombo, Ischia A thermal-springs park with mineral pools and thermal beach, plus massage and beauty treatments for frazzled parents.
Grotta Azzurra, Capri Pixar has nothing on Capri's dazzling, other-worldly Blue Grotto.
Parco Nazionale del Cilento, Vallo di Diano e Alburni, Spooky caves, colourful sea-grottoes and agriturismo complete with furry friends.
Monte Faito Spectacular cable-car ride up to the roof of the Lattari mountains.
Pompeii Ancient theatres, houses, shops and even a stadium. The ancient brothel will no doubt bemuse teens.
Herculaneum Smaller than Pompeii and better preserved, with carbonised furniture and ancient shop advertisements.
Napoli Sotterranea, Naples Head down a secret porthole into a magical labyrinth of Graeco-Roman passageways and cisterns.
Cimitero delle Fontanelle, Naples It's Halloween every day at the ghoulish Fontanelle Cemetery, neatly stacked with human skulls and bones.
Planning a trip to Italy with kids is fairly straightforward. On a global scale, the country can be considered child-friendly, particularly with regard to food and accommodation. Most museums and sights offer discounted entry for kids, although some discounts are for EU citizens only. Ask at tourist offices about any family activities, festivals and events, and consider investing in a few children's history books to help their imagination along at archaeological sites.
For all-round information and advice, check out Lonely Planet’s Travel with Children.
- Disposable nappies (diapers) are readily available at supermarkets and pharmacies. Pharmacies also stock baby formula in powder or liquid form, as well as sterilising solutions.
- Fresh cow's milk is sold in cartons in supermarkets and in bars with a 'Latteria' sign. UHT milk is popular, and in many out-of-the-way areas it's the only kind available.
- Cobbled streets, pot holes and crowded transport make travelling with a stroller cumbersome; consider investing in an ergonomic baby carrier instead.
- Public-transport operators offer free travel for one child aged up to six if accompanied by a paying adult. An adult accompanying more than one child must purchase one ticket per every two children.
- Most car-hire firms offer children's safety seats at a nominal cost, but these should be booked ahead.
When To Go
May, June and September are generally warm and sunny, without the summer peak crowds. Colourful floats and costumes make Carnevale (February or March) another good bet, while the region's famous presepi (nativity scenes) can help make December magical.
Where to Eat
- Most eateries, especially trattorias and pizzerias, welcome kids.
- If reserving a table, ask if they have a seggiolone (high chair).
- Children's menus are uncommon, though requesting a mezzo piatto (half plate) off the menu is usually fine.
Where to Stay
- Hostels and apartments Good for multibed rooms, self-catering and lounge facilities.
- Campgrounds Buzzing in high season (summer), with many offering activities for kids of all ages.
- Farm stays Great for outdoor space; numerous agriturismi also come with cute, furry animals.
- Book accommodation in advance whenever possible. In hotels, some double rooms can't accommodate an extra bed for kids, so check ahead. If the child is small enough to share your bed, some hoteliers will let you do this for free.
Weights & Measures
- Weights and measures Italy uses the metric system.
Citizens of the European Union (EU), Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are legally entitled to work in Italy. Those wanting to stay in the country for more than three months are simply required to register with the local anagrafe (Register Office) in their Italian municipality of residence.
Working longer-term in Italy is trickier if you are a non-EU citizen. Firstly, you will need to secure a job offer. Your prospective employer will then need to complete most of the work-visa application process on your behalf. If your application is successful, your employer will be given your work authorisation. Your local Italian embassy or consulate will then be informed and should be able to provide you with an entry visa within 30 days. It’s worth noting that Italy operates a visa quota system for most occupations, meaning that you will only be offered a visa if the relevant quota has not been met by the time your application is processed. Non-EU citizens planning to stay in Italy for more than 90 days must also apply for a permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) within eight working days of their entry into Italy. Applications for the permit should be made at their nearest questura (police station). General information on the permit is available on the Italian State Police website (www.poliziadistato.it).
Italy does have reciprocal, short-term working-holiday agreements with a handful of countries, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand. These visas are generally limited to young adults aged between 18 and 30 or 35 and allow the visa holder to work a limited number of months over a set period of time. Contact your local Italian embassy (www.esteri.it) for more information.
Popular jobs for those permitted to work in Italy include teaching English, either through a language school or as a private freelancer. While some language schools do take on teachers without professional language qualifications, the more reputable (and better-paying) establishments will require you to have a TEFL (Teaching of English as a Foreign Language) certificate. One useful job-seeker website for English-language teachers is ESL Employment (www.eslemployment.com). Au pairing is another popular work option; click onto www.aupairworld.com for more information on work opportunities and tips.
Homosexuality is legal in Italy and well tolerated in Naples, perhaps less so in smaller towns on the Amalfi Coast. Resources include the following:
- Arcigay Napoli (www.arcigaynapoli.org, in Italian) Website for Naples' main LGBT organisation, listing special events as well as gay and gay-friendly venues in town.
- Napoli Gay Press (www.napoligaypress.it, in Italian) Comprehensive coverage of queer current affairs, arts and events in Naples and Campania.
- Gay Friendly Italy (www.gayfriendlyitaly.com) English-language site featuring information on everything from gay-friendly hotels to bars.