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Before You Go
If you're an EU citizen (or from Switzerland, Norway or Iceland), a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) covers you for most medical care in public hospitals free of charge, but not for emergency repatriation home or non-emergencies. Citizens from other countries should find out if there is a reciprocal arrangement for free medical care between their country and Italy (Australia, for instance, has such an agreement; carry your Medicare card).
If you do need health insurance, make sure you get a policy that covers you for the worst possible scenario, such as an accident requiring an emergency flight home. Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures.
No jabs are required to travel to Italy. The World Health Organization (WHO), however, recommends that all travellers should be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, polio and hepatitis B.
Availability & Cost of Health Care
Health care is readily available throughout Campania, but standards can vary significantly. Public hospitals tend to be less impressive than private ones. Farmacisti (pharmacists) can give you valuable advice and sell over-the-counter medication for minor illnesses. They can also advise you when more specialised help is required and point you in the right direction. In Naples and major tourist centres you are likely to find English-speaking doctors or a translator service available.
Pharmacies generally keep the same hours as other shops, closing at night and on Sundays. A handful, however, are farmacie di turno, which remain open on a rotation basis for emergency purposes. Closed pharmacies display a list of the nearest open ones.
If you need an ambulance anywhere in Italy, call 118. For emergency treatment, head straight to the pronto soccorso (casualty) section of a public hospital, where you can also get emergency dental treatment.
Tap water in Campania is safe to drink, although many locals prefer to buy bottled water. Never drink water from taps or fountains marked 'Acqua non potabile' (unpotable water).