Euro (€), Swiss franc (Sfr)
Budget: Less than €110
- Dorm bed: €20–€30
- Sandwich: €2.50–€4
- Pizza or pasta: €8–€12
- Coffee drunk at bar: €1
- Midrange double room: €110–€200
- Two-course lunch and wine in a trattoria: €25–€45
- Aperitivo cocktail and all-you-can-eat buffet: €8–€15
- Average museum entry: €5–€10
Top end: More than €200
- Top-end hotel double: €200 and over
- Fine-dining restaurant meal: €50–€150
- Top-end aperitivo: €15–€20
- Hotel parking: €10–€20 per day
Gentle haggling is common in flea markets and antiques markets; in all other instances you're expected to pay the stated price.
ATMs are widely available and credit cards accepted at most hotels, restaurants and shops. To change money, you'll need to present your ID.
The euro is Italy's currency and euro notes come in denominations of €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5. The euro coins are in denominations of €2 and €1, and 50, 20, 10, five, two and one cents.
Switzerland's currency is the Swiss franc. The six notes come in denominations of Sfr1000 (which you'll hardly ever see), Sfr200, Sfr100, Sfr50, Sfr20 and Sfr10. Coins are in denominations of Sfr5, Sfr2, Sfr1, Sfr½ (ie
50 Swiss cents), and 20, 10 and five cents. As a rule, it's pretty easy to use euros in Ticino, although generally you'll get change in francs and the rate will not necessarily be all that favourable.
There are bancomats (ATMs) that accept international credit and debit cards in all northern Italian cities and towns. Visa and MasterCard are the most widely recognised cards, but others like Cirrus and Maestro are also well covered. Bank fees apply to withdrawals and there's a daily limit of €250.
You can change cash and travellers cheques at a bank, post office or cambio (exchange office). Post offices and most banks are reliable and tend to offer the best rates.
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.
- Cafes & bars Most Italians just leave small change (€0.10 to €0.20 is fine).
- Hotels At least €2 per bag or night, for porter, maid or room service.
- Restaurants Tips of 10% are standard – though check to see that a tip hasn't already been added to your bill, or included in the flat coperto (cover) charge.
- Transport Round up taxi fares to the nearest euro.
Although travellers cheques are now fairly uncommon, Visa, Travelex and Amex are still accepted brands. Get most of your cheques in fairly large denominations to save on per cheque commission charges.