Southern Italy in detail

Planning Tips

Pre-departure Checklist

  • Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months past your departure date from Italy
  • Check airline baggage restrictions
  • Organise travel insurance
  • Make bookings for accommodation and entertainment
  • Inform your credit-/debit-card company of your travels
  • Check whether you can use your mobile (cell) phone in Italy
  • Check requirements for hiring a car

What to Take

  • Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes
  • Electrical adapter and phone charger
  • A detailed driving map for southern Italy's rural back roads
  • A smart outfit and shoes for higher-end restaurants
  • Patience, for coping with Italian inefficiency
  • Phrasebook, for ordering and charming

What to Wear

Appearances matter in Italy. In the cities, suitable wear for men is generally trousers (including stylish jeans) and shirts or polo shirts, and for women skirts, trousers or dresses. Shorts, T-shirts and sandals are fine in summer and at the beach, but a long-sleeved shirt is more suitable for dining out in restaurants. For evening wear, smart casual is the norm. A light sweater or waterproof jacket is useful in spring and autumn, and sturdy, comfortable shoes are good when visiting archaeological sites.

Resources

  • Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/italy) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.
  • Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com) Italian railways website.
  • Agriturismi (www.agriturismi.it) Guide to farm accommodation.
  • Italia (www.italia.it) Italy's official tourism website.
  • The Local (www.thelocal.it) English-language news from Italy, including travel-related stories.

Top Tips

  • Visit in the shoulder season (spring and autumn) for good weather and thinner crowds.
  • Book accommodation well in advance if visiting during peak holiday periods, including Easter, July and August.
  • If driving, get off the main roads where possible: some of the most stunning scenery is on secondary or tertiary roads.
  • Speak at least a few Italian words. A little can go a long way.
  • Avoid restaurants with touts and menu turistico (tourist menu).
  • Don't keep valuables in easy-to-reach pockets as pickpockets do operate in crowded places.
  • Be cautious of strangers who want your attention, especially at train stations and ports.
  • At archaeological sites, watch out for touts posing as legitimate guides.
  • Queue-jumping is common: be polite but assertive.