In order to enter Italy, visitors from the EU need a national identity card or passport valid for at least six months on the date of arrival.
Entry requirements for US, Canadian, Australian, South African, New Zealand and Irish nationals: Valid passport, no visa requirements for stays up to 90 days.
Schengen area: The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all. Travellers are advised to have a return or onward tickets, all documents required for their next destination and sufficient funds to cover the period of intended stay in Italy.
Drivers need an international licence (or domestic licences for EU nationals), car documents and a Green Card, providing insurance.
The time in Italy is GMT plus one hour in the winter and GMT plus two hours in the summer. Thus, when it is 12 noon in London, it is 13:00 in Sicily.
Italy is a member of the European Union, and the currency used is the Euro. The south of Italy is supposed to be less expensive than the north, but it depends on where you go in Sicily. To exchange money use an exchange office where you see the sign cambio, as their service is far simpler than that of a bank. They are quicker although they do take a substantial percentage. An ATM, called Bancomat is the easiest way to obtain currency with your credit card. Make sure that you always have enough cash. Sometimes the ATM mashines are empty, especially on Saturdays, and new money is not provided before Monday. In most restaurants and shops credit cards are accepted, but this can vary and we recommend that you always check first if you wish to pay by credit card.
Food shops and markets tend to be open around 07:30AM, closing for lunch around 12:30PM. Shops reopen in the afternoon around 16:00PM or later, and they are usually open until at least 20:00. In Cefalù for example you will find some small shops that are open even during the siesta time, but they tend to be more expensive.
Post: The mail service can be slow in summer with the influx of tourist mail. Stamps for postcards and letters can also be bought from tobacco shops, which are open longer than “La posta” (the post office).
Telephones: Public phones are found in streets, at post offices and in bars and restaurants. These are operated by coins and prepaid schede or carte telefoniche which are available at newsstands, in the post office and tobacco shops.
In the unlikely event that you do get robbed, report the incident immediately to the carabinieri (military police), tel. 113 (at their caserma) or to the polizia (civil police) at the questura. For fire emergencies call 115 and for emergency assistance on the road 116. For health emergencies and ambulance it is 118.
Palermo airport: 0039 091 6019111 for domestic flights
0039 091 591275 for international flights
Catania airport: 0039 095 536170
Trenitalia 24h-number: 0039 892021 www.trenitalia.it
In July and August it can get really hot in Sicily, especially around midday and the early afternoon. We remind you that it is important to drink water, and if you feel heat or faint do not expose yourself to the sun. If you are travelling with children, make sure that they drink water and protect their eyes from the strong sun. It is also important to use sun screen with the appropriate factor. After lunch, from about 13PM-16PM the Italians have their siesta. During the siesta most shops are closed, but restaurants are usually open until at least 14.30PM.