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Italy travel tips on money saving, personal safety, sightseeing, and enjoying your trip to the fullest from InfoHub suppliers and community members.

Bringing Wine Food and Cheese Home From Italy
Submitted by M19813 on 2009-11-04
We receive many questions from guests about bringing home wine and food from Italy. Below is some basic info to help with your questions:
- Cheese and Bakery Items: You may bring bakery items and certain cheeses that ... view more are vacuum sealed from Italy into the United States.
- Olive Oil & Vinegar: As a general rule, condiments, vinegars, oils, packaged spices, honey, coffee and tea are permitted from Italy into the US.
- Wine & Alcohol: Federal regulations allow you to bring back more than one liter of alcoholic beverage for personal use, but you will have to pay duty tax and Internal Revenue Service tax.

While federal regulations do not specify a limit on the amount of alcohol you may bring back for personal use, large quantities will draw suspicion that you are importing the alcohol for resale. Customs officers are authorized to seize imported items that they believe are for commercial purposes, and may require you to obtain a permit to import the alcohol before releasing it to you. If you intend to bring back more than a 6 bottles of wine for your personal use you should contact the Customs port where you will be re-entering the country, and make prior arrangements for entering the alcohol into the U.S.

Be aware that State laws may limit the amount of alcohol that you can bring in without a license. If you arrive in a state that has limitations on the amount of alcohol you may bring in without a license, that state law will supersede and be enforced by US Customs agents. We recommend that you check with the state government before you go abroad about their limitations on quantities allowed for personal importation and additional state taxes that might apply.

How to Bring Meat Products From Italy
Submitted by M19813 on 2009-11-04
How to bring Meat Products: Italy’s famous cured prosciutto ham and other meat products cannot be brought into the US by travelers unless the meat product has been packed at a facility that is approved by the USDA. In ... view more fact items containing meat products, such as bouillon, soup mixes, etc., are not permitted. This leaves most of us with no other choice but to return home with nothing more than savory memories.

The regulations on importing meat products change frequently because they are based on disease outbreaks in different areas of the world. APHIS, which regulates meats and meat products as well as fruits and vegetables, encourages travelers to contact them for more information on importing these items.

Tip or not to tip in Italy?
Submitted by M19813 on 2009-11-04
At restaurants in Italy the general rule is that you do not tip, because most restaurants include a 10% service fee, or a charge for the tablecloth, or bread. If you receive stellar service at a restaurant and want to ... view more show your gratitude, you can leave an additional 10%.

Taxi drivers expect a 10% tip, and they are usually satisfied if you round up to the nearest Euro for short trips inside the city. Make sure that you hang onto the 1 and 2 EUR coins, and 5 EUR bills. Taxi drivers can rarely offer change back if the amount due is more then 10 EUR.

Buying Train Tickets In Italy
Submitted by M19813 on 2009-11-04
Waiting in line at the windows at station is a lesson in patience, especially with the line cutting locals and summer heat. The stations in Italy usually have large yellow, electronic ticket kiosks at the station. The ... view more multi-lingual touch screens make them easy to use, however the signs indicating which kiosks take only credit cards, and which ones take Euros are poorly posted, and you may have to try a few kiosks in different areas before you find the one that uses your preferred payment method. While using these kiosks you will surely be pestered by beggars and pickpocket types hoping to take advantage of you while you are busy reading the on-screen instructions.

If you have your travel plans in order before you depart, or a day before you plan to travel. You can pre pay for your train reservations on-line by using TrainItalia’s user friendly website. If it is more than 60 days prior to your departure; you can view the train schedules, but you cannot purchase tickets through the website until your departure date is less then 60 days.

If you are making your reservation from an internet point in Rome, make sure to ask if the printer is working, otherwise you will not be able to print your electronic ticket, and then you’ll have to wait in line at the station to get the ordeal straightened out.

Transportation: How do I keep from getting ripped
Submitted by M19813 on 2009-11-04
There are unofficial taxi drivers hustling for your business as soon as you step out of the airport or train station. We do NOT suggest using these drivers. Registered taxis are available at the designated Taxi Stands ... view more around the city and at the airport. Look for the white cars with the "Commune di (City Name)" sticker on the side.

A taxi ride across Historic Rome or Florence should not cost anymore than 8. or 10 EUR, between 8:AM and 10:PM. A taxi from the airport is usually between 40. to 50. EUR.

When you get into the cab, simply look at the meter, it should read around 2.40 EUR, or 3.50 EUR if it is a Sunday or Festival Day. If the driver knows that you are you are reading the meter, honesty usually prevails. A tariff of 1. EUR may be applied to each suitcase the driver must load into the trunk, and a 0.10 percent tip is expected.

Using city buses and the underground metro will require a fair amount of studying upon arrival. Metro/bus tickets can be purchased at nearly every Tobacco (Tabacchi) shop. Daily, hourly or weekly passes are available. The pass is validated the first time you use it by inserting it into the yellow validation box, which is located on the bus or metro turnstile. The pass does not need to be stamped again, and may be used as many times as you like within the day, week, or hour.

Getting around Italian cities like Rome and Florence by foot can also be a great way to see the city and its charming side streets. Sometimes getting lost brings the most wonderful discoveries. Except for around the train station at night, there are not really any dangerous neighborhoods to avoid in the Rome and Florence.

Art Supplies: Airport Restrictions
Submitted by M19813 on 2009-11-04
1. Zip lock your art supplies in their own compartment of your suitcase. Make sure the excess air has been forced out of the Zip lock bag.

2. Make sure that you avoid bringing any combustible, or flammable liquid, ... view more gel, or aerosol paint. Non-flammable liquid, gel, or aerosol paint in 3 ounce or smaller containers can be carried-on to airplanes. Larger containers of liquids and gels must be checked before boarding.

3. Artists' oil colors contain no solvents and are based in vegetable oil so they are not hazardous. Do not carry-on palette knives and do not travel with solvents and mediums. We suggest that you print out a Materials Safety Data Sheet, (MSDS) available from your local art store, or from the manufacturer of your supplies. Bring the MSDS with you to the airport in case security is unfamiliar with the items that you are bringing.

4. The international traveling community follows the TSA's 3-1-1 Rule for liquids. Countries around the world support TSA's rule for liquids that passengers can bring in their carry-ons. The rule limits the volume of liquids, gels and aerosols to bottles 3 ounces or smaller (or 100 ml), in 1 quart-sized zip lock bag, and 1 bag per traveler.

For a complete list of prohibited items and to determine carry-on vs. checked art supplies, please visit the United States TSA webpage at.

Is crime really a problem in Rome?
Submitted by M19813 on 2009-11-04
In contrast to of the multitude of warnings by guidebook publishers, in our opinion Rome and Florence is a very safe place... and we live here. Like any city, there is a criminal element, but that is mostly pick ... view more pocketing, (especially on the 64 bus in Rome.) It is very rare to hear of muggings, and violent crimes right in the historic city center where most visitors stay. The area around the Train Stations is where we suggest avoiding after midnight. Just remember to use your common sense, money belt, and to keep your bag in front of you at all times.
Experience the Best Florentine Steak in Florence
Submitted by M17211 on 2010-01-23
Florentine Steak is one of the well know dishes in the world. I experienced an unforgettable T-Bone steak at Taverna del Bronzino in Florence.
Florence- The best place to live the Renaissance
Submitted by M05950 on 2011-08-10
Do you love art? Are you awed by the sculpture, frescoes, and paintings of the Renaissance masters? Would you like to experience some of this work first hand?
Then, we would like to invite you to a journey into the ... view more past. With our art history teacher you will visit church, museums and historical places that will allow you to experience art history first hand, and to see with your own eyes some of the masterpieces of the greatest Italian artists. You will be introduced into the lifestyles and philosophy of artists like Giotto, Masaccio, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. Artists are reviewed in terms of their working environments, life events, and their personal styles and characteristics. The social context of the period will also be considered in order to better understand the development of the artists' culture and way of thinking.
An undiscovered Tuscany South of Milan
Submitted by M21305 on 2012-09-09
Though frequently called the Tuscany of the North of Italy, the Oltrepo Pavese in Lombardy is fairly unknown abroad. This is a pity as the Oltrepo really offers something worthwhile for almost every tourist, especially ... view more food and wine lovers. The area offer several attractions: smooth hills, medieval villages and castles, panoramic views, authentic Italian food and local wines. The Oltrepo happens to be the largest wine producing area of Lombardy. The landscape is scattered with vineyards that are freely accessible for hikers or even mountain biking. The Oltrepo Pavese is part of the province of Pavia, in the southern part of Lombardy. Oltrepo literally means “on the other side of the Po”. The Oltrepo is situated at the foothills of the Ligurian Alpes and Apennines.

Hardly any tourist business has developed here, which means, fortunately, that people are enthusiastic to serve you their local traditional food and wine at all of the little family restaurants that populate the area. The food that is served is the food that Italians want to eat out, it has to have "mama" quality! Prices are ridiculously low. Particular of the area are the local sparkling wines, the "vivace", "frizzante" and also "spumante" wines. Reds and whites sparkle without being just sweet. The most famous local wine, the Bonarda is fruity but not sweet, in contrast to the Lambrusco e.g. A local, more classical wine is the Buttafuoco, the production of which is restricted to a small area in the North of the Oltrepo. A typical sweet red wine of the area is the Sangue di Giuda. The regional champagne-like spumantes have made it to the Italian DOCG category. Regional dishes are simple but very effective. Using the seasonal ingredients like mushrooms and tartufi and the local meats of rabbit, wild boar and the likes, delicious dishes are prepared.

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