Catherine of Siena, Caesar, da Vinci, Christopher Columbus, Sophia Loren and Fellini – the list of important Italians is almost endless. Many of the most innovative people in history have called Italy home, and with such an inspiring landscape to gaze over, it’s easy to see why.
Perhaps you’re visiting Florence for the medieval architecture and art, Venice for the romance or Sardinia for the sunshine. Or perhaps you’re following in Jamie Oliver’s footsteps and travelling all over trying the country’s internationally-adored cuisine. But wherever you go, be sure to pack travel insurance.
The currency for Italy is the Euro, which is just one of the many currencies available with a Post Office Travel Money Card. These can give you easy access to your money while you're on holiday.
Medical care for Brits in Italy
Your EHIC entitles you to healthcare in Italy on the same terms as nationals. But the EHIC doesn’t cover everything. For example, medical repatriation and elective care aren’t covered, and travel insurance is vital to ensure you’ve got the most comprehensive protection you can. If you don’t have an EHIC, it’s important to get one as quickly as possible before going away. You should also check whether your EHIC is still valid – they last for 5 years.
State healthcare is comparable to that of the UK, however many Italians choose to get private healthcare to avoid waiting times.
The emergency number for ambulances is 118.
Travel risks in Italy
Italy is considered a safe place to travel where the risk of being a victim of crime is low. However, it’s important to be vigilant against crime as you would when going anywhere new. In large cities like Rome and Naples, thieves and pickpockets can operate, especially in crowded and touristy areas.
There is simple advice to follow when visiting these places, such as keeping wallets in your front pocket, wearing backpacks on your front, being wary of people approaching you quickly, not leaving valuables out on café tables and keeping your bag on your lap when sitting down. For more advice on how to stay safe on holiday, read our guide here.
Remember that it's important to have travel insurance for Italy or any overseas travel to have protection in the event that something unexpected happens.
Italy’s coast is famous throughout Europe and many people visit for the sole purpose of getting some sunshine. Make sure you can keep your valuables safe at the beach and are aware of safety practices when taking a dip in the sea.
The country occasionally suffers from natural disasters that it’s wise to be aware of. Earthquakes are rare but can be devastating, and forest fires can break out in the summer. There are strict laws about the disposal of cigarette ends and other litter in certain areas prone to forest fires, so always try to be aware of these.
Italy’s mountains are also some of Europe’s most popular ski resorts. If you are hitting the slopes, make sure you’ve got the appropriate cover, like ski cover, before going away. Always check the avalanche risk of where you’re staying.
One of the most popular ways for Brits to get around when they travel in Italy is renting a car. Remember that you will need to make sure you have a valid UK driving licence, insurance and vehicle documents. Driving is generally safe but it is important to take extra care when on winding mountain roads.
Some cities won’t allow hire cars into the centre and will have signs that read “ZTL” to inform you. Passes can be obtained from hire companies. You can be fined for not obeying. Milan also has a congestion charge which it’s important to be aware of.
When leaving your car, always make sure valuables are out of sight and that the vehicle is secure.
Getting around the country by train is relatively inexpensive and offers a great way of seeing some of the country’s most spectacular scenery. All tickets need to be ‘endorsed’ (stamped) by a machine after being purchased. The machines that endorse tickets are easy to find. Failure to present a stamped ticket can result in large fines.
Inner-city public transport is reliable, with most major cities offering bus and metro networks. Tickets need to be validated on board in a similar way to train tickets. Invalid tickets risk causing fines.
Uber operates in Rome and Milan, and licensed taxis are common in most cities and towns. Always use taxis that have a sign on top and take precautions to be sure that they are formally licensed.
Cycling is very popular in Italy but before you rent a bike, make sure that you’re covered to cycle on your travel insurance and whether there are any exclusions (for instance about wearing helmets and cycling above certain altitudes).
While the UK remains a part of the EU, there are no entry requirements to Italy and tourists from the UK can travel freely to and within the country with their passport.
Travel insurance for Italy
As well as incredible food, history and culture, Italy is also a popular area for adventure sports such as mountaineering, rafting, sailing, mountain biking and a lot more. But before signing up for any risky activities, make sure that your insurance covers it. If you plan on going on a holiday that involves activities like this, you might want to get an extra level of cover that allows you to do more.
Specialist add-ons for extreme sports, like ski cover, are available from most insurers.
Remember that your EHIC doesn’t offer comprehensive medical coverage, so you travel insurance is important to ensure you’ve got the best cover possible.
Travel insurance is also important to protect against things like cancellation, theft, loss of belongings and more.