Italy - Consular Information Sheet
April 18, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Italy is a developed democracy with
a modern economy. Tourist facilities are widely available. Additional
information may be obtained from the
Italian Government Tourist Board by telephone at 212-245-5618
or via the Internet: http://www.enit.it.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. A visa is
not required for tourist stays up to three months. For further
information concerning entry requirements for Italy, travelers
may contact the
Embassy of Italy at 1601 Fuller St. N.W., Washington, D.C.
20009. Tel: 202-328-5500 or via the Internet: http://www.italyemb.org,
or the Italian Consulates General in Boston, Chicago, Detroit,
Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia,
or San Francisco.
Those tourists planning to stay other than in hotels for more
than one month should register with the local police station within
eight days of arrival in Italy. Visitors to Italy may be required
to demonstrate to the police upon arrival sufficient financial
means to support themselves while in Italy. Credit cards, ATM
cards, traveler's checks, prepaid hotel/vacation vouchers, etc.
can be used to show sufficient means.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure.
DUAL NATIONALITY: U.S. citizens who were born in Italy
and/or who are also Italian citizens may be subject to compulsory
military service and other laws that impose special obligations
upon them while in Italy. Those who might be affected should inquire
at an Italian embassy or consulate outside Italy regarding their
status before traveling. In some instances, dual nationality may
hamper U.S. Government efforts to provide protection abroad. For
additional information, see the
Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov
for our Dual Nationality flyer.
SAFETY/SECURITY: There have been occasional episodes of
violence in Italy, most often connected to Italian internal developments
or social issues. In 1997 and 1998, Italian authorities found
bombs outside public buildings, received bomb threats and were
themselves the subjects of letter bombs, all of which were ascribed
to organized crime or anarchist movements. Americans were not
targeted or injured in any of these instances.
CRIME: Italy has a low rate of violent crime, little of
which is directed toward tourists. Petty crimes such as pickpocketing,
theft from parked cars, and purse snatching, however, are serious
problems, especially in large cities. Most reported thefts occur
at crowded tourist sites, on public buses or trains, or at the
major railway stations, including Rome's Termini, Milan's Centrale,
Florence's Santa Maria Novella, and Naples' Centrale. Clients
of Internet cafes in major cities have been targeted. Elderly
tourists who have tried to resist petty thieves on motor scooters
have suffered broken arms and collarbones. To reduce the chance
of becoming a victim, do not carry a wallet or purse if possible.
Carry shoulder bags tightly under your arm with the clasp facing
your body. Wear waist packs in the front, but be aware that thieves
can slit them open without you noticing. Leave extra cash, credit
cards, and personal documents in a hotel safe. Carry photocopies
of passports and financial documents separately from the originals.
Thieves in Italy often work in groups or pairs. In most cases,
one thief distracts a victim while an accomplice performs the
robbery. Groups of street urchins are known to poke tourists with
newspapers or pieces of cardboard to divert their attention so
that another street urchin can pickpocket them. In one particular
routine, one thief throws trash or waste at the victim; a second
thief assists the victim in cleaning up the mess; and the third
discreetly takes the victim's belongings. Criminals on crowded
public transportation slit the bottoms of purses or bags with
a razor blade or sharp knife, then remove the contents. Theft
of small items such as radios, luggage, cameras, briefcases, and
even cigarettes from parked cars is a major problem. Robbers in
southern Italy take items from cars at gas stations often by smashing
car windows. In the Naples area, thefts have also been reported
from occupied vehicles waiting in traffic or stopped at traffic
lights. To discourage this kind of theft, drivers should keep
their car doors locked, windows rolled up, and valuables out of
sight. Do not leave valuables in an unattended vehicle. Tourists
should immediately report thefts or other crimes to the local
In a scam practiced on the highway between Rome and Naples, one
thief punctures the tire of a rental or out-of-town car. An accomplice
signals the flat tire to the driver and encourages the driver
to pull over. When the driver stops, one thief helps change the
tire, while the other takes the driver's belongings. Avoid driving
at night on highways in southern Italy. When stopping at service
areas on the highway (Autostrada), make sure your parked car remains
in sight. One person should remain in the car, partly because
thieves sometimes mark unattended vehicles to make them identifiable.
The marked vehicle is later followed by accomplices who use one
of the aforementioned schemes to perpetrate a robbery. There have
been occasional reports of break-ins of rental cars driven by
Americans in northern Italy when the precautions mentioned above
were not followed during stops at highway service areas.
In a scam practiced on trains, primarily in northern Italy, one
or more persons will befriend a traveler and offer drugged food
or drink. Also, thieves have been known to impersonate police
officers to gain the confidence of tourists. The thief shows the
prospective victim a circular plastic sign with the words "police"
or "international police." If this happens, the tourist
should insist on seeing the officer's identification card (documento),
as impersonators tend not to carry forged documents.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's
pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad
for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet
is available by mail from
the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND INSURANCE: Medical facilities are
available, but may be limited outside urban areas. Public hospitals
sometimes do not maintain the same standards as hospitals in the
United States, so travelers are encouraged to obtain insurance
that would cover a stay in a private Italian hospital or clinic.
It is almost impossible to obtain an itemized hospital bill from
public hospitals, as required by many U.S. insurance companies,
because the Italian National Health Service charges all-in-one
rates that include care services, bed and board.
The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with
their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm
whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover
emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical
insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the
United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further,
U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for
medical services outside the United States. However, many travel
agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover
health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services
such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme
difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased overseas medical
insurance have, when a medical emergency occurs, found it life-saving.
When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider
or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur.
Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Travelers should always carry
a prescription for any prescription drug they are taking and should
know the generic name of the drug. Most prescription drugs available
in the U.S. can also be found in Italy. If you are taking an unusual
medicine that is difficult to find even in the United States,
we suggest that you bring an ample supply of the medicine with
you when you travel. Mailing prescription drugs to Italy is time-consuming
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be
obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's
international traveler's hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747);
fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or by visiting the
CDC Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Italy is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Condition/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Condition/Maintenance: Good
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Excellent
Streets in the cities are often narrow, winding, and congested;
lane markings are often nonexistent; traffic lights are limited
and often disobeyed; and a different convention on right-of-way
is observed. Italy has over 5,600 km. (3,480 mi.) of "Autostrada,"
or superhighways. Many drivers travel and pass on these well-maintained
roads at high speeds. In rural areas, a wide range of speed on
highways makes for hazardous driving. Roads are generally narrow
and often do not have guardrails. Travelers in northern Italy,
especially in winter, should be aware of ground fog and poor visibility,
which cause numerous multiple-car accidents each year. Most Italian-specification
automobiles are equipped with special fog lights. Roadside assistance
in Italy is excellent on the well-maintained toll roads but limited
on secondary roads.
For specific information concerning Italy's drivers' licenses,
vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact
Italian Government Tourist Board (ENIT) offices via the Internet
at: http:/www.enit.com, tel. 212-245-4822 or the A.C.I. (Automobile
Club Italiano) at Via Magenta 5, 00185 Rome. Tel: 39-06-4477.
For information on obtaining international drivers' licenses,
contact AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of Italy's Civil Aviation Authority
as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety
standards for oversight of Italy's air carrier operations. For
further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation
within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the
FAA Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign
air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers,
travelers may contact the DOD at (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Italian customs authorities may enforce
strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export
from Italy of items such as professional equipment, commercial
samples, advertising materials and/or goods for exhibitions and
fair purposes. Tax-free shopping rules are strictly enforced.
Be sure you have read and understood all the procedures and conditions
regarding refunds before purchasing any item. It is advisable
to contact the Embassy of Italy in Washington or one of Italy's
Consulates in the United States for specific information regarding
customs requirements. The U.S. Customs Service may impose corresponding
import restrictions in accordance with the
Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act. (Contact
the Customs Service at 202-927-2336 or Internet http://exchanges.state.gov/education/culprop
for further information).
Italy's customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission
Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet. ATA
Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S.
Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the
United States. For additional information call (212) 354-4480,
send an e-mail to email@example.com, or visit http://www.uscib.org
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Italian law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in Italy are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences
and heavy fines.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans
living in or visiting Italy are encouraged to register at the
Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Rome or at one of the
three U.S. consulates general and obtain updated information on
travel and security within Italy.
The U.S. Embassy
in Rome, Italy is located at Via V. Veneto 119/A. Tel: 39-06-46741
and fax: 39-06-4674-2217. Internet address: http://www.usis.it.
The U.S. Consulates are located in:
Florence, at Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci 38. Tel: 39-055-239-8276/7/8/9,
or 39-055-217-605; fax: 39-055-284-088.
Milan, at Via Principe Amedeo 2/10. Tel: 39-02-290-351 and fax:
Naples, at Piazza della Repubblica. Tel: 39-081-583-8111 and
There are U.S. Consular Agents located in:
Genoa, at Via Dante 2. Tel: 39-010-584-492 and fax: 39-010-553-3033.
Palermo, at Via Vaccarini 1. Tel: 39-091-305-857
and fax 39-091-625-6026.
Trieste, at Via Roma 15. Tel: 39-040-660-177 and fax 39-040-631-240.