General Notes On Travel In Italy
Passports and Visas Only a passport is needed to enter Italy from the U.S & Canada. No visas, no vaccinations (unless you’re traveling from a known infected area).
Baggage For many different reasons, it’s best to travel light. Experienced travelers find that one/two medium-sized rolling suitcase per person provides sufficient room for a two week vacation. Be sure to tag your baggage with name and contact information — and include a sheet of paper inside on top of everything with the same info. Also, tie a distinctive ribbon onto the handle — or some other kind of marking — so that when you’re claiming your luggage after your flight you can easily distinguish your own suitcase from all the others exactly like it. Keep your valuable items in a small carry-on bag or, better yet, in a knapsack, which you can then use during your walks.
Packing suggestions for a bike tour – gear list
Bike Tour Sardinia provides all group gear needed for trips.
The key to staying comfortable while cycling is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, this will help you and the field staff.
The weather in Sardinia is typically warm, with sunny days in the mid to high 80′s. Early spring and fall departures will have slightly cooler temperatures. Rain is possible on any of the departures, but not typical.
EQUIPMENT PROVIDED: 27speed hybrid or race bikes; Helmet; Front handlebar bag; water bottle & cage; Lock; Cycle computer; Repair kit, including spare tire; Pump; Toe clips.
We recommend the following gear:
Duffel bag or soft suitcase & Small fanny pack or neck pouch to keep travelers checks or cash, id’s and passport.
Cycling shoes (or running shoes with stiff soles)
Clipless pedals and special cycling shoes (only if you usually use them!)
Cycling jersey – long-sleeve
Cycling jersey – short-sleeve, quick-drying, lightweight
Cycling shorts w/padding (3 pairs)
Cycling rain gear (jacket & pants)
Bring a few lightweight, easily washable items for city wear (dinner and sightseeing).
Slacks, travel skirts, mid-thigh shorts, button down shirts, etc. Comfortable and casual are great!
Sweater and/or light jacket
Swimsuit (pool and spa)
Sunglasses and strap
Baseball cycling cap/Sun hat
Electric adaptor plug
Camera and film; Reading and writing materials;Favorite energy snacks.
Dress for dinner: The restaurants we use have a very nice, pleasant atmosphere, but are not stuffy. Therefore, you will feel quite comfortable in casual clothes for these meals.
However, cycling clothes, running shorts and cycling shoes are not appropriate and should be reserved for biking.
Currency The unit of currency in Italy (and other 11 European countries) is the Euro € and centesimi, similar to the US dollar and cents. The coins are as follows: 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 euro, and 2 euro. The bills are as follows: 5 euro, 10 euro, 20 euro, 50 euro, 100 euro, 200 euro and 500 euro.
Note: in Europe, periods and commas are interchanged. So our 100,000 is written as 100.000; likewise, decimals such as 1.5 are written as 1,5.
Currency Exchanging All the old ways of exchanging money are pretty well supplanted now by the ubiquitous ATM machine, called “Bancomat” here in Italy. Bring along your ATM card and in front of almost every bank you’ll find an ATM machine — most of which also accept major credit cards for cash advances. The exchange rate is the best going, although a fee may be applied by your bank — from $1 to $3 per transaction — and there is often a limit on how much you can take out per day. Check to make sure what your bank’s terms are, and then decide if using the ATM is your best option or not. On most machines, after you put in your card, you’ll be prompted for which language you’d like to use. In any case, the procedure is exactly the same as in the US: enter your PIN (Codice segreto), enter the amount you’d like to withdraw, and after thirty agonizing seconds, the machine spits out your card, your money, and — 9 times out of 10 — a receipt. If you absolutely rely on having a receipt, then stick with the traditional exchange services: banks, airports, major rail stations, and as a last resort (because of the poor exchange rates offered) big hotels.
Keep in mind that banks are usually only open in the mornings until around 1pm; in the large cities, some may open from 3 to 4pm. Exchange services at airports, etc. are open for longer hours. It’s very likely you’ll need to change a couple hundred dollars immediately upon landing in Italy — in case you need to catch a taxi, a train, or a bus to the train station. You should be able to make an exchange at the airport, unless your flight arrives in the middle of the night. If that’s the case, try to make the exchange before your departure.
Also, keep in mind that most hotels accept credit cards, as do many restaurants and larger stores. Keep an eye out for the sign posted on the door “Carta Si”. The days of overstuffed money belts are largely over, thanks to electronic money. But don’t be too overconfident; you will very likely still need some cash, and if you want to stay absolutely on the safe side, you can bring along some Traveler’s Checks, which you can exchange at any exchange service.
Health insurance A travel insurance policy that covers medical emergencies, cancellations, loss of valuables, etc. is always a good idea and recommended.
Emergencies: If you need an ambulance the emergency services number is 118. If you need immediate police aid call 113. This functions the same as 911 in the U.S., and should only be used in life-threatening situations.
If you need first aid, every hospital has an emergency clinic, called the “Pronto Soccorso”. The standards of Italian health care and treatment are quite high.
If you need police help, there are two main police forces to turn to. If you are in need of help, call the “Carabinieri” at 112. These are essentially a branch of the military and are the ones you may see standing on the roads carrying machine guns and putting fear into the heart of the innately (and inanely) fearless Italian driver. If, on the other hand, you want to report stolen articles or the like, call the local branch of the “Polizia Statale” (state police) 113. You’ll find the number of the “questura” (the local police station) in the first three or four pages of the white pages, along with all the other emergency numbers. They’ll ask you to fill out a form called a “denuncia” (statement), which you’ll need in order to make insurance claims.
If you’re taking a tour with us, you will also be provided with a list of contact numbers, all guides’ cell phone and Bike Tour Sardinia office numbers, as well as all accommodation information to provide to your close ones.
Trains The Italian train system is undeservedly reputed to be inefficient, slow, and under constant threat of strikes. Only the latter complaint holds any validity — and even so the strikes are scheduled and announced in the media well in advance. In reality, the trains generally run on time and are a bargain to boot.
There are five main types of trains in Italy:
• Eurocity — linking the major Italian cities with major European cities
• Intercity — linking the major Italian cities together (e.g. Florence to Rome)
• Inter-regionali (or Espressi) — long routes between different regions making stops at only the larger stations along the route
• Regionali (or Diretti) — long routes between different regions making stops at the most of the stations along the route
• Locali — short, intra-regional routes making stops at all the stations along the route
The faster is the train, more expensive is the ticket. Seat reservations are obligatory on Eurocity trains. We recommend you always use the Eurocity trains for longer journeys between large cities, and that you buy your ticket from your travel agent before you leave home. You can also get a reserved seat on Intercity and Inter-regionali trains — and it’s a good idea to do so during the summer months on popular lines. Even without the reservation, you’ll probably still be able to get on the train, but it might mean standing the whole way in the corridor.
Timetable and routes can be consulted and reservation can be made on line at www.trenitalia.com. Many travel agent can also dispense tickets and help you plan your journey. Automated tickets machines are available in nearly all stations.. the can be used to check schedules, makes reservations and purchase tickets.
One thing to remember: just before you board your train, VALIDATE your ticket. You do this at one of the breadbox-sized yellow machines located on the platforms (or at the end of the platform). You can get a fine if you don’t do so — although with enough display of foreign incomprehension all but the most persnickety conductors will shrug you off.
From airport: Both Malpensa aiport in Milan and Fiumicino Aiport in Rome have trains and buses linking them to the city center.
Fiumicino – Termini train station – Fiumicino
train Leonardo Express (takes about 30 minutes) start each half hour and is direct from Airport to termini train station.
from fiumicino airport to train station : the first at 07.37, 08.07, 8.37….the last at 22.37
From Termini station to airport : the first at 06.51, 07.21, 7.51 the last at 21.51
Buses Those cities not linked by the rail system are almost certain to be served by buses. There is no national bus chain, just a lot of different local services, some of which go between regions. The main bus stop will either be located next to the train station in larger towns or in the main piazza in smaller towns. Buses run daily, except Sunday and holidays. You can buy tickets at the bus company office located next to the bus stop — or if it’s closed (or in smaller towns where there isn’t a company office) at the nearest bar, newsstand, or “Tabacchi” (small general stores denoted with a large capital T, found on every other corner). On shorter hauls, you can also just get on the bus and buy a ticket from the driver.
hotels – in Italy it is common practice for the reception desk to register your passport, and only registered guests are allowed to use the rooms. This is done for security reason according with Italian law against terrorism: hotels must give list of guests to italian police carabinieri each day.
All hotels use the official star classification system, from 5 star luxury to 1 star.
All hotels have room with bathroom – only one star hotel have shared bathroom.
Most of hotel rates include breakfast “prima colazione”. It is served in a communal room and comprises a buffet with pastries, bread with butter and jam, cereals, fruits, cheese, yoghurt, fruit juice, coffe or cappuccino. Hotel regularly frequented by foreign tourists serve eggs and cheese.
Maps Cartographically speaking, absolutely the best maps are the green covered beauties put out by Touring Club Italiano. You can get one for the specific region you’re going to, though they are huge and you’ll find yourself folding them into various new configurations in order to fit them in your car — or hotel room.
For more detailed local maps, you might want to wait until you get to Italy to look through bookstore selections. You’ll often find small-scale maps that can be very helpful in planning out a day hike. Also, the tourist office in each town can usually provide a map of the town, usually for free or a nominal charge.
Public telephones Public telephones in Italy are easy enough to use. First, go to any newsstand and ask for a “carta telefonica” while holding up a €5 or €10 bill. You’ll get a small card. Tear off the perforated corner and insert it into the slot on the telephone. You’re set; dial away, always dialing in the area code first, even for local calls.
You can also use your MCI, Sprint, etc. phone card to make international calls by dialing the numbers provided by your company.
Dining out Meals in Italy follow a different course than what we’re accustomed to. You might begin with an appetizer if you like — called an antipasto — but from then on things change quite a bit. Italians prefer to eat one dish at a time, rather than having a number of items served on one plate, especially we don’t like mix pasta with other kind of food! So, after the antipasto comes the “primo” (first dish), usually some kind of pasta, ravioli or zuppa. Following this is the “secondo” (second dish), a meat or fish dish or Cheese. You can order a “contorni” (side dish) if you like — usually roasted vegetables, potatoes, or salad, but sometimes vegetables are included with second, is specified on menu. And finally dessert and/or coffe. Espresso of course
Please Don’t think Italians at home have always a meal like that! All that food is just in special occasion or for the Sunday’s lunch. Also in Italy people “try” to have light lunch, a dish of pasta and some vegetable or just the second plate.
Farm stays agriturismo
Located only in the countryside, and generally on a farm, agriturismo – a network of farm holiday establishments- is part of growing trend in Italy to honor local gastronomy and wine traditions as well as countryside traditions.
These farms offer lodging and some also provide meals prepared with ingredients cultivated on site.
In Tuscany and Sardinia there are many agriturismos, the lodging could be really luxury and very comfortable. Often private pool is available for guests.
In our tour we do not use this kind of accommodation due to location and the fact there is always gravel road to get in. but we can suggest for pre or after bike trip!!!