Essential Info for Italy

Population: About 60 million

Capital city: Rome (also largest city)

Neighbouring countries: Italy's famous bootlike shape is formed by a long Mediterranean coastline. The northern part of the country is bordered by France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.

Geography: About 40 percent of Italy is mountainous, with the most notable mountains being the Alps in the north and the Aponine Mountains that sit along the peninsula. Non-mountainous areas of Italy are usually flat plains.

Political system: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic

Major religion: Roman Catholicism

Main languages: Italian is the official language, and English is spoken by about 14 percent of Italy (mainly in tourist centres and cities)

Money: The currency in Italy is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. ATMs can be found easily, even in small towns. All foreigners can open a bank account in Italy, but accounts for residents only have extra perks like lower interest fees.

Tipping: Tipping is not necessary in restaurants as a service fee is usually added, but for good service diners should round up the bill a few Euros. 

Time: GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in September).

Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz. Plug points can vary, but the two-pin European plug is most common.

Internet domain: .it

International dialling code: +39

Emergency contacts: Dial 112 to be connected to the EU emergency line. You can reach Italian police directly on 113, ambulance on 118, and fire brigade on 115.

Transport and driving Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. Expat drivers may find that Italians drive fast and aggressively, and parking is very limited in the cities.