Before you go
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Passport & Visa
Any person of foreign nationality who wishes to enter Sicily and stay there for a period not exceeding three months must have proper documents (passport, travel or identity document) required for entry into Italian territory.
Italian is the official language. However, English is widely understood.
Sicily is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time.
All major credit cards are accepted.
The Euro is Italy’s official currency. It is based on the decimal system. There are one hundred cents to each Euro. Euro notes come in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins come in denominations of 1 and 2 Euro, 50, 10, 5, 2, 1 cents. The Euro sign is €.
You can change money at the hotel or at the nearest banks. Bank hours are 9:00AM to 1:30PM and 3:00PM to 4:00PM. Banks are closed on weekends and national holidays.
Traveler’s checks in $USD should be exchanged at banks or exchange offices, as very few businesses will accept them.
The electric current in the hotels is 220 volts, 50 cycles (in the US it is 110 volts, 50 cycles). A transformer is necessary to convert local power to U.S. standard. An adapter is needed for plugs, as European plugs are different from the ones in the U.S.
Shopping hours are from 9:00AM to 1:00PM and from 5:00PM to 8:00PM from Monday through Saturday. Businesses are closed on Monday mornings and Sundays.
When calling home, all major long-distance phone carriers make it easy to phone using their calling card codes from any pay phone or hotel. The country code for Italy is +39.
To benefit from a VAT (Valued Added Tax) refund, the total purchase price inclusive of tax from any single store must be at least 154,94€. At the time of purchase, the salesman can either refund VAT immediately or collect the tax directly and wait for the reception of the stamped “export sales invoice” from Customs to be refunded at the departure airport. In both cases, an “export sales invoice” (“Bordereau de Vente” in French) will be given to you. Look for shops with duty free stickers in their windows. For more information, please visit the official web site of Agenzia delle Dogane.
Post offices have a full range of services, including telephones, telegrams, fax and calling cards, and are open Monday through Saturday from 8:00AM to 1:30PM. Only a few post offices are open in the afternoon until 6:00PM.