When the euro first came into proper use in the form of recognisable currency in everyday transactions, Italy was one of the first countries to use it. It has been doing so since the very beginning of 1999.
As is the case with every country that uses the currency, Italy has its own country side to the currency. This means the coins show specific images that mean something to Italian people.
This version of the euro has all the same coins and banknotes as euros used in other member countries. There are eight coins available, and six are in euro cent denominations. These are the 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins. There are also two euro coins which are in one and two euro denominations.
You will also find seven banknotes in use, ranging from a €5 note as the smallest, through to €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and also €500 notes at the largest.
As we have already seen, the euro has been in use in Italy since the very beginning of the currency. It replaced the lira which had been used by Italians since 1861. The lira joined many other currencies that disappeared for good when the new European currency came into force.
One of the best things about the euro is that it is supremely easy to get hold of. This holds true both before you go away and while you are in Italy enjoying your holiday.
In fact if you have any left over from a previous holiday where you needed euros to get by, hang onto them – you’ll be able to use them in Italy even if they were issued by another country. They are all legal tender as euros – the only difference is the side of the coins that features the design specific to a certain country.
If you need to get some cash to tide you over as soon as you get there, you can get it from your local bureau de change before you go. Since the euro is a popular currency and is used in several countries, you should be able to get it without pre-ordering it.
You can also get your euros out of an ATM machine when you are in Italy, so make sure you look out for them and keep your bank card handy in case you need it.
This is easy to do as well, providing you have access to a currency converter. Just type in the amount you want to convert from your own currency to the euro and select your currency and the euro as the ‘from’ and ‘to’ currencies. You can then find out how far your own currency will go when you go to Italy.
You can find out more about going to Italy by visiting the Italian Embassy website at http://www.amblondra.esteri.it/Ambasciata_Londra. Click on the ‘English’ tab right at the top of the home page to transform the Italian into easy reading English!
More than two million people from Britain choose Italy as their preferred destination for a holiday or short break every year. If you are among them you can be sure of having a good time since crime against tourists is relatively low. You should take sensible precautions to protect your valuables of course – while pickpocketing isn’t as prevalent as it is in some other countries, it is still wise to be alert.
One area that is worth keeping an eye on is the instance of avalanches if you are visiting Italy for a skiing holiday. There should be warnings locally depending on where you are going so keep an eye on the alerts and weather reports.
Italy is the leg and boot that appears to be kicking the island of Sicily when viewed on a map. Sardinia is also technically included as part of Italy, although both Sicily and Sardinia are often viewed as separate islands.
The capital of Italy is Rome and this provides an excellent opportunity to view some amazing ruins from long ago in the past. Rome is famous for the Colosseum among other ruins, although you can see many other sights here too. The Trevi Fountain is almost as famous, and it is said that if you throw a coin in the fountain you can receive good luck, and perhaps also the chance to return to Rome another day as well. The coins that are regularly thrown in by tourists and others are used to help those in need in the city. The fountain is well worth seeing at night too as it is lit beautifully.
Wherever you go in Rome you won’t be far from ancient ruins. Aside from the Colosseum you can also see the Pantheon, the Circus Maximus and the Roman Forum. The Forum alone is breath-taking and provides an amazing view of life as it would have been lived in ancient times. Even though many of the structures are now in ruins, some stand remarkably well against the times.
Elsewhere in Italy you can also visit Naples. This is another major city and it can be found along the western coastline. It is an old city but it is also said to be one in almost constant danger. The reason, of course, is because of the looming presence of Mount Vesuvius. The volcano last erupted in 1944 towards the end of the Second World War, but although it has not erupted since then, those who live in Naples know the danger. After all it is a mere few miles from the city. Its eruption in AD 79 wiped out Pompeii and Herculaneum, which can be visited today in their ruined state. Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is worth seeing although it is quite a sobering experience.
Italy isn’t just about major cities though. You can also enjoy a wonderful beach holiday in the country, visiting such areas as the Neapolitan Riviera, Puglia, Campania and many others too. The Gargano Peninsula in Puglia is particularly pretty and offers some lovely beaches to enjoy.
Among other sights worth seeking out while you are away, there is San Gimignano, which is a charming village in Tuscany. The village was active in medieval times and there are fourteen signs of those times that still stand today. They stand in the shape of fourteen towers, all that remains of the seventy or so that were originally built to protect the area.
If you want to go back in time to ancient Greek times in Italy, make sure you take the time to visit Paestum. This has a way of making you feel you truly have gone back in time, for the preservation of the ruins here is quite amazing. You will need to go out of your way slightly to find it but it is worth the trip. It is further south along the coast from Naples, before you get to Agropoli.
One of the best things about Italy is of course the food. You could be tempted to spend a lot of euros just eating and drinking – and we all know how passionate Italians are about their food! There is good reason for this as well, thanks to the many dishes you are probably already familiar with. Bolognese, pizza and pasta may all be familiar to you because you cook them at home, but to explore the culinary world of Italy itself is to trawl through many delightful ingredients. Tomatoes and olive oil figure heavily in many dishes, but there are regional variations too. Wherever you stay in Italy, make sure you have the chance to enjoy salami, sausages, fresh pasta, fresh fish and much, much more.
Italy is undoubtedly a welcoming country and one that many people want to go back to time and time again. With so much to commend it and lots of exciting dishes to explore and taste on a daily basis, you won’t have too much trouble gaining sustenance before you find out all there is to know about your location.
Whether you opt for a city break or you choose to spend a whole week or even two in the country, there is plenty to see and do. Choose an area and resolve to make the most of it while you are there. Make sure you have plentiful euros for admission prices and also for those wonderful snacks and meals!
Even excluding Sardinia and Sicily, the mainland section of Italy could keep you going for holiday after holiday for many years. Choose your ideal location to start in and explore from there. Whether you are entranced by modern Italy or ancient Italy, you cannot fail to be impressed.