Local laws and customs

By law you must be able to show some form of identification at all times. In most cases a photocopy of the data page of your passport should suffice, but you may be asked to accompany the police to collect the original document, or to produce it within 12 hours. The police will normally ask for your full passport if you are stopped while driving.

In the Rome area, restaurants must display a menu outside the restaurant, only charge for bread if the customer specifically requests it, inform the customer of the prices being charged before he/she orders, give a proper receipt and not make any cover charge (coperto).

In the cities of Venice and Florence, you may be fined if you drop litter. In Florence it is an offence to sit on steps/courtyards or to eat and drink in the immediate vicinity of the main churches and public buildings.

Illegal traders operate on the streets of all major Italian cities, particularly tourist cities like Florence and Rome. Don’t buy from illegal street traders. You could be stopped by the local police and fined.

Many major cities in Italy now impose a small tax on tourists. The tax is levied by hotels and is usually not included in any pre-paid arrangements or package deal. The rate of tax varies from city to city, and can depend on the star rating of the hotel. Hotels often ask for payment of this tax in cash. Make sure you get a receipt. For more information check with the local tourist information office.