A FEW FACTS ABOUT ITALY
Full country name: Italian Republic
Area: 301,230 sq km
Population: 57.99 million
Capital City: Rome
Religion: 84% Roman Catholic, 6% Jewish, Muslim
Government: Republic (Parliamentary Democracy).
The President is Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and the Head of Government
or Prime Minister is Silvio Berlusconi
Time Zone: Central European Time = GMT/UTC +1
Electricity: 230V ,50Hz
Weight & measurement system: Metric
The official language of the country is Italian, though every region
has its own dialect, with unique words and grammatical usages, that
are still very much spoken. The Piemontéis is the dialect
of the Region of Piedmont (also spoken in some French towns in the
Alps). In the autonomous province of Val d’Aosta (100 Km from
Turin) French is also the official language.
The weather in Turin is predominantly continental. In May and all
through springtime, Turin is at its best, with 20°C daytime
average temperature. However, evenings, especially outside the city,
can be cool
Italy doesn't present any more health worries than anywhere else
in Europe and no vaccination is required.
The water is perfectly safe to drink and you'll
find public fountains (usually button- or tap-operated) in squares
and city streets everywhere.
Shops and businesses open from 8-9 AM to 1PM and from about 4 PM
to 7:30 Monday to Saturday. Most shops close on Monday morning.
Except for bars and restaurants, especially in tourist areas, everything
else closes on Sunday, although in the northern cities the trend
is going towards more flexible hours and Sunday opening is becoming
There are a few shopping malls in Turin and its periphery open all
day (9:00 to 21.00) from Monday to Saturday and every other Sunday.
Banks are open Monday through Friday from 8 AM
to 1:30 PM and from about 3 PM to 4 PM. Most banks have an ATM/automatic
teller machine (Bancomat) working 24 hours a day and allow
withdrawal with most international credit card.
As a member of the European Union, Euro banknotes
and coins have been in circulation in Italy since 1st January 2002.
There are eight different denominations in the current euro coin
series, ranging from the 1 cent to the €2 coin. (2 and 1 euro,
50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cent) and banknotes of the value of 500,
200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 euro.
Currency exchange is available at most banks, though the city center
is well served by change bureau.
To find out about your currency exchange rates check: www.oanda.com
Currently, the first metropolitan line is under construction. Both
urban and suburban areas are served by an efficient network of buses
and tramways that cross the city from morning (the first departure
is at 5 AM) to about midnight. Some lines have a night service.
Tickets for urban travel can be bought in drugstores, newsagents
and public places who exhibit the special sign.
Ordinary urban tickets are valid for 70 minutes. If you take more
than 2 transports in on day, daily, weekly and monthly passes might
be more convenient.
For itinerary, prices and conditions, check Turin's official public
If you wish to take a taxi you’ll need to stop it at the appropriate
marked places around town or call the following numbers. They usually
arrive in less than 3 minutes. The counter starts from the moment
you get in the taxi.
A Taxi fare from the airport to the city center varies between €30
Tel. (+39) 011.991.44.19
Main Railway station - Torino Porta Nuova
Tel. (+39) 011.54.73.31
Railway station- Torino Porta Susa
Tel. (+39) 011.562.25.35
All major car rental companies have a desk at the Arrivals Hallat
Turin airport and a couple of agencies in the city.
If you plan using the car only in the city, the car
sharing programme, set up by the Italian Ministry for the Environment
and the safeguard of the Territory might suit you best.
ACCESIBILITY FOR DISABLED
The accessibility for disabled people is not exactly at its best
in Turin right now. The city is going through a lifting to welcome
the XX Winter Olympic
Games on February 2006 and construction sites have become part
of the city life. It is difficult to know what will it be by Spring
But the city is working day by day at improving the existing infrastructure
and creating new facilities for the IX
Paralympic Games that will be held a few weeks later, in March
For more information on services and facilities, please check the
is a local car rental company that provides cars for disabled people.
Other services: (only in Italian at this time)
and facilities at Turin airport in trains and Railway Stations
(only in Italian for the moment)
Public phones have become very rare in Italy. You can find them
in some bars, hotels and train/metro stations. Otherwise, you need
to buy a phone card (€2,58 - €5,16 - €7,74) available
in any tobacco shop, newsagent, post office, and some bars (Local
calls cost minimum € 0,10).
The international telephone access code is 39.
Turin's city code is 011.
The call centers, managed by the ever growing immigrant community
of Turin, offer very competitive prices for international calls.
To place direct international calls dial the following:
00+ country code + area code + local number
International Information service: 4176
FOOD & DRINKING
Italian cooking is difficult to summarize in a few words due to
its immense variety. Not only every region has its own specialties,
but also almost every city does as well. So, rather than a national
Italian cuisine we have a huge number of local cuisines.
However, there are some dishes that you will find almost everywhere
and that have become standards all around the globe, such as pizza
and pasta. But Italian cuisine and habits are too often taken for
granted and most visitors are surprised to find out the Italian
eating pattern is quit different.
Most Italian eat a very simple breakfast of coffee
or cappuccino and a pastry (brioche).
The main meal of the day is lunch (pranzo),
which is normally at 1:00 PM. A weekday lunch will begin with a
“primo”, or first course, consisting of either
pasta, rice or a soup. The portion of a primo is rather small and
is not intended as a full meal. It is usually followed by a “secondo”,
a fish, meat, egg or vegetable main course. Again, portions are
small and you need are served alone. If you want vegetables or potatoes
with your main course you need to order a “contorno”
or side dish separately.
Lunch usually ends with fresh fruit and an “espresso”.
The Italian dinner (cena) follows the
same pattern or might be lighter, unless you decide to go for a
While it is true that there are no regions with strictly vegetarian
cuisine, there are a great amount of Italian dishes that qualify
In a restaurant menu you will also find “antipasto”,
or starters. The recipes are as numerous and vary from region to
region. They can be made of vegetables, meat, fish or different
kinds of bread (foccacia, farinata…)
Restaurants usually serve from 12:00 PM to 14:30
PM and from 7:00 to 10:00. People in Turin usually have dinner at
Piedmont is a wonderland for gastronomes
and connoisseurs of vintage wines.
The mild sunny climate and an extraordinary rich soil, produces
some of the world’s best vines, in hill areas such as Langhe
and Monferrato (40km from Turin).
Bordering directly with France, the influence of Savoy is evident
in Piedmont’s food. Butter and cream are the preferred over
olive oil in cooking; although immigrants from the south to towns
like Turin have brought their cooking with them.
Piedmont cuisine is perhaps most famous for its tartuffi bianchi
- white truffles, the most exquisite of which come from the town
Turin is also famous for its sweets and the home of grissini, or
bread sticks, which stand like logos on the tables of Italian restaurants