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The Eternal City is located on Tiber River between the Apennine Mountains and the Tyrrhenian Sea used to be the centre of the Roman Empire. Today it is the seat of the Italian government and of other ministerial offices. Rome is one of the most attractive cities in the world and thousands of tourists visit it every year. It is difficult to define what exactly attracts so many people to it: if it is the ancient history that surrounds you where ever you go, or the bustling city and its wonderful pleasures of good cuisine, fine clothing and modern art. It is probably the exciting combination of both, old and new at the same time.
The best way to explore this vivid city is to walk down its streets and piazzas, which are full of character and historic atmosphere. If you get tired of museums, churches or art galleries, you can always take a break in one of the famous cafe’s and restaurants or just enjoy the fine fashion shops. This is one of the most historic cities, but it is very much alive today.
Rome usually enjoys a mild spring and autumn, this would be the best time to visit were it not that the city is then crammed with tourists. The weather in Rome during summer is uncomfortably hot, temperatures often exceeding 95°F (35°C) at midday, and Romans tend to close up their businesses during August and leave on summer vacation. Mid-winter is mild, the average temperature in December hovering around 55°F (13°C).
The official language in Rome is Italian but English is widely understood at the touristy sights.
Service charges are usually included on all bar or restaurant bills at a cost of 10 to 15 percent. It is expected to tip a smll amount of money, usually to round up to the next euro. It is not common to tip taxi drivers.
The VAT can be reclaimed by visitors from outside the EU as long as the purchase exceeds € 154,94 (VAT included) and was purchased at one store on the same day. In order to do that, you have to ask in the store for an invoice containing the description of goods, the personal data of the non European resident as well as the particulars of his passport or of any such equivalent document. At the airport your purchased items need to be taken to the customs clearance. In order to get the VAT refund, the Invoice should be sent back to the seller within four months. Refund will be sent in the method of your choice. Should the seller not receive the invoice in time, he shall be hold responsible by the state for the payment of VAT initially deducted from the purchase, therefore, please do not forget this last act. The invoice doesn’t need postage; all you need to do is drop it in a mailbox at the airport.
Customs Information Line: +39 06 50246061
To call Rome from abroad, first dial +39 for Italy and then 06 for Rome.
There can be high charges on calls made from hotels and it is generally cheaper to use a calling card. Public telephone boxes take phone cards for local and international calls, which can be bought from tobacconit’s, post office, newsstands and some bars.
Telephones that take coins have become very rare in Italy and Rome. You can find them in Termini station, in some bars, hotels and metro stations.
Banks are usually open Monday through Friday from 8.30 am to 1.30 pm. In the afternoon, the opening hours change from bank to bank but they are usually open from 2.30 pm/3 pm to 4 pm/4.30 pm. Some banks are open non-stop from 8.30 am to 4 pm and/or on Saturday mornings.
In the centre of Rome several post offices are open Monday through Friday from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 8.30 am to 1 pm.
Many major museums are closed on Mondays, and on the days they are open, some close their doors by early afternoon. Most churches close at midday for a long lunch break and reopen at 3 or 4 p.m. The Forum and other major archaeological sites tend to stay open throughout the day, but in many cases they stop letting people in an hour before closing time.
· January 1 New Year’s Day
· January 6 Epiphany
· April Easter
· April 25 Liberatin Day
· May 1 Labor Day
· June Anniversary of the Republic
· June 29 Feast Day of St. Peter
· August 15 Assumption
· November 1 All Saints’ Day
· December 8 Immaculate Conception
· December 25 Christmas
· December 26 St. Stephen’s Day
Rome, like any western European capital, is a "safe" place. The only problem one can find in Rome is the presence of pickpockets. The base of the pickpockets seems to be the main train station Termini. Furthermore, the pickpockets are also very active in all public transport vehicles and by the sights, where tourists are distracted. Watch out for groups of children in scruffy clothing, often accompanied by a young woman nursing a baby. Back packs, dangling purses, and wallets in back pockets are particularly vulnerable, and anything on your person is fair game on a crowded bus or train.
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