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Temperatures could be in the 60's and 70's, probably warmer in Sicily. It will be much cooler on the volcano ascents and the ferries could be chilly or even cold and windy. Some evenings may also be cool. Rain is always a possibility, but less so in Sicily.
Up-to-date tetanus shot (within 5 years) is required and the Hepatitis A vaccination is suggested. Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver transmitted from contaminated water, ice or shellfish; or from fruits or uncooked vegetables contaminated through handling. Symptoms, if they occur, may include fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, aches and pains, etc. More information is available from the Centers for Disease Control at < http://www.cdc.gov/travel/westeurp.htm>. For Cass County residents, shots can be gotten at the Fargo Cass Health Center, which you can also consult for other suggestions. Italy does not require any shots or vaccinations.
If you are on special medication, be sure to bring along sufficient quantities to serve you during your stay. You may have your doctor write a prescription using the drug's generic name, because brand names vary from country to country. To avoid problems with customs agents, carry prescription drugs in their original, clearly-labeled containers. Don't put prescription drugs in your checked baggage; keep it in your carry-on. Immodium or pepto-bismol is suggested for intestinal upset, or a prescription such as lomotil. If you wear prescription eyeglasses, carry a copy of the prescription, or better yet, a spare pair of glasses in case of loss or breakage. The International Student Identity Card (http://www.istc.org/) provides you with some medical and emergency benefits. You are responsible for having adequate accident/health insurance.
All passengers require a valid passport from the country where they hold citizenship. Italy does not require a visa for American citizens. If you plan to travel to another country after the trip, you should determine whether you need a visa or if there are any special requirements such as vaccinations, etc.
$1.00 equals about 1800 Italian Lire. An easy way of making conversion to US dollars is to remember that 10,000 lire equals about $6.00; or 100,000 L = $60; etc.
Monetary units: 1,000 L; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 50,000; 100,000. Coins: 100 lire; 500 lire.
We suggest that you bring: $50 in Italian lire, some US cash but not much, $300 minimum -- preferably $500 -- in Traveler's Checks; the most widely recognized one is American Express. ATM's with Cirrus or Plus can be found throughout Italy. Some bank machines only accept 4 digit numbers, so make sure your account number and card will work in Italy.
Remember that banks have short hours and usually have long lines. When changing money, banks will give you better rates than booths at airports or train stations. There are likely to be fees for money exchanges. Visa, Mastercard, and to a lesser extent American Express can be used for purchasing, but Discover will not be useful. Charging purchases will give you a good exchange rate, but you can't count on using your credit card, especially outside of big cities or in small shops or restaurants.
Continental breakfasts and at least one other meal are included in the trip price for most hotels. All beverages are extra, and they are not cheap. Lunch can be a picnic, slice of pizza, etc. and can be very inexpensive. In restaurants and cafes, standing at the bar for your cup of cappuccino or coffee costs much less than sitting at a table. Food purchased for take-away also costs less than sitting at a table. An average tourist menu evening meal is about $15. Splurges can be $30- 40. Service (servizio) is generally 15% and is normally added to the bill. No extra tipping needed.
Museums vary in cost; the most famous (Uffizzi in Florence) can run 12,000L ($8), with others at about 8,000L ($5). There will be some entry fees to archaeological sites that will be your responsibility - these will be in the 10,000 L range. Bus & metro tickets in Rome are 1,500 lire. Postcards cost about 1,200 lire.