Where To Stay
The tourist office can supply listings of major-city hotels, with their ratings. Italy also has an extensive network of motels, some of which have swimming pools, gardens and other amenities.
The historic Grand Hotel et de Milano, known affectionately as "il Milano," reopened after renovations. Giuseppe Verdi maintained an apartment here, where he died in 1901. Located on the elegant Via Manzoni at the intersection of Via Monte Napoleone, the street that houses most of Milan's high-fashion names and boutiques, the hotel is a short walk to La Scala, the Duomo, and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
Arriving & Departing:Trains from Leonardo da Vinci Airport go directly to Rome's central Stazione Termini 15 times a day (the trip takes approximately 30 minutes). Metropolitan Link service leaves the airport every 20 minutes from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for Stazione Tiburtina with stops at the Ponte Galeria, Muratella, Magliana, Trastevere, Ostiense and Tuscolana stations.
The bus fare from Malpensa Airport to the Milan train station is about $7. There is frequent rail service to Italy from other European countries. Car ferries link Adriatic ports (Ancona, Bari, Brindisi) with Greece. Modern highways crest the Alps and run through spectacular mountain tunnels from France, Switzerland and Austria.
Getting Around:Domestic flights connect Rome and Milan with all regions, including Sicily and Sardinia.
An eight-day Italian Rail Card, good for unlimited rail travel, costs about $266 for first class; $177 for second class. There are also passes for 15, 21 and 30 days. A first-class Italy Flexi Railcard, good for four days of rail travel within one month costs about $209 for first class; $139 for second class. There also are passes for eight or 12 days of travel within one month. The Italian Kilometric Ticket can be shared by up to five persons traveling together. It is valid for 20 trips, limited to a total of 3,000 kilometers (1,875 miles) of travel within two months, and costs approximately $264 per pass, first class; $156, second class.
Passes can be purchased from travel agents or from CIT Rail at 800-248-7245.
Bus and subway fare in Rome is about 75 cents. In Venice, the vaporetti (water buses) are the cheapest transportation. The extensive highway system speeds motorists between cities, but traffic jams within major cities are commonplace.
New Years Day, Epiphany (Jan. 6), Easter Sunday and Monday (Mar. 30 and 31), Liberation Day (April 25), Labor Day (May 1), Assumption (Aug. 15), All Saints Day (Nov. 1), Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8), Christmas and Dec. 26. The major summer holiday is on Assumption (Aug. 15), when just about everything is closed.
Banks are open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and again from 3 to 4 p.m. The monetary unit is the lira. $1 = 1,515 ITL as of Dec. 2, 1996.
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