Archive for the ‘General’ Category



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Pharmacy sign
Italian pharmacies are recognizable by a green or red cross displayed outside the store. Pharmacies are privately owned stores and you won’t find them in any big grocery stores as in the USA. The pharmacists, who are all professionally trained, are reliable and many of them speak English, especially in the big cities and tourist areas.
Pharmacies have their own hours and are usually open from Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 1pm and 4pm to 7:30pm. Many of them are open on Saturday, while most are closed on Sunday. Every pharmacy posts a list indicating which pharmacies in the area are open outside of regular business hours, including night shifts.

In Italy, over the counter as well prescription medicines can only be given to you by the pharmacist (farmacista). In Italy what is considered to be over the counter products are only non-drug items such as baby, beauty or personal care products, and many similar others.

(This is just a small excerpt from Chapter 8 – Hospitals & Medical Assistance of our eBook.)

Strikes in Italy


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When you plan internal transfers from various Italian locations, it’s always a good idea to budget some buffer time for unforeseen circumstances. Strikes (scioperi) and delays (ritardi) are normal everyday events.
In my last trip home, the Venice airport personnel announced a couple of hours strike on the spot because some union negotiations weren’t going as they hoped. After traveling for 14 hours from Seattle, that wasn’t necessary the best ‘Welcome home’ news I was expecting. I was lucky to see my luggage showing up on the belt right at the announcement, but I bet the next load of passengers weren’t that happy.
Sometimes friends ask me to review their itineraries. When I see their Italian vacation scheduled by the hour and packed with various transportation from city to city, I warn them that is a recipe for frustration. Trains have gotten better in recent years, but strikes are very common. Be flexible and prepared to cope with some delays and you’ll enjoy your trip even more.

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If you travel to Italy from the US, you may find it hard at first to understand the Italian units and conversion systems. As we cover this topic extensively in our eBook, we decided to make it simple for you to carry along this information by extracting the entire chapter and make it available in a new, practical and curious format: a paper PocketMod.
PocketMods are tiny 8-page booklets that fold together from a single letter size sheet of paper. You can print one on your printer, fold it together, and carry it around, in your pocket.

Here is how this works:
- Download our Units & Conversions chapter in PocketMod format (320K – PDF)
- Print the document in high resolution (possibly in colors)
- Go to the PocketMod web site, click on Create a PocketMod (top right link) and follow the video instructions on how to fold your paper into a PocketMod (or review the folding diagram)

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the extreme virtualization of information and enjoy once again the good old paper :-)