In January 2005, Italy has introduced a new law that prohibits anybody to smoke in restaurants, coffee shops and other public services. Oddly enough, Italians have reacted positively to this law. Business owners have promptly installed high tables, external gas heaters and plenty of ash trays outside their premises. The result is a win-win situation where customers inside can enjoy a smoke-free environment, and smokers outside can still have their cigarette while practicing some people watching.
If you happen to be in Milan this weekend, I strongly encourage you to pay a visit to the International Travel Expo called BIT 2006 (16-21 February). With 5000 exhibitors, it’s the largest travel fair featuring Italy and other 120 countries in the world. I attended last year’s event, and I was impressed by the showcase of food, art and culture that each of the Italian regions displayed. Highly recommended!
It used to be that once you purchased your train ticket, you were good to depart right away. Sometimes the conductor showed up to validate your ticket before you arrived at destination. Sometimes he did not. Many people found irresistible the temptation to reuse the same ticket again and again before it expired. Until Trenitalia (the railway company) decided to put a stop to this practice (without really addressing the shortage of train personnel). And the yellow punch machines were introduced. Before you onboard, don’t forget to validate your ticket. There is a Euro 25 penalty if you miss this easy step and if you are so lucky to meet the ticket conductor during your trip.