Essential Travel Tips

Essential Travel Tips

Here are a few travel tips we have pulled together to make your travels around Basilicata a little smoother.

CUSTOMS

When travelling abroad it is important to know the rules and regulations set out before you travel.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

Police – 113
Italian ‘Carabinieri’ (military corps and duplicate police force) – 112
Ambulance – 118
Fire – 115

LUCANIA

You are likely to come across the words ‘Lucania’ or ‘Lucania’ during your travels in Basilicata. Lucania is simply the ancient word for Basilicata and is still used to identify the region so don’t be confused by it.

Cuisine, for example, may be referred to as Lucanian.

Lucania (2)

OPENING AND CLOSING TIMES

Lunch is typically served from 1p.m. and dinner from 8p.m. as local people prefer to eat late. Many shops, restaurants and cafés close in the afternoon although this is not called a siesta. Shops typically reopen in the late afternoon for three to four hours. Plan ahead to avoid being caught out; shop in the morning or evening, buy a packed lunch, or enjoy an ‘aperitivo’ (a pre-dinner drink and snack) in a local bar.

Many shops, restaurants and attractions may have varying opening and closing days so be sure to check to avoid a wasted journey.

Get in touch via phone or email, or check the websites of any museums or activities you want to go to as opening times may vary depending on the season.

COVER CHARGE (IL COPERTO)

This is an extra charge made by some restaurants which can be said to cover a variety of things such as an entry fee, service, bread and water. It is sometimes understood to cover the basics which foreigners may be used to getting for free.

Sometimes called the ‘pane e coperto’, or the bread and cover charge, the cover charge does not pay for something like bread specifically; even if you don’t eat any bread you will still need to pay it. Make sure you check and know what it does cover! Sometimes it may include the bread on the table, sometimes you will be charged for the bread.

The cover charge should be mentioned on the menu and is not the same thing as a tip; it goes to the establishment not the individual.

TIPPING

Tipping ranges from expected, to not expected, to offensive if you have been served by the restaurant’s owner or their family and are seen to be taking pity on them. Many Italians may not leave a tip, but pay with cash and tell the establishment to keep the change.

Tips may be included in the bill (servizio incluso) however, even if they aren’t (servizio non incluso), do not feel that is necessary to leave a tip. Lots of Italians find it irritating when tourists leave large tips as they worry that the serving staff will begin to expect them as a matter of course. It is probably best to keep an eye on what the locals around you are doing; if you do leave a tip, it may only be necessary to leave a few coins rather than the large tip many foreigners are accustomed to giving.

MONEY

The Euro is Italy’s official currency and is used throughout Basilicata. Banks will only exchange currency for their own customers and traveller’s cheques are rarely accepted as a form of payment. ATMs, also known in Italy as ‘Bancomat’, can be found across the region, even in the small towns and villages, and are sometimes inside the banks themselves.

CITY/TOURIST TAX

This is an extra cost across Italy which is to be paid directly to the hotel and can be decided upon by the cities and municipalities. It will probably be no more than a few euros per person, per night.

If you are worried, it may be best to check your hotel’s website or contact them directly to find out the cost.

WEATHER

Basilicata has a varied climate due to the diverse terrain and altitudes found across the region. The Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts are popular summer retreats where sea breezes cool the heat of the day whilst the Lucanian Dolomites mountain range provides excellent walking in the summer and snow skiing for up to four months in the winter.