If you're traveling abroad and headed for Italy, there are some facts about Italy that you should know. Having a basic understanding of any country you're visiting is the key to having a great time!

First, most Italians speak Italian! Yes, many people in Italy speak English, but when you're traveling there, learn some key Italian phrases.

Yes = Si
No = No
Please = Per favore
Thank you = Grazie
Excuse me = Scusi

And perhaps the most important phrase for any American: Parla Inglese? (Do you speak English?)

Now, for facts about Italy itself. The country is divided into twenty regions, with their own distinct cultures and traditions. They boast many various types of geography, from Mediterranean beaches to high mountain ranges, and everything in between.

You have so many options for your trip! Bike tours, lounging beach vacations, ski weeks, wine tours, golf tours, spa getaways…the possibilities are practically endless, from Trentino in the far north, to Calabria at the toe of the "boot," to the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

Although Italy has a wonderfully temperate climate, thanks to the Alps protecting the country from the colder northern winds, the temperatures and weather can vary greatly, depending on how close to the sea or mountains you're visiting.

The summer is hot and dry, but comfortable along the beaches, so those are wonderful areas to visit that time of year, as are the mountains, if you prefer hiking.

In the winter, try the mountains for excellent skiing, and in spring and fall, try visiting the cities of Italy, where artistic treasures abound!

Italy, as a member of the European Union (EU), now uses the Euro as its currency. Be aware of the exchange rate as you travel…things are more expensive than they might first seem! Also be aware of pick pockets who prey upon tourists.

NEVER carry large amounts of cash with you, and remain aware of your surroundings while keeping your money hidden. Italy is known for its excellent shopping, so don't get caught without funds!

These facts about Italy are just the beginning…you will discover many wonderful things about this ancient country in your travels!

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