We chose Cash Passport cards, also known as Visa TravelMoney cards, issued by our local CAA club, rather than carry cash. We didn't wish to use our credit cards (easier to negotiate prices with cash in Europe), and DEBIT cards were tied to our bank accounts, allowing us too easy access to funds we didn't wish to spend. Cash passport cards are prepaid, up to $15,000, and are accepted by all ATM machines. We felt that using a prepaid card would help to maintain our travel budget, plus we could access our balance online. We have used these cards exclusively for over eight months, and have never been denied funds anywhere in Italy. Check them out.....$3 CDN per transaction.
Also great for younger family members to carry, safer and not as scary as providing a credit card for 'emergency' use.
This was our first winter/spring in Italy. We have learned to carry an umbrella in our pack sacks...just in case. Buy a small, very compact unit. It will come in handy. Even visiting during the summer or fall could require the use of these jim dandy items.
I never used one in Canada, so I had to learn proper umbrella manners. Difficult to manuever through narrow streets when everyone has an umbrella extended.
Be aware, every shop has a 'waste paper' looking container by their door. It's for wet umbrellas, not discarded tissues.
Luggage and bags:
Cobblestones are hard on luggage with wheels...carry a backpack whenever possible, regardless of your age. We are in our mid fifties, and a year ago wouldn't be caught dead with one. Now, our suitcases are in storage, and we each possess a back pack good for two-five day trips, expandable for two week trips, plus a day pack. If you must use the other, bring something with real good wheels, but be prepared for an uneven ride.
Practice pack at home, lay everything out on the bed that you think you'll need, then eliminate half of it. Trust me, you won't miss it. You've got lots of stairs to climb, in train stations and hotels, plus down the corridors of moving trains. Another tip, if you have a hard time lifting your pack above your head, you've got too much. Trains have overhead racks for storage, and they're already stuffed. Less is better...
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Guide books will tell you not to wear running shoes, because they are not generally worn in Italy. Untrue, untrue, untrue. Bring the most comfortable shoes you own, and if you purchase new ones prior to your trip, break them in first. We have yet to find really good walking socks in Italy, but that doesn't mean they don't exist, we're getting older and age has it's disadvantages. Shorts are not generally worn, but suggest you buy the lightweight pants with zip-off legs. Shorts are becoming more and more popular however, and they are not as uncommon as two years ago.
It is hot and humid in summer, fantastic in the fall, and we had only two days of winter weather this year, so dress accordingly. Layer your clothes, regardless of the season.
Umbrellas are a must in the early fall, but easy to find and cheap to purchase. Wait, and buy one here if necessary. (approx. 10 euro)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Carry toilet paper with you, or the travel packs of tissue (Italian tissues are great, much thicker and larger than North American ones), Advil (not available), but otherwise Italy has everything else you may need. You may have difficulty recognizing certain off-the-shelf medications, so bring what you may need immediately. We had, and still have difficulty finding Pharmacists who understand English? Doctors usually do however.
We have recently noticed that the bandaids available here do not stick very well. Be advised to bring some with you. You'll need them for your heels if you haven't worn broken-in shoes. Best to bring moleskin for your heels and apply before you develope blisters.
Photo Equipment: Readily available, as are many One Hour Developing shops. I always have a set of prints and a disc made for me, and prices range dramatically from 10 euro (with Fun Disc) up to 22 euro (regular disc). If you just want a disc made fom a digital camera, most places will do it immediately for 5 euro, except in Venice where they charge unsuspecting tourists 9 euro. Worth it if your memory card is full however. Charging units, including a spare set of batteries are readily available for approx. 15 euro.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: In regards to back packs, shop carefully before you buy. You don't need the rugged mountain climbing types with a place for your ice picks. You need a lightweight pack, with a strong handle and good adjustable straps, with an expandable storage area (when you pack, don't expand this section), an outside pocket with real easy access to hold your train tickets, another outside pocket for your map and guide book. Waterproof is nice, but if it rains, stop for an espresso.
Buy a day pack, and leave the larger pack in the hotel (seal the pockets with lockable plastic tabs to prevent 'maid related' thefts).
The day pack will carry your camera, a bottle of water, aspirins, spare film, euro coinage, travel guide, maps, and bus/train tickets (for short excursions). You'll find the day pack very helpful, but buy a good one. Don't get cheap here, you will carry it everywhere. Keep the size to a minimum. Buy an expandable one. I own a Berghaus. It is intended for bike users, and is 'Bladdered'.
Miscellaneous: Cheap sweat shirts are very difficult to find, plus the sizing in Italy is odd (to us). I wear XL shirts, and XL that I find here is too tight, but occasionally find an XXL that fits. Beware when purchasing gifts (buy larger than requested for clothing). Find the European equivalent of your shoe size prior to entering a shoe store, and learn how to pronounce the correct size in Italian, or print it on a piece of paper.
If you ladies were packing your hair dryer, and have been busy trying to locate a voltage converter, forget it. Buy a cheap dryer here, costs much less than buying the converter, plus you don't have to pack it. Then, leave it behind for the chambermaid when you leave.
You will thank me for that tip.
Men, use disposable razors, and bar soap.
Every first Sathurday of the month there is a great shopping fair on Prato della Valle. It is a very good oportunity to buy cheap clothes and shoes.
Miscellaneous: This two guys, dressed in the medieval clothes, have participated to the show which took place on Prato della Valle during the Maratona del Santo.
Luggage and bags:
Travel light! A daysac for carrying cameras, guide books etc. If You're visiting the Scroveni Chapel and Eremitani museums, You will be expected to leave Your bags in the cloakroom - They're quite fussy about this!!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Comfortable shoes - There's plenty to see in Padua, so You'll probably cover miles on foot.
Padua is a University city, so there are a lot of casually dressed students- but all looking quite fashionable. In the evening there were some smartly dressed men and women.
The track around the Prato della Valle is popular with joggers - so pack Your trainers and join them in the evening circuits.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring any prescribed medication with you and a list of your medication.
There are plenty of well equiped pharmacies here.
Compeed blister plasters!
Photo Equipment: Padua is a photographers paradise - so bring all You can carry! There are quite a few Photography shops here.
Miscellaneous: Spectacle prescription - there are some great opticians in Padua, with wide selections of spectacles. I lost the tiny screw from my specs, and I was very impressed with the service I got.
Small binoculars for a clear view of the paintings in the Scroveni Chapel and Palazzo della Ragione.
Cutlery/ plastic bowl/plate for a picnic- Stock up with delicious food at the markets, then head for one of the parks or squares!
Luggage and bags:
Luggage with wheels is a must if you bring a lot of luggage items.
Remember you will be dragging it over cobble stoned streets and up stairs.
Italians take stairs like mountain goats, and I wish for escalators and elevators.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Months of September through April---light jacket is minimum needed
December through March 1--heavier jacket
Long stays--sweat pants, sweat shirt and long sleeve shirts during winter (they turn the heat off at 11:00 am, back on later)
folding umbrella for winter
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: neosporin
The farmacias have all the same medicines and some of it is possible to get without prescription.
mosquito bite medicine to reduce irritation
Photo Equipment: They have the same things, wires, chips, etc. that you find in the U.S.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: They have umbrellas, tables with removeable legs, folding chairs, etc. for sale in camping shops. Padova has an awesome camping store near the center and one further out.
Miscellaneous: the electric converters sold in the states may not be enough for hair dryers. (I burned mine up recharging my electric shaver.) The surge at the beginning of turning a hair dryer on is too much for some converters. I also had to buy the parts for and put together a converter for my kitchen aide mixer, as it uses a lot of electricity.
Bring several of the plugs that change from US plugs to Italian ones. These do not change the current, only the hole/plugs.
And for a smile or two, I provided some photos for you.
Luggage and bags:
Take a day bag, something big enough to hold a bottle of water in addition to your camers, guide book, tissues etc. Padova can be very hot and you dont want to get dehydrated, or spend all your money having to keep stopping for drinks in cafes
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: good walking shoes are a must, many of the older streets are not smooth
sometimes cities can be harder on your feet than hill walking
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: dont bother, you can get everything you need here
Luggage and bags:
Padova is a city suitable for walking and bicycling.
Most locals do the latter.For a relaxed walking,don't take too much or too heavy.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: HA!Absolutely a raincoat or an umbrella!
In the winter,Padova really rains a lot and often foggy as well!
comfortable shoes... there's a lot of walking to be done in town
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: small tissues or handkerchiefs... it^s full of pigeons - and when you least expect it - they may poo on you
Miscellaneous: bring a guidebook - and a map. It makes life a lot mroe simple. Then again we were not exactly heading for Padova
Luggage and bags:
* Map and guidebook;
* 2 Liter of water;
* Fruit / power bars.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: * Hiking boots;
* 1 extra t-shirt;
* Shorts with many pockets;
* Fleece type jacket;
* Hat / cap;
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: * Lip balm;
* (Neck) sunblock;
Photo Equipment: * Camera and lots of memory cards!
* Extra batteries;
* Lens 210 mm.
Miscellaneous: * Binocular;