PRACTICAL INFORMATION of SICILY

Identification: It is important that one has a Passport or Identity Card (European citizen) with them at all times. It is commonly requested by Carabinieri, Police Officers, Banks, check-in at hotels and at tourist sites where a discount is applicable to European citizens over 65 years old. Driving: Driving licence must be carried with you at all times, frequently there’s police controls on the roads. One must always drive with the car lights on whether on motorway or minor roads. Every car must have a Fluorescent Jacket, which you must put on in case you break down on the side of the road and need to wait by your car. Autostrada (motorway) signs are in Green and the secondary roads are in Blue. The tolls on the autostrada are quite reasonably priced approx. 80c or every 10 km, therefore worthwhile using it as it is faster. Once you take a ticket from the toll (press the large red button) make sure it isn’t lost as there’s a minimum charge sometimes of Euro 250.00. Upon exiting the autostrada there’s four options:

  1. sign with hand and coins – means that there’s a person at the tolls that you need to hand the cash money to.
  2. sign with coins – self-service, you place you ticket in the machine then notes or coins for the amount owing, the machine gives back the change.
  3. V-card Blue signs – can pay with credit card, place you ticket in machine then you credit card.
  4. Telepass – yellow signs where the toll charge is charged to an account.

There’s a lot of traffic in the cities or larger towns but once you get out of the main areas the autostrada are usually not busy. When trying to find your way around make sure you know the names of the towns that are on route, often there’s a sign for one town then next sign mentions another town, it is so confusing if you don’t know that they are on the same route. Autostrade (motorway) - The tolls on the autostrada are quite reasonably priced eg. 80c or every 10 km, therefore worthwhile using it as it is faster. One must always drive with the car lights on whether on motorway or minor roads. Every car must have a Fluorescent Jacket, which you must put on in case you break down on the side of the road and need to wait by your car. Finance Police: When making a purchase even a coffee you must take the receipt, as the finance police (dressed in grey) can stop you to ask for the receipt, if you don’t have one, yourself and the vendor can be fined. Of course this doesn’t happened often but it can happen. Laws aren’t always applied but when they are one doesn’t really know the consequences, so take caution! Security: Like many other large cities you need take care of your personal belongings especially at train stations and markets. In the smaller towns it is safer the local people look after themselves but at the same time take care. Sicilian Mafia: Some of the guide books would say that Mafia is everywhere, times have changed “yes” the Mafia does still exist but its big business affair now, involved in commercial properties, banking and politics but not in small everyday life affairs and especially tourists. Please do not worry you will realise how friendly and welcoming the Sicilians are. Sicilian dialect: Sicilian dialect has influences as varied as the island’s history. Latin, Greek, Arabic, French and Spanish are all represented in the vocabulary. To complicate matters it varies considerably, as does accent, from one province to the next. Italian is the official language and used in schools and by the media, but at home and in the community even youngsters are proud to speak dialect. Sicilian literature too has adopted it and in fact nowhere else has dialect been used as a literary language for such a long time and in such an uncompromising way. This so much so that it has given rise to two linguistically different parallel streams, often present in the same author: one in Italian, the other in Sicilian dialect Mosquitoes: It is important to have with you mosquito repellent during the summer months there can be a few mosquitoes about.