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The Euro:
The once loved and highly devalued Italian lira (L) is now a thing of the past.* As of January 1st, 2002, twelve countries in the European Union (including Italy) adopted the Euro as their legal currency. The Euro experiment, which began with a primary purpose of uniting commerce in a geographic area that has many different foreign ideologies, has become a stable and valiant currency with a strong presence in today’s Foreign exchange markets (FOREX).

Denominations of the Euro include:
1, 2 Euro coins;
5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 & 500 Euro notes;
and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents.

The Euro is unique in that each country prints its’ own euro notes (even though both sides of the banknotes are the same in all Euro-based countries). The real distinction rests in the coins as they are minted with one side which bears each country’s own design, and another side that is common to all countries. But, no matter what country's Euros you possess, they are the same size, they are the same in value, and they can be used in all Euro-based countries.

Today, the FOREX quotes the value of the Euro to be approximately equal to USD $1.2864

Amount:   =

When do I convert my money? Before embarking on your Etaly Vacation, it is advisable to equip yourself with enough Euros so as to compensate for an unplanned cab ride or phone call. Thereafter, it is advisable to keep some Euros in cash for making small purchases, such as snacks and souvenirs from street vendors. Wherever you are in the world, banks and ATMs are the best places to receive favorable exchange rates for cash withdrawal.

The good news, however, is that credit cards are also a widely accepted method of payment in Italy and they are the best method of obtaining the best exchange rate. Whenever possible, avoid cash conversions at airports or at your Italian hotels as their rates have a tendency to leave holes in your pockets. Don’t forget to plan for having enough cash in your pockets for your return trip back home (in case you have to pay for airport parking or arrange for a cab).

In the absence of credit cards, Traveler's checks are also very useful and a less risky method of payment during your vacation in Italy. For convenience, buy them already denominated in Euros before you leave.
In Italy, banks are usually open Monday through Friday (and Saturday mornings), and are closed on public holidays. ATMs are readily accessible in many instances, but check with your local bank to make sure they are part of a European ATM network.

*If you have Italian lira left over from a previous trip, you can convert them to Euros at any Italian bank.



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