How to stay healthy in Italy
Italian hospitals are public and offer completely free high-standard treatment for EU travellers, although, as anywhere else, you may have to wait quite long to be treated unless you’re in a serious condition. Emergency rooms are called PRONTOSOCCORSO. Emergency assistance is granted even to non-EU travelers. For non-emergency assistance, non-EU citizens are required to pay out-of-pocket, there is no convention with US health insurances (although some insurance companies might later reimburse these expenses). Italy has a four-color code of urgency, red being the most immediate (assistance is given without any delay) and white being the lowest (anyone with a red, yellow and green code will pass before you). With a white code, meaning the treatment is not urgent and does not necessitate emergency personnel, you are also required to pay for the full consultation, so do not go to the Pronto Soccorso just to check your knee after last year’s fall.
Water in southern Italy might come from desalination plants and sometimes may have a strange taste, due to extended droughts, but it is always perfectly safe as the state runs continuous tests. If in doubt use bottled water. Elsewhere tap water is perfectly drinkable and very well maintained. If not, a “NON POTABILE” warning is posted.
Written by The Travel Valet
Photo courtesy of Fototeca ENIT