Public phones in Italy use magnetic cards, which you may buy at tobacconists (look for a dark blue sign with a white "T" outside), newsstands and post offices. Ask for a carta telefonica. Rip off the perforated corner as indicated, and insert the card in the upper slot of the box on the right side of the telephone. Throughout your call, a digital display on the phone shows how much credit is available. When the card is used up or when you hang up, the machine ejects the card through the bottom slot. Don't forget to take your card before you leave! All calls in Italy (except mobile numbers and toll-free 800 numbers) require the city area code which starts with "0", even in the same area code.
Many restaurants and caffes have metered phones, like Giovanni's Bar Centrale in Montecastello, and in Todi's tourist office (Pro Todi) in Piazza del Popolo. You ask the attendant or cashier for a line, and after you've finished, they tell you how much to pay.
Please call home soon after you arrive, or your family may worry and try to call you.
Friends and relatives can call you during mealtimes or after classes at the phone inside the main studio building in Montecastello near the dining room: +39-075 8780739. There is also a pay phone booth in town which accepts phone cards. For a brief call, you can also ask permission to use the metered phone at Giovanni's caffe: 075 8780443, but please don't tie up the phones with lengthy credit card or collect calls.
If you want to receive a fax, use the Montecastello office number: +39-075 8780072, or in the US, toll-free: (866) 449-3604. Please limit the number of pages to 2-3. We can also send a fax for you from the office. One page to the US costs 1,50 Euro. Phone messages and faxes will be posted for you on the bulletin board in the dining room. In an emergency, people may call or fax the office in Montecastello. Our answering machine will automatically receive a fax or a voice message, 24 hours every day. From the US dial 011-39-075-8780072.
For US rates, you can access an operator in the States:
US 800 toll-free numbers are not accessible from Italy, but you can try 880 instead. There will be a charge for the international portion of the call. If you buy a phone card be sure to get the international access number to use from Italy. For an operator-assisted call outside of Europe, dial 170. (The telephone book has other country-direct access codes.)
Mobile phones in Italy use the GSM network. For your mobile phone to work it should be at least tri-band and GSM. Tri-band phones work in the US and in Europe. Some American mobile phones, even GSM phones, don't necessarily work in Europe. For assurance, look for a new device called a phase 2+ compatible phone. Request that your service provider turn on the international service. Smart travelers buy local SIM cards in the area they're visiting and use them for local calls. Most American wireless carriers sell "locked" phones rigged so you can't swap out the SIM card unless you get the code that unlocks the phone. US mobile users should change the network band from 1900MHz to 900/1800MHZ when they arrive. To call the US directly on a mobile phone, press and hold the + key and dial 1, followed by the area code number, or dial 001, area code, and number.
We have wireless Internet in the school building. You can also send and receive email on the School library computers. Some university servers do not allow outside connections, so you may want to use a free web mail account like Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo. If you don't have one of these permanent email addresses, just go to one of those web sites and sign up.
Carry essentials with you on the plane (medicine, valuables, toiletries, extra underwear, and toothbrush) in case your luggage gets lost or delayed.
Clothes: Montecastello is 423 meters (1388 feet) above sea level and therefore is cooler than most cities. You may sometimes want a long-sleeved cotton shirt and even a sweater. During June through August it's hot at midday, although it's much cooler inside the thick stone walls of our buildings. Summer mornings and evenings are pleasant. May and September are mild. In general, bring light clothes, and a hat to keep your head cool when you're working outdoors. Please dress a little more modestly than you would in a casual environment in hot weather back home, out of politeness to the townspeople (and self-preservation: see Inconveniences in Montecastello). Be prepared for an occasional rain and some cool evenings, or a heat wave. Bring something festive for parties, leather-soled shoes if you like dancing, and whatever you'd like to wear to openings, a concert, or other special evening events. Bring a good pair of walking shoes for trips. For working out in the countryside, your feet and ankles should be well protected against creatures and plants that bite or sting (like vipers! see Viper Supplement). On trips, men and women should plan to keep shoulders and knees covered in churches.
Electronics: Use only 220 volt appliances, or bring a 220 volt voltage converter. Make sure the type is appropriate for the appliance you're going to use. Laptops come with AC Adapters. Look on the power supply for "Input: V 100-120-220-240." This means it works both in the US (110 Volts) and Italy (220). All you will need is an inexpensive international plug adaptor which you can buy at most airports. Look for a European two-pin plug (Europlug), or a German or Italian plug. See our Italian Plug Guide for more information.
Money: No one can predict what exchange rates will be. Banks do not all offer the same rate of exchange, but the bank at the airport usually has the best rate. Some, like the one in Montecastello, charge a flat commission for traveler's checks or cash.
You may spend money for a coffee or for bottled water for your room, € 0,50-1,00; snacks or gelato (ice cream), € 0.55-1,55; museum admissions, € 2-15; and of course, art supplies, average € 150-300 for the session, eating out on trip days and shopping (your choice!). Some people consider Italy expensive, but everyone's needs are different. Bring at least as much as you would normally spend at home, and a little extra. (Your meals are included in your fees, except on trip days.) Also bring:
You should bring certain art supplies with you, because you've already invested in them, and they may be more expensive in Italy (many things are). Materials you're used to may be different or unavailable there. You will be able to get the basics at the Student Art Supply Store, including pre-stretched pre-primed canvases. Bring your favorite materials if you're not sure. Expect to go through art supplies rapidly. You should also have:
Clay and plaster for normal sculpture class projects are covered by your tuition. Easles, drawing boards, and stretcher bars are available on loan from the school. We have paint, mediums and solvents, canvas, pre-primed pre-stretched canvases, gessoed boards, raw canvas, gesso, paper, drawing materials, and more for sale in the art store.
To avoid problems with airline security
Don't try to bring paints, solvents, knives, scissors or aerosol sprays in your hand luggage. Certain airlines, especially British Airways consider paint of any kind hazardous and will confiscate it. See: Permitted and Prohibited Items (U.S. Department of Homeland Security). See also Tips For Traveling With Oil Painting Materials and Gamblin Artists Colors Newsletter.
If you want to ship art supplies, plan at least 2 weeks for delivery by mail or courier. Do not ship solvents or sprays. Ship to yourself (not the name of the school) at the address of the studio building:
2, via Unita d’Italia
06057 Montecastello di Vibio PG
Anything shipped into or out of Italy to a non-EU country is subject to customs taxes. To avoid paying the 21% tax you must declare NO COMMERCIAL VALUE, or a minimum value of $10. However, if no value is declared, it can’t be insured. Customs value is determined by adding the value of the merchandise to the cost of shipping.
|Translations of some materials for shopping at art supply stores|
|Linseed oil||Olio di lino|
|Rabbit skin glue||Colla di coniglio|
|Titanium white||Titanio di bianco|
|Brush, Brushes, Bristle||Pennello, Pennelli, Setola|
|Canvas, Stretchers||Tela, Telai|
|Staple gun and Staples||Appuntatrice, Punte mettaliche|
|Egg, Eggs||Uovo, Uova|
|Pencil, Eraser||Matita, Gomma|
|Good Drawing Paper||Carta Buona per Disegno|
|Drawing pad||Blocco per disegno|