Stay warm in the mountains.
The temperatures can dip very quickly, so be prepared.
Stay protected from the sun on all walking vacations, in the mountains or by the Med.
Hiking in extreme heat can be dangerous and deaths do, tragically, occur. In warm regions, walk early in the morning and late in the afternoon, cover up and drink lots. Many walking companies don’t offer trips in the height of summer anyway, for health and safety reasons.
Generally, Italy is a picture of health: the tap water is safe to drink (unless there is a sign that says “Non Potabile”), and there are no nasty diseases lurking about.
If you need emergency treatment – medical or dental – head to casualty (pronto soccorso) at the nearest hospital.
To call an ambulance, dial 118.
For EU citizens, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) ensures reduced-cost state-provided healthcare cover for any medical treatment that you may need in Italy; each family member will need a separate card. You can download an application form here.
An EHIC does not replace travel insurance. Comprehensive insurance is essential – be sure it covers emergency repatriation as well as any activities you may be taking part in, such as high level, trekking. Be sure to read the small print!
Treat altitude with respect, especially around Mont Blanc, although most hikes on the Tour de Mont Blanc are not affected. But if you doing the ascent, experts recommend three nights spent at an altitude above 2,500/3,000m beforehand. See our Mont Blanc travel guide for more details.
Make sure you stay hydrated. Particularly if you are on a family walking vacation, as it is hard to get kids to drink water sometimes, but they won’t realise how much they need it when walking. Even if the sun isn’t shining. Consider hydration backpacks, style CamelBak, so that they have water on them at all times.
Be wary of ticks when hiking in Italy as they carry Lyme disease. Carry tweezers so that you can remove them and be sure to inspect your bodies carefully at the end of the day. Always apply a deterrent (a natural one is best for children such as lemon eucalyptus) and then sun cream.