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For information before you go, contact the Italian Government Tourist Board (www.enit.it and www.italiantourism.com). Another helpful website is www.initaly.com.

In the United States -- 630 Fifth Ave., Suite 1565, New York, NY 10111 (tel. 212/245-4822; fax 212/586-9249); 500 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 2240, Chicago, IL 60611 (tel. 312/644-0996; fax 312/644-3019); and 12400 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 550, Los Angeles, CA 90025 (tel. 310/820-1898; fax 310/820-6357).

In Canada -- 175 Bloor St. E., South Tower, Ste. 907, Toronto, ON M4W 3R8 (tel. 416/925-4882; fax 416/925-4799).

In the United Kingdom -- 1 Princes St., London W1B 2AY (tel. 020/7408-1254).

You can also write directly (in English or Italian) to the provincial or local tourist boards of the areas you plan to visit. Provincial tourist boards (Ente Provinciale per il Turismo) operate in the principal towns of the provinces. Local tourist boards (Azienda Autonoma di Soggiorno e Turismo) operate in all places of tourist interest; you can get a list from the Italian Government Tourist Board.

Maps -- Most local tourist offices will provide fairly detailed maps of their city or town plans. These are particularly helpful in that all of the major sightseeing attractions are usually marked. Since most of these attractions are in the historic core of a town or city, the highlights can usually be covered on foot, except in such spread out cities as Rome where you'll need to rely on public transportation to get around.

The Automobile Club d'Italia issues a free map, available at State Tourist offices, if you're planning a motor tour of Italy.

For general touring, you can also check out the following websites: www.marquest.com, www.maporama.com, and www.michelin.com.

Before You Leave Home: Tickets & Seats in Advance -- Great to know about before you leave home is Culturalitaly.com, a Los Angeles-based Web company specializing in Italy's high-end events, museum reservations, and tours. You get the best seats and reservations to everything from operatic performances at the ancient Baths of Caracalla in Rome to tickets for Venice carnival events, even the fabled Palio in Siena. With this service, you don't have to wait in line for the Uffizi in Florence or The Last Supper in Milan. Most museum (and some other) reservations carry a 10€ ($15) fee, plus the cost of the event. Contact Culturalitaly.com by calling tel. 800/380-0014 or going to www.culturalitaly.com.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.