The currency used in Italy is the euro, whose official abbreviation is EUR. The symbol of the euro is a stylized E: €.
Frommer's lists exact prices in the local currency, euros. However, rates fluctuate, so before departing consult a currency exchange website such as www.xe.com to check up-to-the-minute rates. The price of meals at a trattoria serving home-cooked meals is much more affordable than in New York or London, (expect to pay no more than 20€ to 30€ for a full meal for two). Bus fares in Palermo are the most expensive in Italy although, at 1.30€, U.K. visitors will find them very reasonable in comparison to prices at home.
The easiest and best way to get cash away from home is from an ATM (automated teller machine). ATMs are found in all Sicilian cities, towns, and villages that have a bank. Be sure you know your personal identification number (PIN) before you leave home and be sure to find out your daily withdrawal limit before you depart. Also keep in mind that many banks impose a fee every time a card is used at a different bank's ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions (up to $5 or more) than for domestic ones. On top of this, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. For international withdrawal fees, ask your bank.
You can also get cash advances on your credit card at an ATM. Keep in mind that credit card companies try to protect themselves from theft by limiting the funds someone can withdraw outside their home country, so call your credit card company before you leave home. And keep in mind that you'll pay interest from the moment of your withdrawal, even if you pay your monthly bills on time. If you feel unsure about using your credit card at an ATM for cash advances, you can ask for an anticipo contanti (cash advance) in person at exchange bureaus or at most banks.
Important note: Make sure that the PINs on your bank cards and credit cards will work in Sicily. You'll need a four-digit code (six digits won't work).
Credit & Debit Cards
Credit and debit cards are a safe way to carry money. They generally offer relatively good exchange rates. You can also withdraw cash advances from your credit cards at banks or ATMs, provided you know your PIN.
Keep in mind that when you use your credit card abroad, most banks apply a 2% fee above the 1% fee charged by Visa, MasterCard, or American Express for currency conversion on credit charges. But credit cards still may be the smart way to go when you factor in things like exorbitant ATM fees and higher traveler's check exchange rates (and service fees).
In Sicily, the most commonly accepted credit cards are MasterCard and Visa. Of secondary importance are American Express and Diners Club.
What Things Cost in Palermo (in €)
Taxi from the airport to city center 40.00
Bus from airport to city center 5.80
Ride on city bus 1.30
Double at Villa Igiea (very expensive) 320.00
Double at Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa (expensive) 110.00
Double at Crystal Palace (moderate) 90.00
Double at Hotel Moderno (inexpensive) 60.00
Lunch for two, without wine, at Cin Cin (expensive) 60.00
Lunch for two, without wine, at Shanghai (inexpensive) 16.00
Dinner for two, without wine, Charme (expensive) 100.00
Dinner for two, without wine, at U Strascinu (moderate) 50.00
Dinner for two, without wine, Trattoria Primavera (inexpensive) 30.00
Slice of pizza 2.00
Glass of wine 4.00
Admission to Palazzo dei Normanni 8.50
Theater ticket 20.00
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.