First of all it is important to remember that the majority of Italian shops and banks are closed on Sundays. Only supermarkets in the tourism centers make the exception. Monday traditionally is the day off for museums.
One should take care of cash in advance. Working hours of banks are 8:30 – 13:30, most banks work in the afternoon, usually 15:00 – 16:00. In large cities exchange terminals which receive USD are of great help. Exchange offices of the airport function 24 hours a day but the rate is not very profitable. Visa, Master Card, American Express are accepted in the restaurants and supermarkets of large cities, but prepare cash for visiting small cities.
The shops usually open at 9:30 and work till 13:00 with a break till 15:30 or 16:00 and close at 19:00 – 19:30. Private shops set the time table of their own which may vary, so if you plan to return specify the working hours.
Many Italian cafes and restaurants do not work 15:00 – 18:00. Surprisingly for us some of them are closed on Saturday nights and all day long on Sundays. One should consider that Italy is a catholic country.
Museums work 9:00 – 19:00 and till lunch time on holidays, week-ends and in winter. There are usually no discount days for museum visitors. Although many museums offer discounts for children, students and people after 65. One ticket for visiting of several museums is worth considering. You may visit Palazzo Vecchio and Brancacci Chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine church in Florence having one ticket, for instance. In Siena you can have one ticket for three days or for one week.
The entrance in churches and cloisters is not free of charge.
ATTENTION ! Keep the receipts (scontrino) of any shop, bar, café or restaurant. In case of financial check you may be accused of breaking the tax laws. The sum of fine may vary to 1000 euros.