IV. Passports and Custom-houses.
On entering the kingdom of Italy, the traveller's passport is
rarely demanded, but it is unwise not to be provided with one
of these documents, as it may occasionally prove useful. Re¬
gistered letters, for example, will not be handed over to strangers,
unless they exhibit a passport to prove their identity.
The examination of luggage at the Italian Custom-houses
is usually extremely lenient. Tobacco and cigars are the articles
especially sought for.
V. Public Safety. Mendicity.
Italy is still frequently regarded as the land of Fra Diavolo's
and Rinaldo Rinadini's — an impression fostered by tales of
travellers, sensational letters to newspapers, etc. The fact, how¬
ever, is, that travelling in Northern and Central Italy is hardly
attended with more hazard than in any of the more northern
Mendicity, countenanced and encouraged according to the
former system of Italian politics, still continues to be one of
those national nuisances to which the traveller must habituate
himself. The system is energetically opposed by the new regime,
but in Venetia and many of the smaller towns it prevails to
the same extent as formerly. Begging in Italy, to a still greater
degree than in other places, is rather a trade than a genuine
demand for sympathy. The best mode of liberation is to bestow
a small donation, a supply of the smallest coin of the realm
being provided for the purpose. A beggar, who in return for a
donation of 2 c. thanked the donor with the usual benedictions,
was on another occasion presented with 50 c. , an act of libera¬
lity which, instead of being gratefully accepted, only called forth
the remark in a half-offended tone: "ma signore e molto poco!"
In Italy the highly pernicious custom of demanding considerably
more than will ultimately be accepted is the invariable rule:
but with a knowledge of the custom, as it is based entirely upon
the presumed ignorance of one of the contracting parties, the
evil is greatly mitigated.
Where tariffs and fixed charges exist, they should be care¬
fully consulted. In other cases a certain average price is gene¬
rally established by custom , under which circumstances the tra¬
veller should make a precise bargain with respect to the servree
to be rendered, and never rely on the equity of the other party.
Those individuals who appeal to the generosity of the stran¬
ger , or to their own honesty, or who, as rarely happens, are
offended by the traveller's manifestation of distrust, may well be