SEASON AND PLAN OF TOUE.
Custom House. The examination of luggage at the Italian
custom-houses is usually lenient. Tobacco and cigars (only eight
pass free), playing cards, and matches are the articles chiefly sought
for. The duty on tobacco amounts to about 10 fr. per lb. (26 fr.
per kg.). "Weapons of ali kinds are liable to confiscation (see p. xiii).
Custom-house receipts should be preserved, as travellers are some-
times challenged by the excise officials in the interior. In most
Italian towns a tax (dazio consumo) is levied on comestibles, but
travellers' luggage is passed at the barriers (limite daziario) on a
simple declaration that it contains no such articles.
Luggage. As a rule it is advisable, and often in the end less
expensive, never to part from one's luggage, and to superintend the
custom-house examination in person. If the traveller is obliged to
forward it, he should employ a trustworthy agent at the frontier
and send him the keys. Comp. p. xvi.
IV. Season and Pian of Tour.
Season. The best time for a tour in Central Italy is spring,
from the end of March to the end of May, or autumn, from the end
of September to the middle of November. In summer the scenery
is indeed in perfection and the long days are hailed with satisfaction
by the enterprising traveller; but he will soon experience the enerv-
ating effects, both on body and on mind, of the protracted heat.
The winter-months had better be devoted to Rome, where rainy
days may be spent in visiting the rich collections of art and anti-
quities. Of the other towns described in the present volume the
next in importance are Siena and Perugia, both of which afford
good summer-quarters owing to their elevated situations. Two other
places of great interest are Orvieto and Assisi, a short visit to
which should not be omitted. Arezzo, Cortona, Spoleto, Terni,
with its imposing waterfalls, and Chiusi and Corneto, with their
Etruscan antiquities, are also interesting points, situated near the
railway. Volterra, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Viterbo,
and Gubbio, though less conveniently situated, are also well worthy
of a visit. With regard to the towns lying on the coast of the
Adriatic, comp. pp. 119 et seq. The farther the traveller diverges
from the beaten track, the more he will learn of the characteristics
of this delightful country.
V Intercourse with Italians. Gratuities. Guides.
Public Safety. Begging.
Travellers who have some slight knowledge of the language
and some capacity for adapting themselves to the customs of the
country run comparatively little risk of extortion, if they take the
precaution of arranging prices beforehand at hotels and shops as