Typically, Italian pharmacies can be found looking for a big green cross, usually lit up or blinking in some way, and it should be labeled “farmacia.” Here you can buy over the counter or prescription medications. Additionally, pharmacies sell many other things such as feminine products, baby care, sunscreens, vitamins, mosquito repellant, toothpastes, mouthwash, creams, facial/all skin care products, protein bars, nail polish, and more.
Vitamins and basic medicines that you may be used to finding in many places are sold almost exclusively in pharmacies. Mostly, in Italy’s popular and larger cities, pharmacists speak English and have some locations that are open for 24 hours. Even if the hours of your closest pharmacy feel limited, there is usually one open in each area of the city at all times, including holidays. If you are unsure of what you need, tell the pharmacists about your signs and symptoms and they will recommend something for you but if it’s an emergency, they may also be able to write you a prescription as well. Regular pharmacies will get you through colds and basic viruses or infections.
In the case of a true emergency, you may need to go to the “Pronto Soccorso” (emergency room). There is one in every hospital and they are open 24/7. This is the procedure like many other countries. If you have an injury or something beyond basic pharmacy medications, this is the place you need to be. If you run into an issue with your own medication, need a refill while you are in Italy and your local pharmacist will not write the prescription, you should also head to the emergency room. Just be sure you can verify your identity (bring your passport), condition, and medicines you need. If you need an ambulance or just first aid assistance outside of the hospital, call the toll-free medical emergency number, 118.
Hopefully, you don’t need to the ER! Traveling with medications can sometimes be a bit nerve racking though, too. Be sure to keep your medicines with you in your carry-on in their original container. It’s also best to bring the prescription and a description of the product/condition in case you need to explain or prove your need for certain medications or need to refill while you are traveling. Remember that you cannot technically travel with more than 3 fluid ounces in your carry-on so if you have a special need for over that amount, bring a signed note from your doctor.