Typically, you can find an Italian “farmacia” by looking for a big green cross. This cross will usually be 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, and mosquito repellent. You can also find toothpaste, mouthwash, creams, 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 in Italy. In Italy’s larger cities, pharmacists usually speak good English and many “farmacie” are open for 24 hours. There is usually one open in each area of the city at all times, including holidays. If you are not sure of what you need, tell the pharmacists about your symptoms. They will recommend some medication for you and if it’s an emergency, they may also be able to write you a prescription. Over the counter medicines will get you through colds and basic viruses or infections.
In 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. If you have an injury or something beyond the scope basic pharmacy medications, this is the place you need to be. If you run into an issue with your own medication and need a refill while you are in Italy, you should head to the emergency room, as your local pharmacist will not write the prescription. Just make sure that you can verify your identity (bring your passport), condition, and medicines that you need. If you need an ambulance or just first aid assistance outside of the hospital, you can call the toll-free medical emergency number, 118.
Hopefully, you won’t need to go the ER. Traveling with medications can sometimes be a bit nerve racking though. Make sure you 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. Remember that you cannot travel with more than 3 fluid ounces in your carry-on. So, if you have a special need for more than that amount, bring a signed note from your doctor.