When traveling to Italy there are several things you must have. The least of these are a passport and maybe even a visa. If this is your first time traveling out of the US you will need to apply for a passport. You may also need to apply for a passport if your old one has expired, is damaged or lost. Applying for a passport is a fairly simple process which may be as simple as a trip to the post office but be sure to start early so you can be ready for your Italy vacation. There are stories of people who have had to cancel vacations because their passport was not ready. You don’t want to do this as it will be very disappointing and also expensive especially if you have reserved an airline ticket or some sort of package vacation.
The US Department of State asks that you allow six months for them to process your passport application however some travelers have found it only took a few weeks for them to receive their passports. You can apply online however first time applicants must apply in person. The main supporting document that is required is a valid original US birth certificate. Passport applicants are sometimes surprised to find that their original birth certificate needs to be submitted to the Department of State with a promise of it being mailed back. Many people tend to be leery of this especially because they have found how difficult it is to get a replacement birth certificate. However, most report that within a short period of receiving their new passports, their birth certificates arrive in the mail safe and sound. For all the details on where the 9000 passport application accepting facilities are and how to apply for a passport for your Italy vacation you can go to www.travel.state.gov/passport
If you are a US citizen you will not need a visa to go on an Italy vacation. However you must show that your airline ticket includes a return back to the US. If you are planning to travel to Italy for reasons other than a vacation the requirements are different and usually stricter. When on vacation in Italy you can stay for a maximum of 3 months at a time but remember that this is a combined period to include any time spent in several other European countries. Italy has an embassy in Washington DC that can process visas for non-US citizens. They must go to the embassy for personal interviews. If you are going to Italy for a vacation the prime concern of the Italian government is that you plan to return to your country. Therefore they always ask for proof that you have a full-time job especially if you are a non-US citizen.
The Department of State recommends that during your Italy vacation you register your presence there with the US embassy. This is important in case someone needs to contact you for an emergency home or in case of a disaster abroad so your whereabouts can be confirmed.