The one thing everyone looks forward to is their annual holiday. Normally, they plan a trip to the country side or the hills, for change in weather and to explore unknown territory. But the dream that most of us have is to visit Italy and Tuscany at least once in our lifetime. These places are known for their natural beauty and the lovely architecture that sets them apart from the rest of the world. The place where Pizza originated, designers create clothes that one would die for, these towns have carved a niche for themselves on the world map.
When you decide the dates for your trip and are looking forward to holidaying in Tuscany, you should also plan out other details related to the vacation. Accommodation being the key element, you need to figure out where you will be staying during your trip. There are several hotels and cottages available for the tourists to relax in. But the quaint villas are what make the town so special and surreal. Most of them are old barns converted to villas, fitted with all modern appliances and fittings. The outdoors is as much a part of the villa, which you feel as if you are one with nature. Home to many of the European cultures, in Tuscany and around it, you can witness culture from other parts of Europe. Since it is one of the twenty regions of Italy, you find a lot of similarities between the towns. You can also visit Florence, the capital city, where flowers, food and people will attract you.
If you would rather stay at a holiday home, why not choose from the wide range available. There are some for small families and others that are multi level, and ideal for families with children. Plenty of space to move around, a fully furnished home, the people who stay there can cook their meals and enjoy the comforts of being at home. In Tuscany countryside, there are luxurious farm houses and villas catering to the crowd who love to open doors to the mountains. Wake up and watch the sun rise behind the mountains, sip your coffee in the patio that has a country feel to it.
Villas situated a couple of kilometers from the Cathedral of Florence are quite popular and comfortable as well. So, if you would like to stay somewhere with little noise around, these Villa Florence are just what you need. They all have about 8-9 beds that you can reserve for your family, or share with other families as well. If you are going on a week long holiday, and look forward to exploring towns around Tuscany, you could park your bags here, and move around. It would work out cheaper that way, instead of staying at different hotels, and lugging your bags around. Some of these farmhouses even have swimming pool and a gym, which would come in handy if you are looking to unwind after a day of sight seeing or shopping.
Italy, gem of the Mediterranean
Italy, the birthplace of pasta and pizza provides a wide range of choices for artwork lovers to experience. A temperate climate exists here with very hot summers and not so cold winters. The weather is the best in spring and autumn with pleasant temperatures and scenic views. At that time of the year, the place isnít crowded much and things can be enjoyed in leisure. Incase of emergency call 112. For fire call 115 and for ambulance call 118.
Italian is widely spoken and is the official language. English isnít very familiar to the locals. Family ties are of utmost importance here and hence social courtesies mean a lot to the locals. There is a great impact of the Roman Catholic Church on the culture here. There is a high content of chlorine in tap waters, so bottled water is recommended for staying fit during the trip. Since Italian is spoken on a wide scale, it is highly recommended to learn few common Italian phrases which can be of great use. Social gatherings call for formal wear, but one can dress in casuals otherwise. At some religious places, sleeveless shirt and shorts are frowned upon. So they are better avoided. Purses and wallets should be well guarded and in case of any theft, police should be informed about the incident.
Site Seeing in Italy
The first thing to check out is the leaning tower of Pisa, where Olympics originated. At places like museums and art galleries, photography, especially flash photography is restricted. Check out the ticket counter for more information. Italy should be majorly discovered on foot for a thorough viewing of all the beautiful buildings and monuments. Coaches and trains are a good option to get to a tourist spot.
Shopping in Italy
Shops here are open from 9am to 8pm, closed for lunch. Quality of goods is great although the prices are very less. Items like crystals, lacework, leather good, and jewellery can be bought at the stores. Remember to hold on to the receipt. Tipping of 10% is customary along with the service tax levied on the bill. Italy is famous for top designers of the world, so do buy clothes and accessories to update your wardrobe. Cruises have formal gatherings in the evening, so ensure to buy a cocktail dress or some formal wear, though casuals can be worn at other times.
Electricity in Italy
The voltage used is 220 volts and 50 Hz frequency.
Getting to Italy
Alitalia is the national airline of Italy. Many other flights connect to Italy from USA, Canada and Australia and there is big competition to attract passengers giving a wide range of offers to travellers. Rome airport is located 26 km away from the city and it takes 45 minutes to get there from the airport. Trains connect directly to Termini Station from where one can take taxi to get to their destination. Duty free shops, bank, car hire and restaurants are the other services provided at this airport. Milan has another famous airport here, which is at a distance of 45km away from the city.
Brindisi, Ancona, Naples and Venice are the major seaports of Italy. Italian State Railways connects many European cities. But, Eurostar provides the fastest train service.
If choosing to drive, don’t forget to carry international driving license and international insurance certificate. Roads connect Italy to France, Austria and Switzerland. Many coach services are provided from the neighbouring countries.