Friday, September 8, 2017

Shopping for Food in Tuscany

Shopping for food in Tuscany is a wonderful experience. You can purchase food from the local market. It's fresh and the vegetables taste amazing!

Fresh produce in the marketplace

Or at the local coop. If you need a cart, make sure you have some change to unlock it from the rest of the carts. Also, be sure to put gloves on when handling the produce, it's a cultural thing. If you don't you will get the stink eye! LOL!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Thing to do and see in Florence!

Visit the Uffizi Gallery. It houses some of the most favorite paintings in the world including Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" and "Primavera."

In just a walk through the streets, you will see old water fountains or may cross over the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge. You can also see Brunelleschi's famous dome and the Florence Cathedral.

In the town square, you will see the Palazzo Vecchio surrounded by beautifully sculpted statues, including a replica of Michalengo's David.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Lovely Renaissance Manor

We will be renting a villa in the countryside right outside of Florence! Casavecchia, the lovely Renaissance manor is set within a forty-acre estate of vineyards and olive groves.

Minutes from the wine center of San Casciano in Val di Pesa. The villa overlooks olive & grape farms as well as cultivated fields that cover the hilly countryside between Florence and Sienna.

Casavecchia Villa

The villa is large, fully furnished, and contains spacious rooms with a living room, sitting room, dining room, entrance hall & kitchen with utensils, pots, pans & dishes. There is also a patio, private swimming pool, 17th-century gardens, and a spectacular view of the Tuscan hills.

View of the Tuscan Hills Next to the Villa

The dining room and two of the bedrooms open onto a charming walled garden with shady trees. An old wooden gate leads from the backyard to a swimming pool positioned on a grassed terrace with lovely views of the countryside.

Private Swimming Pool

Traditional Tuscan features such as tiled floors and high ceilings were preserved during a restoration of the house and are complemented by lovely antique furnishings. Cooking enthusiasts will appreciate the modern kitchen, and rainy day options include wireless internet and satellite television. An inside view of the rooms is shown below.

Double bed with private attached bath

Double bed with private attached bath

Double bed with private attached bath

Twin beds with attached bath

Twin beds with attached bath

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Getting to Tuscany by Bus, Tram or Car

There are multiple ways to get to Tuscany. You can arrive by plane, train or automobile.

By Bus

You will need a 'Biglietti,' which means a ticket in Italian before you get on the bus. The buses in Tuscany are really nice and the seats are cozy. Another added bonus, you get to watch the beautiful Italian scenery drift by the window en route.

Italian Bus

To travel on the tram of Florence you must use Ataf and Linea travel titles. Both tickets can be purchased in the manner specified by Ataf and Linea, are valid within the limits of their duration. Tickets are not available onboard the tramway but can be purchased at each stop using the automatic ticket offices on every quay.

No Car Needed in Florence

If you're planning on only visiting Florence, a car will not be needed. If you wish to visit towns and villages beyond the most popular destinations of Florence, Pisa, and Siena, then a car is almost a necessity. The Chianti hills, the Val d'Orcia, Maremma, Casentino, and hilltop villages in these areas in Tuscany are almost impossible to visit depending solely on public transportation.

The streets are Narrow in Florence

Tuscany By Car

A rental car is an extremely useful and practical solution to visit all of Tuscany. Practical because many car rental offices being in or near the main airports and train stations so that you can pick up your rental as soon as you arrive in Tuscany.

Cars in Tuscany

If you want to stay in the countryside or are planning to visit the beautiful smaller villages spread throughout Tuscany, renting a car is actually the best solution. It will offer independence from the fixed bus and train schedules as well as from the random transportation strikes that tend to occur in Italy. You will be able to move from one place to the next at your leisure.

  • Hertz
  • Thrifty

In Italian, "carburante" and "benzina" are both generic words for gasoline/petrol. But diesel is diesel in Italian as well, so PAY ATTENTION and know what kind of car you're renting so that you put the right type in the car.

What You Need to Rent a Car

Renting a car in Tuscany is extremely simple since you can reserve your rental car online before you head to Tuscany.

  • A credit card is required for the reservation
  • Non-European Union citizens will need, in addition to their driver's license, an International
  • Driver's Permit/License along with your license to be able to drive in Italy. So make sure you've got your documents in order before departing.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Getting to Tuscany by Train

If you fly into Rome, taking the train from Rome to Florence is the most cost-effective transportation choice and removes the stress of driving in Italy or figuring out multiple bus transfers. As a glorious added bonus, you get to watch the beautiful Italian scenery drift by the window en route.

By Train

From Roma Termini, Trenitalia's high-speed Alta Velocit√† (AV) trains leave for Florence's Santa Maria Novella (often abbreviated to Firenze S.M. Novella) station 3-4 times per hour during most of the day on weekdays—there are 68 trains per day.

Always check for updated time schedules, generally the first train leaves Termini at 6:20 a.m., and the last leaves at 8:50 p.m.

Train from Rome to Florence



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Getting to Tuscany by Air

There are multiple ways to get to Tuscany. You can arrive by air, train, tram or automobile.

Flying into Tuscany

Fly into Florence

Most people fly into Florence. The Florence airport (FLR) Aeroporto di Firence Peretoloa (in Florence) formally known as the Amerigo Vespucci Airport is located on the northwest outskirts of Florence, just 4 km from the city center. The airport can be reached from the center of Florence by bus, car or taxi.

Aerporto di Firenze Perterola

If the weather is bad, you maybe be rerouted to another local airport and bused back to Florence. Airports close by include:

- Pisa International Airport (1 hr from Florence)
- Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (1.5 hrs from Florence)

Fly into Pisa 

The Pisa Airport is the second airport in Tuscany and from some destinations, it might make more sense to fly there and then get yourself over to Florence.

The new Pisa Mover shuttle connects Pisa Airport to the Pisa Centrale main train station throughout the day, and from there you can take the train to Florence's SMN train station and be in Florence in about an hour.

There are also bus charter companies that offer service directly from the airport to the SMN train station in Florence. Some of the buses continue on to the Florence Airport after that (in case you are interested in getting to the Florence airport). - Pisa International Airport (1 hr from Florence)

Fly into Rome

Or you can arrive at the Rome Airport and travel to Tuscany by train.

- Rome Airport, Fiumicino - Leonardo da Vinci airport

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Region of Tuscany

We will be touring the region of Tuscany (Italian "Toscana"), a province located in central Italy. Its diverse natural landscape encompasses the rugged Apennine Mountains, the island of Elba’s beaches on the Tyrrhenian Sea, and Chianti’s olive groves and vineyards.

Toscana is Italian for Tuscany

Tuscany's capital is Florence is home to some of the world’s most recognizable Renaissance art and architecture, including Michelangelo’s "David" statue, Botticelli’s works in the Uffizi Gallery, and the Brunelleschi's dome on the Duomo basilica.

Michelangelo’s "David"

Botticelli’s "The Birth of Venus"

Duomo basilica

Getting there!

Most airlines have regular flights to Rome or Milan. Some have direct flights to Venice (Delta). One little-known fact is that if you are heading to Tuscany, some airlines have seasonal non-stop flights to Pisa. It might be worth checking that out, since it is a short train ride away from Florence, and the prices are usually more economical. Most other cities in Italy do not have intercontinental airports. That means that to fly into Florence, for example, you will need to stop over in some other European city first.