~ Culture ~
Food is simple but often hearty. Ingredients often used in Toscanini food are olive oil, tomatoes, beans, hams and salamis, and balsamic vinegar. Parmesan & Perocino Cheese are commonly used as well. Popular Italian dishes include the Panzanella, Corstini, Tortelloni, Cannelloni, Baccala, Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Scottiglia di Cingbiale, Torta di Riso, Pamforte, Cantucci and last but not least Spaghetti al Ragu, more commonly known as spaghetti with tomato sauce here in Canada.
Unlike the Romans who prefer to enjoy a hot cup of espresso, Florentines prefer to consume wine. Chianti is one of the most popular wines. With a trademark black rooster pasted over the neck of its bottle, this medium-bodied red wine has a distinctive floral, cherry and light nutty aroma. However if this isn’t the wine for you, worry not! For this top wine producing and consuming country is filled with many other varieties including Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Vino Nobile di Montalcino, Orvieto Classico, Verdicchio and many more.
When we think about Italy, we think about FASHION! Names such as Gucci, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, Prada, & Versace are no strangers to Italy. As much as we would love to, Italians don’t walk around the streets everyday with posh stilettos and diamond cufflinks. There’s no traditional clothing or dress code in Italy, so just wear anything you want! However it’s best to refrain from wearing bikini’s, beach attire, short shorts or any skimpy clothes unless you’re going to the beach.
~ Currency ~
Euros. (CAD$1 - €0.68)
~ Security Information ~
♥ Serious crime is very rare
♥ Pickpockets & purse-snactchers are common in large cities
♥ Dial 113 during an emergency instead of 911!
♥ Yell AIUTO (ay-you-toe) which is Italian for HELP if in distress.
~ Travel Tips ~
♥ Photography is not always allowed, flash photography is considered disruptive
♥ Laundry facilities are hard to find outside large cities
♥ Most stores to not allow customers to try on clothing
♥ Rent a car to get from town to town, but it’s best to walk in town.
♥ Olive oil & wine are heavily used in Italian cuisine, & may cause problems for those with sensitive stomachs.
♥ Italian tap water is sometimes heavily chlorinated, so it's best to drink bottled water
Our lovely couple will arrive Florence at 2:15pm. After a long day from travelling, we’ve decided to give them a nice relaxing threat at the Fonbliù Wellness Centre. There they will both get a Luce Del Marocco or a Tension Relieving Massage to jump start their trip. For 50 minutes, a full body massage using Argan oil, inspired by hammam rituals will be used to help relieve tension and eliminate stress they have. The massage costs €70/person. After, our couple will go to Piazza della Signoria. This L-shaped square is a huge open-air museum. Many landmark museums and statues can be found in this square, including the famous Fountain of Neptune. Our couple is sure to be starving after all the activities, but in a landmark like this, food can be found in every corner. Just a block from Piazza della Signoria lies Osteria, an authentic restaurant famous for their ribollita and frittata rustica.
Today, our couple will wake up to a complimentary buffet breakfast, or feel free to explore Florence for breakfast for shortage of Cafés is the last thing you’ll hear. Our couple is given time to explore Florence and grab themselves a lunch. Then our couple will embark on a three and a half hour city tour around the whole Florence with Segway tours. Getting around Florence on a Segway is a once in a life time experience! Far easier than walking and more private and unique than a coach bus tour. The coolest ride of the 21st century is operated by self-balancing and an audio guide via a set of headphones tells the story about the history of Florence as you glide. Once you complete the 30 minutes orientation and are comfortable to begin riding the Segway, your very private tour (3hrs) with six people maximum begins! $87/person. After our couple will visit the famous Cathedral of Duomo. Going through this marvelous architecture, the couple will be exposed to many traditional paintings and sculptures in the cathedral. For dinner, our couple is given a wide variety to choose from. Il Latini, Badiani, Cammillo Trattoria, Cibreo Teatro del Sale are all restaurants where you can find authentic Mid-Italian food, all for a relatively low price.
After a day and a half in Florence, our couple is going to Pisa today! Our couple will go to the Stazione Santa Maria Novella Firenze, or train station, and book a ticket to Pisa. Costing around €6 or €7 per trip, person, it will take them approximately an hour to reach Pisa. From there our couple will take a cab or public transportation to Tirrenia a free public beach. Of course, how can you go to Italy without enjoying their warm Mediterranean beaches right? Sometime after noon, our couple will have to leave the beach for lunch (and we don’t want them to get a horrible sun burn). Food is everywhere in Pisa, so finding lunch wont be hard. Our couple will then go back to the city of Pisa. For €30/person, our couple can enjoy a unlimited hop-on-hop-off bus tour around Pisa. This bus will stop at 16 different destinations including the famous Learning Tower of Pisa. After a long day in Pisa, our couple may choose to dine in Pisa or travel back to Florence and enjoy their dinner there.
Our couple will be travelling to Arezzo and Cortona today via Road to Italy Tours. On a minibus, this eight hour tour will bring our couple across these two history filled towns. This €210/ person trip includes lunch and will transport our couple right from their hotel.
Today our couple will have to be at Stazione Santa Maria Novella Firenze to catch a train at 9:30am to Venice. This two hour trip will cost them €36/each. As soon as they arrive in the romantic city of Venice, this huge tourist destination just waiting to be explored has much to offer. For example there’s the Piazza San Marco, Basilica San Marco, Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge, Bridge of Sighs, Baroque Pallazzo Zenobio, San Vidal and much more. The easiest way to get around Venice is by foot, or by Gondola’s. Gondola trips are everywhere in Venice and usually last about 45 minutes. These trips are best if made around dusk and though they can be rather expensive, it balances out as most other places in Venice have zero admission cost. After a romantic dinner at one of the most romantic restaurants in Venice, Restaurant La Caravella, our couple will go to Venezia S. Lucia train station and work their way back to Florence to spend the rest of their evening.
How could you possibly go all the way to Italy without some wine tasting right? Today we scheduled a half day trip to Chianti for our couple to taste some of the finest Tuscan wines. A 5 hour trip beginning with a country drive through the Tuscan landscapes combined with wine-tasting on a magnificent afternoon excursion to Chianti, a popular Tuscan region. Chianti is known for their classic wines and natural beauty, perfect for a romantic afternoon. A general overview of the trip is a visit to an ancient Tuscan town and one of Chianti's most well-known wine-growing estates. Here, you'll gain knowledge and insights into the local wine-growing traditions and sample three prestigious wines: Chianti Classico, Chianti Reserve and Vin Santo dessert wine. The wines are joined with local traditional snacks. These wine-tasting tours are in different areas of the Chianti region. The trip from Florence to Chianti is approximately 40 minutes each way. $58/person
Today, our couple will go to Firenze Musei. It is a network of 13 state museums including Accademia Gallery, Silver Museum, Palatine Gallery, and Uffizi Gallery. These museums house works of art from most of the Signori who ruled Florence. In between visiting these museums, there is a traditional Tuscan cuisine restaurant located near the Uffizi Gallery. You can enjoy roast pork loin with potatoes and a mix of egg and spinach fettuccine at a low cost. Only bills accepted. After 7 days in Florence, Italy and other nearby cities, it is time for our couple to go back to Toronto... Their plane will only depart at 10:00pm, leaving them tons of time (and leftover money) for SHOPPING!
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