- Capodanno Pisano:
Until 1749 the city had a different calendar and used to celebrate the New Year on March 23rd. This day is celebrated throughout the city with concerts and cultural events. The programme changes from year to year.May:
- San Miniato Kite Festival:
Held for the first time 1968, this festival is still very popular today. Craftsmen build their kites according to old Tuscan tradition.June:
- Pisa June Festival:
For the entire month of June the city will host markets and various cultural events and performances. The most important of all being the celebration of “San Ranieri” held on June 16th: on this evening all the buildings in the city (including the Leaning Tower) will be all lightened by candles creating a magical atmosphere. Beautiful fireworks will conclude the event, though the party will go on for all the night among the students at University.
- Regata Storica:
Historical boat race between the cities of Pisa, Amalfi, Genova and Venezia held along the Arno River and is followed by an historical parade.
- Black Night in San Miniato:
Event dedicated to the black truffle, the precious tuber that is found in the hills around San Miniato from June to September.
- International Symposium of Alabaster:
Artists from all over the world will gather in Volterra and will give demonstrations.July:
- International Piano Festival, Volterra:
The piano is the absolute protagonist of this festival, either as a solo instrument or as part of an ensemble. Reservation required.
- Andrea Bocelli, Teatro del Silenzio:
The magical atmosphere of the Teatro del Silenzio, in the wonderful natural setting of the Lajatico landscape, will host the performance of Andrea Bocelli accompanied by other artists. Advanced reservation required, limited tickets.
- Music under the tower of Pisa:
This festival offers the chance to enjoy good music performances - ranging from classical to jazz - in the charming setting of the cloister of the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, with the Leaning Tower and the summer sunsets in the background.August:
- Collinarea Festival Lari:
Theatre festival in the nice venue of the tiny hilltop village of Lari.October:
The highly awaited autumn festival dedicated to local food and wine. Held in the beautiful centre of Volterra with stands and booths located within the courtyards and historical buildings.
- Concerts of the Normale University:
Quality classical music concerts by selected artists, some of them young music talents.November:
- San Miniato National White Truffle Fair:
One of the most eagerly awaited events of the autumn offering guests countless opportunities to savour San Miniato white truffles along with other tasty local products.December:
- Concerts of the Normale University:
Quality classical music concerts by selected artists, some of them young music talents.
- Christmas market:
Pisa city centre.
General Activities IN TUSCANY
- Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella - visit the pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella in Florence and discover all the different perfumes, herbals and soaps
- Opera - head to Torre del Lago and attend one of the many performances based on plays written by Puccini (only in summer)
- Wine and Olive Oil tasting - travel to Badia di Passigano and visit the abbey with its wine cellars before relaxing in the abbey's Osteria di Passigano, for a real Tuscan wine and olive oil tasting experience
- The Chocolate Valley Tour - visit the Chocolate Valley which lies between Pisa and Montecatini and visit an esteemed factory where you will be tantalised by aromas and flavours of the process of traditional chocolate making and tasting session (not available during summer)
- Carrara and Pietrasanta Marble - enjoy the marble caves of Carrara, the marble that Michelangelo chose to immortalise his masterpieces. Afterwards see artisans at work as you visit a Sculpture Studio in Pietrasanta
- Fantastic Gelato - located in central Florence to visit one of the most well known " gelaterias"
- Private Villa Concert - the ultimate Italian music experience in the intimacy of your villa. A Violin-Piano Duo, Harp and Flute, a String Quartet with Soprano and Tenor singers as well as Jazz and Neapolitan Folk formations can be arranged
- Ferrari Touring - drive on winding roads through the hilltop villages of Tuscany, down cypress-lined avenues and along the coastal freeways of the Mediterranean…all behind the wheel of a Ferrari
Sporting Activities IN TUSCANY
- Golf - 18 holes: 10 clubs; 9 holes: 10 clubs (golf is well established in Tuscany and a secret golfers paradise)
- Jogging/ Walking - put your running shoes on and enjoy the beautiful countryside
- Mountain Biking - many routes are on offer including challenging tours like the Monti Metaliferi
- Horse riding - Tuscany is a paradise for going horse riding
- Swimming - is offered in many touristic locations
- Surfing - is possible along the Tuscan coastline
- Diving - is recommended especially in the Archipelago della Toscana and the Golfo di Baratti
- Tennis - is offered in many touristic locations
Local Attractions IN TUSCANY
- Florence, Uffizi Gallery - Open all year round
- Florence, Ponte Vecchio
- Florence, Bargello National Museum - Open all year round
- Florence, The Boboli Gardens - Open all year round
- Florence, Santa Maria Novella - Open all year round
- Lucca, Forte dei Marmi - beach and exclusive beach resorts
- Lucca, Palazzo Pfanner - climb Giunigi Tower
- Lucca, San Frediano Church - Open all year round
- Lucca, Villa Reale Gardens of Villa Real - House and Garden open all year round
- Arezzo, Gothic Cathedral
- Arezzo, Main Square with Vasari's loggia
- Arezzo, Mecenate Archeological Museum - Open all year round
- Arezzo, Medieval and Modern Museum and Gallery - Open all year round
- Arezzo, Petrarca Theatre - Changing program
- Arezzo, Piero Francesca's fresco cycle "Legend of the True Cross"
- Pisa, Campo dei Miracoli and Duomo - The Dome is open all year round
- Pisa, Leaning Tower and Cathedral - Open all year round
- Pisa, Zoological Museum - Open all year round
- San Gimignano, Medieval Towers
- Siena, Il Duomo - Open all year round
- Siena, Piaza del Campo
- Siena, Pinacoteca Nazionale - Open all year round
- Siena, Torre del Mangia
- Grosseto, Tarot Garden - Open from April to mid October
- Grosseto/Maremma, Rocca di Franssinello - winery designed by Renzo Piano
- Livorno, Fortezza Vecchia (Old Fortress)
PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR YOUR TUSCAN VILLA HOLIDAY
GMT +1 hour
The Euro (€) is the official currency of Italy. Coins are available in 1 cent, 2 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50, cent , €1 & €2 denominations. Notes are available in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500 denominations.
Travellers cheques are widely accepted for exchange or purchase in major cities, but in more rural areas, visit a bank to exchange them for Euros. Major credit cards are widely accepted here (though a limited number of merchants have American Express accounts) and ATM access is widespread. Exchange currency only at authorized outlets such as banks and hotels, and exchange only what you think you will spend in-country. Coins cannot be reconverted on departure. Save all receipts from any currency exchange transaction. You may be asked to produce them when you exit the country, and they are required if you intend to reconvert local currency.
Tipping IN TUSCANY
You are not expected to tip on top of restaurant service charges, though leaving a small amount is common practice. If there is no service charge, you might consider leaving 10%/15%, but it is not obligatory. In bars any small change is left as a tip. Tipping taxi drivers is also not mandatory but suggested.
Arrival & Departure Formalities
Travel documents are your responsibility. In general you should have:
- A signed, valid passport that will remain valid for at least 6 months beyond the completion of your trip. Your passport must have enough blank pages (excluding amendment pages) available for entry and exit stamps issued when entering and exiting immigration points.
- Visas are required for certain nationalities and you are strongly advised to check your status allowing plenty of time for visa application.
Weather IN TUSCANY
In general, the climate in Tuscany is very mild with little difference between the various provinces. The summers are hotter on the coast and in the valleys than in the hills. It rarely rains in the summer months. The average temperature varies between 27°C and 33°C and can even reach 40°C. Spring and autumn are rainy and milder; however, there are still plenty of dry and sunny days. By May there is less rain and the days become longer with up to 10 hours of daylight. The average temperature in spring is between 19°C and 24°C, in autumn between 21°C and 24°C. The winter months alternate between rain and sun with an average temperature of around 10°C.
It is advisable to contact your doctor before you travel if you have any specific health concerns and take out appropriate travel and medical insurance.
Electricity SUPPLY IN TUSCANY
Electrical service in Italy is supplied at 220-240 volts/50 hertz - a converter/adaptor may be required.
Driving IN ITALY
There are some important rules of the road -
- At crossroads drivers coming from the right have priority excluding crossroads with traffic signs/lights.
- Always carry your driver's license accompanied by the International Driving Permit, the car insurance papers and ownership (rental) papers.
- The minimum driving age is 18.
- Traffic drives on the right.
- Seat belts must be worn - children under 12 must travel in the back seats, unless the front seat is fitted with a child restraint system.
- Headlights must be on all the time except if driving in a city during the day with good visibility.
- In the event of a breakdown a red warning triangle must be displayed in the road.
- National speed limit is 50kmh (31mph) in towns, 90kmh (56mph) on secondary non-urban highways, 110kmh (68mph) on dual carriageways, 130kmh (80mph) on motorways.
- Speeding fines: Euros 30 - 300.
- For use of the highways it is invariably necessary to collect a ticket at toll booth marked " biglietti" before entering the highway. DO NOT pass under the lanes marked Telepass. Pay the toll at the exit. Payment can be made by coins or by credit card.
- There are strict laws concerning drinking and driving. Blood alcohol levels must not exceed 0.05%. There are random breathalyzer tests carried out regularly by the police.
Parking in Italy
- In many large towns, the historical town centre is subject to traffic restrictions (authorised vehicles only may enter) indicated by large white sign with a red circle saying " Zona a traffico limitato".
- Street parking is organized and designated with signs and by the colour of the lines for the parking spots. The colour of the lines on the parking space indicates the type of parking; white is for free parking, blue is for paid parking, yellow is reserved for special use. Signs will tell you if you are required to pay or to use a parking disc to time your parking (more details below). In most regions, blue lines mark paid street parking. There will be a payment machine nearby. Place the receipt from the machine on the dashboard. In many towns, white lines mark free parking spots on the street but they may be limited by time. The closest parking sign will tell you if you must set your parking disc to show when you arrived. Set your parking disc to the time you parked and display it in the window. You must return within the maximum allowed time.