First Time to Italy - Some Questions

Sep 9th, 2007, 02:51 PM
  #1  
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First Time to Italy - Some Questions

First I will be traveling with my husband and several members of my extended family.
We will be staying in a Villa in Tuscany, Italy. Fortunately, my brother was there last year but I wanted input from others as well.

We will be going in May and I am wondering what to pack to wear. Is there anything culturally that I should know?

What are some out of the way spots around Tuscany, Florence etc that you would recommend? Contacts? We enjoy wine tasting and experiencing the culture but I also want to see and meet locals.

Also, do I need a converter? For laptop, blow dryer etc.

What is something you should bring because you won't find it there?

Thanks So Much!

Jvabean
Jvabean is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 04:43 PM
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Your trip sounds great!

When we were in Italy a few years ago - we rented an apartment - and the one thing really I missed was "regular" coffee. Our kitchen had an espresso maker, but not a regular drip coffee-maker. For our upcoming trip, we are bringing along a small portable re-usable drip filter, and some ground coffee.
scdreamer is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 05:10 PM
  #3  
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That is a great tip. I have one of those. Also, when you fly international can you carry more than 4 ounces of liquid on board such as hair spray? Vanity Vanity I know! Being from Seattle coffee is a must.
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Sep 9th, 2007, 05:45 PM
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The liquid restrictions apply only to carry-on bags. Going through security at any US airport, all liquids must fit in a quart-size ziplock bag and no container can be more than 3 oz. If you can't get everything in, you can check bags and put the overflow in there.
J_Correa is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 04:16 AM
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ira
 
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HI J,

>do I need a converter? For laptop, blow dryer etc....

Look at your devices. If they don't say 110-220V (or similar) get new ones.

You will need an adapter plug - 2 cylindrical prongs.

High-wattage (1800W or more) dryers might blow the fuses in an old building.
ira is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 09:26 AM
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Find out if the place you are staying provides hair dryers - if it does, then that is 1 less thing you have to carry over

I don't take a laptop when I travel for fun - it is just another thing to keep track of, so I leave it behind. We do take a portable hard drive device for transfering picture files from our memory cards - but unless you are an avid photographer, memory cards are so cheap these days that the portable drive is probably overkill. For email - internet cafes and libraries work well.
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Sep 10th, 2007, 10:45 AM
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Regular coffee, eh?

Hmmm , better bring a couple loaves of Wonder so that you'll have 'regular' bread too, right?

JUST KIDDING....I'm only teasing you because I'm jealous that you're going to stay in a Tuscan Villa and I've never done that.

Ralphie is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 06:09 PM
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You all are a fun group. Thanks for your replies. Okay you got me on the coffee but I am not a snob so any local Java will do just make sure it is leaded. Second, I don't like to haul around more than I need to and the portable drive device sounds good. My thing is I am a photography nut and would like to view my photo's while I am there and get rid of the ones that I did not like. Also, the thought of torturing my co-workers with some pictures while I am there sounds fun as well. They told me to skip Maui (again) for Italy. Hmmn!

Also, thanks for the information about the converters.

When one of you stated that you could pack only four ounces of liquid does that mean aerosol can be put in check in luggage? Four ounces isn't much for almost two weeks. Yikes!

I have the web site for the Villa if any of you in the future would like to look into it. My brother says it is incredible and sleeps 10 adults. It even has a pool. We have the whole thing!

J
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Sep 11th, 2007, 06:38 AM
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Hee Hee - I was the one who posted about "regular" coffee, and I know it sounds kind of silly. But - I was going crazy trying to make one after another tiny cup of espresso for us to have in the mornings in our Rome apartment. The espresso maker we had only made about 4 oz at a time.

So ... what I meant by "regular" coffee is the level of grind that can be used with a portable filter.

And, yes, I think I'll leave the Wonder Bread at home ... on the grocery shelf, where I ALWAYS leave it. ; )
scdreamer is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 07:25 AM
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As long as you are checking a suitcase you don't need to worry about the 4 oz. regulations... that is just for gels or liquids you take ON the plane with you.

As to your packing quesstion: May will likely have mixed weather. So I suggest "layers". Take 2-3 pair of comfortable shoes or sandals, plus a pair of pants, couple pair of capri, a skirt or two, and a half dozen tops of various weights and sleeve lengths to go with. One lightweight cardigan or knit jacket. Take a robe &/or something to sleep in, and assorted undies and socks. Flip flops work well as slippers.

Wear the bulkiest and heaviest of whatever you want to take as your outfit for on the plane, to save space in your suitcase.

Downsize all your toiletries into travel size containers, just enough for the lenght of your trip. Pack them into (double) ziplock baggies, then layer in with your clothes, or put into a softsided cosmetic case, then into the suitcase.

suze is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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ira
 
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>does that mean aerosol can be put in check in luggage?

See the TSA list at http://tinyurl.com/ptxdw

ira is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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I definitely understand the desire to go through the pictures while on the trip - my husband is very much into photography and travels with a daypack full of camera gear when we fly. For car trips, he brings more. Still, we don't bring the laptop because he finds that his desire to see the pictures right away does not override his desire not to haul around an extra piece of equipment. Plus, time spent reviewing pictures is time spent not taking pictures - LOL.

Everybody is different though. And since it looks like you aren't really moving around once you get there, it might be worth it to bring the laptop.
J_Correa is offline  
Sep 20th, 2007, 07:24 PM
  #13  
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I love these posts. You can't beat the packing list. THANK YOU! I will ask more questions as I go along. What a fun group. You all have and are sooo helpful. I feel blessed.
Jvabean is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 11:49 AM
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You asked about making contacts with Italians. When you shop for groceries don't go to a Supermercado, but to the little specialty shops in town, and to whatever street market they have, and after about two days many will greet you like a friend, and will love to talk to you. If you ask them for advice, about food or whatever, they will happily help you. And if you have small children with you, that is a wonderful ice-breaker, as most Italians love little kids.

I once went into a stationery and card shop on the main piazza in Citta di Castello, and the owner asked me where we were staying. When I told her about our place up in the hillls, she said, "Oh, she's my dearest friend!' and sure enough, I remembered seeing her on Sunday afternoon playing cards out on the lawn with the landlady. Then we talked about Italy, and about her trip to San Francisco once, and she wanted to know if I knew her cousin who lived in Los Angeles, etc. etc. (Since I live in the SF Bay Area, this was a stretch. But better than one Italian who asked if I had ever met his cousin in Chicago!)

Bread in Tuscany is usually unsalted, which makes if tasteless to our palate, but if they sell Pugliese (poo-lee-ay'- say) bread, it may have salt.

Also, hang out on the piazza for coffee/drinks after lunch or in the evening and watch the passing parade. We saw a wonderful little vignette of Italian street life once in Citta di C. that unfortunately is too long to tell here, but we remember it fondly. Be aware that if you want to sit at a cafe table it will cost more than if you just stand at the bar inside. But you can't order at the bar and carry it to a table. That is a no-no.

BTW, your rental probably starts on a Saturday, right? Be aware that almost all grocery stores close at noon on Saturday and do not open again until Monday morning, so get your shopping done in the morning before you go to your villa. (There are some of those supermercados in some places that stay open, but not many.)

Charnee
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