|Travel in Italy - a Guide|
GENERAL TRAVEL INFORMATION
No visit to Italy is complete without visiting the beautiful region of Tuscany. Florence, the capital and largest city in this region is a concentrated treasure of historic buildings, piazzas, churches and galleries. The Pitti Palace, Uffizi Gallery, the stunning Duomo (largest cathedral), Piazza Signoria with its marvellous sculptures and the unique Ponte de Vecchio with its wonderful jewellery stores perched on the bridge, are just a few of the "must see" locations of this beautiful city.
Of course, there is much more to Tuscany than Florence. The countryside is dotted with historic hilltop towns such as Montalcino, San Gimignano, Montepulciano. The famous cities of Lucca, Pisa, Arezzo, Siena, Cortona, Volterra are well preserved and steeped in history dating back to ancient times.
It's not only the cities that are full of charm and history, take the time to wander in the countryside and see the villages. Enjoy the produce of this bountiful region. The wines of this region are world famous - Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile wine of Montepulciano , Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Just about every town of village produces wine of excellent quality.
Endless olive groves shape the Tuscan landscape and the region is fiercely proud of their olive oil production. Local fare in the restaurants such as Bistecca alla Fiorentina (huge marinated T Bone steaks), Cinghiale Ragu (wild boar stew), Porchetta (suckling pig), pecorino cheese (sheep's cheese), porcini mushrooms (in season) are simply delicious.
Travelling by road, bus or train is possible in Tuscany. The Italian Autostradas are excellent - yes, they are fast but if you are anxious, stay in the slow or middle lane...it's the best way to cover large distances. The A1 Motorway runs through the heart of Italy from Naples to Milan - it's a major, straightforward route to Tuscany. The A11 freeway runs from Florence to the west coast to Pisa and Livorno. The A12 freeway will take you from Lucca to the Genoa and you can stop off and see the Cinque Terre on this route. Secondary roads, such as SS 222 meander throughout the Chianti region and offer a more gentle pace with lovely views but they can be slow, particularly in peak season.
Rail links are very good in Italy and connect most major towns. Italian trains and buses are quite efficient but be sure to book train travel and (in addition) reserve a seat when you travel in peak season.
There are also several airports in the Tuscan region - Firenze Airport and Pisa Airport handle international flights.
Wherever you go in Italy it will be an adventure - don't miss beautiful Toscana if you can help it!
ITALY PHONE NUMBERS
Rome Airport (Leonardo Da Vinci Fuimicino Airport): 06 65 951
Florence Airport: 055 30615
Pisa Airport: 050 849300
Railway Information: 848 888 088 Toll Free Information Number Within Italy
Florence Train Station: 055 288785
Pisa Train Station: 050 41385
Lucca Station: 0583 490104
General Emergency: 113
Car Breakdown: 116
Carabinieri (Police): 112
Fire Brigade: 115
Italian Directory Assistance
Directory Assistance: 12
International Directory Assistance: 176
Telstra: 172 10 61
Optus: 172 11 61
Australian Consulate Rome: 06 85 27 21
OPENING TIMES (Guide only)
Petrol stations: 7.30-12.30 & 15.00-19.00
Most closed Sundays & some may close one day during the week
Food Shops: 8.00-13.00 & 15.30-19.30 Closed Wednesday pm
Clothes Shops: 9.00-12.30 & 16.00-19.30 Closed Mondays am
Supermarkets: Larges ones open all day Some open Sunday
Department stores: Usually open all day
Banks: Open from 8.30-13.00 & 14.15-15.00 or 14.30-15.50 depending on the bank
CLOSED weekends & public holidays
Bureau de Change usually open all day and some until late at night
Please note: Due to currency fluctuations,
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