Tuscany is hilly, two-thirds of the total territory of Tuscany are covered with hills, the third remaining are mountains. Tuscany is a triangular shape and borders with Liguria, Emilia, Marche, Umbria and Lazio and mediterranean Sea.
One of the most famous landscape is the Maremma, located in the south, the Chianti area between Florence and Siena, as well as the Versilia in the north-west and the Etruscan Riviera, which covers the area from Livorno to Piombino.
Florence is the most important and visited city on the region but there are other city that you can see like:
- Pisa it is famous besides the historical university “Normale di Pisa” for the leaning tower and Piazza dei Miracoli .
- Siena takes you back into the Middle Ages. The city center sits on several hills. You can start to visit Piazza del Campo, famous for its unique shell shape and Palio di Siena, a horse race carried out twice every summer, on July 2 and August 16. The tower of the City Hall and the Torre del Mangia, offers a spectacular view of the square and the city, if you climb to the top.
- Arezzo, the birthplace of Piero della Francesca and brilliant masters Giorgio Vasari. You can start your visit with the visit of Basilica of San Francesco with breathtaking frescoes depicting the Legend of the True Cross (Storie della vera Croce) by Piero della Francesca, the Church of San Domenico see the wooden Crucifix by Cimabue (Crocifisso di Cimabue), the magnificent Piazza Grande with is loggias by Vasari and the Archaeological Museum Clinio Mecenate.
- Chianti is the area between Florence and Siena, it is famous for its excellent red wine all over the world. Vineyard-covered hills alternate with olive groves, every bend in the road that offers a panoramic view of the wine region.
Get around in Tuscany
Tuscany has two airports: Florence and Pisa
- Aeroporto Amerigo Vespucci – Florence
- Bus: http://www.aeroporto.firenze.it/en/passengers/from-to-the-airport/bus.html
- you find all the solution from the airport to the city nearby Piazza Santa Maria Novella and vice-versa.
- Rent a car: http://www.aeroporto.firenze.it/en/passengers/from-to-the-airport/car-rental.html
- Pisa International Airport:
- By car: Florence is only 80 km from Pisa and can easily be reached via the Florence-Pisa-Livorno dual carriageway or the A11 highway.
- By train: (take before the bus from Pisa airport to Pisa Central Station then the train to reach Florence – stop at Santa Maria Novella http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=4ddd1a035296f310VgnVCM1000005817f90aRCRD
- By coach: shuttle services between Pisa Airport and Florence City Centre by terravision. http://www.terravision.eu/florence_pisa.html
Step 1 : Visa & Legal
Tuscany is one of the both region of Italy that is part of the European Union. If you are coming from a EU country or one of the countries that are associated with the Schengen are(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area) you do not need a Visa to enter the Country. You can also stay there as long as you want.
If you do not belong to one of the 26 countries under the EU, then according to how long you plan to be in Italy, what you want to do there and where are you coming from, you will need a Visa.
If you want to go to Florence to study or are doing internships or training, please click the following link to see all the terms and conditions: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/immigration/study-or-training/index_en.htm or more details below
If the reason why you are going to Florence is to work, you need to get what is called a “blue card”, a special type of Visa that will allow you to work anywhere within the EU. http://apply.eu/BlueCard/Italy/.It is quite difficult to get it however, and requirements vary depending on your country of origin. Many people come to Europe to study first and then apply for a working visa afterwards because it is a bit easier to get (in Italy you can not be hire if you do not have at least an intermediate level of italian). Please follow the link below for further information about specific requirements:
Once you get the visa you can travel throughout Europe without problems.
If you come from an EU country, you can stay in Italy for up to three months without restrictions or formalities: you only need to have a valid identity document for travel abroad released by your country.
After three months from the date you will need to enroll Anagrafe of your Italian town of residence.
You will need these documents:
- certificate of registration to the University;
- documents proving your health care coverage;
- documents showing a small budget adequate for your stay in Italy.
If you are a citizen of a country that does not belong to the European Union (and is not Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland , San Marino) and you would like to live in Florence or Italy for more than three months , you must apply for a residence permit within eight days of your arrival in Italy .
You can submit your application at any post office where there is the ” Sportello Amico ” .
You will need these documents :
- Photocopy of the passport page with your personal information , the page with the visa , any other page containing stamps;
- photocopy of the letter of invitation of the University stating the course you want to sign up, stamped by the diplomatic representation / Italian Consulate to issue a visa ;
- certificate of registration to the University ;
- photocopy of the documentation certifying the availability of adequate financial resources for the duration of the residence permit;
- health insurance for the period of your stay in Italy, with an indication of your name (in the West) , the period and type of coverage , the validity for the ‘ ” Schengen Area ” , a minimum cover of € 30,000 . There shall be the policy wording in Italian , English, French or Spanish.
When you submit the application to the Post Office , the clerk will give u the proof of the registration, which also indicates the user ID and password.
Until you have received the electronic residence permit , you will need to take with you this receipt (or a copy) and passport.
The post office will give you a s convocation’s document for the mug-shot ( with recognition of your fingerprint)at the Police , the Immigration Office of Via Zara, 2. www.portaleimmigrazione.it You can also check the status of your permit ( Foreign Area ) or www.poliziadistato.it ( residence permits ), you will need the user ID and password that you find on the postal.
Step 2: Accommodation
When you move into a new place, it is necessary to find a suitable place to live. Choosing the right place to live is an important decision. So, looking for your ideal accommodation is not an easy task, the Room in the Moon is here to help. Check out the following links to give you an idea of what is available to you:
- http://www.bakeca.it/home.php Student only or young people
- www.sharing.to.it only for student
If you want to rent a house in Florence you don’t need any kind of document just visit the website and rent the house/apartment or room: single room (camera singola), double room (camera doppia) or an entire house.
In italy it is common to search your future house by web, only if you would like to buy one you do through Agency.
The main website to search an apartment to rent are:
Step 3 : Transport
If you arrive by train or by plane the stop in florence is Santa Maria Novella Station that is located in the centre of the city. here you can take a public bus or just walk everywhere if you book a room in the centre every things is close.
the schedule and the route of the public transport you can find here: http://www.ataf.net/en/ataf.aspx?idC=2&LN=en-US
Cab: generally the prize of cab are around 10 euros for a route in the centre areas. You have to bargain with the taxi driver before.
Step 4: Work:
As EU citizen or a member of the Schengen Agreement countries (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein), you do not need to apply for a special work visa. The European Union allows you to work in any EU member state.
Otherwise you must apply for a work visa at the Ministry of Foreign Affair http://www.esteri.it/visti/tipologie_eng.asp via the nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate.
When you are looking for a job in Italy the most important skill is the language, you have to speak just a little bit Italian and getting better by time. Not all Italian companies hire people that do not speak Italian. The international company or big company hire people that speak English http://www.prospects.ac.uk/work_in_italy.htm
EEA countries have reciprocal arrangements whereby, if you apply for a certain document, you are entitled to healthcare in another EEA country at a reduced cost. For example, in United Kingdom, this document is called a European Health Insurance Card. However if you are coming from outside of EEA, until you start work, you will need to have your own health insurance.
You can find a job in Italy trough the agency http://www.italialavoro.it/wps/portal/italialavoro/or by websites like:
Step-5: Health system
EEA countries and Switzerland have reciprocal arrangements whereby, if you apply for a certain document, you are entitled to healthcare in another EEA country at a reduced cost.
If you have been successful in obtaining work in Florence, and you are making social security contributions through your salary, you can apply for a Social Security card by presenting your social security number at your local GP practice. With this card, you can take advantage of state healthcare. If you are here just for a trip you do not need the Health Care, the First aid in Italy is free.
The holders of a “European Health Insurance Card” (EHIC), issued in their country of origin, benefit from the medical services previously covered by E111 and E128 forms. EHIC allows a student to obtain access to the treatment which is “medically necessary” while on a temporary stay in Italy.
Citizens from outside the European Community, regularly staying in Italy, can choose between two possible types of health insurance :
- Public health insurance supplied by SSN: it provides complete healthcare upon payment of a fee of 149.77 euros per solar year, namely until 31st December in the year of payment. In this case, it is necessary to apply to the competent ASL, for the required bureaucratic fulfillment’s.
- Private health insurance which has to be bought directly at an Insurance Company.
Step 6: Money and Utilities
In Florence as in all Italy, the currency used is the Euro (€). The country is part of the Eurozone and so any European country using Euros will be familiar with this type of currency; the value of which does not change.
If you are coming from an area of Europe outside of the Eurozone, you need to exchange money. Click on the link below to work out the exchange rate of the Euro vs. other currencies:
If you are planning to stay in Italy for a long period, it is advisable to open a bank account – you will pay a monthly tax. Furthermore, it is a requirement to have a bank account in order to be hired by a company so if you are looking for full time work please bear this in mind.
Here some of the Italian Bank:
Prepaid credit card
All the Italian bank as the prepaid Card and it is easy to have, you can top up your card by bank transfer (swift code) and allows you to withdraw cash in Italy and abroad and to make purchases online and in stores around the world, you do not need to have a checking account.
Thanks to the circuits of prepaid card, you can use anywhere, in Italy and abroad, on the Internet and in all atm point. you can check all the link above if you are interested on the prepaid card.
The international code in Italy is 0039 or +39
There are many mobile service providers in Italy and a selection of popular companies are provided below:
Depending on how you will use your device, there are many different types of contract to choose from, such as minute usage and Internet data for example. It is important to select the right plan for your budget, so it is recommended to spend a bit of time assessing all the options available to you. If you would like to stay in Italy less then a years it is better that you have a pre-pay plan instead of the contract.
if you rent a house/apartment you can have a headline plus internet:
If you are going to Florence to study then you should get an International Student Card that will get you plenty of discounts on the Cinema, museums, transport, restaurants and shops. In addition, the ISIC organizes plenty of activities that make it the perfect way to socialize as well. Please find further information in the following link: http://www.isic.org
Students have discount on city public transport subscription ( only if you do the monthly or year not for the single journey
Households and Bills
When planning to move to a new country, one of the most important things that you need to figure out is how much money you need for your household, in order to plan how much you will need every month.
The main household bills are electricity, water, gas and the Internet that is the owner’s choice whether to include the cost to rent or make paying your bills separately,generally speaking when you rent a house all these households are included on the rent.
The Internet and landline usually cost about 40€ a month and typically includes broadband with unlimited national calls. You can find all the headline company above.
Step 7: Food
One of the best things in Italy is food. You can find all kind of foods in a open-air-market, groceries or supermarket. Well, about the groceries and the open air markets like http://www.florence-on-line.com/markets/central-market.html. About the supermarket you can take a look on the list here below:
Typical florentine dishes:
- Affettati Misti : This is one of the most traditional appetizers served in restaurants in Florence. The meats are arranged in a circle on a serving platter and decorated with crisp, spicy salad leaves. Often served with slices of bread in a basket.
- Crostini di fegato (Chicken liver): Lightly toasted slices of bread spread with liver paste, which is made of chicken livers, capers, anchovy fillets, chopped sage leaves and butter. Originally, this spread has been called peverada and was made with saffron, which has been widely cultivated in the countryside around the city.
- pasta lovers can try the pappardelle (similar to spaghetti, this is a thick paste made with eggs) with wild boar sauce (which is still a wild animal in the woods of Tuscany) or hare.It can be topped with other ingredients classics: mushrooms, meat sauce, artichokes, salami, etc.
- Soups: pappa al pomodoro,
- Ribollita: isvery simple peasant soup substitutes meat with bread,and is also known as minestra di pane (soup-bread) or zuppa magra (or thin soup), even if you can not define exactly a vegetarian dish because generally the soup is flavor by the addition of bacon, pork crackling or best of all with a ham bone that can be used in the initial stage of the preparation.
- La Carabaccia Toscana is very tasty onion soup, thanks to the addition of pecorino and grated gruyere that covered that plenty of the soup. It is at the same time a rich dish to savor the arrival of the first cold. It should be accompanied by croutons that make it a perfect dish.
- These two soups are all variations of a single base (vegetables, bread or tomatoes) that gradually added some ingredients to make it tastier way added. Should be enjoyed warm with a little ‘extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
- The most famous dish is definitely the Florentine steak. Thick., cooked undone. This steak is a real institution. The thing that surprises people who do not live in Florence, this meat is undone, almost raw, which impresses many tourists. But a T-bone steak have to be ate only slightly cooked. Accompanied by white beans, roasted potatoes or tender salad.
- Florence does not have many great traditions in cakes, but “steals” dessert from nearby Prato Cantucci (almond biscuits) to eat at the end of the meal dipped in Vinsanto. In the colder seasons, the castagnaccio, takes its name from nearby mountains, a thin cake made with chestnut flour and pine nuts. During the Carnival you can find schiacciata alla fiorentina, a soft sweet as the sponge that can be filled with cream, custard or chocolate and covered with powdered sugar.
Here you can find all kinds of restaurant in Florence or bars for an appetizer! http://www.visitflorence.com/eating-and-drinking-in-florence/
Step 8: Social
Florence there are a lot of foreign student that organized parties in a private home or in a clubs.
there are a lot of bars nearby Arno where you can go to drink something after dinner.
here you find a lot of place to hang out during the nite in Florence
Kitsch, is one of the most famous and trendy bar in Florence for an aperitif, suitable for all ages. Terrazza Martini is also a “must” for those who are planning to go to Otel, as it is located just below the terrace, well-known for its elegance and cocktails that are not too expensive. Among others, there are also Porfirio Rubirosa with his international cocktails, Zoe, Angels, Dolce Vita and the Café de Paris, one of Florence’s most famous bar for pre-dinner drinks near (Piazza Dalmatia), as well as Negroni and, finally Colle Bereto.
If you do not want to spend the night in a club, you can go for a disco-pub as Oibò in Piazza Santa Croce, the heart of the Florentine nightlife scene and is well known for its great drinks, or Slowly, Baraka, and the Bello Blue in Campo di Marte ares with a privee in the lower floor, Boston T,that has a sophisticated style, Ambrose Coffee, Coffee Tower, Trend Café, american Bar in the historic area of the stadium perfect for a quiet evening between friends, and Plasma Plaz.
If you like beer you can go to Kikuya, William Pub, one of the most famous Florentine pubs in Piazza Santa Croce, with large choice of different beers, James Joyce, another of the more well known bars always full of young people at the weekends,
Step 9: Sight-seen
Florence is the cradle of Renaissance and is overflow of arts!
One of the first thing to visit is the Duomo, Santa maria del Fiore
The Cathedral of Florence, officially known as Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore but better known as the Duomo, was originally planned in 1296 as a Gothic cathedral by Arnolfo di Cambio.
Inside there is the fresco on the dome’s interior, painted between 1572 and 1579 by Giorgio Vasari .The fresco depicts the Last Judgment.
The dome, a marvel of engineering, was designed by Brunelleschi. He succeeded in creating the huge dome without support thanks to an ingenious design that consisted of an inner shell with a brick in a herringbone pattern and a chain of horizontal stone, which reduces stress and allowed the weight must be distributed uniform. The outer shell much smaller roof supports and protects the inner shell from the elements. Between the two shells is a staircase that leads visitors to the base of the lantern.
-Ponte Vecchio: Open all of the time, along the pedestrian zone south of Piazza della Repubblica towards Palazzo Pitti.
Built very close to the Roman crossing, the Old Bridge was until 1218 the only bridge acrosses the Arno in Florence. The current bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1345. During the Second World War it was the only bridge across the Arno that the fleeing Germans did not destroy. Instead, they blocked access by demolishing the medieval buildings on each side. On 4 November 1966, the bridge miraculously withstood the enormous weight of water and silt when the Arno once again burst its banks.
Along the bridge you find very small shops that sell gold or jewelers.
The Uffizi Gallery
Few people know the great building of the Uffizi was not created as a museum. It ‘was ordered in 1560 by Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, to house the administrative and judicial offices in Florence, the “Uffizi” (Italian for “offices”).
Since the 19th century, the Uffizi have become one of the most visited and popular museum of the world.
we can check all the information (timetable prices )in the official website
Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens.
Magnificent building built by Brunelleschi and ancient residence of the Medici dynasty, the Pitti Palace is now a place that contains several wonderful museums like the Palatine Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art.
here the official website to find out more:
Behind the Pitti Palace Boboli Gardens, which dates back to the 16th century. It is very suggesting thanks to the beauty of the panoramic views. The garden covers a vast area, forming an open-air museum with antique and Renaissance statues, rare trees and fountains with sculptures.
Palazzo della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is one of the most important attractions of Florence, together with the Piazza del Duomo. here there is also the town hall.
Piazza della Signoria could also accommodate the finest collection of outdoor statues in the world, with statues of Cosimo de ‘Medici 1 in the center of the square, the famous copy of Michelangelo’s David, Hercules and Cacus and the beautiful Fountain of Neptune, each resting along the building Plazzo Vecchio.
Step 10: Culture & Language
As all Italian Regions Tuscany has different accents. In this region people use a lot of dialect and slangs.
However Florence is a city overflow of international students, and between then they speak English.
you can learn or improve your italian at Leonardo da Vinci School http://www.scuolaleonardo.com/Florence-italian-language-school.html
Galileo Galilei Institute of italian language http://www.galilei.it