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ITALY TRAVEL INFORMATION FROM ACCESS CULINARY TRIPS

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TRAVEL INFORMATION

Arrival Airport
You should make your flight arrangements to arrive at Florence’s Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR).

Departure Airport
Please plan to depart from Florence’s Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR).

Pick-up & Drop-off Information
We provide complimentary airport pick-ups and drop-offs at the specified airport and times on the first and last day of the trip. We will be waiting for you with a sign saying ‘Access Culinary Trips’ as you exit customs at Florence’s airport. If you would like to be picked up or dropped off on a different day, or brought somewhere other than the airport, please contact us.

Note: We are not responsible for last minute adjustments due to changes or delays with arrival and departure flights.

Flights
We do not book international flights to or from Italy for our guests. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flight/visa or travel insurance, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.


TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR ITALY

Travel Insurance
Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Culinary Trips. We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our website at: http://www.accesstrips.com/company/insurance/

Passports & Visas
Travel to Italy requires a valid passport (most countries require a minimum of 6 months validity) and US citizens do not require a tourist visa. To learn more about visa and entry requirements for Italy, please check out the State Department’s website at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Italy.html

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.


HEALTH & SAFETY IN ITALY

Emergency Contact
If your friends or family need to contact Access Culinary Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Culinary Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.

Health Requirements
Guests with preexisting medical conditions are required to disclose this information prior to traveling with Access Culinary Trips, and all guests with preexisting conditions are required to provide a note from a doctor clearing them for travel. The US Department of State recommends that travelers with medical prescriptions consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines as well as a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription.

We strongly recommend that all of our guests visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.

Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in Italy: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/italy

Fitness Requirements
Our trips are open to anyone who wants to explore our exotic destinations through cuisine. We do engage in multiple walking tours, some of which last several hours.

Safety & Security
To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items (including cell phones) safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals. For more information on safety and security in Italy, please review the safety and security section of the following webpage:  https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Italy.html

Age
Children ages 12 and up are welcome on group trips. Children under 12 are welcome on private tours. Please contact us with any questions.


ITALIAN CULTURE

Italy is a proudly traditional nation that values tourists and their impact. However, out of respect for the culture we are visiting, please note the following etiquette tips:

  • Try to learn a bit of Italian beforehand – this demonstrates respect and your effort to connect with the people of Italy
  • Italians do not always chat with strangers, but it is encouraged to say hello (“buongiorno”) or good evening (“buona sera”) to a shopkeeper when entering a store or bar
  • Do not put your feet or shoes on tables and chairs
  • Avoid handling produce when shopping and instead ask for what you would like

Language
Italy’s official language is Italian, although a number of other minority languages are officially recognized by the country.


ITALY’S CLIMATE

Italy’s climate varies from the north to the south. Our tour takes advantage of the beautiful central-west region of Tuscany, known for its verdant hills and ample sunshine. Overall, the climate in Tuscany is mild with warm summers and pleasant winters. Some rainy days are common, however.

The best months to visit Italy are during the summer, from April through October. These dates are optimal for weather (74 degrees F on average) and peak-season availability. Note that July and August are much hotter, reaching temperatures of 80 and 90 degrees F.

Tuscan winters offer many sunny days with cold nights, especially in hilltowns. Temperatures average around 45 degrees F, with January and February being the coldest months.

If you are looking for warm weather and the convenience of peak season, our summer departures are a great idea. However, this is also the busiest time of year for Tuscany. Therefore, if the tranquility of a slower season interests you, we recommend our winter departures.


CURRENCY, BANKING & SPENDING MONEY IN ITALY

Italy is part of the eurozone and therefore uses the Euro. There are exchange bureaus in airports, certain hotels, and most banks. Counters require your passport for the transaction.

For the latest currency exchange information please go to: http://finance.yahoo.com/currency

ATMs are available in all cities and major towns. It is recommended to notify your bank or card issuer that you intend to travel abroad so that no block will be put on the usage of your credit or ATM cards.

Spending Money
Meals: All breakfasts, three lunches (including the lunches we cook during classes) and the farewell dinner are  included, Please plan to bring at least $5-$10 per lunch and $10-$20 per dinner for those meals that are not included, as well as money for snacks and drinks.

Tipping
Tipping is not a common practice throughout Italy, as gratuities are generally included in the bill. However, we’ve included some guidelines below should you need to tip.

Tour Guide/Drivers: If you are pleased with the services provided by your tour guide and driver, then a tip for their hard work will be very much appreciated. In general, we recommend around US $10 -15 per day, per traveler for guides and US $5-7 per day, per traveler for drivers if less than 4 people in a group. We recommend around US $5-10 per day, per traveler for guides and US $3-5 per day, per traveler for drivers if there are 5 people or more.

Hotel & Restaurant Staff: In restaurants, the tip is usually included in the final bill (servizio incluso). However, we recommend checking the bill first to make sure. If it is not included, a  tip of 10-15% will suffice. For cafes or bars, just round up to the nearest euro on the bill. In hotels, a tip of .50 – 1.50 euros is encouraged for housekeeping. A tip of about 1-2 euros is customary for porters.

Other expenses: There are no required additional expenses for this trip, but you might like to take spending money for such things as souvenir shopping and nightlife.


ELECTRICITY & INTERNET IN ITALY

In Italy the power sockets are of type C, F and L. The standard voltage is 220V to 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

There is wi-fi access in the hotel.

Most US cell phones will not work in Italy, unless you have a specific international plan. Contact your cellular provider to see what options you have in terms of international calling plans.


WHAT TO TAKE

We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables on the plane. We recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. There may not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own.

We suggest that you bring the following items:

Clothing & Equipment

  • Season specific clothing including items to layer with
  • Clothes to wear for optional upscale restaurants
  • Clothes appropriate for walking in the woods during truffle hunt
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen / sunglasses / hat
  • Insect repellent
  • First-aid kit (should contain lip balm, aspirin, band aids, a cream for sore muscles (e.g. deep heat), Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Travel Documents

  • Passport (with photocopies)
  • Travel insurance (with photocopies)
  • Airline tickets (with photocopies)

FINAL NOTES ON YOUR ITALY TOUR

This is a tool meant to help you decide what you should bring on your upcoming trip. It is by no means comprehensive. While we do our best to be as thorough as possible, we cannot foresee every possible condition. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Culinary Trips.