Category Archives: Tourism information

Basic planning for Florence and nearby

To maximize any short stay in Florence, consult the many fine guidebooks. I list some useful web guides and we look at official tourist pages for Florence and Tuscany.

General information:

A fantastic rundown of the coming month’s events is at the Pitcher & Flaccomio newsletter. The newsletter comes out at the beginning of the month and covers the coming month’s events- street events and otherwise.  A back issue of any given month may list festivals and fairs, in or out of town, that are likely to re-occur when you visit.

More current information is available in the English-language publication The Florentine.

Following is a list of the main sites that I link to in these posts. There may be a bit of selling going on  but the information is useful:

APT, the official tourism board of Florence

Here is the English language version of APT (agenzia per il turismo Firenze), the official Tourism Board of Florence.

There is plenty to look through; I’ll highlight the utilitarian Useful Information page.

For travels in the area, there is the Visit Tuscany website.

Useful information & being gracious

There aren’t a lot of public toilets in Florence. Take advantage of museum stops! Bars are required to provide bathrooms, so our basic strategy is to stop for a caffè (espresso) as needed. Or maybe, for my afternoon to be complete, a caffè corretto, corrected coffee, which is a regular caffè with a shot of brandy or grappa. Great idea, amici!

Before you get on the train, you must validate your tickets at a yellow convalidare machine, found on each platform. When boarding a city bus, smaller bus-style convalidare machines are on the bus aisle.

Say you’re moving through a crowd and you want to express Excuse me. Say “Permesso“.

A simple and gracious utterance in numerous situations is Prego; literally, I pray. Say it often, in situations like please, you first, of course, no problem, etc.

In a restaurant, ask the waiter Che ci (mi) consiglia?; What, to us (to me) do you recommend?

To ask What is your favorite, say Che è il suo preferito? Avoid using the “false friend” favorito, which means something like favored in the sense of advantaged.

Random, but still useful, notes

An etto, 1/10th of a chilo, kilo, about a quarter of a pound, is the common unit of measure in the marketplace..

Bio, pronounced bee-oh, means organic.

Use the 24 hour clock to express time, especially for transportation and hotels and the like.

The American month/day/year sequence for dates is, in Italy, day/month/year: 28/2/11 = February 28th, 2011.

When writing numbers, Italians use a period where we use a comma.

20° is a mild 68, 25° is a pleasant 77, 30° is 86, 35° is 95—fa caldo, It’s hot. Centigrade 28° is the palindrome to Fahrenheit 82º. Similarly, Centigrade 16º is close to Fahrenheit 61º, and the high of Centigrade 40º is Fahrenheit 104º!

Sometimes, under a via, street, name, you’ll see già followed by another name. This is the street’s former name.

The country is organized as follows: Regione (pl. regioni, 20 in number) > Provincia (pl. provincie– 110) > Comune (pl.Comuni) > Città. I think that’s right.

Gli Stati Uniti, the United States, may fly the red, white and blue. The Italians honor their verde, bianco e rosso, green, white and red.

Non calpestare l’erba means Don’t walk on the grass. You may see non calpestare l’aiuole, Don’t walk on the flowerbeds. I mention this to observe that aiuole has all five verbs and only one consonant! Other favorite words: cucchiaino, teaspoon; dopo domani, day after tomorrow.