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Local Customs Tuscany

  • Customs

    While travelling in Italy you’ll be able to tell that habits, landscape, cooking and even language change considerably from north to south. Italy is a very young nation compared to other European countries and it’s been divided in several lordships and under foreigner kingdom, not to mention the Papal States, until 1861.

    However there are some common habits and customs found throughout Italy and you might find that they are quite different from the ones in your home country. Here are some of the most common to help you understand the locals.

  • Sweet breakfast

    Italian people, no matter where they live, start their day with sweets: biscuits, cakes, marmalade and jam, chocolate, pastry with custard. They go along with coffee, tea or cappuccino. Note that a cappuccino is usually a breakfast hot drink and Italians never drink it after 11.00, not to mention after lunch or dinner.
    A typical habit is to have breakfast at a bar/café of 'pasta e capuccino' (pastry and capuccino) which an Italian will eat while standing at the counter.

  • The Three Ms

    Italian society is said to be dominated by the three ‘M’s – Madonna - Mamma - Mangiare
    This is an exaggeration, but like all good generalisations, it contains several grains of truth.

    MADONNA
    The Italians are certainly a religious people, as the numbers and splendour of their churches testifies. Even quite small villages may have several churches and Sunday morning brings out scores of people and many family groups walking their way to mass. Most Italians devote the afternoon to play. For many this means walking or climbing, both popular sports. As the Sunday driver will find, many go cycling, Italy sharing with France a national passion for the sport.

    MAMMA
    Whether Italian society is matriarchal depends on who you ask. It is certainly true that, until a few years ago, Italian life was family orientated, and children were the focus of the social unit. Mothers were therefore of prime importance, caring for the children and ensuring their needs were satisfied. The system created a good number of spoilt children, but adult Italians seem none the worse for the experience – unless you include fanatical support for football or growing support for a more liberal attitude towards women.

    MANGIARE
    The final M is ‘mangiare’ – eating. This really is an important feature and Italians enjoy both the eating and its social side. For visitors this can only be good news.

  • Bell Chimes

    Churches in the area are an excellent way to keep a check on the time; just listen out for the chimes. Nowadays not all the churches mark the time of the day, but they usually still do it in the smaller villages in the countryside.
    Depending on the priest’s choice, you can hear two different sets of chimes:  
    Once  -- quarter past
    Twice  -- half past
    3 times -- quarter to
    Then bell chimes denote what hour it is, for example: Once – 1 o’clock

    Or
    Chimes for the number of the hour
    and once to mark half past

  • Kiss me!

    Italian lovers are supposed to be very passionate and which is the best way to express it than kissing each other? Although you are in a  Catholic country, it’s very common to see young and less young couple that kiss each other on the mouth in public, while walking in the streets or sitting in gardens. A habit that Italians share with French but not with many other countries.
    Italians will also kiss friends and acquaintances, once on each cheek, when greetings them or saying good bye.

  • Breast feeding

    If you have a baby and you are breast feeding, please feel free to do it while sitting at restaurant tables, public gardens and so on. There’s also a popular web site where you can find a list of baby and mother friendly shops where you can sit down and feed your baby, no need to buy anything! This website is in Italian only, but you just need to move your mouse on the map to see the shop’s name and location: children’s clothes shops, bookstores, public library and so on.
    http://www.lllitalia.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=65&Itemid=111

  • Dining out

    Dinner out at a restaurant, osteria, trattoria or pizzeria?              
    Italian menus are divided into starters, first courses (pasta and risotto), second courses (meat or fish), side dishes and desserts, plus a wine list. Please note that you cannot consider any of item as a single course and that Italian people usually have one of each for dinner, or at least they ask for starter and first course at lunch and opt for starter, second course and side dish at dinner.
    Trattoria and osteria were originally family runned, small cosy places where you could sit down and eat homemade local food reasonably priced. Nowadays they almost have the same prices or they might be even more expensive than a good restaurant.
    Pizzeria usually serves a wide choice of piazza plus starters, side dishes and desserts.
    Look at our list of suggested restaurants in Tuscany to help you choose one near you. These have been tried by ourselves or suggested by our villa owners

  • Let’s go in holiday!

    Until a few years ago 90% of Italian people used to take their weeks off work in August, also because school holidays run from the middle of June to the middle of September. This causes more traffic on the weekends, overcrowded costal towns and busy mountain villages, while the major cities were almost empty of locals.  The most common summer destination for the Italians is the seaside although many will also go to the mountain resorts.
    The situation has slightly changed recently, since the economic crisis has made people work all year long and be more keen on choosing their holidays in cheaper periods. However, July and August are still the most expensive and busy months if you want to travel in Italy.
    Once at the seaside, how does Italians spend their holiday? Sunbathing, sea swimming, reading and chatting on the beach. 
    Another typical Italian holiday is the so called white week: January and February are the best months to go skiing in the Alps or Apennines mountains, and many Italians will take a week to go skiing at this time of year.

Experience an official tuscany tour with

Private Tour to Siena and Montalcino from Florence

If you are looking for beautiful sceneries, medieval city and excellent wines, this tour is for you. Start by visiting the marvelous Gothic town of Siena with its unique Campo square (where the famous Palio is run). Then proceed towards Montalcino, a small medieval town situated on a hill dominated by the fourteenth-century fortress, in the countryside surrounding the town the famous "Brunello" wineyards. Stop in one of the renowned wineries and enjoy visiting their cellar and tasting their great wines.

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Independent Rome Day Trip from Florence by High-Speed Train

See Rome on this full-day tour from Florence, which includes a pass for the hop-on, hop-off bus tour. This is an easy way to see the Eternal City, taking away any stress of booking train tickets and bus passes. After the high-speed train ride from Florence, get on the hop-on, hop-off bus and explore famed sites like the Colosseum, the Circus Maximus, the Vatican, Capitoline Hill, and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. At the end of the day, return to Florence by high-speed train.

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Tasting Menu and Old Vintages Wines in Tuscany

Exclusive Tasting Menù in the Etruscan Grotto  with a tour of the cellar and description of old vintages.


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Dinner in the Chianti Vineyards from Florence

Dine under the stars in a Chianti vineyard, and taste some of the region’s esteemed wine during a tasting session. After leaving Florence, you’ll travel to a farm estate in Chianti to visit its wineries and chapel. Learn about the wine during the tasting, then take a seat at a candlelit table to savor Tuscan soup, barbecued meat, and wine.

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