August 6, 2013, 12:35 PM
August 6, 2013, 07:46 PM
We came with the 2-prong adapters, and they worked just fine for us. We charged our iPhone and laptop, and camera batteries with it.
Be sure your electronics are dual voltage! Many are - the newest laptops, smart phones, tablets, etc. My son brought his Game Boy and it was not, so he couldn't charge it.
Don't worry about blow dryers - most hotels provide them (or just buy one when you get there).
August 7, 2013, 01:35 AM
thank you two so much.I know what to pickup now and will pass along to my companion's.
Now what about those prepaid cellphones that can we can purchase when we get there.
August 7, 2013, 02:45 AM
I didn't worry about cell phones. We used Skype and FaceTime on the laptop. No charge to call home! Otherwise, email and this forum worked for me.
Originally Posted by travelgirl
Communication between us wasn't an issue since we were together the whole time.
August 7, 2013, 04:52 PM
If you have a large group and feel the need to get phones to communicate, maybe if you divide up the group, you could have one per car... then you can either get cheap prepaid phones here (I bought a really cheap one for 30 euros, old old basic model) and you'll get the SIM card included to which you can add euros to. Another option is if you already have a triband phone (Italy uses GSM 900), get it unlocked before leaving home and then just buy a SIM card here. The carrier to get is TIM as they have the best coverage everywhere you go. To buy a local SIM card all you need is your passport, which they make a copy of. You can buy SIM cards directly from TIM stores or from electronic stores, anywhere you see phones in the windows (not sure of the Florence airport, it is too small).
The great thing is that incoming calls to your local cellphone at that point are free, so you can ask people from back home to pay for the international call to Italy but you don't pay a dime. And having a local phone makes calls between your group easy to do.... of course, as Melany says, if you have access to free Wi-Fi and a laptop or tablet, you can also communicate with emails and instant messaging apps like Skype or Google Hangouts or with your phones using apps like WhatsApp rather than with calls. But not everyone will be somewhere with just Wi-fi so the local cellphones could be convenient to have in large traveling groups.
August 7, 2013, 10:45 PM
my thought's are with 13 people now and going different direction's some day's we may need to communicate for some unforeseen reason,plus we may have to call our host if we have a problem at one of the apartments since we will be the only one's staying there.
I will have a tablet to Skype with for checking back in the states. I will be meeting with the group to tell them they can also call their cellphone carrier and switch to the global setting while we are there,but for me I will purchase the prepaid for peace of mind. Thanks again
September 17, 2013, 08:19 PM
Hello, I to am in the information gathering stage for a 2015 trip to Tuscany. We will be 5-8 african-american women ages 48-62; first time visitors to Italy (Tuscany, Florence, Venice and Rome). Our dates : 23/05 - 03/06/2015 (12 nights) - we desire a villa that is no more than 1 hour drive time from FLR or PSA (airports)
-what should we expect/anticipate as 1st time travelers
-what as a group of black females should we anticipate touring (i have read some forums that caution blacks regarding travel to italy)
-suggested villa rental companies - just a little hesitant because of such a sense of unknown-
i welcome any and all suggestions and insights-
September 30, 2013, 09:12 PM
ciao yvonnedms, thank you for reposting after the hacking!
I definitely recommend a villa that you can have to yourselves to enjoy, with a pool to relax by.
You can certainly go through a villa rental company but we personally don't usually recommend, instead recommend contacting the owners directly - you skip all of the outrageous commissions tacked on by the agencies for one thing, but also get to "meet" the owners directly, the ones you'll find locally once you're here. Of course, not all villas are managed in this way but where they are, going through the owner is generally a better experience.
I have never personally seen anyone treating black tourists in a discriminatory manner. While there are many immigrants directly from Africa in Italy, I've never seen Italians behave badly towards them either, so I can't imagine that they would do so when a whole group of English speaking women are traveling and are obviously visitors.
Actually.... do expect to get some stares but not because anyone wants to be rude - it is likely many Italians have never ever seen a group of 8 African-American women together, having fun and socializing. So they'll stare in wonder - I can see that happening
Now, as far as villas to contact - take a look, then get in touch but do expect many of them to not yet be prepared for 2015 - many are receiving contacts now for 2014 which already seems way far down the road. So many just start keeping record of the ones you like - and once your dates are really set (like once you have plane tickets in hand), make the reservations. Villas do tend to get booked months ahead of time, so you do want to plan ahead on this but I think generally 9-12 months should be sufficient.
So here they are:
Villa Vianci - the entire villa near Siena
Torre a Cona - has apartments as well as entire houses - closer to Florence
Villa Piaggia - might be bigger than you want but is very very nice - you'd have extra space so maybe more friends can join in? Close to San Gimignano (between Florence and Siena)
Villa la Medicea - this is divided into just 2 apartments, so theoretically you can rent both and have the whole villa with pool to yourselves - very close to Florence
Villa La Dogana - to the north of Florence, more secluded area, villa is beautiful although quite fortress like from the outside
.... and maybe the best for last (just joking, it is hard to find faults with any, especially as regards location)....
Villa Corsanello - in beautiful countryside.... and perfect for 8!!!
You'll have more questions as you read more and start planning so feel free to post!!
Enjoy the planning stage!