Practical Information on Florence

TIPPING tips: 

Should I tip or should I not? 

Giving a tip to someone should take place when the level of service that at least matches or even exceeds your expectations. Tipping poor service only encourages that person to continue to offer a sub-standard service.

Restaurants: in many restaurants in Italy you may find tips are included in your final bill under the voices: "coperto" (cover charge) or "servizio incluso"(service charge) reported on the menu' or on the bill.  In these cases the money goes directly to the owner of the restaurant. Tipping a restaurant can usually work with 10% - 15% of the total bill. Most Italians do not tip in these cases, except when the service and quality are truly special. If paying in cash, you can just round up to the next euro and call that your tip if you’d like, unless the service has been exceptional and you can add 5% or 10% on the table, just let the waiter know.

In Bars: Italians often leave a few coins for a coffee, but please do not tip with unwanted small tiny change, it is not so kind. 

Taxi Drivers: taxi fee include extra for night trips, luggage and out of downtown rides, so you usually do not need to tip taxi drivers, but in the case they helped you with your heavy or plentiful luggage, or if you’ve had a nice chat, or whatever, you can just say "keep the change" (in Italian, this is "tenga il resto"). If you feel you really want to leave something more, a 10% would be fine!

In Hotels:  you can leave 1,50 Euro per bag at luggage porters.

Tour Guides:  the typical 5 - 10% tip is sufficient.

Hairdresser:  tipping is not a must here, it's entirely up to you! It is obviously a nice gesture, you can just let them keep the change.

 


FLORENCE BUSINESS HRS

SHOPPING

Boutiques are generally open Monday to Saturday from 10:00am to 7:00/30pm. Lately they have been more flexible and depending on festivities and seasons those may be open also on Sundays, but not before 11:00am. Department Stores are usually always open from 10:00am to 8:00/9:00pm. 

In Summer, due to the heat, locals prefer to leave town for the weekend and you may find that most boutiques and stores are closed in the afternoons. August is the holiday month for Italians and even if the trend is changing, many stores will close at least for 15 days. Also a few Bars and Restaurant will close for Summer break. In Winter some Boutiques are closed on Monday mornings until 3:30pm. 

Supermarkets downtown are usually open all week long until 9:00pm. In the surroundings areas Supermarkets are closed on Sundays(except once a month). 

RESTAURANTS

For Lunch, service starts not before 12:30pm and generally the kitchen closes around 2:30pm. 
For Dinner, you may be seated by 7:30pm, but not earlier than that, some places will not accept clients before 8:00pm. Some Restaurants close their kitchens at 10:00pm. 
 
COCKTAIL BARS & CLUBS
 
Most Cocktail Bars open for Aperitivo from 6:30pm until 9:00pm and close at 2:00am. Discotheques usually open around 11:00pm and must close at 4:00am, Clubs (you need to be a member) usually close little before 6:00am. 
 

ELECTRICITY IN ITALY

Electricity in Italy, as in the rest of Europe, comes out of the wall socket at 220 volts alternating at a 50 cycles per second.

Frequent travelers can simply buy one of these adaptor devices (in the photo) in Europe to avoid carrying both the device and the converter around. The adaptors are not expensive in Italy (6,00 Euro more or less). Many rental properties supply proper hair driers because home owners hate to deal with the many customers disgruntled when their own devices turn to lumps of charcoal in their hands. Ask if you aren't sure. Sometimes hotels may lend you a converter to recharge your batteries or mobile, but since people do not give it back, do not expect many hotels to have it. 

 


POST OFFICES
 
Post Offices offer the following services: 
- Send and Ship: letters, postcards, packages, faxes. Letters and postcards (with stamps) can be dropped in the red mailboxes outside of Post Offices and around town. 
- Purchase: stamps, boxes, pre-paid calling cards. Stamps can be purchased also in Tobacco shops.
- Exchange currency, send money orders, pay fines/bills. 
- Open a post account with credit card(as a bank account). 
 
Main Post Offices downtown, open Monday through Friday, non-stop form 8:00am to 7:00pm: 
- Via Alamanni, 18red (Close to the Railway Station  back entrance)
- Via Pellicceria, 3red (Close to Piazza della Repubblica, under the Gallery)
- Via Pietrapiana, 53 (Close to Piazza dei Ciompi flea market)

 


 

INTERNET
 
Most Hotels in town offer free Wi-Fi services, other will probably charge you by the hour or per day.
If you bring your laptop along, you could use the wireless internet offered by few cafes in town, some may ask you to register to give you a password, other will just give you the password. Here below a few addresses where the service is free, but you will have to buy at least a drink: 
 
Moyo Bar - Via De' Benci, 23red
Colle Bereto Wine Bar - Piazza Strozzi, 5red
Michael Collins Irish Pub - Piazza della Signoria, 30red
Caffetteria delle Oblate - Via Dell'Oriuolo, 26


LOST&FOUND
 
OGGETTI SMARRITI means LOST&FOUND
Address: Via Veracini, 5 (Int 5)  /Phone +39 (0)55 334 802  /Email: [email protected]enze.it
 
Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday:               9:00am - 12:30pm  
Tuesdays and Thursdays:  2:30pm - 4:30pm 
 
TOURIST OFFICE SOS Tourists
Address: Via Cavour, 1  /Phone: +39 (0)55 276 0382
Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday:         8:30am - 6:30pm
Sundays & Holidays:         8:30am - 1:30pm
 

PUBLIC RESTROOMS
 
The city of Florence has built a series of  public toilets in and around the city center and most Tourist Offices offer a guide/map to trace them around town. However public toilets are not free, depending on location it can cost 0,60 or 1,00 Euro. If you feel the need to shower, the cost is 3,60 Euro. 
 
 
Other Options for free toilets
 
Department Stores
- COIN:  Via Dei Calzaiuoli, 56red
- RINASCENTE: Piazza della Repubbica
 
Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo, If you are visiting the San Lorenzo district in the morning, you can take advantage of the free stalls in San Lorenzo market’s main building. Toilets here are frequented, but clean.
 
Cafes and Restaurants

It is not uncommon to find signs saying that the toilets are for paying customers only. You will realize that due to the amount of tourists in Florence it is not easy for Bar owners to handle such crowds that use their activities as toilet stops only. Visitors may just order a glass of sparkly water or coffee and then ask for the Toilet, this is what Italians usually do.