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When In Rome do as the Romans(or in this case Florence)

NYC
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When In Rome do as the Romans(or in this case Florence)

Hi,

this may seem like a silly question, but when I travel I really love to immerse myself as much as possible in the actual local culture, customs, traditions, etc. My husband and I will be leaving for Florence at the end of September and I would like to know some super basic things:

* meal times- having travelled to alot of places, i know that what is breakfast/lunch/dinner times for me here in NYC isn't always a direct translation in other places. For example, in Mexico lunchtime is later in the day around 2 or 3pm and this is the biggest meal of the day with "dinner" being a lite snack or coffee with a sandwich(in most cases). Or in Spain dinner is late in the evening like 10pm for example. What is it like in Florence with meals?

*I am really very interested in seeing local flea markets, antique markets, vintage stores.. .are there any special days for them or locations where one could find these.

*any advice on tipping? Is tip usually included in the check at restaurants? how much % of tip should one give?

*this is a very stupid question but i'll ask it anyway.... can i walk around with my camera out? I do not want to keep putting it away everytime i am done with it. I KNOW this is a stupid question but having heard so many horror stories on pick pockets and such in Florence I am a little paranoid. Being a NYer I don't expect to walk around not paying attention but I also would rather not create temptation.

Thanks in advance for your help/advice with this.

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: When In Rome do as the Romans(or in this case Florence)

Lunch is 12.00 to 14.00. Dinner starts at 19.00 or 19.30 for tourists; maybe around 20.30 for locals.

There are markets in most of the towns, but we have to know which places you intend to visit.

It is never necessary to tip for anything in Italy.

Pickpockets do not snatch cameras: they steal your purse when you are not paying attention. You can walk around with your camera out.

Saint Marys, Ohio
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2. Re: When In Rome do as the Romans(or in this case Florence)

Be sure to visit the open air markets near San Lorenzo and Santa Croce. When near San Lorenzo go into the Mercato Centrale which has virtually anything you want in foods. Very interesting place. Pastas, wines, olive oils, any kind of meat and vegetables you could want, dried fruit, mushrooms, cheeses, you name and they have it. Good place for lunch too.

South of Piazza della Republica is the Mercato Nuovo or the Straw Market. It's in an open air loggia and be sure to see the Il Porcellino fountain. It's a bronze boar fountain and it's said that if you rub it's snout you will return to Florence. The snout is highly polished because of all the tourists rubbing it.

I travel with an expensive camera and it's always around my neck. Never been a problem on 6 trips.

Be sure to walk around Florence at night after dinner because the churches, monumnents, Ponte Vecchio, etc., are lit up and make for some great pictures.

Castellina in...
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3. Re: When In Rome do as the Romans(or in this case Florence)

For normal shopping markets: tuscanyitaly.info/marketdaysintuscany/market…

Lunch 13.00, dinner 20.00 - tourists often start half an hour earlier.

The tip is included in the bill as a service charge. No additional tip is expected.

Camera snatchers are rare in Florence - I heard from someone who had a very expensive camera taken from him violently by a Romanian gang, but that was the exception that proved the rule. Pickpockets are not looking for a struggle: www.bella-toscana.com/pickpocketsinitaly.htm

Florence, Italy
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4. Re: When In Rome do as the Romans(or in this case Florence)

Hi! as for open air market, do go to piazza dei Ciompi (not far from the Duomo, direction Santa Croce), where the antique market is hold. I think they are there every day, but I think on Saturday it's bigger. In my opinion you can skip San Lorenzo, which is mainly for tourist. Have a nice stay!

Boston...
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5. Re: When In Rome do as the Romans(or in this case Florence)

They don't really eat breakfast, just coffee and maybe a little something with it. And most restaurants have pretty defined hours of service. They usually shut down after lunch, say maybe by 2:30 or 3:00 at the latest, and then don't start serving again until at least 7:00, or even later. You shouldn't plan on being able to grab a late lunch somewhere. They also have a lot fewer places to grab something quick to eat for lunch than we do, it's a lot more sid down restaurants and not many sandwich/salad kinds of places.

Also on tipping, we were told by several friends who are from Italy or have lived there that while the tip is generally included in the check (you'll see the words "servizio incluso"), it's considered polite to leave a small tip in cash for good service. Just a few Euro in coins. In a cab, you wouldn't add a specific percentage, just round up slightly.

Land O Lakes...
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6. Re: When In Rome do as the Romans(or in this case Florence)

Thanks for the input. Our daughter is in Florence (study abroad) and I am trying to decide if it is a safe place to visit.

Bedfordshire...
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7. Re: When In Rome do as the Romans(or in this case Florence)

Florence is a very safe place to visit. Did you not check before allowing your daughter to go there?????

Land O Lakes...
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8. Re: When In Rome do as the Romans(or in this case Florence)

She is 21. She would have gone without my permission. I was asking for myself but thanks for the reply.

Thessaloniki, Greece
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9. Re: When In Rome do as the Romans(or in this case Florence)

We found Florence to be a very safe city..Just be careful as you would in any other place and you'll be fine!

St Paul, MN
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10. Re: When In Rome do as the Romans(or in this case Florence)

Rome and Florence are very similar in lunch time, and the fact that restaurants close between lunch and dinner (3-7 pm).

Florence has fewer beggars and gypsy-looking peopl than Rome. It's very safe.

In Florencee unlike at Rome there is a 2-5 euro per person fee for just sitting down at a restaurant: coperto. It is ilegal in Lazio where Rome is. YOu will see it on the bill. I figure out what tip I was goin g to leave and subtract the coperto from that. I leave 15% minus the coperto unless I am dissatisfied.