Frequently Asked Questions

 

Amendments
Bookings for 2014
Booking your holiday
Cancellation
Car hire
Cleaning on departure
Cots
Country noise
Credit Cards
Currency & Banks
Distances & speeds
Driving licences
Driving times
Driving to & in Italy
EHIC
Electricity
Essential maintenance
Guidebook
Health advice
Keys
Language
Last minute bookings
Linen and towels

Please take a few moments to read the following notes that have been prepared for you.

We hope they will answer many of your questions and help get your holiday off to a flying start!

Amendments

A charge of up to £25 may be applied to amendments or alterations made to an existing booking. All amendments should be confirmed to us in writing.

Bookings for 2014

We highly recommend that you reserve your holiday property as soon as possible, particularly for larger groups.

Booking your holiday

Please book as early as possible to avoid disappointment and select a couple of alternatives in case your first choice is not available.

Cancellation

Please refer to our Conditions of Booking for cancellation information.

Car hire

Car hire is essential for all of our villas. We recommend that you check at least one of the main comparison websites which compare prices from many car hire brokers and smaller companies. Don't book directly with the site but link through to the company offering the best deal.

www.carrentals.co.uk
www.travelsupermarket.com
www.kayak.co.uk

The Brokers

They negotiate the best prices they can with different suppliers. In most cases the price will be lower than booking direct with the company who supplies the car but it is always worth checking.

www.carhire3000.com
www.holidayautos.co.uk
www.easycar.com
www.auto-europe.co.uk

Double check what is included. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Waiver (TW) usually are and you shouldn't pay extra for Personal Insurance (PI) and Personal Effects Cover (PEC) as this should be included on your travel insurance policy. Check whether they will add extra for Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) to reduce liability for excess and to cover damage to windscreen, roofs and tyres - if not included check how much it would cost to include it and consider a separate policy. See the following for further information:

www.insurance4carhire.com
www.questor-insurance.co.uk
www.carhireexcess.com

It is always advisable to book a car seat for a child in advance as they can charge a lot more at the airport.

Cleaning on departure

Whilst it is appreciated that the cost of your holiday includes the final clean (at most properties), it is unfortunate that some guests have left their property in a terrible state which is quite distressing for the owner. We appreciate that you may have a long journey home, but we would ask that you do leave the property in a reasonably clean and tidy condition on your departure.

Also, it is essential that you report any breakages i.e. cups, plates etc. to the owners before you leave. The owners reserve the right to retain a portion of your security deposit to cover any breakages and unsatisfactory cleanliness.

Cots

The majority of our properties provide cots free of charge. However, there are a few properties that do not supply cots or that make a small charge to hire them. For full details please see individual property pages. Where there are a number of properties at the same location, the cots are supplied on a first come first served basis, so reserve yours early.

Cots are often personal ones supplied by owners and therefore vary in size and type and do not have to conform to EEC safety standards as they do in this country. Therefore, clients may prefer to bring their own travel cots with them

Country noise

Clients will have their own ideas of what they consider to be noises which are annoying and disturbing. Those used to town life should remember that most of our properties are in the countryside and many are on working vineyards. Farming is a way of life in these areas, therefore please bear in mind that you may experience tractor noise and other country sounds such as cocks crowing, dogs barking and birds singing at unsociable hours.

We do understand how precious a holiday is and we will make every reasonable effort to help you, but please understand that some circumstances are just completely out of our control.

Credit Cards

Commonly accepted in main cities in shops and restaurants. Not so common in the rural areas - be prepared to pay cash for meals in smaller restaurants, for petrol in small filling stations and in smaller shops.

It may be an idea to inform your bank that you will be travelling abroad because sometimes unusual transactions are not authorised as they can be picked up by the fraud detection software.

Currency & Banks

The legal currency of Italy is the Euro. Many banks are now only open for a short time in the afternoons - maybe between 2.30pm and 3.30pm. They are closed Saturdays/Sundays.

Many supermarkets have cash points outside where you can use your credit card to obtain Euros - very convenient and much quicker than going to the bank. We usually find this system preferable to using travellers cheques.

Distances

ALL distances in Kilometres
Bologna
Florence
Milan
Pisa
Roma
Siena
Bologna
-
105
210
182
379
173
Florence
105
-
298
77
277
68
Milan
210
298
-
375
572
366
Pisa
182
77
375
-
335
106
Roma
379
277
572
335
-
230
Siena
173
68
366
106
230
-
Source: Michelin Guide

The speed limits in Italy are as follows:
Built-up areas 50 kph
Outside built-up areas 70 - 90 kph
Main roads 90 - 110 kph
Motorways 90 - 120 kph
When driving in Italy, seat belts must be worn. Children under 4 years of age must use special child seats. Children aged 4 - 12 years must travel in the back of the car.

Driving Licences

The old style UK driving licence is no longer valid for travel in Italy. It was replaced by the European licence in 1991-1992, thereby rendering the national licence invalid. If you still hold the older licence, please be sure to either obtain an updated version from the D.V.L.A. or alternatively you can obtain an International licence valid for one year from the A.A.

D.V.L.A. Tel: 0870 240 0010
A.A. (Non Members) Tel: 0800 444 999
A.A. (Members) Tel: 08705 500 600
R.A.C. Tel: 0800 55 00 55

Driving times

To help you plan your route we would like to give you an idea of driving times. These times are only approximate and assume that you will be travelling by the most direct route.

From To Time
Florence Siena 1 hr
Florence Bologna 1 hr
Pisa Florence 1 hr
Pisa Grosseto 2 hr 45 mins
Pisa San Gimignano 1 hr 30 mins
Pisa Siena 2 hr
San Gimignano Florence 1 hr
San Ginignano Siena 45 mins
Siena Cortona 1 hr
Siena Grosseto 1 hr
Siena Montecatini 1 hr 30 mins
Perugia Siena 1 hr 45 mins
Perugia Rome 3 hrs

Driving to and in Italy (information is latest know but subject to change)

The following documents and equipment are required to drive to and in Italy:
  1. A valid passport (with necessary visas).
  2. Full Driving Licence: A valid UK driving licence is required. It is recommended that if you still have the old style UK licence and time permits that you apply for the newer European Community Licence (application forms can be obtained at your post office - Form Dl or DL1 in Northern Ireland). If you do not have time to obtain the new licence, then you can apply for an International Driving Permit from the AA.
  3. Original Vehicle Registration Document: If the car is rented or borrowed then you will need the registration document and a letter of authorisation from the vehicle's owner.
  4. Motor Insurance: Third party insurance is required. Ensure that you have breakdown cover (such as AA Five Star). Let your insurer know before you travel and remember to take your insurance details with you. Ask your insurers for information about carrying the 'Insurance Green Card'.
  5. EHIC card: Basic medical care will be available to UK residents. Comprehensive Travel Insurance is also required.
  6. Seat Belts: Compulsory to all drivers and passengers. Children smaller than 1.5m have to use suitable restraints or adapter belts and must be seated in the rear of the car.
  7. A clearly displayed GB sticker: If your vehicle is fitted with EU-plates, this sticker is not compulsory, but recommended.
  8. Don't drink and drive: Restrictions are different and more severe than in the UK.
  9. Traffic offences including parking and speeding are subject to heavy fines (either on the spot or by post). If you receive an on the spot fine, get the officer to give you a receipt. Be careful to observe all traffic restrictions (take particular care when in Florence).
  10. Your car should be equipped with: Warning triangle, replacement bulbs, fluorescent jackets recommended for all passengers and spectacles if required.
  11. Dipped headlights must be on at all times outside built-up areas. Headlight converter kits must be obtained to adjust your lights for driving on the right.
  12. Never have valuables in view or leave anything in view when the car is unattended. Lock doors and park in secure well lit areas where available.

Electricity

In common with most residential properties in Italy, electrical supply in many properties is limited to 3kwh's. Because of the low power supply it is usual not to be able to have two household appliances running at the same time without fusing the power.

Essential Maintenance

There may be at times essential maintenance that needs to be carried out at a property, in the grounds or surrounding areas. This will be undertaken with minimal disruption.

Guidebook

A good guidebook of the area will enhance the enjoyment of your holiday greatly. Here is a link to Amazon's website who have a number of recommended books on Tuscany. They are a very reliable company to use and offer excellent value for money.

Health advice

At the time of publication, no inoculations are required for anyone travelling from the U.K. to Italy. For more detailed information contact the Dept of Health for a copy of their booklet 'Health Advice for Travellers' on 0800 555 777 or information is also available on the internet at www.dh.gov.uk

Keys

On receipt of the final balance you will be sent details regarding access to the property including location map, and arrangements concerning keys etc..

Language

Except in the cities and larger tourist areas you will not find much English spoken. We recommend that you take a good phrase book with you and don't be shy of using it. The local people will give you every encouragement if they know you are trying to use their language.

Last minute bookings

Tuscan Holidays can handle your last minute holiday decision with ease. Obviously if you have the use of e-mail or a fax machine this aids us greatly in confirming your holiday details quickly.

Linen and Towels

Linen for beds and bathroom towels are provided at every property. Towels for the pool or beach are not provided so please take your own.

Maid service/cook

A number of our properties are able to provide a maid service at an extra cost (San Giovanni and Sant' Angiola have some maid service included). Full details are found on the price list section of each individual property page together with the hourly rate which is payable directly to the property owner.

Map

The famous Touring Club Italiano maps are precise and reliable. We provide this map FREE with every booking. To read more about it please click here>>

Market Day

Most towns have a market one day a week. The market opens early and closes around 12.30pm. Larger markets have some real bargains on the clothing stalls - fashionable knitwear is worth looking for, also table linen and bed linen.

Motorway Tolls

Motorway Tolls are payable in cash as you leave the toll section. It is also possible to pay by credit card by inserting your card in the slot provided. Via Cards can be bought in the bar at motorway service stations or at the toll point.

Occupancy

Italian law states that properties cannot sleep more than the maximum number of people stated in the property descriptions. Owners are liable to a heavy fine and therefore will not accept additional persons.

Open all year

Tuscan Holidays offers the majority of its properties for let all year round. With cheaper property rental prices and cheaper flight prices available, a holiday to Tuscany out of season is extremely reasonable.

We are able to accept a minimum of 3 night breaks during quieter months, so why not treat yourself to a long weekend in Florence for Christmas shopping or just get away from those winter blues. Remember to consider properties with central heating for the cooler months.

Passports and visas

For Italy, British citizens require a full ten year British passport. It is recommended that it is valid for six months after your return. At present there are no visa requirements needed for British Citizens travelling to Italy. All clients who do not hold a British or EU passport must check their visa requirements at their respective Embassies or Consulates. It is the client's responsibility to ensure that all passport and visa details are up to date and correct. For more information please see www.ukpa.gov.uk.

Personal security

As in any country, when visiting any major city please be aware of your personal possessions and keep them safe.

Petrol

Petrol stations close on Sundays. Some garages have a cash-in-the-slot system installed where you can buy fuel out of hours. Every area has one petrol station open on Sundays - details are listed in the local newspaper.

Pets

If you wish to take your pets to any of our properties, please check at the time of booking if the owner will accept them. All pets need to have their own 'pet passport'. These can take several months to obtain, so plan well ahead.

Prices

Prices are per week per property.
Arrival and departure days are Saturday only (unless otherwise stated), except in low season when alternative days may be arranged subject to confirmation with the owner.

Security deposits

You will be required to pay a security deposit for each property. This is to be paid direct to the owner on arrival and should be paid in either Sterling cash or Euros. For details please see the tariff on each individual property page.

Shop opening hours

Large supermarkets are open all day on Saturdays but generally most are closed on Sundays. 'IperCoop' (which is a few miles from Pisa airport - exit Navacchio - on the road towards Florence) stays open until 8.00p.m on Saturdays and is open some Sundays. If you are going to stay at Vallorsi, La Sughera, Santo Pietro, Sant' Angiola or Podere S. Giovanni there is a good 'Conad' supermarket just south of Ponsacco at La Capannina which is also open till 8.00p.m on Saturdays. Guests staying at Granaio, Semifonte, Casa Maria Luisa and San Martino can shop on Sunday mornings in Poggibonsi at 'SuperAl' which is open from 8.00a.m to 1.00p.m.

Some supermarkets and alimentari close for half a day on Wednesdays.

Special occasions

If you are celebrating an occasion while you are on holiday, please let us know if you would like us to try and arrange something special. We cannot guarantee anything, but we will try our very best to help you.

Swimming pools

Most swimming pools are open seasonally. Please check if your booking falls outside June 1st and September 30th.

Telephone Cards

Telephone cards for public phones are sold in tobacco shops and in many bars. Try to avoid using coins as you will run out very quickly.

Tenancy times

Our bookings are from Saturday to Saturday (in low season changeover days can be more flexible - please ask). Access to your holiday property is between 16.00 and 19.00 on arrival day. This gives the owner adequate time to clean and prepare your property for your arrival. Gaining access earlier is generally not possible. If you have a special request and reason why you need entry earlier, please make this clear at the time of booking. We will make your request to the owner but their decision is final.

If you will be arriving later than 19.00 due to flight times and delays, please let us know the time you will be arriving and we will arrange with the owner for the key to be left or for someone to meet you at the property at an arranged time. In most cases the owners do not live on site and they may have to travel to the property especially to meet you there at the agreed time. As a courtesy to our owners, please observe the arranged arrival times as we cannot guarantee entry to the property otherwise. Departure is by 10.00am.

Tuscan Holidays representative

We have our own English speaking representative who lives in Tuscany. You will be given her telephone number so you can contact her if you experience any problems or have an emergency. Otherwise, please speak to the owner of the property in which you are staying.

Travel insurance

All clients must take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover you and your party against things like medical and additional expenses, cancellation or curtailment, public liability, personal accident, baggage and personal effects and personal money. Please provide the name of your insurers and your policy number on the booking form.

Travelling around

By road
Roads are generally well signposted even in the country areas. Bear in mind though that road signs are usually only just before or actually at the junction where you have to turn and not as in the U.K. where you usually see the sign well before the junction. Please note that Tuscany does have windy roads and hills. It may take longer to cover distances than expected. Please allow enough time for your journeys.

By rail
A useful way of getting to some of the larger cities without using your car. There are good regular services from the regions to Florence and Siena which may save you finding car parking. The station in Florence is well placed being only 10 mins walk from the Cathedral and city centre sites.

Two centre holidays

Many of our customers choose to stay in two different properties for the duration of their holidays, moving to another location for the second week of the holiday. This provides the opportunity for you to experience the different regions and cultures that Tuscany has to offer.

Welcome Pack

You will probably have had a long journey to travel to your property, so to ensure your arrival is easy and hassle-free, we prepare a welcoming complimentary hamper for you. The contents may vary from property to property but the typical lists includes:

Sugar
Salt
Pepper
Toast bread
Marmalade
Butter
500g Pasta
Tin of tomatoes 800g
Olive oil
2 bottles of mineral water
1 bottle of wine
1 litre of milk
Tea
Nescafè
Washing-up liquid
Sponge
Dishcloth
2 dishwasher tablets
2 rolls of toilet paper

EHIC

The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), which replaced the E111 form, is free to all UK residents but please note that it does not replace travel insurance, both are required. Travel insurance covers you in many other circumstances, such as personal accident, cancellation, curtailment, personal money and belongings, personal liability and legal expences. An application form for the new EHIC form is available from your local post office or online at www.dh.gov.uk/travellers.

Satellite TV

Where satellite TV is mentioned in a property description, it means that in most cases there will only be Italian stations and very rarely, some English speaking stations. Please enquire for your chosen property at the time of booking.

Maid service/cook
Map
Market Day
Motorway Tolls
Occupancy
Open all year
Passports and visas
Personal security
Petrol
Pets
Prices
Satellite TV
Security deposits
Shop opening hours
Special occasions
Swimming pools
Telephone Cards
Tenancy times
TH representative
Travel insurance
Travelling around
Two centre holidays