experience Italy, off the beaten path
Have a look through our most frequently asked questions where you’ll find quick answers to our guests’ most common questions and concerns. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help!
Who are your small group tours designed for?
Strada Toscana small group tours are designed for seasoned travelers, first-time visitors, friends, couples, and solo travelers who desire more than the usual sightseeing tour. Each tour is carefully created to include a variety of delightful, insider experiences that allow our guests to become fully immersed in a truly authentic Italian experience.
In what currency are your prices?
Tour prices are listed in US dollars.
What is the size of your small group tours?
Our small groups are a maximum of 14 guests and an average of 10. Some groups are even smaller with just 6-8 guests. No group is too small, as caring and providing individual attention for each of our guests is our priority.
Who are your guides?
With the exception of owner/president, Pamela Haack, all of our guides are English-speaking Italians who are from the regions in which we travel. They know the towns, the sites, the roads and the people like the back of their hand, and they treat our guests like family. We do not use American or foreign guides.
How much “guiding” is included each day?
Although each tour is accompanied, you won’t be glued to a guide all day! In addition to some guided walks and tours, we include a variety of intimate private visits with local Italians (always a highlight!) along with time on your own to explore museums or churches, browse artisan shops or relax at a open-air cafe. Our small group tours are carefully designed with an enjoyable, balanced itinerary that our guests tell us they love.
What are the average ages of those who travel with you?
Our guests, over the years, have ranged in age from 20s to 80s, with an average age range in the 40s-60s. Although parents and their adult children often travel with us, our small group tours are not designed for families with young children.
What type of ground transportation do you provide?
We use only private Mercedes Benz van service for our tours with excellent professional drivers (who will treat you like family!) and who have been driving for us for years. Our vans are 8-seater – a size that allows us to enter small village centers and restricted access zones, and we use two vans on most tours.
How do I book a tour?
Our tour booking process is easy and secure! Simply go to our Booking Page, select your tour, complete the online booking form and choose your credit card payment option (many tours include monthly installment plans!). Once your deposit is received, we’ll automatically charge your credit card for subsequent payments, based on your payment selection.
Where does the tour begin?
The rendezvous location for most of our tours is either Rome Fiumicino Airport or Florence Peretola Airport, from where we provide one group transportation to the tour accommodations, with a pick-up scheduled in early afternoon. Exact time and detailed meeting point are provided when you register for the tour.
The rendezvous location and time on our couples’ and women’s tours is our Venice hotel lobby at 3:00pm on the afternoon of the tour start date. Details are sent upon trip registration.
Where does the tour end?
On the final morning of the tour our drivers will transport you to either Rome Fiumicino Airport or Florence Peretola Airport where your tour officially ends (see particular tours for end locations) .
Do you offer installment payment plans?
Yes! Convenient installment payment plan options are offered for a limited time leading up to the tour start date. Our early-bird bookings include a 10-month trip payment plan that is most popular with our guests! When you choose your tour on our booking form, the payment plan options for that tour will appear at the end of the form.
What is included in the tour?
Most everything is included in the trip itinerary, expect for airfare. Please check your tour’s itinerary for detailed inclusions.
What can I expect at meals?
Italian culture is inseparably entwined with its food, which is why we carefully hand select restaurants, meals and menus for each day of the tour that include the very best regional dishes made of fresh, locally grown ingredients – often organic. Our guests rave about the meals!
Are wines included with meals?
Of course! We carefully select wines that compliment our menus. From fabulous vintages produced at nearby wineries to the natural, organic wines of Umbria (an up-and-coming niche) to the excellent Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, every included lunch and dinner is paired with a top-notch regional wine.
What items will be offered at breakfast?
Breakfasts include both Italian and North American selections, such as freshly baked cornetti and marmalade-topped crostate, cold cuts, cheeses, tomatoes, yogurts, breads and fresh fruit. Gluten free items are also available, along with a vast selection of Italian coffees, from espresso to cappuccino to macchiato.
How should I dress during the tour?
We recommend comfortable, casual clothing that includes breathable fabrics and items that you can layer. Although formal attire is not necessary, we request smart casual at dinners. No shorts or workout attire at dinners, please.
Versatile, comfortable shoes or sandals that can be worn for either sightseeing or dining are ideal. We recommend traveling with 2-3 pairs of shoes, as it’s often helpful to alternate the shoes you wear throughout the trip for optimum comfort.
How should I approach packing for my trip?
Less is definitely more when it comes to packing for Italy. We know first hand how challenging it can be to know what to bring – or not to bring – on an international trip, but just the same, we highly recommend that you travel light. Planning to wear outfits more than once and bringing luggage that is easy for you to handle on your own is very wise.
Is tipping customary?
Tips are uncommon in Italy, and are never expected in restaurants (where usually a service fee is included the bill). However, we do find that many of our guests like to leave a tip for those who have taken exceptionally good care of them throughout the trip. This may include hotel staff, guides and private drivers – and is completely up to your discretion.
What is the best time of year to travel to Tuscany?
Tuscany has a generally mild climate, as does her sister-region, Umbria. If you like cooler temperatures, you might prefer tours in April, late October or November when daytime temperatures (F) average upper 60s to low 70s. If you like it a bit warmer and sunnier, you might prefer May, early June, September or early October when daytime temperatures average mid 70s to low 80s. The hottest months are July and August, when temperatures often soar into the upper 90s.
Should I obtain travel insurance?
Yes! We highly recommend that you obtain travel insurance. If you must cancel your participation in a Strada Toscana tour for any reason whatsoever – including health reasons for yourself or a family member at home – cancellation fees as stated in our Terms and Conditions will apply. Travel Insurance – specifically trip cancellation insurance – can cover some or all of these expenses.
If you miss a specified group pick-up and transfer due to a delayed, cancelled or missed flight or for any reason whatsoever, you are responsible for arranging and paying for your own transportation to the tour venue. Travel insurance – specifically trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance – can cover some of all of these expenses.
Terms and coverages vary depending on the specific insurance carrier. Carefully check the specified terms and coverages before purchasing your policy. Some insurance carries require that you purchase a policy with 7 days of placing a deposit on a tour, retreat or workshop. Our recommendation is to consult with a travel agent – particularly if he or she is already booking your flight for you – for particulars and prices.
Do I need an electrical adapter to charge devices while in Italy?
Yes! In order to charge your smart phone, tablet or other device while traveling in Italy, you will need an electrical adapter for Italian outlets. Electrical adapters allow North American style prongs to be accepted in European outlets. This should not be confused with an electrical voltage converter – which in NOT needed for charging devices.
If you will be traveling with a curling iron, hair dryer, hair straightener, electric razor, etc., be sure the device has a dual switch to change from 110 voltage to 220 (European) voltage.
Can I use credit cards in Italy?
Yes! All major credit cards can be used in Italy. But be sure to notify your bank and/or credit card company before traveling otherwise your attempted charges or withdrawals will likely be viewed as fraudulent and your card can be blocked. Note that sometimes small shops or restaurants (particularly in small towns) cannot accept credit cards.
What is the best way to get euros for my trip?
The best, safest and most cost effective way to obtain euros for your trip is to withdrawal euros from an ATM machine (called a Bancomat) AFTER you arrive in Italy. You’ll find that Bancomats are virtually everywhere, just as you would find ATMs in North America.
Keep in mind that you will likely be charged a fee by your bank (usually $3 – $5) each time you withdraw money, and there will probably be a limit on the amount that you can withdraw at a given time (ask your bank), but the fee to convert dollars to euros before your trip is usually much more. Just be sure to notify your bank ahead of time that you’ll be using your ATM card in Italy – or your card will likely be blocked as a security precaution.
What level of difficulty is the walking on your tours?
On our cultural, culinary, women’s and couples’ tours the walking is rated easy/leisure, however you can expect hard cobblestones, uneven pavement, steps and steep hills. In addition, no elevator is available at our accommodations your sleeping rooms might be located on the second story.
On our walking tours, the walks are classified as easy to moderate. Distances are on average 10-12 kilometers (5-6 miles) and durations on average 2-3 hours. When walking in the countryside you should expect rocky trails, uneven footing and steep hills, and in villages you should expect hard cobblestones and uneven pavement. Proper walking shoes and attire is a must.
Although we do offer options for those who wish to walk less, or who choose to opt out of a walk entirely, our tours are designed for active travelers. They are not recommended for those with walking difficulties, breathing issues or any health-related condition that would severely limit tour participation and/or impede or inconvenience the rest of the group.
Are your tours non-smoking?
Yes. All Strada Toscana tours are non-smoking.
Do I need a passport to travel to Italy?
Yes. A valid passport is required to travel to Italy. If you do not have a passport, we recommend that you apply for one as soon as possible. If your passport expires within 6 months of the tour start date, be sure to renew as soon as possible at your nearest passport office. It’s also advised to have passport replacement forms printed and packed in your luggage, along with passport photos, in the unlikely event that your passport is lost during your trip, Although it takes a bit of time to get these things in order, it will save you a lot of time and aggravation during your trip.
- Can I have my travel agent book through you?