come experience Italy with us, off the beaten path
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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!
COVID-19 TRAVEL ADVISORY
This page is being revised on a regular basis, and was last updated on September 27, 2020.
At Strada Toscana, our travelers’ safety is our first priority. We continue to monitor the Covid-19 pandemic, and are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US State Department regarding US travel restrictions and other guidance, along with the Italian Ministry of Health.
The situation continues to be fluid and we are evaluating conditions on a regular basis.
We’re currently booking trips through 2021. Since we keep close tabs on what’s happening in the travel industry as a whole, and now in particular regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re happy to report that Strada Toscana has adopted new travel policies for 2021 and beyond.
We’ve always conducted small group travel, off the beaten path, steering away from big crowds. (You might say that we were social distancing before it was even a thing.) This means we will continue to enjoy excursions to non-touristy places, along with intimate visits with locals, but we’ll also be even more diligent about avoiding crowded places.
Plus, in 2021, all of our trips are based at privately owned villas – no hotels – which means you’re not mingling with other travelers who are coming and going.
On top of that, since your health and safety is our absolute priority, we’ve adopted new safety guidelines, which include strictly following Italy’s rules regarding social distancing, wearing masks as required and implementing a stringent sanitary protocol.
Should any of our trips in 2021 be canceled because of blocked international travel due to Covid-19, we will issue you a 100% refund on your trip, or you may transfer funds to future dates. We do NOT expect this to happen, but you can rest assured that if it does, we’ve got your back.
If your trip is still running as scheduled, it is up to you if you feel a need to cancel your participation. Please note that we refund only those trips that we cancel. Otherwise our current terms and cancellation policy applies. We understand that you must decide for yourself, based on your own level of risk. This is precisely why when you book a trip with us, we ask you that you acknowledge that it is your responsibility to obtain trip cancellation insurance. This information is provided to you upon booking (with a required checkbox), and is then reiterated in our trip confirmation email.
Exceptions to our terms and cancellation policy will not be made for any reason whatsoever.
What is Strada Toscana?
Strada Toscana is a boutique, small group tour company that creates retreats, workshops and tours based at private villas in Italy.
How does one host a workshop with you?
To host a workshop or retreat with us, you simply contact us so we can explain in detail how it all works.
What type of ground transportation do you provide?
We provide private ground transportation with either a van and mini-bus service. Our professional drivers are excellent and have been driving for us for years.
How do I book a space on one of your listed trips?
Our booking process is easy and secure! Simply go to our Booking Page, select your trip, complete the online booking form and choose your payment option. Once your deposit is received, we’ll automatically charge your credit card for subsequent payments, based on your payment selection.
In what currency are your prices?
Our prices are listed in US dollars.
Do you offer installment payment plans?
Convenient installment payment plan options are offered for a limited time leading up to trip start dates. When you complete your booking form, the payment plan options for that trip will appear at the end of the form.
What can I expect at meals?
Italian culture is inseparably entwined with its food, which is why we carefully hand select meals and menus for each day of your trip experience that include the very best regional dishes made of fresh, locally grown ingredients – most often organic. Our guests rave about the meals!
Are wines included with meals?
Of course! Every included lunch and dinner is accompanied by regional wine.
What items are offered at breakfast?
Breakfasts include pastries, cheeses, yogurts, eggs, breads and fresh fruit. Gluten free items are also available, along with juices, teas, cappuccino and espresso.
How should I dress during the trip?
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 pack 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 includes villa staff, guides and drivers – per your discretion.
Should I obtain travel insurance?
Yes! We highly recommend that you obtain travel insurance. If you must cancel your participation in a Strada Toscana workshop, retreat or trip 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 is 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) do not 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.
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 costly.
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.
Is there a lot of walking on your trips?
Yes, there is always walking, but how much depends on the specific trip. Be sure to check your itinerary for specifics.
In general, we recommend getting in condition by regularly walking on hills and/or stairs before you arrive in Italy. Medieval villages have steep avenues, and you will certainly encounter hard cobblestones and uneven pavement. Proper walking shoes and attire is a must.
Our trips 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 trip 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.
How do you give back?
On behalf of every guest who travel with us, Strada Toscana makes a donation to a local restoration or preservation project. It is our commitment to help preserve the very culture that we are so generously allowed to enjoy.