Frequently Asked Questions: Italy

Packing

What should I pack?

 

  • Passport and any additional documentation as required by your nationality
  • Any medications you may need
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Layered, lightweight clothing (cover knees and shoulders for churches)
  • Scarf to cover shoulders
  • Layered yoga clothing (mornings can be cool/cold)
  • Daypack or satchel for tours
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Insect Repellent
  • Toiletries
  • Reading material/journal
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Swimsuit
  • Yoga mat if you are not renting one from Belize Yoga
  • Motion-sickness medication if you require for transport (Chianti is hilly)
  • Laptop or tablet
  • Camera
  • Plug adapter AND voltage converter (most laptops/iphones come with a converter)
  • Battery-powered alarm clock or watch
  • Lightweight water-resistant jacket and or umbrella
  • Spending money and tip money
  • Visa or MasterCard (alert your card company that you will be visiting Italy)
  • Eye mask and earplugs (optional for plane and locations–Florence is a bustling city)
  • Neck pillow (optional for plane)

Flights

  *Please note that our retreats do NOT include international airfare.

What airport should I fly to?

You have several options. You can fly to Florence (FLR), which is the easiest. You can also fly to Rome (FCO), Bologna (BLQ) or Milan (MXP). Those airports tend to be less expensive, and then you can take the train to Florence. If you plan to travel before/after the retreat, you may select one of the alternate airports. 


When should I book my flight?

We strongly recommend waiting until the retreat is fully confirmed  (after all students have paid in full, around 3 1/2 months prior to the  retreat). If you wish to book your flight earlier please note that there  is a chance the retreat could be cancelled (although that is unlikely).


  

What time are the transfers to/from Florence?

On the beginning Saturday of the retreat, we will meet at the Santa Maria Novella train station at 1:30pm.The drive to the country villa is approximately 1.5-2 hrs. On the final Saturday of the retreat, you can travel on your own from the hotel in Florence–either to the airport or continuing your travels. The hotel will assist you in arranging a taxi, and can hold your bags after checkout if you are not departing Florence until late in the day.


Should I rent a car or travel by train if I am traveling on my own?

Travel by train is generally the easiest and most cost-effective way to see Italy. Train routes between major cities are frequent and you will generally be within walking distance or a short taxi ride from your destination. Some more remote or hilly areas (Chianti, for example), are better accessed by car. The app Trains Timetable Italy by Paolo Conte (Android) or OrarioTreini (Apple) is free and provides prices and schedules–you will need to use the Italian city names (Firenze is Florence, for example).


How to I buy tickets for the train or bus?

It is important to purchase your train or bus tickets beforehand, as there is a penalty fee collected for tickets purchased on a train, and busses do not sell tickets. Train tickets are easily purchased online or at kiosks at train stations (be sure to validate the ticket in the separate validation machine), and bus tickets can be purchased at any tabacchi/bar.


*If you are uncertain if your flight will coordinate with the  transfers (or is close), please feel free to contact Belize Yoga prior  to purchasing.

Costs/Money

Should I bring Euros or exchange US cash? 

It generally is easiest to simply use an ATM upon arrival at the  airport to withdraw Euros. Exchanging US cash or obtaining Euros in the  US usually incurs more fees. 


Can I use a credit card?

 Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted.  It is VERY important to inform all credit/debit cards you plan to use  that you will be visiting Italy. If not, they may block all  transactions.


  When is the balance due? 

The balance is due 120 days prior to the retreat.


How do I pay the balance? 

We will send you an electronic invoice to pay securely online.


What is included in the cost of the retreat? 

Scheduled transfers to/from Florence, 7 nights lodging, most meals beginning with dinner on arrival day and ending with breakfast on departure day (excludes 4 lunches on your own), yoga sessions, adventures as listed in your retreat.


What is NOT included in the cost of the retreat? 

Four lunches, gratuities, alcohol, sodas & drinks not included with meals, laundry, phone, non-mealtime food or “off menu” ordering, additional tours or transfers not included in package, spa treatments, etc.


What if I have to cancel my reservation? 

If you cancel more than 120 days prior to the retreat, you will lose your deposit. Cancellation within 120 days of the retreat, there is no refund. We strongly recommend obtaining travel insurance for this reason.

General Travel

  What is the weather like? 

Weather in September in Tuscany should be highs in the high 70s to low 80s, with lows in the mid 60s at night. We recommend bringing lightweight layered clothing as it may be hotter or cooler than average. Rainfall is unlikely, with September averaging 3in of rain in Tuscany.


What time zone is Italy?

Italy is on Central European Time and is (GMT +2) during Summer Daylight-Saving Time (March-October).


What type of clothing should I wear? 

Of most importance is to be comfortable, and comfortable shoes are a must in Italy. Italians do tend to “dress up” more than Americans, so you may want to bring some dressier clothes/shoes that are comfortable. We recommend that any day you plan to visit a church, be sure your knees and shoulders are covered (ladies can bring a scarf to cover shoulders if necessary). Some churches do not have a strict dress code, but others do. We’ll practice yoga in the mornings, which could be cool/cold, so we recommend layered options.


Do I need a Visa to visit Italy? 

US citizens do not need a visa to visit the European Union, only a valid passport that does not expire within 6 months of the retreat. Non-US citizens should check for entry requirements.

Electricity/Communication

What electricity do they use?

Different from the U.S.: Italy is 220V/50Hz. U.S. is 110V/60Hz. The plug shapes are also different, so you will need a plug adapter so that your plug fits into a socket, PLUS a voltage converter to reduce the voltage to 110V. Without a voltage converter, your device will receive double its normal electricity. Most laptop computers and iphones have a voltage converter included (it is the box attached to the cord).


Will there be internet? 

Yes, although first and foremost we invite you to UNPLUG. Wireless internet is available at the main areas of both locations. Please note that the internet may be slower than you are used to, and may be unavailable at times.


Is there cell phone coverage?

For the most part, yes (depends on your provider), although first and foremost we invite you to UNPLUG. Check with your service provider regarding international roaming rates, as they are very expensive without an international plan. We recommend keeping your smart phone on airplane mode during the retreat to avoid incurring fees for data, texts and calls.


Should I get a cell phone while in Italy?

You can purchase a SIM card and monthly plan while in Italy, but these can only go into an unlocked phone (most phones in the US are not unlocked). A free option would be to have WhatsApp, Skype or Viber installed on your smart phone for use via wifi.

Meals

  Are the meals vegetarian?
There are meat options at each meal, and plenty of vegetarian options.


I have specific food allergies or restrictions, can that be accommodated?
Most ofen, yes.  Just let us know your dietary restrictions on your registration form.  Please note that Italians enjoy gluten, diary and meat...of course we can accommodate allergies and/or avoidance of those foods, but occasionally options may be limited.  We generally recommend bringing along some  protein-rich snacks if you have a vegetarian, vegan, or raw food diet.


Are all meals included in the retreat?
Most meals are included. You are on your own for one dinner and four lunches.