Tourist Visa

carmeneb

Member
Hi there. I'm planning my first trip to Italy from the US. Would you please direct me to the organization I need to contact in order to request a tourist visa? To visit Florence and neighboring towns for ten days. Thank you!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
If you're in the US, then you'd have to contact the nearest Italian consulate to where you live.

If you're a US citizen, you don't need to get the tourist visa before visiting Italy - as long are your visit doesn't last longer than 90 days, you can come without because there is an agreement between the US and Italy that allows their citizens to travel to the other country without the need for a tourist visa.

If you're not a US citizen, you can check online whether you need the tourist visa or not here:
http://www.esteri.it/visti/home_eng.asp
If you do, that page will also tell you which consulate you'll need to contact to apply.
 

carmeneb

Member
Thank you!

Yes, US citizen! This is great news, though I was looking forward to an Italian stamp in my passport. :)

Thank you for replying!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
You do get stamps in the passport wherever they do passport checks, so if you fly into Italy directly you'll have an Italian stamp. But believe me, the Italian visas are a pain to get so much better this way! ;-)
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Yes it is called Peretola! The one in Pisa is called Galileo Galilei, just in case it might be useful to know ;-)
 

carmeneb

Member
Paris and vaccinations

Lourdes :)

Thank you very much for all your help!

I have a couple more questions, please. My flight will stop in Paris for an hour or so, will they require a visa? (this might be a silly question, but it's difficult to find the answers in the official websites).

Also, does Italy or France require proof of immunizations? like a shot record?

I really appreciate that you have this forum and that you reply so promptly.

Grazie :cool:
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
You're right, there isn't generally a quick and easy Q&A for travel and many things you just learn along the way as you're doing them. So I can answer from personal experience from the many trips I've taken back and forth between the US and Europe and from living here now for over 12 years.

All of the EU countries (except for the UK) are also part of the Schengen area, which allows people to move across borders freely without the need for visas. This is for EU citizens, of course. But if you don't need a visa to visit the EU based on your citizenship, then all you're asked is to show your passport at the first place you land in. In your case, it will be in Paris.... and if from there you catch another plane to Italy, you won't have to show your passport again once you arrive here because you're already in the Schengen area!

So I can confirm no visa is required in Paris either for US citizens. And no European country has ever asked me to see proof of immunizations, ever!

Ah, that hour you think you have in Paris? It will barely be enough to make it from your plane, through passport control, to the shuttle bus to get to the next terminal, maybe an extra line of security and your plane will be boarding. So don't think you have lots of time in Paris, you really won't - be quick to move around so that you don't lose the connecting flight!
 

carmeneb

Member
Thank you!

Whew!
I'm so lucky to already have all that I need.

Thanks for the tip about changing planes in Paris. I will make sure I find my connecting flight first of all.

Thanks again!
 

carmeneb

Member
B&B

Hi Lourdes!
I'm getting a little overwhelmed about the accommodations. Would you recommend Florence Room B&B?
So many places! I would like to be somewhat centralized, but also comfortable even if it costs a little more.

Thank you for you advice.
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Carmen! I know, there are way too many places to choose from in Florence, it can get overwhelming. If you already know you'd like a B&B, then you've narrowed the search a bit.
Take a look at this page: http://www.florenceaccommodation.com/florence-bed-and-breakfasts/
and see what you like. On this page, I'd highly recommend Casa dei Tintori as a special place where you get to meet the owners and have a very cozy atmosphere, while the Residenza Casanuova also offers a stay at a small, family-managed hotel but in a more residential quarter, quieter and with the local market where residents shop at nearby. All of the others are very nice, just depends on what you're looking for.... all are in the center so very central to all of the sights. If you have any questions on any of them or are looking for something in particular, let me know and I'll tell you which ones you should look at.
 

carmeneb

Member
B&B

Thank you Lourdes,

Yes, I really like the Casa dei Tintori . I have one question that might seem silly. If I rent a room that has two beds, does that mean that they might rent the same room to another person? I'm looking at the blue room and I like that it has a private bathroom. But just want to make sure this would be my room, and not a share sort of situation.

Thank you!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Not a silly question at all!!

Casa dei Tintori is a really nice place, all of the rooms have their own bathroom and the blue room is the one ideal for 1 person. You get the whole room to yourself, even if you don't need the two beds. It won't be dorm style (only hostels do that), make sure to say it will just be you and see if they offer a small discount on the room. Most offer a separate rate for a double but for single use.
 

carmeneb

Member
Reservations, check!
Thank you so much for the recommendation. I feel great about my decision.

Now, museums. I understand many museums belong to the state, and that there is a card I can purchase to go to all of them. Would you be so kind and send me a link to that? I would like to see what museums are included.

I'll be visiting for nine days, and I'm not looking at guided tours in the museums. I want to go at my own pace.

Thank you Lourdes!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Great! Glad to help :)

Will you be in Florence the whole 9 days? The Firenza Card is only valid for 72 hours - you can read more about and all the places you can visit through this article.

If you're in Florence more than 3 days, I suggest actually looking at the Amici degli Uffizi card. It actually doesn't get you into all of the same places but costs a little less... and is valid until December 31st so it will last you your entire stay AND let you go back into the same museums over and over (the Firenze Card is only one entry per museum). You can get the card once you're here, no need to order it ahead of time. The welcome desk has you fill out the form, pay and prints out the card in minutes.
 

carmeneb

Member
Excellent!
I like that idea. Yes, I will stay in Florence the nine days. Was considering day trips to near by towns, if there's enough time.

I will get that pass (the Amici Degli Uffizi membership). Are all those museums in Florence? Wow!

you have been amazingly helpful, so nice to take care of details ahead of time and avoid unpleasant surprises.
 
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carmeneb

Member
money, ugh

Another question, please :)

Do you recommend buying Euros in the US prior to traveling there? Or do I bring USD (cash) and exchange them there? Do most places in Florence accept Visa credit cards from the US? (I know my bank would charge international fees).

Thanks again!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Yes, it would be convenient to get some euro before coming to have on hand for the very first expenses you might have at the airport or from the airport to downtown (like bus or taxi). While there are currency exchange counters at the airport, you might arrive when they are closed so don't run the risk of not having any euro in your wallet.

Find out from your bank whether you can use your card overseas, if you might need to change your PIN to use it - because it might still be preferrable to use an ATM to withdraw cash when you need it (even with a fee) rather than having to carry US$ and exchange for euro over here (you do pay for that service as well). Knowing the costs, you'll be able to decide how much euro to get beforehand and then once you're here, withdraw only when you need to.
I say that since credit cards are widely used in restaurants and shops for large purchases, as well as B&Bs and hotels, so it is convenient to use cards when you can... but they aren't as widely used for small purchases, let's say for anything under 20 euros expect to pay cash.
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, it doesn't matter where your bank is from since they are international networks.
 
visa

Yes, US citizen! This is great news, though I was looking forward to an Italian stamp in my passport. :)

Thank you for replying!


for the EU, european community, wherever you'll arrive, the stamp-visa will be ok for all the european states members... Visa in case of more 90 days you can require in USA or directly - as in Florence- to local embassy- or take a tour to visit the headoffice in Rome.
much easier than travelling outside EU
JUST BRING A DICTIONARY, never knows.
and welcome in Italy.
arrivederci
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Yes, the Amici degli Uffizi can be a very good deal, it all depends on which museums you're interested in seeing and how long you are in Florence. The number of museums is limited but it still includes many of the main museums in the city. All of the cathedral monuments - baptistery, cathedral dome, museum - have their own pass which costs just 10 euro so that can be purchased separately.

And yes and yes - you still have to pass by the ticket office to pick up a "free" ticket but then you enter through the "advance booking" line so it is faster. And you can return as many times as you want, whereas the Firenze Card is only one entrance per museum.
 
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