Posts Tagged 'Florence'

Find Great Discounts Abroad

With exchange rates fluctuating daily there is no way to gauge how much you’ll spend while traveling abroad. This is why it’s important to take advantage of every discount opportunity. That International Student ID Card might really come in handy. In some places you’ll also find city specific discount books or coupons to help you explore museums, zoos, cathedrals, and other important sites. Before purchasing any discount cards, research a little to guarantee you’re getting a good deal. Here are a few to consider.


The I amsterdam Card provides a public transport ticket (GVB public transport system), a pocket guide, and dozens of free and discounted offers at major attractions and restaurants. The card is valid for 24, 48, or 72 hours and starts at €38. Your I amsterdam Card and Transport Ticket will automatically validate the moment each is stamped and/or after your first use. The I amsterdam Card is available at most Amsterdam Tourist Offices or can be purchased on-line.


Get a View From the Top in Brugge!

Get a View From the Top in Brugge!

Discover one of Belgium’s most beautiful cities- Brugge – at half the price!  The Brugge City Card offers discounts or free admission to practically every place in the city. Check out the Chocolate Museum, Belgium Fries Museum, or take a Canal Ride (closed during the winter). Want a breathtaking view of this medieval town? Hike the 366 stairs to the top of the Belfry Tower for an unforgettable experience.


If you’re under 26 years of age, you can explore any museum in Florence for an entire year, for €40. Adults over 26 can purchase a coupon card for €60. You’ll have free membership to such places as: The Uffizi Gallery, L’Accademia Gallery, Pitti Palace (Palatina Gallery & Royal Apartments), Bargello Museum and Medici Chapels (San Lorenzo) to name a few. You’ll also find discounts for other events, restaurants, and exhibitions around Florence. If you’re going to Venice, check out these coupon passes. Although most places in Rome are free to visit, the Coliseum and the Roman Forum are not. Make sure you pick up a combo package before paying full price.


The Sky is the Limit When You Find a Great Deal

The Sky is the Limit When You Find a Great Deal

Want to travel around Ireland? Look into a Local Discounts Card or the Emerald Discounts Card. These cards provide a minimum of 10% savings on hotels, restaurants, shopping purchases, transportation (including buses, trains, ferries and rental cars), golf fees, museum entrances and more. Each card costs €10 for a one-year membership.


Antsy to explore Japan? Then pick up a Grutt Pass (gurutto pasu in Japanese). The pass offers free admission to such places as the Ueno Zoo and the Tokyo Sea Life Park. The card is a great find if you live in Tokyo or plan to visit several museums, restaurants, and art galleries in the area. For some of the more expensive sites, like the Mori Art Museum in the Mori Tower, you’ll get discounts off admission. Here is a full list of places where you can use the Grutt Pass. The pass is good for 2 months.

Day Trips Around Florence, Italy

Studying abroad in Florence? Lucky You! Honestly, there’s no real need to venture outside the city. If you do feel adventurous, however, you will find several beautiful towns an hour bus or train ride away. A few come to mind: Fiesole, Siena, and Lucca. Of course, you can also visit the tower of Pisa or the Torture Museum in San Gimignano.


Built into the hills above Florence, Fiesole is a great escape from the summer heat and offers beautiful views overlooking Florence. Feel like walking around? Fiesole has an archeology park with a Roman amphitheater and Roman, Etruscan, and Longabard ruins.

A Real Taste of Italy

A Real Taste of Italy

A great day trip includes a wine tasting-bike tour. Tuscany Bike Tours offers daily trips from March to November. The day starts with a shuttle pick-up near the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. The tour includes a castle visit, a bike ride through Tuscany, wine tasting, oil tasting, and a grand lunch feast with pastas and a little more wine. It’s hard to tell what’s more inviting, the scenery or the Tuscan cuisine.


This medieval hill town is one of the most popular in Tuscany. During the summer Siena’s large fan-shaped Piazza del Campo turns into a track for the famous Il Palio horse race. Siena is also home to a beautiful cathedral, pedestrian streets with shops, and the second highest medieval bell tower in Italy (it’s a good 505 step hike to the top).  The top of the tower offers amazing views of the city.  Piazza del Duomo is another beautiful square and home to Siena’s Duomo. Siena’s art museum, Pinacoteca Nazionale, also houses some of Italy’s greatest paintings from the 13th and 14th centuries.


Lucca is Well Known for Puccini and Pinocchio

Lucca is Known for Puccini and Pinocchio

Lucca remains one of the best-preserved Italian walled cities. The wall itself has walking and bike paths and gardens, which surround the historic city center. A climb to the top of Guinigi Tower provides fabulous views of the city.  Lucca is less touristy than most cities and has several “pedestrian only” streets. For history geeks, Lucca was the birthplace of the famous Italian operatic composer, Giacomo Puccini. His music often fills the air in the town’s main square. If you like art, visit the city’s Duomo, which houses paintings by Ghirlandaio, Tintoretto, Zuccari and Fra’ Bartolomeo, as well as Iacopo della Quercia’s most famous work, the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto.

Lucca is also a great place to find Italian pottery and ceramics (great gifts to bring home)!

If you need help planning your dream trip to Italy, check out Gulliver’s “Prepare to Go” section. You’ll find information on housing, cell phones, funding, and insurance.  The more you accomplish before you leave, the better your trip will be!

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