Chances are, delightful as the villas in Tuscany invariably are, there will be many occasions when you want to get out and about in order to sample the true taste of authentic Tuscan cuisine. Which is not to say that you can't get good meals inside your villas in Tuscany - with the fresh produce, the great spices and overall wonderful environment, any meal you make yourself is practically guaranteed to be delicious. Eating in the best food outlets in the area, however, is an experience not to be missed - whether they're small hole-in-the-wall shops, traditional family restaurants, or globally-recognised gourmet bistros.
Where To Go
For great value for money [short of shopping and cooking for yourself in your very own villas in Tuscany], it's a good idea to hit the canteens and eateries that the locals frequent outside of the tourist centres. Never has the saying "when in Rome" been truer. You will want to make sure the restaurant of your choice is well suited to the meal you have in mind, however. For instance, a shop known for the most delightful lunch sandwiches will not necessarily serve great dinners and vice versa! Ask around - the locals are your best source of referrals.
There will be a plethora of cafes, cantinas and restaurants in the vicinity of your villas in Tuscany serving up amazing food; they are often as much a feast for all the sense, not just taste. In the art cities such as Florence, for example, you will no doubt find the food a treat for the eyes, but there are things to remember to make sure you get the best value for your money.
If you're staying in villas in Tuscany near the bigger cities like Florence and Rome, you may notice is that there are different prices for food to take out, and for food you're going to eat at the table; and another depending on whether the table is inside or outside. For instance, a cappuccino at the bar may cost a Euro less than one you take at a table, and for a table outside, even more. Just make sure you read the menu before deciding whether you want to pay for the privilege of people-watching.
Unlike in other countries, tipping rules here aren't quite so strict or clear cut. If you're staying in a smaller town, chances are the restaurants are family-owned - with members of the family cooking, serving and waiting on customers. In this case they usually share in the profits of the establishment.
But still, it doesn't hurt to show your appreciation for a job well done- while tipping is not really required, it is still very much appreciated. Five per cent is normal, and ten per cent is considered very generous. Feel free to reward excellent food and gracious service, such as from a waiter who took the time to explain the specials to help you make up your mind or a chef who cooked a particularly wonderful meal to your liking.
Some restaurants, particularly in the touristy spots, add an item on the bill marked "servizio" - the service charge - which is usually pegged at 10-15 per cent of the bill. In many places, this replaces the tip; if this is part of your bill, you can forgo the tip unless you really feel the food and service merit one.
Giovanni Balboni works for To Tuscany, who specialise in finding the perfect [http://www.to-tuscany.com/]villas in Tuscany in Chianti as well as selected villas in Umbria and Puglia. To Tuscany is proud of their villas and their reputation. All our [http://www.to-tuscany.com/reach-tuscany/tuscany-villas-to-rent]villas in Tuscany properties are personally selected and visited by our representatives to ensure we offer only the best in the region.
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