Tours vs. Florence

Although we were not able to explore the Italian day to day life, four days was enough to see some differences between what they're and what we're used to. We're going to deal with the differences between Tours (our home town in France) and Florence, as generalizing Italy would be a grave mistake.

Concerning the road, the Italians' reputation is very true. Whether we are talking about the bus which drove so fast past the bus stop that it needed to stop drasticaly because people needed to get off, or about the taxi driver who was on the phone the entire time. The bus stops are quite dangerous: to get to the Villa Finaly, where we stayed, we needed to walk on the road where people drove at at least 60 km/h, or an the small 20cm-wide stone edge of a wall. Furthermore, the bus stops are not easy to see. There is no seat or glass cover. Yes, it rains less in Italy so the Italians might not need any shelter for bad weather but it adds to the confusion about where the stops are. Also surprising is the few traffic lights for cars, and the many traffic lights for pedastrians! The Florentine bus system is very confusing, as is its website. You have to fill in two bus stops on the same bus line because it will simply not help you otherwise.

The food is of course very different, anyone will tell you that. What surprised us is how in both the cafeteria and restaurants the bread tasted as if there was very little salt in it. Water is very expensive, up to 2,60€ for 1/2L, so stores that offer it for less advertise a lot.

We found very few ATMs and regular banks. That however is a problem as most places we went to did not take credit cards!

We were pleasantly surprised by the nice way the Italians treated disabled people- which is very different from the way they treated the others.

Like in France few people spoke English but a bit of Spanish and some sign language comes a long way.

Contrary to France, restaurants can charge you 12% of the bill extra for waiting the tables. It is not included in the price of the food and should be taken into account so no accidents happen. Trust us, we've been there.

These are the differences we noticed but of course there are many more. Maybe we'll make the list longer if we ever go back.