What you need to know about driving in Italy and Tax Refund

Today is the day DH landed in Roma and he would take the train to Firenze. We had a leisure morning today as we only had to be in Firenze in the afternoon.

We bought bus ticket to Firenze from cafe/Bar across the street and waited for the bus at bus stop. Bus schedule can be downloaded here: http://www.acvbus.it/orari/365.pdf

Arriving Firenze, we walked to San Lorenzo market where they sell all kind of leather bags but they also have food market on the second level. We were going to have lunch there

DH met us at the food market and after lunch we took the Tram T2 to Firenze airport. From there we boarded a shuttle to Hertz Car Rental.

Italy has many ZTL area especially tourist destination areas where only cars with specific license can enter and it can get confusing so it is recommended to rent a car at the airport rather than in the city.

It is not recommended to rent a car if you only intend to stay in Firenze or in Sienna because you can not drive inside the city. But it is best to rent a car if you intend to stay in Tuscany area or if you want to explore Tuscany area yourself rather than joining a group tour.

We rented a car with Hertz based on review that the two most reliable car rental in Italy are Hertz and Avis. Sixth and europ car is reliable in other european countries but not in Italy.

We drove straight to The Mall from the airport. We can actually take the Bus to the Mall from the same bus station where we took the bus to Panzano. But we need the car for tomorrow as well.

The Mall is much bigger than Bicester FO in the UK. Some store is located quite far from each other and it is easy to spend a whole day here. We only had 2 hours here so I already knew which store I wanted to visit and I sticked to the plan. They also have a VAT refund lounge which is still open until 7.30pm Dont bother queuing in the their VAT lounge if you are leaving Italy by train to Switzerland and flying home from Switzerland.

So… about the Tax Refund.

I was not aware that Switzerland is not part of EU so I can not get my custom stamp there for my purchase in Italy. Instead because I am going to Switzerland by train I have to get the stamp in either (1) Chiassi or (2) Domodossola. And if we purchase a high speed train such as eurocity it is impossible to do so because the train only stops for like 4 minutes. If I had known this I would’ve only bought the train from Milan to Domodossola instead of straight to Spiez. Or go to Switzerland first and fly home from Italy. Oh well…. it is lesson learnt indeed.

More about The Mall here: https://firenze.themall.it/en/outlet-italy/homepage/

We drove straight to Chianti after we finish at the Mall and stop in Greve in Chianti for dinner. Greve is the biggest village in Chianti and has more options of restaurants. I had thought of staying at Greve but because We come in summer, I read it can get hot in Greve because it is in the lower part where Panzano, only 10 minutes away is in the upper hill and the weather is cooler.

Lovely dinner and good food as always