Monday, November 30, 2009

Free Wireless Internet in Florence Piazzas

Although filled with Medieval and Renaissance art, Florence is determined to be a modern city! This month, the city of Florence has introduced free wi-fi internet access in many city piazzas.

The free access is good for one hour in the following piazzas:

Piazza della Signoria
Piazzale Michelangelo
Piazza Santo Spirito
Piazza Santa Croce
Parco San Donato
Piazza Ghiberti
Piazzale delle Cascine
Piazza SS. Annunziata
Piazza Bambini di Beslan
Via Canova
Piazza Alberti

To get connected for free, simply search for wireless connections on your laptop or Iphone, and you will see a connection called "Firenzewifi". Connect and open a browser page, you will find a webpage that will ask you to register and enter your cell phone number. Once registered, call the local number 055 465 0034 from your cell phone and you will receive a password via a text message. Enter the password and you are online!

There are more areas planned to go wireless in 2010 such as the Santa Maria Novella train station and Piazza Duomo. Next year you will be able to use the service for more than one hour by paying a small additional fee as well.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Pisa anyone?

One of the advantages of staying in Florence is the opportunity to travel to nearby towns for more sightseeing and attractions. One of the most famous of these nearby towns in Pisa, more than anything for the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

From Florence, Pisa is only about an hour to an hour and a half away by train (depending on which train you take). Many tourists take day trips to Pisa as it is quite convenient with trains leaving everyday from Florence on the hour. Florence also provides a bus service that leaves daily for Pisa from the train station.

For train times, prices, and to buy tickets online, you may visit the Ferrovia dello Stato website in English.

Once you arrive at the main Pisa train station, catch the Bus #71 which will take you directly to the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles) where you will see the Leaning Tower. Remember to buy your busticket at a local tabaccheria or at the train station, as local authorities periodically check onboard! You can also walk from the train station to Piazza dei Miracoli, follow this link for a Google Map with exact walking directions. The walk take about 25 minutes.

If you are interested in learning more about this fascinating town, why not take a tour? See more than just the outside of the Leaning Tower- learn all about the history behind it! Although Artviva does not offer public tours of Pisa, we do offer a private tour which you can read about and book here. For any further questions, please contact us at:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

False Competitor Reviews and Other Important Issues

Recently consumer advocate and well known travel journalist Gill Charlton from the UK 's Daily Telegraph newspaper published an article regarding unlicensed tour operators and insurance concerns.
This is the link to the article:
Unlicensed tours thrive on the internet

Our company is a licensed tour operator. We are very concerned about these issues not least because Florence and Tuscany are major tourist destinations where it is vital that international tourist consumers feel protected.

Our company also holds the international chapter presidency of ASTA (The American Society of Travel Agents) and holds dear the credo "Integrity in Travel".

It is to our great dissapointment that our competitors are making false and unsubstantiated claims in reviews regarding our services. The aim apears to be to damage our excellent reputation that has taken years of hard work to build.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. Our company with our small team of English speaking staff and large team of wonderful guides in Florence, Tuscany, Rome and Venice are on hand to ensure you have a great stay in Italy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Artviva Director is New ASTA President!

All of the staff and guides at Artviva Walking Tours are happy to announce that our director Rose Magers has been named Italy Chapter President of ASTA, the American Society of Travel Agents. ASTA is the world's largest association of travel professionals, and they pride themselves on representing integrity in travel. Congratulations, Rose!