“Why is everything shut on a Monday?” is the plaintive cry of many a tourist whilst looking in a bewildered way at the closed doors of the Uffizi. The answer is because Italians believe (mostly) in having 2 full days off. So if you work on a Saturday you should not have to work on a Monday. Quite right too, when you think about it.
However, it doesn’t help you much when all you want is a meal at a restaurant, to see a famous monument or get a haircut.
Now, the thing to remember is not to panic… there are loads of other things you can do in Tuscany on a Monday. Wander around the streets of Florence (you will certainly find somewhere to eat, even on a Monday) and marvel at the architecture without the crowds. Go for a walk somewhere beautiful such as Abetone, Parco San Rossore or simply around the walls of Lucca. Go to the beach – Marina di Vecchiano is a wonderfully large expanse of free beach just above Pisa.
If you need food then make a foray to the supermarket – these are always open on a Monday (not always on a Sunday though – be warned!). You will find a spectacular array of Tuscan specialities. Buy yourself a picnic of salami, tomatoes, fresh pecorino & tuscan bread. Get some pesto and a bottle of good red Chianti wine and have an independent feast in the outdoors instead of worrying about finding a restaurant.
Other important things to remember is that almost everything is shut on a feast day (the biggest holiday that visitors get caught out with is the 15th August… EVERYTHING is shut. Get enough food in and don’t try to do anything but sunbathe and swim! This Ferragosto (August holiday) can stretch out into weeks for many businesses. As capitalist Northern Europeans, Americans, Australians (the list could go on indefinitely to include most people except the French, Spanish and
Italians) we rant about market demand and the ridiculousness of not providing a service during the busiest time of the year whilst our Italian proprietors sun themselves with their family on the nearest beach. There is no denying that the Italians certainly have the right idea towards work…