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Tuscan Home Furnishings

Tuscan decorating style has become popular all around the world. It is a symbiosis between nature and architecture. From ancient Roman times, people moving from big cities to Tuscan highlands, incorporated all natural elements into their villas. These elements still persist and have made Tuscan style appealing for our own homes today.

Tuscany style decoration is warm, inviting and rustic. The appeal lies in its simplicity. Terracotta roof tiles can be seen everywhere and walls are built of sandstone bricks. The rustic Tuscan style uses earthy colours: terracotta, brick, ochre, greens and golden yellows, which, adds to the house a warm, welcoming feeling.

Tuscan style uses natural materials from the region such as marble. We can find spectacular white marble caves in the heart of the Apuan Alps, in the province of Massa-Carrara, which is then used for flooring, decorative details, pillars and arches. The furniture used is usually characterized by straight, simple lines and has become an important business around the world.

Outdoors spaces are also important when referring to a Tuscan style. It is common to include a patio as well as a water fountain in the central courtyard.

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Italian Clothes and Fashion – Shopping Tuscany Style

If you are interested in fashion, Tuscany is the right place for you. We usually think of Tuscany as an expensive place to go shopping, but we are wrong. You can find from artisan products up to leather and gold.

Walking around streets like Via Tornabuoni, Via della Vigna Nuova or Via dei Calzaiuoli in Florence will take you to brand name boutiques such as Gucci, Cavalli, Prada, Dolce & Gavanna etc. But if you are looking for more reasonable prices and great deals, outlets are an excellent alternative. You will find brand name shops and Italian fashion designer clothes not far from the main cities.

We can also find what are called “typical toscan products”. These include the fine craftsmanship required to make elegant gold jewellery found on Ponte Vecchio in Florence or the Italian leather that has been renowned since medieval times and can be found in Florence and around the Arno valley.

Markets are a good alternative for those who prefer shopping outdoors. We can find them around the historic centre of cities such as Florence and they offer a great variety of products.

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Supermarket Shopping in Italy

There are many supermarkets in Italy of all different sizes. Large supermarkets are usually located outside historic centres, in the new parts of town, usually along a main road. They usually have big parking areas and are sometimes part of a mall.

In smaller stores you will find a hand basket-cart hybrid at the entrance. However, in large supermarkets, they use shopping trolleys, which are kept outside chained together. To release it you must insert a 1euro coin in a slot, which will be given back to you when you return the trolley.

It is important to know that in Italy you weight and price your fruits and vegetables. Disposable plastic gloves must be used for hygienic purposes when selecting your products. Once you have selected the products and put them inside a bag you need to weight them. Find the electronic produce scale and press the key code that corresponds to the product selected. An adhesive price tag will print out of the scale, which you must stick to the corresponding bag.

You will find that dairy products such as milk or eggs are not always kept in the refrigerator. Much of the milk has a shelf life of 6 to 9 months, as it is processed under ultra-high temperatures and doesn’t require refrigeration prior to opening.

Many Italians prefer to get their cheese and cured meat at the ‘salumier’ counter, where you will find a great variety of fresh products from all around the country. Supermarkets also offer butcher services within the shop where all fresh products are offered. Some supermarkets also have a ‘pescheria’, where you will find different kind of fish depending on the season. Most of it will be displayed just as it came right out of the sea. You can ask the fishmonger to clean it or to fillet it for you. In all this three sections you need to ask for the right quantity of product you need by weight. You usually ask for ‘etti’ being one etto, 100g.

Italian supermarkets will also offered a huge variety of pasta: all sorts of shape, type, size and brands as well as sauce bottles.

Finally, when you are going to checkout you should know that bags are often charged and that there are no baggers. People usually take their own reusable bags every time they go grocery shopping.

Opening hours
Italian supermarkets open most days from morning to evening or 8pm. Many are open on Sundays even if only until noon, or at least one Sunday a month so if you find it closed it is likely that the next supermarket in town is opened.

Main Supermarkets
The major supermarket chains in Italy are Coop, Conad, CRAI, Esselunga, Pam, Standa, Carrefour and Auchan. They are easy to find as they are all over the country.