Italy’s famous Tuscany region is known for its beautiful rolling landscapes, world-renowned cities of art, and culinary delights paired with outstanding wines. As such, holidays to Tuscany often conjure up thoughts of a price range that would blow many holidaymakers’ budgets. However, in truth, Italy sits right around the middle of the pack when it comes to the average cost of holidays in Europe. 

There’s plenty on offer to suit a variety of different tastes and budgets, however, when it comes to spending your money in Tuscany, it helps to be prepared. You’ll want to ensure you have the right payment methods to hand so you don’t get caught out, and there’s also a few little tips and tricks that can help make your money go further for you


Paying for Things in Tuscany – Tips and Practical Info

Hit the road – Don’t Forget to Fill up 

There’s much more to Tuscany that lives outside the impressive and historic cities of Florence and Siena, including beautiful coastlines and seaside towns, as well as world-famous wine regions like Chianti

There are many ways to explore the more rural parts of Tuscany, including numerous great day tours from well established operators within the major cities. However, if you’re travelling as a couple or in a small group, it can work out very cost effective to rent a car, giving you complete freedom to plan a bespoke itinerary and enjoy life at your own pace. 

Make sure to budget ahead of time for some of the additional costs of hiring your own car, including petrol and paying for various tolls, which are inexpensive but fairly common throughout Italy’s motorway system. It’s also worth taking a credit card, as your chosen rental company may require you to have one in order to rent a car.

=> How to plan a road trip to Tuscany

paying for things in tuscany
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

If you’re also planning on using your credit card for purchases, make sure you’re aware of the various charges associated with using a credit card abroad, which can include a foreign transaction fee and a foreign exchange markup. Good news is that shops cannot add a card processing fee for accepting credit cards, as this is prohibited by law throughout the EU.

Top Tip => Be sure to throw in a few empty containers into the boot of your newly rented car. Whilst stopping at some of the wineries around Tuscany, you can fill up your own containers with some high quality wine (unbottled wine is known as ‘vino sfuso‘) for as little as €0.75 per litre! 

=> 3 Scenic Drives in Tuscany

driving in tuscany
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Need Cash? Stick to the Banks and Bancomats 

Whilst it’s commonplace for most retailers to accept Visa/Mastercard in Italy, if and when you do venture out of the major cities, some of the smaller independent shops may prefer, or insist on cash only sales. Some shops may even offer a small discount to incentivise a cash purchase so that they can avoid paying the card processing fees. 

There’s no harm in waiting until you’re in Italy to withdraw your cash, but you’ll want to stick to using the banks or ATMs, known by the locals as ‘Bancomats’. Steer clear of using currency exchange offices (often marked ‘Cambio’), as despite these providers being somewhat regulated, they often charge huge fees. 

Also be mindful, that as you venture out of the city centres, you’ll find ATM’s are less common, so if you’re planning a road trip into some of Tuscany’s more rural regions, grab some cash from a nearby Bancomat before setting off. If you’d prefer to visit a bank and withdraw money in-branch, beware of some bank’s peculiar opening hours, as they can often close for a short period in the middle of the day (they’re usually open between 8:45am to 1pm – and between 2pm until 4pm).

Know your limits – If you’re planning on making a lot of purchases with cash, remember that you’ll be subject to an ATM’s daily withdrawal limit, often around 250 Euros. Therefore, it’s a good idea to also carry a low-fee international prepaid card if you’re planning on making a lot of purchases on your trip.

=> How to plan for your trip to Tuscany: practical tips 

Pienza – Image by Anja from Pixabay

Other Ways to Save during your Tuscany trip

If you’re overwhelmed by the choice of things to do in Tuscany, and you’re looking to do less of the planning yourself, you might opt to use a tour company to plan a multi day itinerary. For larger purchases like this, enquire with the operator to see if they accept bank transfers as a form of payment. In doing so, you can avoid some of the fees frequently incurred by paying with a debit/credit card, which can add up to some serious savings. 

Another great saving tip if you’re lined up to hit the stores during your time in Tuscany, is shopping tax free on certain purchases. You’re eligible so long as you’re a non-EU permanent resident and your purchase is more than 150 euros in a single store. Just ask for a tax free form from the retail store you’re in, keep the original receipt and hand that in along with your completed form to the airport information desk at your departure airport. You’ll receive roughly 13% of the tax you’ve paid as a refund, either in cash or on your original payment card. 

=> Check out 12 Amazing Hilltop Towns in Tuscany

A view of the Chianti region

The Bottom Line 

With such an abundance of choice, both in locations to visit and things to do in the Tuscany region, your best bet is ensuring you have several means of payment, including an international credit card, a prepaid currency card which is designed for travel, and some trusty cash in Euros. Not only will this ensure you’re never caught out or left in any trouble during your travels, but by choosing the right payment method at the right time, you can avoid unnecessary fees and maybe pick up a few discounts along the way. So here’s to saving a few additional euros to put towards an extra glass of Chianti or another world-class truffle!

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