Ill be traveling through Tuscany from August 19th through the 27th. We fly into Milan where we are renting a car and head to Bologna for one night, Lucca for two nights, Siena for two nights and then Florence for two as well. Its my first time in Italy and Im not quite sure how to handle the reservation situation, if there is one! Its only two of us, so is it necessary to call ahead to restaurants we are thinking about already, or can our hotel get us a reservation once we arrive? Is email a good way to make reservations? Sorry this is not the most interesting question, but Im curious! Im open to any suggestions as well!
It's always a good idea to call ahead, because restaurants might be closed the night you want to go, regardless of published opening days/hours. As for making reservations, it's sort of a tough call. The last thing anybody wants is quiet little family places getting emails months in advance from 35 different countries and becoming tourist attractions. And yet, the poor tourist doesn’t want to blow into town at dinnertime and find no place to eat. And also, who are we kidding if we think there are decent eateries in Lucca, Siena, and Florence open in August that won't be overrun by tourists.
So, go ahead and make your reservations. For some places it will be too early, but they won't hold it against you if you try. Email is increasingly used, but if you don't get a speedy reply, assume that the owner's nephew, who is the only family member who knows how to turn on the computer, is on vacation, and telephone. Hotels in your destinations will probably help, but I know in Rome hotel staff sometimes tell guests that certain restaurants don't exist or are closed or they can't find the phone numbers. Whether they are being dishonest or inept doesn’t really matter. If you want an Italian-speaking hotel employee to help you, help yourself by providing the name, number, and address of places that interest you.