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Note of Thanks, Mini Trip Rpt, and Two Qs on Florence and Tuscany in March

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First of all, many thanks to several of you who answered the queries for the extended Oct trip we took to Italy. I love the country, and October is a great time to go there. We had only a couple of rainy days on the whole trip. This was my third trip and my husband's second to Italy. In the course of 25 days, we spent a few days in Rome (hubs had been reluctant to go, and then of course was sorry he did not have at least one more day there), and some family heritage days in Abruzzo (a lovely area waiting to be discovered). I had done extensive genealogical research at this end in the US, and still had questions. We contracted with Luciana Masci of Touring Abruzzo who was fabulous in finding out more on my husband's maternal line, and opened many doors for us in the two ancestral villages, Fara San Martino and Torricella di Peligna. We met the towns' mayors, visited churches where his ancestors worshipped, saw original records (and received copies) saw family graves, visited the local historical museum (they opened it for us with local docents), and ate regional cuisine by a noted chef at a local farmhouse. Wished we had had more time there, and we will be back with our daughters, son in law, and grandsons. Then it was on to Umbia, to Assisi and Gubbio. We saw the Franciscan sights and went truffle hunting. After many days of tours and sightseeing, we drove to Podere Cunina, an agriturismo in Buonconvento in the Val d'Orca region of Tuscany, where we spent a wonderful week. It was a great combo of relaxation, serendipity and exploration of hilltowns and Siena. From there we went on to Florence, and then Venice. I can always use more of Florence, as I am an artist and a shopper. Would be happy to answer any questions about our trip, what we did, where we went, guides used, etc. Thanks again to all who helped me and offered suggestions, observations, etc.

Now my new questions:
Anyone been to Florence and Tuscany in March? Have been there in August and October (lovely), but never late winter/early spring. What should I expect weather wise etc.? Putting together a girls trip a little over a year from now for one lady's 45th and my 64th birthdays. We are all healthy, active, and in our 40s to 60s. The other ladies have never been to Italy before, and I'm thinking of seven days in country (possibly with a couple of them in Rome). Most of us have jobs and families to go back to, so time is limited.

Most of our time in Florence will be devoted to seeing great art and going shopping (no problem there) but I'm thinking also of a one day excursion to one of the famous outlying towns, possibly San Gimignano or another one. Loved Siena, Pienza, and some of the places in the Val d' Orca. Have also been to Lucca. Have not been to San Gimignano or Cortona. Suggestions please.

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