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Touring Tuscany: Hire a Driver or Drive Ourselves?

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Hey Fodor Gurus!

My fiance and I will be honeymooning in Italy for 20 days in June. After landing in Venice and spending a few days there, we'll be taking the train to Florence, where we've allotted nearly a week because we're both big wine and pasta fans and wanted the time to explore different vineyards, cooking class options, etc. in the Tuscan areas.

My question is, what's the best way for us to do this - should we hire a driver and do day trips from Florence to the vineyards/villas/classes and back, or should we drive ourselves? And, if we do the driving, is it in our best interest to stay over at (or close to) our excursion instead of driving back to Florence?

Essentially, I'm looking to avoid getting lost in the middle of the Italian countryside when we don't speak the language, and I don't have any idea how hard or easy it is to navigate the area.

If you think we're better off hiring a driver, any suggestions out there of a great one? And, if you have any killer recommendations for non-commercial wineries/vineyards, villas or cooking classes, send them my way as we haven't booked a blessed thing yet!

Thanks so much!

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