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Tuscany Itinerary

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Hello fellow travelers -

We will be honeymooning in France and Italy for three weeks this fall (Oct 5-24, including two travel days). Below is our itinerary as it currently stands... flights and hotels have all been purchased. Looking for some itinerary advice, specifically for the Tuscany potion of the trip. More than anything, I am trying to not over plan the trip (I may have this this before on one or two occasions...)

Oct 5: US to Paris

Oct 6 - 11: Paris (First time, I'll leave these questions for another post)

Oct 12 - 14: Florence (2nd Visit)

On the 12th, an early flight from Paris to Florence landing 9:30am. Counting this day, we have 3 full days in Florence. We have been to Florence before (for 4 days several years ago). Other than a few big things we missed on the first go around (Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, top of the Duomo, Leather Market) we don't have anything planned. We have already done the Uffizi, Academia, Bargello, Piazza Michelangelo). Suggestions welcome! We will be staying at J.K. Place.

Oct 15 - 22: Tuscany (First Time)
We are renting a car from Florence on the morning of the 15th, returning in Rome on the evening of the 22nd. We are staying at Hotelito Lupaia (about a 20 minute drive from Pienza, Montepulciano) for the full week. Here is my first stab at a plan:

15th: Pick up car in Florence, stop in Greve for the lunch/the afternoon, continue on to hotel (about 3 hrs driving total)

16th: Siena for the day (about 2 hours driving total, or we could park in Pienza (20 minute drive) and take the train to/from Siena... perhaps this would be a better choice?)

17th: Montalcino in the morning, winery in the afternoon, maybe Gattavecchi, the cellar sounds really neat (about 2 hrs total)

18th: Relax in the morning, Montepulciano in the afternoon/evening? I have read that Sunday are very slow and many places are not open, perhaps we should plan on staying at our hotel this day and just resting, eating at the hotel restaurant?

19th: No plans yet....

20th: Thermal baths in the morning/early afternoon; Pienza later in the day (about 2 hours driving)

21st : No plans yet....

22nd: We want to make the most of our drive to Rome; we thought perhaps leaving early then stopping in Orvieto a couple hours. Or perhaps Civiti would be better? Assuming both is too ambitious. Need to be in Rome by 5pm

23rd: Full day in Rome (2nd Visit)

Really just want to hit a couple of our favorite restaurants from our last trip, and end the trip well. Will be staying near Piazza Navona.

24th: Flight to US 11:15 AM

Never having been to Tuscany before, or done any sort of trip that incorporated a lot of driving, I would love some advice from those who have gone before me. Any major misses or errors in this itinerary? I would love to see Volterra and San Gimignano but they both seem too far away from our home base and perhaps better suited for a future trip? Cortona is about 60 minutes from our hotel, is that worth incorporating? Any recommendations on a cooking class that would fit well into this week? Wineries that you visited and loved? Restaurants that cannot be missed?

Truly appreciate your review and comments.

Tera

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