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17 amazing days in Tuscany, Positano and Rome – June 2014!

17 amazing days in Tuscany, Positano and Rome – June 2014!

Jul 21st, 2014, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Enjoying your trip report, I'm in for the ride.
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Jul 21st, 2014, 02:54 PM
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Can't wait for more! Thanks for posting.
Margaretlb is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2014, 04:56 AM
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Enjoying this and looking forward to more!
progol is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2014, 08:36 AM
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Thanks to everyone for the nice words. Unfortunately this is going to be slow going for a while. Work is outrageously busy and we are leaving for our annual family beach trip next week. Nothing much productive gets done at the beach. LOL!!

But I am trying something new this time. Usually I upload a few hundred pics all in one folder and it is TIME CONSUMING on my relatively slow home connection. I'm going to try a day at a time in this report.

Here are some pics from day 1 (I hope).

john183 is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2014, 12:29 PM
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Yay! Gushy details!
Bring it.
hanabilly is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2014, 12:32 PM
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First day pics are great, and I have to say, the ladies look fantastic, knowing all they'd been through in the last 24 hours.
Didn't someone said that 60 is the new 40? They must have been trying to sell a timeshare at the moment.
hanabilly is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2014, 01:45 PM
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Podere Lucignano Secondo (Day 2)

Up at about 8:30 and met our neighbors (very nice couple from Rhode Island) who were staying in the other apartment for the first three days of our time there – then we had the whole place to ourselves. They had already been there a few days and gave us some restaurant and other recommendations which all turned out to be very good. Took a cup of coffee out to the terrace and it again was PERFECT and GORGEOUS. No pheasants or doves this morning but the temperature was perfect. We had a nice breakfast from the stuff we bought at the COOP yesterday and loitered for quite a while before heading towards Radda.

It was a very pretty drive to Radda. One thing you need to be aware of when driving in this part of Tuscany is the incredible number of bike riders – I mean bicycles - not motorcycles. I can’t imagine trying to peddle up these hills much less come down them at breakneck speeds but literally hundreds of people do it. When going around curves you really have to be careful. We spent a short time walking around Radda, we had a coffee and we saw a small wedding ceremony I think being performed by what we would call a JP. I was surprised to see an Italian wedding not in a church. By this time, it was starting to get hot.

We left for Panzano and had another pretty drive. We stopped on the side of the road and took some pics of Panzano in the distance. Of all the areas in Italy, I love the landscape near Panzano the best. We stopped at the place my wife and I stayed in 2001 – it was still gorgeous. Pulled over and took a pic of me standing beside the car in the exact some spot we did in 2001 and 2002. We then went to a little winery we had toured in 2001 – Panzanello. In 2001, Andrea and his wife were just getting started in the wine making business and he gave my wife and I an incredible tour of the vineyards. The vineyards belonged to his grandmother and he had to prove himself by making wine from grapes he bought from other growers before she would trust him with the family grapes. Well obviously he proved himself because he was now in charge and the place had really grown by 2014.

We went in to the office and started talking to the woman there and found out she was Andrea’s wife. I had sent an email several weeks ago with pictures from our 2001 trip saying we would like to visit them sometime during our trip and she recognized me from the photos in the email. She said Andrea was in town at lunch and she offered to give us a wine tasting and some snacks – which we took her up on. We bought a few bottles to take with us and had some shipped home. Andrea and his son Carlo came home then and he spent a long time with us touring his winery and storage areas.

At one point there were two oak barrels next to each other and he had us dip our fingers in each of them and try to taste the difference. I could taste a difference but did not know exactly why. It turns out the barrels were made of two different kinds of oak. He also showed us several cases with some special bottles he had made for his father. Tomorrow would be the fiftieth anniversary of when his grandmother bought Panzanello. They were preparing for a huge party and Andrea was doing all the cooking. He showed us some documents mentioning Panzanello that dated from the 1400s. He then took us through a long tunnel to his secret room where he keeps the good stuff. We eventually came up back in the tasting room and after lots of hugging we left for Panzano. What a fun time!

It was a weird time of the day for food and we debated about going on to Greve or stopping in Panzano for lunch and decided to try Panzano. We could only find one place open – the views were great, the food was not and it was HOT. Took a few pics as we walked around Panzano (we really like this tiny town) and left for Greve. Eventually found a good close parking spot and walked to the main piazza. We should have come here to eat because a LOT of restaurants were open. We had an enjoyable time walking around, shopping for gifts for our family, trying some wine from one of the dispensers where you buy a card, put it in the machine and can choose how much you want to try and we finished up our time in Greve cooling off with some gelato.

We then headed back to the little town of Pianella (the closest town to our Podere) for dinner at the local restaurant (this was one of the recommendations from the Rhode Island couple). On our way there we saw a deer in one of the fields. We saw more wildlife on this trip than any other trip we have taken to Italy. We had salads and pizza – both were very good. We ate at this little restaurant three times – it was just too close and too good. Finally back to the Podere and bed. An excellent second day at the Podere!
john183 is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 02:11 PM
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Some pics from day 2.


flygirl - your trip report helped a lot. Thanks for finishing it.

hanabilly - I agree - the ladies do look fantastic!

xyz99 - are you going to do a trip report?
john183 is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 04:13 PM
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Loving your report and those amazing pictures! Such a beautiful area.
chris45ny is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 04:39 PM
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I don't think I will...the places we visited are so much discussed on this board, we really did not do anything new or out of the ordinary. Plus, I have no talent to write it...my TR are always dry. You'd be bored to death.

I thought at some point about posting the pictures, I know I enjoy looking at everybody's pics, and they help me deciding what to do/see, but they are so many...and I do not have the time to select just a few and create a new album just for posting it here (as it was suggested to me in the past).

I try to answer questions though, hope that helps others planning. I am profoundly grateful to everyone who helped me plan our trip and answered my questions.

Love your pics, looking forward to days 3-17.
xyz99 is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 10:08 PM
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I'm loving your TR... my mother and I are considering a stay at Podere Lucignano Secondo in October. It's great to hear about the places you're visiting from there. I'd love to get the name of the restaurant in Pianella. Looking forward to hearing more!
rosecity15 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2014, 10:27 AM
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Again, thanks to all for the nice words.

xyz99 - I know my reports bore people to death but I like to re-live the trip as I write it. Kinda like therapy for me. LOL!

rosecity15 - I thought I would give you a quick synopsis of our week at the Podere – it may be a while before I get to it in my day by day report. All the good reviews for the Podere on Tripadvisor are well deserved in our opinion. Nice place, nice owners and it truly was spotless. We saw either Max and Duccio or Enzo and Liliana on the property nearly every other day scrubbing the outside furniture and taking care of the plants/lawn.

Pianella is a tiny town with one restaurant, one convenience store, one gas station – you get the picture – it’s small – but perfect for what we wanted. The convenience store also has fresh-baked bread and pastry, good coffee/ espresso and several prepared foods in a deli-like counter. The restaurant is the first place you see with a big parking lot on the right as you go in to town from the Podere.

Lecchi is a lovely tiny unbelievably picturesque town that is close to the Podere. We had a great dinner at the restaurant and a great lunch at the bar in Lecchi. Everyone we talked to in the town (the bar owner, all of our servers and a couple of local residents who we unnecessarily asked where the restaurant was - it turns out the whole town is only about a block or two long so we would have easily found it on our own) could not have been nicer or friendlier.

Here is what we did:

Day 1 – stopped in Orvieto on way from FCO
Day 2 – Radda, Panzano, Panzanello, Greve
Day 3 – Rampini Ceramics, Castellina wine festival
Day 4 – Castelnuovo Berardenga,festival in Cortona to see a crossbow competition
Day 5 – Gaiole for lunch, Castello Meleto, drove around enjoying the gorgeous scenery
Day 6 – Montalcino, Sant Antimo, Pienza, Montepulciano
Day 7 – lunch at bar in Lecchi, Castello Ama, sunset tour and dinner at Castello Brolio
john183 is online now  
Jul 24th, 2014, 02:20 PM
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Lovely trip report and wonderful pictures! What a gorgeous region, and I love the Podere!
progol is online now  
Jul 24th, 2014, 03:56 PM
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I'm not at all bored...I'm actually waiting for more.

We took a day trip by train to Orvieto, you definitely had nicer weather than we did, but it was not bad. Just cloudy in the morning, then it cleared up. We took the underground tour, and it was interesting to compare that to the underground city we visited in Turkey last year. The cave "material" was different, and the ones in Cappadocia (Turkey) were bigger and deeper, but both populations used pigeon droppings as fertilizer. Interesting, right? The ones in Turkey are not lived in anymore, not by locals anyway, but lots of them are converted into wonderful cave hotels with all amenities. We stayed in one and absolutely loved it. The caves in Orvieto are still mostly private, belonging to the people who own the house above. They still use them as personal cellars.

I'm really curious about the crossbow competition, did you know about it before getting there? How? Or did you just find about it there and decided to see it?

Sounds like Podere is nicely situated for all this Tuscany driving, I'll keep that in mind.
xyz99 is offline  
Jul 25th, 2014, 08:07 PM
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john, loving your TR- but especially loving your pics. The colors are amazing!

Thank for sharing! Looking forward to more. I've pretty much decided that Greve is on my list for next trip! Your TR and other recent TR's have all convinced me I need to go.
sarge56 is offline  
Jul 26th, 2014, 10:35 AM
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John, we will be in Panzano next month so I'm loving your report. Did you know about the festivals before your arrival?. Also i'm also interested in the sunset tour of Brolio. Did you pre-book that? Could you tell me more about it?
Pawleys is offline  
Jul 26th, 2014, 01:23 PM
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Amazing how many flooded apartments there are in Rome.
bvlenci is online now  
Jul 26th, 2014, 01:39 PM
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Looking forward to day 3 with a visit to Ceramichi Rampini. We
have a set of their dishes.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Jul 27th, 2014, 02:04 PM
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Wow - our first full beach day is great. How can just sitting at the beach and at the pool be so exhausting - I'm sure it has nothing to do with the several Coronas that were consumed. LOL!

progol - Thanks, we love the area too.

wyz99 - we knew about the competition by googling for June festivals in Tuscany. We came across this in one of our searches: http://www.giostraarchidado.com/en/the-programm.aspx

We went to the Archidado joust on Sunday June 8th. I'll eventually get to the details in this report but we had a lot of fun in Cortona and the competition was great to watch.

sarge56 - we think Greve is an enjoyable town to visit for a few hours. But then we love the whole Chianti Classico area a lot.

Pawleys - we knew about several festivals by just googling festivals in Tuscany. We booked the sunset tour a couple days before we went. We were sort of skeptical before we went because it is not expensive and it included a four course dinner that included wine. We thought how good could it be for that little money? Well, we enjoyed it a lot. The tour was good and the food and wine were surprisingly good. It turned out there was no limit on the wine - when we finished a bottle - they kept bringing more. We were with another couple from California who are in the wine industry there. They were as skeptical as we were beforehand but they really enjoyed it too. Our expectations were fairly low but we thought it was well worth it.

bvlenci - Yep, we love apartments in Paris but from now on it is going to be only hotels in Rome.

HappyTrvl - I'm hoping the pieces we had shipped arrive soon. What an interesting place and owner. I hope to get the details from day 3 finished soon.
john183 is online now  
Jul 27th, 2014, 04:23 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Don't write off the apartments in Rome - we stayed here and loved it.

It was not perfect, but got very close. We would stay there again.
xyz99 is offline  

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