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6 days in Tuscany and Northern Italy by car


Jan 29th, 2011, 02:33 PM
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6 days in Tuscany and Northern Italy by car

I’m planning a 10 day trip to Italy in May with my family (4 adults and 2 teenagers). We’ll be 3 days in Rome and then rent a car to see Tuscany and Nothern Italy. I know Rome would need probably more days to see it all, but we are ok with that.

Where we are struggling a little bit is what to see once we move out from Rome. So far this is our itinerary and some of our questions:
• Day 4: Roadtrip in direction to Florence stopping in either Orvieto, Montalcino, Montepulciano or Pienza. Which of these towns you recommend?
• Day 5-6: Florence (including a side trip to Pisa). It is worth to do a stop in San Gimignano on our way to Florence?
• Day 7: Bologna/Modena to see the Ferrari and Lamborghini museums and the Ducati factory tour. Not everybody in the group wants to go to the museum. Any town nearby that the rest of us could stay there for the day while the guys do the museum thing?
• Day 8: Roadtrip stopping in Verona, Brescia, and Bergamo. Possible to do all 3?
• Day 9: Lake Cuomo
• Day 10: Back home from Milan

Is this doable? And if not, which places should I prioritize, which ones could I skip? Also we were thinking of staying at least one night on a castle hotel in Tuscany. Any recommendations? Thanks!
confusedpeople is offline  
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Jan 29th, 2011, 02:40 PM
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mmmm - confused - I like your screen name. I hope that you'll forgive me saying that if you do this trip as currently planned, you'll all be confused when you get home.

IMHO you have far too much travelling around, especially with kids in tow. my experience of travelling with teens is that they are much happier spending longer in one place than moving around, and with 4 adults as well, you are giving yourselves a lot of [unnecessary] hassle. with only 6 days to play with after Rome, I would pick two of the place you mention, and use those as bases to tour round the area.

but move 6 people around 6 times in as many days? not unless you want another holiday when you get home.
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Jan 29th, 2011, 03:19 PM
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I agree completely with annhig's advice and warning.
zoecat is offline  
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Jan 29th, 2011, 04:03 PM
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Agree - with 10 days I would pick 2 places - Rome and somewhere else. You lose at least 1/2 a day each time you move just checking out/in + travel time. With 6 people it will take more time.
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Jan 29th, 2011, 04:43 PM
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Have you been to Italy before? If so, where? What are some of the things that some of the folks in your group are interested in besides the auto places in Bologna and/or Modena? No interest in Venice?

For this trip, with this many people, skip Verona, Brescia and Bergamo. I say this because there are other places with equal beauty that will require less travel time from Rome and Florence. You will see the colosseum in Rome, so you can miss the one in Verona this time. Go to Siena or Luca (or San Gimignano) rather than Bergamo. You can either stay longer in Florence and day trip to these places, or stay in the country somewhere and day trip into Florence. At any rate, pick one place to settle in for a few days. This is how I would start to think about the trip.
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Jan 29th, 2011, 04:56 PM
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I agree with all the above. You will be exhausted and you have spent the entire time in Italy driving from place to place AND with teenagers to boot.

You can get a good feel for Rome in the three days you are there. Find one or possibly two places to stay for the remaining time.

Tuscany for rural, hilly, small towns, wine.
Florence if you are really into art and museums.
Cinque Terre is wonderfully beautiful and if you like to hike perfect
The lake region is nice but not on the agenda for most first trips.
Venice is a must for most people.

IMHO you could get a good feel of the country with this itinerary
2-3 nights in Rome then drive north
3-4 nights in an apartment around Siena or Pienza or around Tavernelle
2-3 nights in the lake area or Venice

The three options for tuscany would depend on what you want to see. If you want to bus into Florence and also get to Pisa then the Tavernelle location would be good. If you want to see small hill towns, wine properties and such then Siena is good. If you want to get see some of Umbria then the Pienza location is good. But with this plan you at least can take a breath and day trip without moving all the time.

From your Tuscany base
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Jan 29th, 2011, 05:25 PM
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I'd also only choose 3 bases- Rome, Tuscany & Bologna. If only your teenagers are interested in the car factory tours, there are plenty of things to see in and around Bologna for the others not going. We took our son to the Ferrari Galleria for his 17th birthday in 2008 & I was surprised how much even I enjoyed it and I am not into cars at all!

Last September we drove from Rome to stay in Montepulciano as our base for Tuscany. We enjoyed it very much.

Cheers, Ozlinz
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Jan 29th, 2011, 06:46 PM
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Sorry to pile on, but I agree this is way too much in 10 days.

You need to calculate the time needed to do everything. You are thinking/planning in terms of days ("Day 4, Days 5-6"), but you're not establishing how much time you actually have in these places after checking out of the hotel, packing the car, driving to the next place, finding parking, walking to hotel, checking in and re-assembling the group to see the sights. All of that can take a half day, and you're contemplating doing that almost every day.

You also need to figure out what kind of car you'll rent that will carry 6 people and all their luggage. You need to be able to stow the luggage in such a way that it's not visible from outside the vehicle.
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Jan 30th, 2011, 02:38 AM
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While we love Pienza, it is a very small, quiet place at night. For teenagers, one of the other towns in Tuscany that you mentioned might be better as a base. The advice about going to less locations makes sense.
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Jan 30th, 2011, 03:01 AM
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Another thing to keep in mind is that if you are flying into Rome from the US or Australia you will be jetlagged for the first day or two.

For what it's worth, I agree with the other posters that you are trying to do too much in the days that you have.
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Jan 30th, 2011, 06:49 AM
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Sorry to be blunt, but your plan is ridiculous.

Day 7:

The Lamborghini Museum is in Ferrara. http://www.museolamborghini.it/

The Ferrari Gallery is in Maranello, 18 km from the city of Modena.
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Jan 30th, 2011, 07:05 AM
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I don't think you will be able to fit 6 people with luggage in a European minivan. You will need a bigger van (9 passenger). Your itinerary has all of you crammed in a van for much of your vacation. Is that what you want?

3 nights Rome
Train to Florence
3 nights Florence (day trip to Pisa or other hilltown by bus or train)
Pick up car when leaving Florence (you aren't allowed to drive in Florence - ZTL)
2 nights Bologna/Ferrara area to visit museum
Your last night needs to be somewhere in the Milan airport region.

Instead of Florence, you could pick up a van in Rome and drive to the Siena area for 3 nights, visiting a hilltown or two enroute. Day trip to Florence on your way to Bologna area if Florence isn't a priority.
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Jan 30th, 2011, 03:31 PM
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My question is similar.We thought we would spend three days in Rome, pick up a car and head for Tuscany and stay in a fabulous inn or villa, then three days in Florence. Rome is a given. Does it make sense to do it thisway or just Rome and Tuscany or Rome and Florence. If we skip Tuscany, we will have to return the car and rely on Tuscany tours. Fiesole seems to be an option ....
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Jan 30th, 2011, 03:39 PM
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UH OH...another forced march, and with kids. NOT a good idea. I can already hear the whining in the car.

As mentioned, 6 won't fit in a minivan. How do you feel about driving a (large) 9-person van around hill towns on narrow cobblestone streets with switchbacks?

I'd stay in Rome for 5 days, then either move to another city or rent a place in the country and take daytrips (but that will require the big van). Get an apartment in Rome.
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Jan 30th, 2011, 03:43 PM
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Fiesole is just outside of Florence. You take a local bus, takes about 15-20 minutes, as I recall. In summer, you could stay there. I would not bother at other times. Were you going to stay only one night at a villa or inn in Tuscany? Time of year? What are your major interests? Are you going to spend most of your time in the museums and churches of Florence, or did you want more of the countryside? If you skip Tuscany, you may not need a car. You certainly don't if you stay in Florence.
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Jan 30th, 2011, 07:26 PM
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I am craving the countryside. Would probably need three days there to see San Giagmano (sp?) cortona, Siena, etc, relax over great meals,and take in the local color. As we fly out of Florence, I thought we'd go there next. We could go to the Uffizi, see David, and walk the city in Florence (and I need to shop a bit!) We are going end of August-early Sept.
Do you think it is too much to do Rome 3days, countryside (Chianti?) 3 days, Florence 3 days?
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Jan 30th, 2011, 07:55 PM
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Noriboating, for maximum attention to your questions, you should start a new thread titled something like "3 days each: Rome, Tuscany, Florence." The topic of this thread is quite different from what you're thinking of doing.

In your thread, answer these questions: Are these three full days in each place (i.e., 10 nights)? Are you going to be jet-lagged on arrival? Have you been to any of these places before? And Sassafrass' questions.
Jean is online now  
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Jan 30th, 2011, 08:05 PM
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We are doing the same thing but will stay in Rome 5 nights and drive to Tuscany and stay 7 nights in a villa, then 1 night in Pisa (to catch a morning flight). Have been to Verona and Lake garda last year. Agree with above posters to stay in one place and just day trip, less exhausting, you can always return.
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Jan 31st, 2011, 02:42 PM
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Thanks all,
Will start a new thread while considering skipping the countryside or skipping the city...
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