April in Tuscany-Good Itinerary?

Jan 24th, 2004, 12:44 AM
  #1  
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April in Tuscany-Good Itinerary?

First, a thank you to everyone on this board for the invaluable information I've gathered to help put this trip together. And second, I promise a trip report will follow when we return.

This trip to Italy in early April is our first, but not our first Europe trip. I know we may be spending too much/too little time in places, but we know we'll return. That said, I welcome comments on our travel plans. Thanks!

Day 1: Arrive Milan (good air fare) from Dulles 8:00 a.m. We're renting a car and driving through Cinque Terre (hopefully to enjoy lunch there,) followed by a late afternoon stop in Pisa before reaching our base destination in Siena.
Day 2: Siena
Day 3: San Gimignano, perhaps Volterra
Day 4: A whirlwind one day in Florence to see only the Uffizi and Accademia.
Day 5: Explore the Chianti region
Day 6: Elba
Day 7: Open for whatever inspires us.
Day 8: Leave Siena for Bergamo, with late evening arrival at Milan airport hotel Villa Malpensa.
Day 9: Alas, return home.
VictoriaK is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 03:39 AM
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Viamichelin.com specifies 6 hours driving time between Malpensa airport and Siena via Monterosso al Mare (CT).

Adding in 2 hours for airport formalities, picking up the car, etc. and you won't have time to visit Pisa, or do much rubbernecking in the CT.

Maybe an overnight in the CT en route to Pisa-Siena? (This would, of course, use up your 'free day').

Same problem applies in reverse Day 8. Maybe stay somewhere midway Siena-Milan as before; you might manage a bit of Bergamo on the following day en route Malpensa. (This would, of course, require another night....- if by Elba you mean the island where Napoleon was exiled, I think 'exiling' it from your itinerary might be a good idea this trip.)
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 04:14 AM
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I agree that the first day is pretty bad. First, you can't "drive through" the Cinque Terre. From the highway to the towns are small roads which I have heard take a long time (I have not personally driven there just because of what I had read about the difficulty and time consuming-ness of it). I'm pretty sure there are no roads between the towns (i.e. you'd have to drive out to the main highway and back in to the next town). The train only takes about 2 minutes between towns (literally) but you still have to wait for it, etc. There were virturally no cars in any of the towns except Monterossa in which I did see one large parking lot near the beach. So even if you drove from MXP to Monterossa (which is the least interesting of the five towns) you'd need a few hours to even catch a glimpse of the other towns.

Let me say that I am a person who believes in quick stops in places in order to determine if it's someplace I'd like to go back to. You don't "need" days and days to "get the feel" for a place. But you have to be reasonable and trying to squeeze the CT in on that first day is not really reasonable. I do think it's a very wonderful place but I would suggest spending the first night there. You did say you had a free day. I'd do it even if it meant cutting out something else.
isabel is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 05:08 AM
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Wow--day one is a real killer--do not try it. Spend the nite in the CT--frankly I would spend 2. See Pisa enroute to Siena. Forget Elba--boat logistics in April will be suspect. I assume you are staying at one location for all of your Tuscany time. I would sub Certosa di Pavia for Bergamo on your way to Malpensa--on the way.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 02:51 PM
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I agree, spend the night in Cinque T (once you see how unique it is, you won't be able to just drive though anyway) From the highway, there are narrow winding roads leading to each town - you definitely don't want to be in a hurry. You park above the town, and walk down through narrow streets to the sea. Drop Elba, and stay flexible with your schedule - I think Florence merits more than 1 day. By the way, when we arrived in Milan around that time on a weekday, we got out of the airport around 9:30 and then sat stuck in major traffic (rush hour?) on the highway for the first hour.
I hope you really enjoy it - 2 things to keep in mind: Tourist offices in these towns are usually open only in the mornings. If you sleep in (which you will) and linger over a nice cappuccino and pastry in a fun little bar, then you will arrive around lunchtime at say, Volterra, and be disappointed. Many museums close around 1:00 as well. Plan a day or so to sleep in, and drive somewhere closer. Also, I have found that in Italy there is no such thing as a "quick stop" anywhere - you get lost, can't find parking, or can't drag yourself away from a great shop you stumble onto, etc. Have fun!
Ciao4now is offline  
Jan 26th, 2004, 03:00 PM
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When in April are you going? I'll be in Tuscany & Cinque Terre area from 3/27 to 4/4. Like yourself, I am also planning a whirlwind tour. I still have many details to finalize...but, can't wait.
peyton18 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 01:11 PM
  #7  
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OK, so I have some itinerary-tinkering to do. (That's why I'm glad I post my plans here.) Thanks, everyone.

Peyton18, in answer to your question, we arrive in Milan on 02 April, and depart on 10 April.
VictoriaK is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 01:22 PM
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On Day 3, I would switch the order and do Volterra first, ending in San Gimignano. SanG is best enjoyed after all the daytrippers have left!
HowardR is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 01:24 PM
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ira
 
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Hi Victoria,

I respectfully suggest that Florence is worth at least an overnight.
ira is offline  

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