Colle Val d'elsa

Feb 5th, 2006, 10:01 AM
  #1  
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Colle Val d'elsa

Just posted a question a few minutes ago but it didn't appear, where it landed I do not know. If someone is familiar with this town I would love to hear back. We are considering staying 3-5 days without a car and using the bus to visit Florence, Siena, San Jimmy, and Voltera. Then move to Pienza for 7 days with a car. We are considering in town rentals in Colle or San Jimmy. Currently we are set to spend all of our 11 days in Val d' Orcia but after reading recent posts am reconsidering this. Also, is 11 days in Tuscany a bit too much and would you recommend 2-3 days to visit the coast? Thanks for your input.
Tiller
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Feb 5th, 2006, 12:02 PM
  #2  
 
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Personally I don't think 11 days in Tuscany is too long. I could happily stay 11 weeks and not see everything, but I wouldn't do it without a car. You can go between towns by bus, but it is very time consuming when there is so much to see.
San Gimignano is probably one of the most spectacular towns in Tuscany because of it's Towers and wonderful location. Admittedly it is within stiking distance from the towns you mention, but unsurprisingly it is on everyone's "must see" list consequently it attracts many tourists. That may not be a worry to you, however I would go for Colle mainly because of the fewer tourists.
If you are worried about car parking in the cities you mention, the car park under the Florence railway station is excellent, there is metered car parking near the historic centre of Siena and an underground car park right at Voltera. San Gim also has a large car park within walking distance from the town.
Pienza is a terrific place and ideal for visiting the Val d'Orcia with it's "Tuscan Calendar" scenery.
DownUnder is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 01:44 PM
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Tiller: I have stayed in Casole d'Elsa, about ten kilometers down the road from Colle Val D'Elsa, for a week at a time on two occasions. Colle was where we would go to stock up on groceries, find the Herald Tribune, etc. It's really two different towns. The old town on the hill (Colle Alto) is quite lovely, and you can spend the better part of a day exploring that part of the town. The remainder of the town (Colle Basso) is rather nondescript, but it is also much more modern (by Tuscan standards!) and does have a slightly larger infrastructure than some of the other Tuscan hill towns. I can't tell you anything about bus transportation between the towns because we had a car. I would agree with DownUnder that you couldn't spend too long in Tuscany and that a car would be helpful. There are many small towns that would probably not get to by bus, but you may get to some of those when you have your car in Pienza. In the old town of Colle you will find Arnolfo, one of the finest restaurants in Tuscany. It's expensive but it's well worth it. You also have the experience of seeing the light fading on the fields outside Colle if you eat outdoors on a summer evening. It's a lovely setting, although you might not know that from the rather narrow front entrance. Another fine dining experience, much less expensive, is in Casole D'Elsa. There you'll fine the Osteria Del Caffe Casolani, a restaurant which specializes in Tuscan peasant cooking. It's on the main street of Casole, so you get to watch the whole town go by if you sit outside (there are only three streets in Casole). Each night there is one set meal with five courses for about twenty euros. The wine isn't too expensive either. It's rather simple food, but it's very well prepared. We ate there three of the seven nights we were in Casole. But we didn't just check out restaurants in Tuscany (although we did do a lot of that). In addition to the main attractions, one site I'd recommend visiting is San Galgano. It is a ruined abbey from the 13th century next to a church which dates from the 12th century. There you can see the Italian version of the sword in the stone. Saint Galgano was a nobleman who renounced war and drove his sword into a stone, as the legend has it. You can see the sword in the stone; the church was built over it. The abbey and the church have a wonderful feel; they were one of my favorite sites in Tuscany. We've been in Tuscany several times, and we've always thought about going to the coast. We've always found too much to do in the interior regions, and we certainly haven't exhausted our possibilities. What little we saw of the central Tuscan coast (near Livorno) wasn't as pretty as the coast further north (near Carerra) or further south, but the areas we'd like to explore are Maremma and the island of Giglio. Next trip perhaps.
Midnightsun is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 02:05 PM
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We, too, suggest a trip to see the Abbey at SanGalgano...we were disappointed during the ride over from the Val D'Orcia because the scenery wasn't nearly as pretty, but the Abbey...ah, the Abbey is something else...it is deconsecrated, but there is something intensely spiritual about it......I cannot put it into words, but there IS something you feel....it is completely majestic, even without its roof....worth seeing and experiencing...
Traviata is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 02:31 PM
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I'll second the recommendation for Arnolfo. We went there on a trip where we dined at three Michelin 2 star restaurants and it was the best among them. Wonderful service to the point of chasing our car down when they found that we had left a book or brochure or something at the table. Excellent food, served with real care. the place has soul.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 05:14 PM
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Yup, we are. Actually thought we had arrived in San G on one of our road trips one day last year. Couldn't match anything up to our tour book and map. When we approached another couple outside the travel assistance office turning their map about and looking that lost look, we stopped to chat. They told us they had just found out they were in the wrong town. Oh where is that says we.."well, we thought we were in San G but we're actually in Colle Val d'elsa". Always good to know there are other dummies out there. Both couples met again IN San G later in the day and had a laugh. That being said it was very pretty and very quiet AND had a lovely ceramics store with a girl painting plates that will always be a shouldhavebought.Later we found it had a Michelin 2 or 3 star restaurant where a local chef here at home had trained.Small world.Enjoy!
minx is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 08:25 PM
  #7  
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hello Minx:

Just thought I would ask, even though you were lost, did you visit Colle Alta
the older section or Colle Bassa, the newer (in relative terms) section of town? Just wondered what area the tourism office was located?
Thanks,
Tiller
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Feb 6th, 2006, 04:23 AM
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tt
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