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Dream a little.. if money wasn't a concern, how would you do Tuscany?

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Mar 24th, 2012, 08:22 AM
  #1
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Dream a little.. if money wasn't a concern, how would you do Tuscany?

We all know money IS a factor, but what if it wasn't ? Where would you stay? Where would you dine ?

What were your experiences that you splurged on or wish you had ?

Just for fun, I'm taking a break from researching all the Tuscany possibilities that in reality are limited by bank accounts, 3 children, pending college tuitions and on and on and on. And maybe, just maybe, I'll find a few ideas to turn my pumpkin into a Cinderella carriage.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 08:35 AM
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Good grief.

Please forgive my shaking my head, but "Tuscany" became a much-desired travel dream destination because of a few people who ventured there in a rented Fiat 500 or on a vespa, and discovered this beautiful farm country where they could find a place to sleep and a meal and fantastic wine for next to no money.

Unlike Venice or Florence or Capri, the trip wasn't about luxury and pampering. It was about experiencing a simpler way of life.

Do you know what is incredible?

Much of Tuscany -- the real Tuscany -- hasn't changed at all.

What has changed is -- and now hear comes the howls of protest and wounded whining -- the suburbanite tourists who come in wanting a huge rental apartment, a barbecue, a swimming pool a huge car to drive around and a no-max credit card so they can go shopping.

If you want -- but only if you want -- you can go to Tuscany and spend 60 euros a day for a spotlessly clean double with a drop-dead view and for another 25e they will throw in dinner with wine.

If you want something else, you can go to "TUSCANY", and have a spa, a gourmet cook, and a golf course.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 09:38 AM
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Imont,

I have never been to Tuscany, but would splurged on a private driver and rent a MB. Stay in a Villa with a chef and a housekeeper. It is nice to dream once in a while.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 09:40 AM
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I don't need to spend a lot of money to enjoy Tuscany (specifically, the countryside and small towns/villages). But if I had more money and wanted to splurge, I'd just spend more time there and/or make more trips to the region.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 10:20 AM
  #5
 
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That's too hard for me! too used to chasing the bargain. I think I'd just ramp everything up - nicer car, nicer digs - but same food. Nothing beats bread, wine and cheese al fresco.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 10:33 AM
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We had two of the most heavenly, relaxing weeks in Italy last fall in a small flat in a tiny town just outside Spoleto (Umbria, not Tuscany, but we got to daytrip into Tuscany as well). We ate our lunches while out, made our dinners "at home" and just enjoyed the gorgeous views and charming people we met. You could do something similar for around 4000euro and have the time of your life. Two weeks is perfect. Longer would be nice, but two weeks on the ground, in residence, is great. A reasonably "good" cook can make fantastic dinners with local ingredients, and that was part of the fun.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 10:41 AM
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4,000 euros?

Was most of that for first class airfare?

Here is the kind of place I am talking about. It still exists:

http://www.agriturismopoggiopistoles...?idCategoria=9

http://www.tripadvisor.it/ShowUserRe...tml#UR36629786
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Mar 24th, 2012, 10:49 AM
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I think I'd still stay in the same lodging as I've used before, but if money were no object we would rent a Ferrari and stay longer.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 11:10 AM
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uh_oh,

Sorry -- I only now realized you stayed for 2 weeks. Assuming $4,000 included airfare for 2 and a rental car, it makes sense.

Driving a Ferrari in Italy these days just means you get stopped a lot by the tax police.

"I Got Plenty of Nothin'" has always struck me as tune with considerable wisdom.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 11:13 AM
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Hub (rip) and I wanted to own a place in Italy but could never figure out what city/town we liked the best. We loved them all.

He and I usually went for 2 weeks, flew coach and generally stayed in 3 star hotels described as "seen better days". We rarely spent more than $3,000 for everything. That did change in the last few years.

If I had all the money in the world, I too would hire a driver and just wander until I missed my "stuff" in the U.S. No time frame. My driver would be gorgeous and young and would be able to get us lovely rooms where ever we "landed" simply by smiling. He would have relatives in all of Umbria and Tuscany. Many times we'd have meals with them. He might try to fix me up with his grandfather. Perhaps grandfather would take me to an opera or a concert.

I'd still have to land in Rome first and stay there a few days at the Raphael. Then Paolo (I think that would be his name) would fetch me and we'd meander. I would go to concerts, cooking schools, wine tastings and art classes. Paolo knows (or is related to) all the people who run these activities and would arrange things for me. I can't say the names of the towns we'd visit because they'd have to be new to me. Although we could stop in Pisa and say hey to the lovely owners of the Royal Victoria and in Spoleto and the owners of Hotel Clitunno. Hub and I made friends with some students in a bar in Perugia as well so maybe we'd swing by there.

I'd also have to end up in Venice. Hub and I stayed at a place with a huge cat named Pauldo (sp?). One morning the doorbell rang and in came Pauldo. "How did he do that?" asked my astute husband. We learned later that neighbors usually rang the bell for him. I'd stop there to say hello but stay in a place on the Grand Canal. I'd take a private boat to the airport (Paolo's cousin owns it).

Sigh.

So, lmont, what are you really thinking about??!!
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Mar 24th, 2012, 12:11 PM
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The way to do Tuscany is to rent a villa, rent a car for touring during the day and have staff to make dinner in the villa at night or drive you to/fro restaurants in the evening so you can enjoy trying wines with dinner. (Oh, the staff lives in a nearby town and the villa has full AC a private pool and jacuzzi, etc.

Simple enough - just big $.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 12:36 PM
  #12
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So, does Paolo have a brother?

Like jujubean, I spend my time chasing the bargain, with 3 sons that can clear a fridge in a heartbeat, I'm all about keeeping it simple on a daily basis.

Now, hubby and I are getting away ALONE . I don't need golf courses or huge cars. Obviously more time would be first on my list - but as much as Grandma is a saint for watching the kids, she ain't crazy!

I'm thinking more along the lines of rooms with a view and long meals with an authientic Italian that made me green with envy. I'd gladly sit in her kitchen and listen to stories more than a 5 star restaurant anyday.

Simply asking if there are experiences - i.e accomodations, dining, experiences etc. that you may not have experienced and would if you were "splurging" , what would they be?
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Mar 24th, 2012, 12:46 PM
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When we were last in Tuscany, we saw a hot air balloon floating over the landscape. I really wanted to do that, but the cost was just ridiculous.

It remains on my list.

(perhaps they thought we wanted to buy the balloon?)
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Mar 24th, 2012, 01:04 PM
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On our most recent trip to Tuscany we stayed in a great farmhouse outside of Greve. We had dinner at Ristoro di Lamole in a small town outside of Greve. The restaurant is on the highest hill in Tuscany and the views are spectacular. The food is wonderful - I still can taste the ravioli with pears and parmesan in my dreams. The drive to the restaurant is steep and winding. The drive down the hill after dark and after some lovely wine - is scary. The dinner was a lovely splurge. If we were to do it again, we might splurge on a driver!
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Mar 24th, 2012, 02:36 PM
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Figure 500-750euro per week for two weeks, a rental car, which ran another 1000 euro (well, ours was that for 21 days) and a generous 1500 euro for food and wine and gas for the car for 2 weeks. No - that does not include airfare. We spent less than that, because I don't think we spent close to 100+ euro per day for food/wine, we really don't do much "shopping" on trips, and we did get a fine deal of less than 1000euro on our rental for two weeks. If we'd been willing to spend more, we could have had a pool -- which might have been nice and the OP said if money weren't an issue.

We rented a Fiat Punto. Standard transmission. We probably splurged on several bottles of Sagrantino, though, when the Rosso probably would have been just as fine for the average meal. But we are pretty good cooks, so it made it worth it to us.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 03:43 PM
  #16
 
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"Driving a Ferrari in Italy these days just means you get stopped a lot by the tax police."

Ha! My husband wouldn't care one whit! He's a 'car guy' through and through.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 03:58 PM
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All I can say is I am glad people come to Italy and spend so much money.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 04:43 PM
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TDudette, your writing is lyrical! You should turn this into a short story.

My husband and I spend at least a month in Tuscany each year on retirees' budget. We eat lunch out if we are driving around, but I love to cook and one of the reasons to be there is to take advantage of the wonderful local markets, produce, cheese, etc. So we rarely eat out, except for the last night in Montepulciano when we always go to la Grotta for dinner. We lease our car from Auto Europe - a brand new Peugeot, which we enjoy driving. If $$ were no issue, we would ship home cases of the lovely Tuscan wine -- Brunello di Montelcino, etc. But since shipping wine is quite costly, we just consume as much as possible (within reason!) while we are there.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 05:47 PM
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mamcalice, we ate at Ristoro di Lamole in 2008 after the girl at the front desk of our hotel suggested it. It was her home village and when we told the waitress who had sent us she said "oh yes, that is their house right there, the family has lived in this village for 200 years".

It was our most memorable dinner of the trip, the food was divine, the beautiful view, the very personable owner and his son, our lovely waitress....and yes, the scary drive up and down the mountain. Thankfully DH is the steady type!
I hope to go back some day.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 06:29 PM
  #20
 
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zep, I thought this was all just dreaming....
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