Dream trip to Tuscany

Old Aug 3rd, 2002, 01:37 PM
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Dream trip to Tuscany

I always dreamed of going to Tuscany and now after 20 years my husband and I are going to go! Need advice about EVERYTHING. We want to see as much as possible but also allow time to wander through the hill towns and sip wine at quite little places along the way. Would like to stay in one place and venture out from there but would be up for a hotel/villa change or two. Looking for accomodations with atmosphere, history, elegance, great service and hospitality. Should we stay in a hotel? Rent a villa with a small staff? Oh, just so many things to consider! HELP!
Old Aug 3rd, 2002, 01:39 PM
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Oops, forgot to include this info: planning on going next May for two weeks. Fly into Florence?
Old Aug 3rd, 2002, 02:27 PM
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Try the Villa Vignamaggio. It's a very old villa and beautiful. Used as the setting for Kenneth Branagh's "Much Ado about Nothing".

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It's usually booked solid but I'm sure if you book now you'll be able to reserve a place.

Enjoy your dream trip!!
Old Aug 3rd, 2002, 02:35 PM
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Go to the web site slowtrav.com. There you will find a wealth of information.
Old Aug 3rd, 2002, 04:41 PM
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I suggest you spend hours at two of my favorite web sites for background info and then come back for specifics:
It will be hard to do most of Tuscany from one location--two is better. May is a great time to go. Good luck !
Old Aug 5th, 2002, 04:38 AM
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Go to www.albertowinery.com. Casali di Bibbiano was incredible in all aspects: scenery, location (right between Montalcino and Siena), service, dining, etc. Even if you do not choose this place, southern tuscany is a great place to stay for at least part of your trip.
Old Aug 5th, 2002, 10:39 AM
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For excellent advice regarding Tuscany, see Dean's post "Toscana Suggestions". www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2
Old Aug 5th, 2002, 03:39 PM
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Tuscany has two main airports: Pisa (PSA?) and Florence (FLR). Pisa is the larger of the two. Nearby airports also are Bologna (BLQ) and Rome-Fiumicino (FCO). To fly into PSA, FLR, or BLQ requires a change of planes in one or more European cities, while there are quite a few flights from the US direct to FCO.

Geographically, if you're going to be spending most of your time in eastern or southern Tuscany, FLR would be the most convenient Tuscan airport to fly into. If you'll be spending a lot of time in southern Tuscany, such as Montepulciano, Radicofani, Chiusi, etc., either FLR or FCO is a good choice. PSA is better from a geographic perspective if you'll be concentrating on the Maremma, Tuscan coast, Alpi Apuane, and Cinque Terre (in neighboring Liguria).

FLR is a small airport. The runway is too short to routinely accommodate anything larger than regional jets. But it's only a couple of miles from downtown Florence and has great connections to the Autostrada and shuttle busses to Firenze SMN train station. PSA is in a Pisa suburb and is connected to both Pisa Centrale and Fi.SMN train stations by an hourly (?) train. The trip from PSA to Fi.SMN takes a little over an hour.

BLQ is located in the northern suburbs of Bologna and is connected to Bologna Centrale train station by the AeroBus.

I've flown into FLR, out of BLQ, and both into and out of FCO. I would personally avoid FCO if possible, simply to avoid the major-airport headaches.
Old Aug 6th, 2002, 10:13 AM
ALice Twain
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Neither hotel nor villa. Look for a nice agritourism in the Chanti area: not too far from Florence so that you can daytrip there. As an alternative, spend one week in the Chianti-like Colline metallifere(west of Chianti) and one week in the Pistoia-Lucca area and use the first week to explore southern Tuscany and the ohter to explore northern Tuscany and Firenze. Despite the facct that you will be hosted in a farm many agritourisms really offer top level accomodations, elegant, as comfortable and an hotel but less formal and in a very fascinating environment.
Old Aug 8th, 2002, 08:30 AM
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Please do check out my Toscana suggestions as well as my 10 favorite things to do in florence off the beaten path. Just do a search on my name under the Italy category and you will find them (along with myriad other posts).

For 2 weeks I would recomend staying in the Castellina San Gim area for a week. You will be close enough for a couple of day trips into Firenze and have great opportunities to day trip all around the area. You could split your second week into 3 or 4 days in Firenze (although we have sees so much of that town an day trips).

Then a second stop for the week (or a base for the entire second week) could be either south (Montalcino to Montepulciano area) or west (lucca). You could even go farther south into Bagno Vignoni or somewhere else in the Orcia valley. We are going to go way south and spend a week near Pitigliano is a farmhouse outside Manciano. We are lovers of things Etruscan so we will be visitig Roselle, Vetulonia, Populonia, and possibly Cerveteri and Tarquinia (these last two would be second visits).

If you do not plan on any nights in Firenze, and a second week farther south, then Castellina is base to explore Volterra, Pisa, San Gim, Siena and the Chianticianna (the road from Firenze to Siena thru the Chinti countryside). You can also see Radda and take a trip to Arrezzo and the Pierro della Francesca trail. This will leave you at least 2 days and maybe three for day trips into firenze. I like this way of visiting the city because it is fairly noisy in the centro and is, of course, touristy. With a day trip, you can explore many wonderful museums, shops and churches, have a great lunch, and be off to the countryside for dinner and a quiet sleep.

Old Aug 8th, 2002, 12:35 PM
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I've just spent time researching for our fourth trip to Italy in 5 years next June: one week in Tuscany and one week in Positano. There are now more websites with accommodations that ever. I found great rates at Traditional Tuscany (traditionaltuscany.co.uk). Lots of apartments on the web now compared to the prior years for smaller groups. I've found the Rick Steves book on Italy a pleasure to read as well as packed with great info. Staying in town gives you the ability to see the town late at night and early in the morning without tourists - the real soul of the city. On the other hand, heading 'home' in the evening and sitting out by the pool with a glass of wine looking out over an unbelievable landscape is wonderful too! And the stars!! I loved staying in the towns of Siena (as does everyone else) as well as Assisi. Either way, you must have a car. You'll be signing up for another trip in 2004! Have fun!
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