Family Trip to Tuscany in August

Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 05:52 PM
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Family Trip to Tuscany in August

Hi all -
I've used these travel boards in the past with great success to plan our family vacations so I'm hoping that the Fodor's community will be able to help me out once more. I'm beginning to plan a family trip for our summer vacation and we've decided on Tuscany for our next destination. With the exception of my father (who was stationed in Naples during the '60s), none of us have been to Italy so we're truly starting at the beginning. Would anyone be able to offer advice on the following basic questions:

1) Timing - August is the only time of the year that we can all get together. Is Tuscany enjoyable at that time or is it too hot to bear?

2) Base point - we're planning to rent a villa for a week but are completely confused as to where we should select for our base. Can anyone offer suggestions? We have no particular town in mind at the moment. If it helps, our ages will range from 2 to 75. We'll be 10 people total.

I know these are very general questions but I'm hoping that you all will have the patience to respond.

Thanks in advance,
Kris

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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 06:06 PM
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By no means am I an expert, but I can offer you the info on what we did (group of 6) in Oct 06.

We started with 2 nights 3 days in Rome, and then rented a car and drove to Poggibonsi (outside of San Gimignano) and stayed at the Podere Montecuccheri 'Caterina' apartment, this slept 6 comfortably, with an extra bed for a 7th. They have two other apartments on the farm as well, and we booked through www.labellatoscana.net If you're not interested in where we stayed, they have alot of other properties to look at as well.

The rental agency was VERY easy to work with, and the apartment had a binder with all kinds of tips, hints and interesting facts with regard to the actual apartment and surrounding areas.

You can check out my trip report by clicking on my name, it's a bit buried, but (if I may say so myself) a funny and interesting read!!

Enjoy!
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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 06:10 PM
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Kris-we stayed in a "villa" in Tuscany with my family of 6 during late July/early August. Yes, it will be hot, probably very hot, but if you are doing this around school schedules and such you have no other choice. We returned to Italy this past summer and it was over 100 in June, so basically the summer is hot but I'd still go.

We stayed the first time in a little village outside Arezzo about 1/2 hour by train or car from Florence. From there we took day trips to Siena, Assisi, 2 part days in Florence, a day driving around seeing wineries and small sites, and other small towns. We stayed at Iesolana (you can google it) and really enjoyed the accomodations. Last summer we stayed at Le Traverse in Pienza but I don't think that would be big enough for your group. From Pienza there were easy trips to Montepulciano and the Val d'Orcia region. Tuscany really is a pretty large region and I don't think you can see everything from any one city. I think many people try to include Florence on their first trip to Italy and I'm glad we were able to visit without staying there - it was too busy and crowded for my taste (though I love the crowds in Rome!). It was great to visit for 1/2 a day and then return to the quiet countryside.

One thing that I think is necessary is that your agriturismo/villa have a pool. On both our trips we really enjoyed going out in the morning, having lunch in whichever town we were visiting, then returning to our place for a swim and a rest. Then you go out again in the evening when things have really cooled off.

We love Tuscany and you will too - it will be interesting to see what others suggest as a base. With the 2 trips we've taken we've still missed lots of the top spots. Guess we'll to go back!

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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 06:13 PM
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Kris - sorry, forgot to add. We used Suzanne B. Cohen & Associates - website is villaeurope.com to book our 1st Italy trip. Friends have used them as well two different times. They were very good about suggesting the right place for us.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 06:15 PM
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August can be hot in certain parts of Tuscany, especially the central plain and valleys.

You could consider some of the higher elevations and more forested areas. North of Lucca, in the mountains would be great, or in the opposite direction, around Lago di Trasimeno, which borders Tuscany and Umbria.

Tuscany has some seaside locations, and you would have to pick carefully for an attractive area, but if you start early, you can find something. The beach areas will be crowded; August is the highest season there.

Have you considered an island? Elba or another Tuscan island could be great. http://www.italiantourism.com/island3.html

If you decide for a more traditional Tuscany location, a swimming pool and air conditioning would be necessary for me.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 06:42 PM
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Kris1,

Tuscany is a big area. Where do you want to day trip to?

would stay in southern Tuscany to see Siena, Pienza, Montepulciano, Bagno Vignoni, Sant Antimo, Monte Oliveto Maggiore, Buonconvento, Murlo, Montalcino. I would stay in Chianti area to see San Gimignano, Volterra, Greve, Radda, Castellina,Siena.
Look at agriturismo (an apartment on a farm or vineyard).I have a file on a weeks worth of day trips in southern Tuscany and would be happy to send it, it is too big to post. If you need more help feel free to e-mail me.

Henry
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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 08:11 PM
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We've been to Tuscany in August. It was hot but bearable. We spent some time at the beach which the children loved.

We stayed near Lucca, which I wouldn't recommend unless most of what you want to do is up that way (although there is a lot to see around there, it just depends on your interests). It worked for us! I agree that Poggibonsi or nearby would be a good base.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 09:20 PM
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Hi

I went to Tuscany in July last year. Maybe you can find some usedul information in my trip report with pictures and links http://gardkarlsen.com/tuscany_italy_travelogue.htm

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 12:09 AM
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I would head over to www.slowtrav.com and see all the advice there. there is a tonne of info!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 12:21 AM
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Tuscany is wonderful any time of the year, but it does get hot in august. I would strongly recommend that you take a villa with a pool to cool off in.

The term 'agriturismo' may help you : converted farms offering rural accommodation and farm products.

Location does depend on what you are interested in, but the motorway that links Florence and Siena is a good one to be near.

Andy
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