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First time to Italy - Any Tuscany Itinerary Suggestions?

First time to Italy - Any Tuscany Itinerary Suggestions?

Old Jan 22nd, 2000, 10:16 AM
  #1  
Scott
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First time to Italy - Any Tuscany Itinerary Suggestions?

My wife and I are taking our first (of what we hope will be many) trips to Italy the first two plus weeks of May. We are planning a few days in Rome, train to Venice for a few days there, train to Florence for 4 days there and then train back to Rome.

On the trip from Florence to Rome, we would like to spend a few days in the Tuscany area and were thinking Siena and the Chianti region but were looking for some specific itinerary suggestions, places to stay, places to eat, etc. Our interests lean towards wine, food and architecture/art (in that order <g>).

We are staying in 4 and 5 star hotels in the other cities (splurging since it our first trip and our anniversary) and would like something similar. However, we are certainly willing to sacrifice luxury for atmosphere!

As for transportation, since we were planning to take the train from Florence to Rome, would it be best to just get off somewhere like Siena and rent a car and then get back on the train to continue to Rome? Is public transportation a better (or even reasonable) alternative? What is driving like there and is there anything we should be particularly aware of?

I know, I know, lots of questions but we would greatly appreciate any words of wis
 
Old Jan 22nd, 2000, 12:27 PM
  #2  
richard j vicek
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Good aternoon, Scott
Do not beleive the train from Rome stops
enroute at Siena, off the main line.
To get to Florence you take the train
south to Siena and about half way, you
can get off and take a bus for San
Gimignano, here I would suggest an
overnite at an excellant hotel called
the Cisterna, also has a very good
ristorante.. Check into www. fs-on-line.it for more rail information.
Richard of Hickory Hills, IL
 
Old Jan 22nd, 2000, 12:36 PM
  #3  
bill barker
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Scott; high end hotels are a waste of money in Italy. Get a book such as THE ROUGH GUIDE to Tuscany & find reasonable hotels. With only a few days, stay in Siena, with perhaps a bus trip to Pienza or Montepulciano. In Siena go to the area near the University where the students eat and muck around. Go to the salumeria (deli), buy great cheeses, salamis, etc. and superb wine @ $3.00. Eat that in your room or picnic. Believe me - I've been traveling Italy for 45 years.
 
Old Jan 22nd, 2000, 01:08 PM
  #4  
Beth
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Scott,
Consider picking up a rental car in Florence, and then going out into the Tuscan countryside. Its not too hard to get the car out of the city ( we did it, and only got slightly lost). You could drive the Chianti highway and stop at the various wineries, stay a couple nights in Siena, and maybe daytrip from there. Then go ahead and drive back to Rome to drop off the car (we took ours directly to the airport).

If your travels take you out towards Montalcino (and as a wine lover, I KNOW Montalcino and Montepulciano will be on your list), I recommend Fattoria Barbi. Its in the countryside, a few miles from Montalcino. They have excellent food, a brief tour of the wine cellar, and tastings. Their brunello was topnotch.

My favorite hilltowns for the combination of wine/food/art (in that order of course <g>) were Siena and Orvieto. The duomo's in both these towns were spectac
 
Old Jan 22nd, 2000, 03:00 PM
  #5  
dahlia
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Beth,
That is exactly what we are doing and I just posted a inquiry re on which is the best location to pickup car rental in Florence, airport or downtown. As I said, we would like to take the shortest and hassle-free route to Siena. Thanks.
 
Old Jan 22nd, 2000, 03:12 PM
  #6  
Beth
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Hi Dahlia,
If you are in Florence already it is not hard at all to pick up your rental downtown and drive out of the city, at least thats how we did it. We used Autoeurope, and the actual agency was Avis. I should think it would be much more of a pain to get out to the airport to get the car. The A1 was not far from the Avis office in FLorence, we only made one wrong turn, but got there anyway without too much hassle.
 
Old Jan 22nd, 2000, 08:07 PM
  #7  
Robert
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Scott - Tuscany is among our favorite destinations. Here are my suggestions:

1. Absolutely, can't miss recommendation: La Chiusa, a "restaurant with rooms" about 6 km from Montepulciano. The finest Italian food on the planet. Standard rooms run about $180, meals expensive. There phone number is 011-39-0577-669-668 (they will reopen from their yearly vacation about mid-March). If you call, tell Franco (the wonderful manager) hello from Rob and Andrea.

The staff at La Chiusa are so amazingly caring. When we there last (in early January 2000, my wife was recovering from the flu. Upon hearing this, all the waiters pitched in to replicate the extraordinary dining experience in our suite. It was amazing! I promise, if you will just trust this total stranger, you will discover one of the most special places on earth.


2. I agree with the writer who recommended San Gimignano. While there, my number one hotel choice would be L'Antico Pozzo.

Have a great time!

 
Old Jan 23rd, 2000, 08:38 AM
  #8  
Scott
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Wow! Thanks everyone! Fantastic suggestions (now, we just have to choose! Or maybe stay longer! <g>).
Robert - we will defintily look into La Chiusa and if we are lucky enough to get a room, we will pass along your 'H
 
Old Jan 24th, 2000, 06:04 AM
  #9  
Paulo
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Regarding accomodations, Scott, you may consider the Relais & Chateaux proporties near Siena:

a) Borgo San Felice, in Castelnuovo Berardegna, right in the middle of the Gallo Nero Chianti district, a 20 min drive northeast of Siena;
http://www.relaischateaux.com/relais...de=borgofelice

b) Certosa di Maggiano, southeast of Siena, a 25min walk to the city center.
http://www.relaischateaux.com/relais...&code=certosa#

Paulo

 
Old Jan 24th, 2000, 06:23 AM
  #10  
Paulo
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Regarding transportation, IMO the best would be to rent a car when you're leaving Florence and drop it in Rome. This way may explore the Chianti region and southern Tuscany with a total degree of freedom and even visit a couple of cities (e.g. Orvieto) on your way to Rome. If you decide relying on public transportation, using Siena as a base would be your best bet. There is a very good bus system serving the surrounding villages (San Gimignano, Montepulciano, etc.). In this case, though, I would stay at the Chiusarelli ... which doesn't fit your upscale bid (it's a 3-star, but inside the city walls and just about 100mts from the bus station at the San Domenico church).
Paulo

 
Old Jan 24th, 2000, 07:11 AM
  #11  
dahlia
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Paul, is it easy to return car rental in Rome? Our original plan was to pickup a car on our way to Tuscany and return it in Orvieto and train to Rome. We thought this is better than driving to Rome, which from what I heard, is a hassle to get into especially during the Easter season. Will appreciate your reply. Thanks, Paul.
 
Old Jan 24th, 2000, 08:57 AM
  #12  
Paulo
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Dahlia, most major car rental companys have offices in the Via Veneto area. You'll have to decide if you're going to return the car directly and then take a taxi to your hotel, or if you're going to the hotel first, to deliver the car next, eventually staying in the area to start your Rome visit.
Though I've driven into Rome many times, each new time it's almost as the first one. Of course, one needs a good street map of Rome. I first study the hotel address relative to either the Termini Station or the Colosseum. Those two sites are extensively marked by signs throughout Rome. I exit the A1 Autostrada in Fiano Romano to take the Gran Raccordo Anullare. From there, I decide if I want to drive into Rome from the north, east, or south (depending on where I want to go) and just follow the signs for the city center, train station, whatever.
If you're going directly to deliver the car in Via Veneto, probably the best is for you to get off the Raccordo Annulare just a few meters (900 or so) after you got on it, to take Via Salaria. At the end of Via Salaria, you're very close to Via Veneto. I have no way of remembering which streets are one way (my map doesn't show). I would try to turn right into Via Calabria right after crossing Porta la Salaria, then into Via Boncompagni and Via Veneto. If you have a map which shows the traffic directions, you'll know better
Anything to add (or to correct), Paul?
Paulo

PS. If you want to know the exact location of an address (street name + number) you may use the site
http://infopoint.atac.roma.it/
At first, you may have some difficulties, but after playing around a bit you'll realize how usefull this site may be (address location, public transportation between any two points in Rome, exact location of any hotel, restaurant, monument, etc).


 
Old Jan 24th, 2000, 02:56 PM
  #13  
Sally
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Return your rental car in Orvieto.It is very easy to do . Then just hop on the train for a one hour trip to Rome.
 

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