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Florence to Rome and In Between - Help Needed

Florence to Rome and In Between - Help Needed

Mar 27th, 2006, 03:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Florence to Rome and In Between - Help Needed

My husband and I would like to plan a September 2-week trip to Italy. Having previously seen the 'highlights' we would like to return on a more leisurely trip. We are used to group travel - this will be our first travelling solo. We are planning to spend 3 nights in Florence, 4 nights in Rome, and the remainder of the time in the Tuscany/Umbria region. How difficult is it to navigate by car? We like staying in smaller towns that have restaurants within walking distance. Is it practical to locate 2 or 3 places to stay that would allow us to cover the areas in between Rome/Florence? Which 2 or 3 towns would be recommended?
Thanks so much in advance.
lucy54 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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If you want to see Tuscany and Umbria, I would suggest southern Tuscany as a base.

You will probably get about a jillion conflicting opinions on this but here is mine (and I returned from Tuscany just 6 days ago):

In 2006, we stayed near Florence in a lovely place.

But the driving is kinda tough in this highly developed part of Tuscany.

By contrast, one day we went back to Montepulciano, which was revealed to us again, as in 2005, as one of the great beauty spots of Tuscany -- for scenery, architecture, restaurants and the lot.

In 2005, we spent a week there and saw Siena, Montalcino, Pienza, Cortina, Arezzo, Perugia and the Lago di Trasimeno.

As often before, I will recommend the Appartamenti al Poggiolo in Montepulciano" Check out this site:


The apartments are gracious, have splendid views and are convenient to the best things in Montepulciano.

Last weekend, when we revisited the town, I saw that the indefatigable owners have had the facade of their family palazzo refaced.

More important, they have built secure parking within the electric gates of their superlative garden. Of course, they never do anything by half measures: Instead of the usual asphalt, they have poured concrete, installed cut-stone edges, etc etc.

Signora Margherita -- a linguist and translator, one of 2 sisters who own the palazzo and the adjacent buildings that house the apartments -- emailed me in response to my congratulatory email, saying how pleased she was with the further improvements to the property.

It is a treasure -- if you have a week to spend (they rent only by the week)
tedgale is offline  
Mar 27th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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With a week to split between Tuscany and Umbria you will have some tough choices. I agree that south Tuscany should be your top pick, but there are several good choices after that. Start in the Pienza/Montepulciano area for 4 days to include parts of Umbria, and I would go to near San Gimignano after that. Good luck !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 38
Thank you Tedgale and bobthenavigator. I checked out the website for the apartments rentals and the place looks just like what we're looking for. Are there places to eat/food shop within walking distance, or would we have to drive to them? Really appreciate your help.
54lucy is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 06:48 AM
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The apartments are located in beautiful downtown Montepulciano, which has many restaurants, cafes and shops.
Eloise is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 06:49 AM
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All of Montepulciano is walkable, if sometimes steep; driving in Montepulciano is worse than useless.
Eloise is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 03:15 PM
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RE driving: Yes but once you learn the way to the apartment, the access to it and the exit from the town are very easy.

RE shopping for food: It IS possible to walk to the Conad food-store -- though walking back uphill with groceries is a bit of a pain. The Conad is in a 70s building and looks quite plebeian from outside. But the food selection would put many NA foodstores to shame. Imagine buying no-name laundry soap, champagne and air-cured bresaola in the same humble shop back home....
tedgale is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 03:21 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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RE restaurants: Yes the best meal of our 2005 trip -- actually we ate there twice -- was 3 minutes away by foot, at Le Logge del Vignola.

Arguments rage on these pages about the merits of the other many competing restaurants of Montepulciano, e.g. "Diva e Maceo".

I cannot remember the name of the very high-end one opposite the magnificent San Biagio church -- perhaps someone here can supply it....

In nearby towns such as Montechiello, you will also find many fine small restaurants. The Taverna di Morando (sp.???) in the latter town was closed when we wanted to go -- I regret we never dined there.
tedgale is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 03:30 PM
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Driving is a wonderful way to see Tuscany if you don't mind paying tolls. Rome to Florence is an easy drive with sheep grazing in between. Cecina is a charming seaside place that we really enjoyed. I think that Cecina is just a bit south of Pisa, which is only an hour from Florence. The highways have gas stations galore so that is not a concern. When we went into the big cities like Florence and Rome, we parked the car at the airport and rode the metro (Rome) into town or the bus (Florence) in. While highway driving is very easy,navigating rush hour in Roman traffic is quite another story. Also the rental cars are usually manual, so that is something else to consider.
Mar 31st, 2006, 11:26 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 38
Thank you to everyone for your wonderful information. There is also another thread that talks about where to pick up a rental car other than in the city (Florence/Rome) which will also prove helpful. We feel more confident now that we can do this on our own thanks to all of you. I'd read somewhere that driving in Tuscany can be a bumper-to-bumper nightmare experience. Not actually what we had in mind for our September trip. Sounds like that information was not quite on the mark?
thanks again-
54lucy is offline  
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