Florence/Tuscany Itinerary Help Needed

Aug 15th, 2004, 01:43 PM
  #1  
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Florence/Tuscany Itinerary Help Needed

I will be the first to admit that this proposed itinerary is a little overpacked. All plans we have made have been from Fodors suggestions thus far. We want to squeeze as much in as possible, but hopefully you can help us to make our 8 day trip as enjoyable as possible in the most logical way without too much rushing around.

Dates: September 24 to October 3
Travelers: My boyfriend and myself (early 20-somethings)
Budget: Modest
Preferences: B&Bs and great restaurants
Destination preferences: small Italian towns (we're from NYC and are accustomed to big cities, but don't want to skip Florence completely in our Tuscan escape)
Transportation: We plan to rent a car, but if you can advise how to split the trip between areas where we need the car vs. don't, that way we can save $ by only renting for a few days.

The plan:
Sat Sept 25 arrive PSA 1pm Day: Florence Night: Florence
Sun Sept 26 Day: Florence Night: Florence
Mon Sept 27 Day: Siena Night: Siena -hotel: Santa Caterina
Tues Sept 28 Day: San Gimignano Night: Pienza
Wed Sept 29 Day ienza- Lunch: Montepulciano at Osteria Logge. Night??
Thurs Sept 30 Day: Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore, Montalcino, and the Abbazia di Sant'Antimo. drive to Saturnia and enjoy a thermal bath Night??
Fri Oct 1 Day trip into Chianti - little towns like Castellini, Radda and Gaioli. Badia a Coltobuono, Lorenza de Medici's cooking school Night: Hotel Villa Belverdere in Colle Val d'Elsa, located between Florence and Siena Night??
Sat Oct 2 Day: ??? Night in Florence
Sun Oct 3 flight from PSA 6:45am

Initially we wanted to squeeze in the Cinque Terre and Bologna... but that does not seem possible at this point.. We DO want to try a Balsamic and/or parmesan tour. Any suggestions? Big focus of the trip is food.

The biggest problem we've had in planning this trip is that we don't have a great sense of the distance between each destination. Advice on the order of the itinerary, estimated travel times, and ANY and ALL attractions/restaurants/B&Bs that we CANNOT miss is much appreciated! NOTHING is booked at this point-- we are completley open to suggestions!

Thank you!!!
Oaks is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 01:56 PM
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in my opinion, the best way to visit florence and tuscany is to stay a 2/3 nights in florence (assuming you just want to see the basics), then move on to tuscany. tuscany is best visited with a car using one location as base. distances are not that great.

we did not feel like we did too much driving. The drives are so pleasant that getting around is half the fun.

Agriturismo is a great way to experience tuscany and i highly recommend it.
walkinaround is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 02:00 PM
  #3  
ira
 
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Hi Oaks,

Not a bad itinerary.

Driving directions and maps can be foound at www.viamichelin and www.mappy.com.

You don't need a car until you leave Siena on Tuesday.

There is bus service from Florence.
See
http://www.sita-on-line.it/SITA-Tosc.../Vpesa/350.pdf

ira is online now  
Aug 15th, 2004, 02:12 PM
  #4  
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Thanks for the advice. Any car rental agencies that are better than others abroad?
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Aug 15th, 2004, 03:06 PM
  #5  
ira
 
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Try www.autoeurope.com and www.novarentacar.com
ira is online now  
Aug 15th, 2004, 05:06 PM
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Sorry to be so dense but I do not understand your " night" designations. Do you mean where to stay that night?
My opinion is that you can do all of your Tuscany day trips from one location. There is nothing more than an hour from Siena--except Saturia--and I would sub Bagno Vignoni for that. I see no reason to change hotels at all--other than Florence of course.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 05:25 PM
  #7  
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Where would you suggest we lodge if we choose a city outside of Florence for our base? Siena? I found a castle/farmhouse outside of Pienza called Castello la Grancia that looks wonderful, but didn't know if that was a practical location to use as our base.

Another reason that we initially planned to switch cities was the ability to have a leisurly walk back to our b&b after dinner... instead of a drive back to whatever city we are staying in. BUT if the cities are all a lot closer than I realized, that is less of an issue. The challenge now becomes picking the ONE other city to lodge in. They all seem so wonderful.

Advice as to which is most practical for location to our other plans as well as a property with some character would be great! Thanks.
Oaks is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 05:38 PM
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You had 2 good hotels in your post, but they are only :20 apart. I would add the the Piccolo Oliveta next door to the Santa Caterina if you want a Siena base location. My picks would be:
www.palazzodelcapitano.com
www.lacosta.it
www.tuscany.net/oliviera

You really need a good map.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 07:40 AM
  #9  
 
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One night in Florence is ok, pick up your car on your way out. Stay a few nights in each place (min 2 nights) in Tuscany, it's a pain to pack and go constantly. 2 nights San Gimignano, Explore from there. 2 nights Chianti
2-4 nights S of Siena near Montalcino (this is near Pienza, you don't want to hit San G and Pienza in the same day, too much in between)! We honeymooned in italy last summer and Tuscany was our favorite. We had aplace just S of Siena as our home base for 4 nights and spent one night in San Gimignano. Great apt and affordable: www.sangiapartments.com (pick up the key at their pastry shop- love it!) And try to get to Siena about 8am so you have 2hrs to explore before the crazy crowds hit at 10!
eroz is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 07:01 PM
  #10  
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Eroz-- do you have any of the other specific locations that you stayed? the apartments in San Gim look nice.

we are really looking to spend under 100 Euro per night (some other suggestions have been higher) but also looking for a B&B type feel with friendly hosts. Great scenery, great food, and great company are our goals (within our budget of course).

Any and all specific B&Bs/hotels that people liked will be most helpful. thank you again.
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Aug 17th, 2004, 06:50 AM
  #11  
ira
 
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Hi Oaks,

>Any and all specific B&Bs/hotels that people liked will be most helpful. thank you again.<

The B&B Peterson is convenient to the train station in Florence, clean, modern and inexpensive.

www.bedinitaly.it
ira is online now  
Aug 20th, 2004, 01:25 PM
  #12  
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Will look into it all. Thank you.
Oaks is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 02:09 PM
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I'd stay put at one place. If you want to find good inexpensive B&B's try venere.com. Most places will give you a discount if you stay a week or longer. The drive between cities isn't very far and some of them are beautiful scenic drives. If you like to Shop go to the outlet stores for Prada, Gucci, D&G etc. I stayed at a place in Tuscany called I Parigi which was 10 mins from Florence and about 15-20 mins from Sienna. As for places to eat, it's hard to get a bad meal in Italy. Ask whoever is running the B&B they can usually tell you a good place that isn't too expensive or touristy.
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Aug 21st, 2004, 07:19 AM
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Hi Oaks,

Here's a different point of view. On my last trip we stayed in Chianti (San Sano)for 4 days. We loved our accomodation, Hotel Residence San Sano. From there we did day trips driving to San Gimignano, Volterra, Siena, Badia di Coultibouno (SP?), and Greve, Castello di Brolio wine tasting, lunch at La Badia.

After driving the winding roads of Tuscany for 4 days, I began to get impatient with the drive back each evening and wished we had stayed at 2 locations. It sort of seemed a waste of time backtracking to the same place every day.

On my next trip I will move around more (for certain areas). If you travel light and don't mind living out of a suitcase, packing/unpacking is not a big deal.

Just a different thought!

Have fun!
Dayle is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2004, 07:48 PM
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eroz, Thanks for the tip on San Gimignano www.sangiapartments.com. I'm waiting for their reply for April. Would you like to mention some restaurants where you ate? Marge
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Oct 23rd, 2004, 08:38 PM
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We stayed at a great B&B in San Gimignano, I Coppi, www.icoppi.com, quiet, on the outskirts but walking distance to town. Beautiful Tuscan style furniture and 1st class shower facilities. 65 Eur double plus 5 Eur p.p. for breakfast (in '03). For slightly more, you can reserve the kitchen as well. There is a large terrace with views over the Tuscan countryside.
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Oct 24th, 2004, 01:39 PM
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Two things. We also need a car for a few days. I checked with www.Kemwel.com at 1-877-820-0668. They beat autoeurope and give a price match guarantee in the event that you find a lower price from any other major usa car rental operator. $183.50 for 3 days from Florence.

EROZ - I check with Sangriapartments and for our dates in April they need 4 day. Rate was good at 70E but that's way too many nights I feel for San Gim.

We would rather stay in a small town than on the rual farms. Any suggestions I think I would like north of Siena? After Chianti we are going to spend 2 nights in CT. Marge
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Oct 26th, 2004, 01:30 AM
  #18  
Melissajoy
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Oaks, your idea of being able to have a leisurely walk back to your B&B after dinner is a good one. Soaking up a lovely Italian evening! Slow the pace of your itinerary down just a little so that you can enjoy getting to know the special places you have chosen...2 or 3 nights in the same town aren't too many.

If you run around too much, you'll see only a little bit of everything....sort of like watching the previews and missing the movie.

Florence and Siena are very different, even though they are only an hour or two apart. Personally I fell in love with Siena!

For an 8 day trip, I would suggest only changing hotels 2 or 3 times at the most.
 
Oct 26th, 2004, 05:57 AM
  #19  
 
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Oaks, did you take your trip from September 24 to Oct. 3? If so, tell us a little about it. Hope it was fun!
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