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From Montipulciano,West.........need help

From Montipulciano,West.........need help

Old Feb 25th, 2010, 06:48 PM
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From Montipulciano,West.........need help

Now that we have secured the necessary rooms for our 3 generation family of 12..who will be gathering in agriturismo le Manzinaie,East of Montipulciano to celebrate our 50th anniversary,I need to decide on itinerary for just the 2 of us for 5 days of post celebration R&R,mid-June.I have been thinking about Elba,or some of the coastal villages south of Piombino.We are open for suggestions about an interesting route to the coast,with towns to stop in,enroute,as well as coastal destinations.Our original plan was to go to Puglia,but that is too far to go for so little time.Now that we have scotched Puglia, I have no focusWe will fly out of Rome.I really need some help in planning this 5 day portion of our trip.All suggestions welcome !!
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Old Feb 25th, 2010, 07:15 PM
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Kind of depends on what you like, but driving west fro Montepulciano, you can go thru Montalcino, and then down to Pitigliano, (amazing town, with houses built in the tufa) and detour to Sovana, an amazing little medieval town, thence back down to the sea at Porto Ercole, which is a town on a sort of island called Monte Argentario, very fancy Italian resort area, and thence down the Aurelia to Rome. this is an extremely interesting trip, which I have done. Another side trip might be to see the strange outdoor sculture park of Nikki de Saint Phalle, which depicts Tarot characters larger than life. (I know it sounds weird, and it is, but it's really worth a look, but I'd google it first to be sure it's your sort of thing.)

I've always wanted to go to Elbe, but have never researched that island. Hopefully someone on this site will tell you more about it.
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 03:48 AM
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Don't know how much traveling you will be doing when all the family is there but we based in Perugia and loved it. There are some sweet places to visit in that area.
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 12:43 PM
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I hope you have a good map--you will need it. You also need to use "Google maps" to judge ditance and routings. The coast will be a long way---too long for me. From your location you need to read about south Tuscany to include Siena, Montalcino, the 2 Abbeys, Pienza, Bagno Vignoni, maybe even Volterra. I see 5 good days there.
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 02:08 PM
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I actually like your idea of going to Elba since you have five days on your own, provided you are comfortable with an island experience that will be almost entirely about relaxation. And you of course will have to depart and be in Rome your final night.

Another possibility if Elba loses its appeal-- since I presume that during the previous weeks of your stay with your family you will have already seen most of the sights that bobthenavigator mentioned -- is for you to first drive west, to the astonishingly beautiful ruined Abbey of San Galgano.

http://people.ucalgary.ca/~tstronds/...ostalghia1.jpg

get yourselves a lunch...

From there proceed up to Massa Marittima to spend a few nights

http://www.tuscany-traveller.com/en/s/massa-marittima

or if you prefer the beach, go to Castiglione della Pescaia

http://www.grosseto-info.com/castigl...la_pescaia.htm

http://www.castiglionepescaia.it/indexeng.htm

There are many charming towns, wineries and nature parks within reach of either Massa Marittima or Castiglione della Pescaia (Magliano in Toscana, the wine town of Scansano, Manciano), plus one day you could head for Montemerano for lunch, either at the michelin starred Da Caino or the more modestly priced but highly regarded Locando Laudomio

http://www.locandalaudomia.com/index.it.html

http://www.dacaino.it/

http://www.montemerano.info/

A very early start could make for a day trip to Porto Santo Stefano in time to catch a boat to the island of Giglio, off the Monte Argentario, for a lunch:

http://www.giglioinfo.com/

(and the tiny island could also be a substitute for Elba for a few night's stay)

If the logistics of an island lunch sounds too daunting, a drive to Porto Ercole for lunch might be atmospheric:

http://www.isolarossa.co.uk/isolaros...to_ercole.html

On weekends in particular, the coastal roads can be jammed. Away from the coast, the winding roads make for slow driving. Any good Michelin map will keep you from getting lost.

I've only done variants of the itinerary I just laid out, and before I were to set out to do it myself, I would look closely at drive times. And I recommend to you that you look up a couple of good websites for the "Maremma" and "Monte Argenatario" regions of Tuscany to see what else might appeal to you in that area.

Give the fact that you have 5 days and a car, it is not unreasonable for you to consider a 4 night visit to the Amalfi coast or Capri, getting back to Rome for your last night. Drive from your villa to Sorrento, return the car and go where you will at the seaside. It will be MUCH MORE touristed than anyplace you consider on the Maremma, and more expensive. And perhaps involve more stress in getting to and fro. Just something to consider. Others might disagree.

For lodgings, use Tripadvisor. It has reviews for these areas not only for hotels and b&bs but also "specialty lodgings" (agriturismi included). The reviews are up-to-date and come from a wide data base of people. Venere.com also has user reviews. So does this website, which can be cross-referenced with Tripadvisor and venere for recent reviews.

http://en.agriturismo.it/tuscany/livorno/index.jsp

Have a great time with this great adventure you have in the works!
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 02:56 PM
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Sorry for my typo. It's spelled Monte Argentario.
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 04:04 PM
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well -- I got curious about the drive time from Montepulciano to Piombino, because I do think Elba might be your best bet for locating a well-reviewed comfortable hotel with a beautiful seaside location. I was surprised to see it was under 3 hours (and then another 40 minutes by on the car ferry to Elba). That's much easier than heading to the Amalfi or Capri, and much more of a lovely adventure I think.

Leaving Elba, driving from Piombino to Rome takes just over 3 hours drive time, but you might consider dropping your car right in Piombino, for a 3.5 hour train ride to Rome. Or take it to if you want a lunch on the way Grosseto, for a 90/2hr minute train trip intro Rome. I wouldn't want to end my fanstastic trip with the hassle of driving into Rome, even to an airport hotel. I'd want to spend my last night at a lovely Roman hotel, have a great dinner, and then get a car service to the airport the next morning.

Have fun exploring the options!
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 05:32 PM
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Sorry, I assumed you meant day trips from your base. Monte Argentario is a great idea.
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Old Feb 28th, 2010, 04:23 PM
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Tante grazie for your thoughtful and generous responses.WOW !! Let me fill you in on the "bigger picture": for this holiday,and based on that I have some questions.ALONG time ago we lived near Livorno,in Tirrenia, for 2 years,but never explored the Argentario.We always went North along the coast. Since then,we have had numerous holidays in Italy,most recently 2 years ago when we spent 2 weeks based in vald'Orchia,"al Stu Dudley."For this June,for one week, we have rented apartments at the agriturismo,"leManzinaie",East of Montepulciano/Pienza,in Valiano, for the family. My husband and I will fly into either Rome or Florence, a couple of days earlier,and our tentative plan is to stay at Genius Loci for 2 nights before moving on to meet up with the kids.Then,at the end of the week,we take off on our own.If we do go to Elba,[last there in 1967 ]we would only stay 3 nights,I think,and then,for 2 days perhaps explore Castiglione d.Pescaia or M.Argentario.Locanda Laudomia sounds wonderful.Primeranoche,have you ever stayed there ??Any other suggestions as to where to stay post-Elba,for 2 nights?We prefer small,friendly [and after the family celebration,not too expensive] B&B kinds of places.All suggestions enthusiastically appreciated.BOB...all the above addressed to you as well,AND since I want our first two nights to be lovely..Any other suggestions for those first 2 days??I very much would like to visit Bevagna,Montefalco and Spello,So many thanks !!
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 02:57 AM
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Well, as you already know, Umbria is just the opposite direction from the coast, and closer to your villa. So it seems to me that if you wanted to visit Umbria, you might do it before you go to the coast, Since I personally like the Sagrantino wine of Montefalco, that's where I stay. I have been extremely happy at I Frantoio Brizi, which is very old family home, now a charming inexpensive B&B, that produces olive oil on its premises (the mill is in the basement). It is right at the edge of town, among historic convents for cloistered nuns, not in the countryside, but it's pin-drop quiet with pretty views out over the farms. You can walk to and from dinner in town in 5 minutes (which is why I stay there). They have parking.

http://www.frantoiobrizi.it/

Another choice in Montefalco is the rooms let by the ristorante Coccorone, right in the heart of town. I've never slept there, but it is the finest restaurant in Montefalco, and one of Umbria's finest restaurants. They specialize in dishes made with Sagrantino wine and their wine risotto is especially memorable. Even if you don't stay there, you should eat there if you visit Montefalco. (Careful, this link has a soundtrack):

http://www.coccorone.com/

The drive time from Montefalco to Piombino is about 4 hours. From Montefalco to coastal Monte Argentario (Porto Ercole or Porto Santo Stefano) -- is about the same. Personally, I would not want to spend 3 nights in either of them, because the access to them is a single causeway that adds 40 minutes to any day tripping, even without traffic, before you get back to the main landmass of Tuscany. To combine an Umbrian tour with the Monte Argentario coast, I would suggest 3 nights in Umbria and 2 on the coast.

I've only visited the area but I prefer Porto Ercole to Porto Santo Stefano for atmosphere and quiet. "Don Pedro" seems to be the best bet for a hotel in Porto Ercole.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...e_Tuscany.html

Porto Santo Stefano is a hopping pleasure-boat harbor with many more lodgings, plus you can take a boat from there to the island of Giglio (and thus not have to drive for a day trip.) You can check Tripadvisor for lodgings (and you should, even for my recommendations above, for up-to-date info on whether there is construction ongoing, etc.)

I have not spent the night in Locando Laudomia in Montemerano, which is an extremely small, remote town that is mainly a restaurant destination. That area of Tuscany known as the Maremma is a favorite of mine, since it is much less farmed and touristically developed than much of the rest of Tuscany, but I can't help but think that after you have spent a week outside Montepulciano, driving winding Tuscan roads to small Tuscan towns isn't much variety. Same with visiting quaint towns in Umbria, although the roads are much easier to drive and you have spectacular art cities to enjoy if that interests you -- Assisi, Orvieto, or even Spoleto.

That's why I think the coast might make a nice change. My pick would be Elba, with my last nights in Rome and Ostia Antica, but you also might consider combining Elba or one coastal destination with the atmospheric town of Tarquinia. It's got a wealth of Etruscan treasures and medieval turrets, but the town itself feels like a sophisticated outpost of Rome, with fountains. And it has several nice restaurants (Arcadia, Cavatappi). I stayed at the truly charming and well renovated Gran Bed and Breakfast Duomo for a pittance, and quite liked it, but it's the kind of B&B where you are handed keys, shown the kitchen full of breakfast foods and the coffeemaker, then the owners depart. I still recommend it, and its young owners are great.

http://www.granbandb.it/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarquinia

If you visit Tarquinia's Etruscan museum in the beautiful Renaissance palace, take the elevator to the top and work your way down.

My 22 cents. Wherever you go, have a great trip!
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 03:03 AM
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PS, If you combined Elba and Tarquinia, you could easily visit Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano from Tarquinia, just don't try it on a nice weekend in summer.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 10:52 AM
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So many thanks,again for your suggestions!!We now have our flights,and will have one day less when we depart Multipulciano.I think we will head for Elba,for 3 nights,and will spend our last day,in Tarquinia/P.Ercole.My big challenge is our last night.We have a 10A.M.flight out of Rome,and will need to dispose of our car.Have you any experience with airport hotels or places close to airport?? I agree that our last night should be lovely.I just don't know how to make it happen
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Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 12:58 PM
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Elba to me sounds like a lovely pick, and the right pick.

I think if you want a lovely last night, my first reaction is that you should spend it in Rome and take a car transfer to the airport the morning of your departure. I think airport hotels have such poor restaurants, it will be too much of a come down after all your happy meals elsewhere.

I'm even wondering if it wouldn't be simplest and best to spend your last TWO nights in Rome, after Elba, bypassing Tarquinia and Porto Ercole. Do you dislike Rome? No point in going for two nights if you do, but if perhaps there is some side of it you really haven't seen -- like nearer the via Veneto or in Trastevere -- maybe a sweet hotel there for two nights (with the money you save on turning in your car early) could be a great finish. (You might check out Hotel Forte and Hotel Manfredi on Trip Advisor, or if you prefer village-y quaintness, people like Hotel Santa Maria in Trastevere).

If you picked that option -- Elba/3 plus Rome/2 -- I would suggest you drop of the car in Piombino or Grossetto after Elba and take the train into central Rome.

However, if you want one more night outside of Rome, I'm going to throw out another option for you:

See whatever you like heading south after you leave Elba (abbey of San Galgano? Magliano in Toscana or Roccastrade for lunch?) but then head to Montemerano (dinner and lodging at Locanda Laudomio) for just one night. What might really be a wow is a dip in the hot springs, that evening or the next morning.

http://www.altamaremma.org/saturnia.htm

Drop off your car in Orbetello or Grossetto, train to Rome for your last night. stay in a nice Roman hotel.

I make this suggestion because the Locanda Laudomia appealed to you and I think after Elba, Porto Ercole won't be distinctive enough and Tarquinia might not hit the right note -- but don't let me discourage you about either if you're already sold. If you want to take a flyer on the very homey and simple Locanda Laudomia, use the website for the restaurant Da Caino (next door) for the best map of how to get there:

http://www.dacaino.it/?Dovesiamo~easyadmin:13~italiano

(Meals and rooms at Da Caino itself in Montemerano cost a fortune! )

But I still recommend you spend that last night before your flight-- or even the last two nights -- in Rome proper, getting rid of your car in a smaller Tuscan town, training to Rome, and use a car transfer to the airport.

Good luck! You sound like all your previous time in Italy makes you flexible and adventurous travelers. Were it me and my spouse, I'm not sure we (he in particular) could resist a sentimental night in Tirrenia after the 3 nights in Elba before heading to Rome (although we've never been and maybe you'd rather forget! I see there is a bargain hotel in night that young people seem to think is a sweet deal

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...ECK_RATES_CONT

Have fun whatever you decide!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 07:40 PM
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Once again,many thanks.Do you live in Italy????We have only 4 nights left to plan,since our final flight arrangements eliminated a day.My husband would not be comfortable staying in Rome the night before we fly out,or trundling around on trains.We need to keep transportation simple,so we either spend 3 nights on Elba,and one night near an airport hotel,or 2 nights in Elba,one night in a delightful venue heading south, and the one before our departure near airport.I love the idea of wending our way south towards Rome,stopping at some of the places you list,and maybe lunch in Montemerano .It looks lovely,but is it too"off the track"for our limited itinerary ??If you had one day to plan,before ending up at an airport hotel,how would you plan it???????We visited Tirrenia 2 years ago,with our grandchildren and their mother[our daughter]and showed them the house their Mom lived in when she was 1 year old !!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 05:02 AM
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Yes, I do live in Italy, but further up the coast toward Piombino.

All right. So your husband doesn't want to take trains, so Rome is out.

It's a tough call about whether to spend two nights or 3 on Elba.

http://www.virtualelba.it/elba-island/index.htm

I would probably go for 3 because I'm lazy, I like to drive around and explore odd ball places, I like long lunches, afternoon naps. pretty sunsets by the sea. But you might think two days of bumming around the island is too much.

If it was 2 nights Elba, the next day I would head to San Galgano Abbey, each lunch along the way, and then head to Montemerano for the night. I'd take in Saturnia or Tarquinia the next day and eat lunch in either place, and then head for an aiport hotel the last night.

If it was 3 nights Elba, I wouldn't go to SanGalgano/Montemerano for lunch. I'd go to pretty Magliano in Toscana to look around and have lunch before heading for the airport hotel.

http://viatraveldesign.com/archive/s...oscana+(gr)/1/

http://www.casalepereta.it/public/im..._pereta_06.jpg

Then -- since you asked me what I would do but I'm am not your normal tourist -- my airport hotel choice would be Hotel Rodrigo El Vivar in Ostia Antica, where I have happily stayed before. It's an ancient -- even decrepit -- historic residence that's been adopted by a labor of love as a school teacher, and it is not anything close to a usual 4* hotel. It's more like somebody inherited a relative's manse and made it a B&B. The main attraction is that it is a few steps away from Ostia Scavi (ruins) and a 20 minute drive to the airport. I think you would probably arrive too late to stroll through the ruins (they close at 6pm), but you could stroll through the charming, fascinating tiny Borgo and have a rustic dinner at the historic Il Monumento restaurant.

http://www.rodrigodevivar.com/in/index.htm

http://www.ristorantemonumento.it/principale-eng.htm

Other choices for airport hotels?

The expensive, legendary La Posta Vecchia Hotel (440e and up) in Ladispoli, 40 mins from FCO. The hotel can pull mix reviews, especially if you have to endure a wedding party while you're there:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...oli_Lazio.html

(I note there is a cheaper hotel in Ladispoli, but I have no idea where you eat dinner.)

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...oli_Lazio.html

Finally, the Courtyard Marriot in Fiumicino is a perfectly fine and very comfortable airport hotel. You can find restaurants in the town of Fiumicino (the hotel restaurant is not good).

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...ino_Lazio.html

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/660698#5135144

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...ino_Lazio.html

So! You two know your travel style and tolerances, whether you think funky is fun or unnerving, or would rather spring for a splurge, or just want to keep it simple and be near the airport.

When you come closer to a final plan, why don't you try posting it over at Slow Travel to see if anybody wants to tweak it or issue warnings about something I don't know about?

Buon viaggi!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 11:44 AM
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I wanted to make sure you had the tripadvisor link to Rodrigo el Vivar. As you will see, people who go there expecting a 4* hotel -- even a normal hotel -- are horrified. When I stayed there with friends in November 2009, our rooms were spotlessly clean, comfortable and quiet, but it's truly for the off-beat (and we were going to both Ostia Scavi and the airport, so we were more motivated to be in that spot than most).

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...ica_Lazio.html
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 07:55 PM
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Well,you are either a travel agent or a travel writer.....and which ever,I am so fortunate you chose to respond to my query and hope other Fodorites will benefit from your largess.We have decided that after we kiss all our kids,say ciao and see them off,we will drive to the altamaremma,visit Magliano;the abbey and environs and spend the night either at locanda Laudomia or....do you know anything about agriturismo Quercia Rossa in Saturnia ??Any favorites in that area ??Then on Sunday,we will take the ferry to Elba,for 2 nights,Sunday & Monday.I have not decided where we will stay but Villa Rita sounds great.Then,rested, on Tuesday we will return to the mainland,do a bit more touring as we wend our way towards the Mariott [sorry.....the price of domestic harmony],for our last night.There is supposed to be a good fish restaurant close by[chowhound].I will be sure to alert you to our Elba choice and to report back.Can we take you out to lunch post Elba???????
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 06:53 AM
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Thank you! That's a very sweet invite but -- just to prove I'm neither a travel agent or a travel writer -- I mistakenly posted that I lived "north toward Piombino" when I menat to type "north toward Genova". So I am quite a distance from where you'll be!

I have heard only wonderful things about Quercia Rossa, which is in a very beautiful area of Tuscany (my favorite, in fact). Tripadvisor has good reviews

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...o_Tuscany.html

You really will need a good driving map of that area specifically, the Maremma, not just a general Toscana map. If you can't find one online, you can generally pick them up in Italy in news kiosks or tabacchi, and often at autostrade stops and AutoGrille in Tuscany.

The Quercia Rossa website has good driving instructions as to its location and an extensive list of what's to see and do nearby. I take it that if you order in advance, you can eat dinner there as well. That would be my choice, so I could drink the delicious Morellino di Scansano wine of the region with dinner without worrying about finding my way home.

http://www.querciarossa.net/home_eng.html

I've stayed at the Courtyard Marriott and was very comfortable. It has a bit of style and is wonderfully quiet, clean and with good beds. I even liked the drinks at the bar. I only didn't like the very utlitarian restaurant, but I gather there are much better ones right at hand in Fiumicino.

You will have ended up seeing quite a bit of Italy that most travelers there never see, and you may be amazed at how much wonderful Italian territory remains essentially undiscovered but is no less enjoyable than the more famous places. I'm sure everyone will benefit from hearing about Elba when you return, so instead of lunch, I hope to get from you a completely candid report of your experiences there, because I'm curious to go, and thus I'm eager to heari from scouts.

Buon viaggi!
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