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Help creating an itinerary for Tuscany.

Old Mar 10th, 2011, 11:26 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2010
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Help creating an itinerary for Tuscany.

We'll be visiting Italy in September and spending 5 nights in Tuscany. Our base is Montefollonico, which seems relatively close to many of the towns we want to visit. We will be flying into Pisa and picking up our rental car at the airport (around 11am), exploring the region for the 5 days, then dropping off the car in Orvieto to go to Rome.

(Note: we will have just come from spending time in Spain, so when we arrive in Pisa we won't be coming off of a long flight and dealing with jet lag.)

What I need help with is breaking up the towns into a 5 day schedule. We are interested in definitely seeing:
Siena, Pienza, Montalcino, Montepulciano and San Gimi.

If we have time we would also be interested in Monteicchiello, San Quirico, Montisi, Castelmunzo, Volterra or any other suggestions you guys may have on "not to miss towns." I realize we probably wont be able to see all of these, its just a list to choose from.

I started to try to come up with a plan, but I'm unsure which places would take up more time than others, or if there are certain circumstances i.e. parking difficulty, especially hard to find towns, things along the way to see like abbeys, etc. etc that would take up extra time. Basically I just need help with grouping together towns to see within the individual days of our trip.

We want to take our time, enjoy the drive and see as much as we can without feeling rushed. Also, something to take into high consideration is that I'm in a small, manual wheelchair. I'll be traveling with my fiance who can help me up a couple of steps if necessary, over cobblestones, rough terrain, etc. but if you happen to know that one of these towns would be particularly difficult I'd appreciate any info you could offer.

Lastly, regarding parking - in most of these places would we park outside the town and walk to it? Generally how far away is this?

Thanks so much!
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 01:02 PM
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Adoc86,
This may help http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/tuscany/hs_planning.htm
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 01:35 PM
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Thanks Henry! Very helpful, I will definitely print and take it along
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 01:53 PM
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Just wanted to add that a friend and I based ourselves in southern Tuscany in Montefollonico as well. Loved the small town, ate well, and drove all over the south from it. We had based ourselves earlier in San Gimignano for that area, Siena for one night, and then the south. Have a great trip.
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 02:32 PM
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We do lots of driving trips and have found in France, Spain and in Italy, it isn't a good idea to park at the first indication of public parking -- which is usually a long way from where you are headed. Keep driving and see how close you can get. Do be aware that most places close for a LONG "lunch" break...find someplace to eat a nice leisurely lunch and remember not to expect little shops or even churches to be open until at least 3PM. Generally, I don't plan to visit more than 2 "hilltowns" a day, possibly a 3rd if the days are long, as they do generally stay open into well into the evening.
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 02:41 PM
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Its our first trip to Tuscany and I just fell in love with our B&B in Montefollonico, we're so excited and it can't come soon enough!

Henry, I've been reading your report and have a couple of questions. Regarding Montalcino - if you park in the pay lot next to the fortezza do you happen to recall if there are there ANY steps to go into the town? I noticed that you mention that there are quite a few steps if you park at the bottom of the hill, but I'm wondering if the other lot has any steps at all or if its fully at the top? In general do most of the towns have steps to get to them or is it usually just walking up a hill?

Regarding the abbey at Monte Oliveto Maggiore - you mentioned that it is a 10 minute hike down a hill to the abbey. How steep is this hill? Is it gravel, grass? I'm trying to get an idea if it would be possible to go down/up in my wheelchair. Thanks!
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 03:43 PM
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Let me jump in and say that both Montepulciano and Montalcino will not be easy with the chair. The slope at the Oliveto Maggiore is about 20 degrees and I believe is stone.

The best towns for you will be Pienza and San Quirico, and try to see the Abbey at St. Antimo. Have lunch at La Porta in Montichiello one day as well. Good luck !
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 08:51 PM
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Adoc86,
From the pay lot by the fortezza in Montalcino you can avoid steps but it will be steep. You could try driving around the town to Piazza Cavour. This would avoid steps and make some of the town accessable to you.

Monte Oliveto Maggiore has a pretty long and steep path. The broken bricks and uneven levels would make going down difficult, going up ?

Don't try Sant'Antimo. There is a gravel pathway then steps to get to the abbey then steps down into the abbey itself.
There are steps up to La Porta (just a couple) but a lot of steps to the terrace where the great views are.
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Old Mar 11th, 2011, 06:23 AM
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Thanks guys! I've been to Italy a few times so I know that accessibility is difficult, but we're young and adventurous so we decided to just go and do what we can. I very much appreciate the info though, as it will make things a lot easier to know in advance what to completely avoid. I have no doubt that I will love Tuscany, even if just for driving around the countryside. Thanks again!
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