Help with Florence/Venice trip

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Nov 7th, 2005, 08:11 PM
  #1
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Help with Florence/Venice trip

Hello, first post here.
My wife and I are planning a trip to Italy in April. We will be arriving in Venice and are staying at La Calcina for 3 nights. We will then leave for Florence by train (vs car) and here is where we can't decide the next step. We are considering the option of staying in the Tuscan countryside for 3 nights and then spend our last 2 nights in Florence proper. I have found an appealing apartment at Castello di Gabbiano which is only 9 miles from Florence yet set in the countryside with surrounding vineyards, etc. The other option would be to spend all 4 nights in Florence proper. We are not history/art buffs but would certainly like to see the essentials, can this be done in 2 days? I am leaning toward the first option where I feel we could drive around Tuscany with a winery/castle as our home base. I look forward to reading your opinions. By the way, we leave for home from Florence.

Thanks in advance
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Nov 7th, 2005, 08:51 PM
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Staying in the Tuscan countryside and then going to Florence could work just fine. Once in Florence, you can see quite a bit in 2 days, but you will find that it is not enough. However, for your first taste of Florence it will be OK.
If you stay somewhere central in Florence you can walk to virtually everything you want. The Duomo, Accademia, Uffizi, the Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, Piazza della Republica, etc. There is a LOT to see in Florence but don't kill yourself on this trip; leave something for the next trip. Decide what all you'd like to do in those 2 days and enjoy.
Driving around Tuscany is pure joy to us and we include that in every trip to Italy. Enjoy!
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Nov 7th, 2005, 08:52 PM
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I am not a huge history/art buff either, and I found 2 days in Florence to be plenty. We saw the David and went through the Uffizi, walked around and inside (but not up the tower) the Duomo, and went to the boboli gardens, as well as shopped in the markets. I recommend walking up to the Pizalle Michelangelo with a bottle of wine and some bread/cheese to watch the sunset -- it gives you a gorgeous view of the entire city and countryside. Another thing I cannot recommend enough is dinner at Acqua Al 2 -- http://www.acquaal2.it/. They have a famous 'blueberry' steak -- sounds odd, I know -- but its a delicious filet covered in a kindof blueberry-reduction steak sauce -- magical. Its making my stomach growl right now Enjoy your vacation!
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Nov 7th, 2005, 09:28 PM
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Since parking in Florence is a mission impossible, I'd rather stay at a Florence hotel that has its own parking garage. That way you tour the city by foot (I would take more than 2 days for that) and then take the car out to the country. Sienna is one gorgeous place to drive to (and easy for parking), and there are many more beautiful Tuscan jems around Florence.
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Nov 7th, 2005, 10:51 PM
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Have you thought of spending all your time in Tuscany and just doing day trips into Florence when it suits (a rainy day perhaps). We have done that on two different occasions and it's worked out fine. The Tuscan countryside is quite magnificent and a wonderful environment for a holiday. On your day trips to Florence you would need to start early and head for the Parking lot under the Railway Station. You can leave your car there all day (inexpensive) and then walk to the Museums etc. Florence is easy to get around. Other car parks in Florence are very hard to find and parking time is very limited. I really don't see the advantage of staying in a hotel in Florence when you can stay in fantastic places outside of Florence that are probably much cheaper. Florence essentials can be done in two days as long as you are prebooked at places like the Uffizi and Accademia. Anyway it is just an idea that has worked well for us.
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Nov 8th, 2005, 05:22 AM
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We just came back from our trip and the italian cities we covered were Venice then by train to Florence and then train again to Rome. Trains in Europe is truly the way to go. It is very easy and convenient. Our base was Florence and we did day trips to Siena, San Gimignano by bus, day trip to Pisa by train, drove into Lecchio and Montevarchi for the prada/gucci outlet shopping. To me, day trips into the countryside was enough. The countryside is truly beautiful. The drive was easy on the A1. You could cover the majors in two days but we spaced ours out. We spent 4 days in Florence itself and it was wonderful. Enjoy your trip!!
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Nov 8th, 2005, 06:45 AM
  #7
ira
 
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Hi MM,

>...the option of staying in the Tuscan countryside for 3 nights and then spend our last 2 nights in Florence proper. <

Sounds good. You could rent a car in Venice and drop it off in Florence.

Keep in mind that a 3 day car rental could be as expensive as 5 days.

You could also stay in florence and bus to Siena, train to Montepulciano and/or visit Pisa and Lucca by train.

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Nov 8th, 2005, 07:25 AM
  #8
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Thanks for all the great advice. Like most trips of this sort it seems like you really can't go wrong, I'm sure it would be wonderful either way. Part of the attraction of staying at Castello Gabbiano is the fact that it is only 9 miles from Florence so we could still go in to the city if we choose to. The reason we would like to stay in Florence the last 2 nights is for sightseeing convenience and to get more of a feel of the city. Thanks again and I appreciate any further input.
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Nov 8th, 2005, 05:33 PM
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Has anyone here stayed at Castello di Gabbiano?
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