Help with solo Tuscany trip please!

Old Nov 8th, 2014, 06:13 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 84
Help with solo Tuscany trip please!

I am turning 60 very soon and I am dreaming of a trip to Tuscany. My usual travel partner is unavailable and I am considering a solo trip. I have traveled solo before to Paris and enjoyed it very much. Tuscany will be tougher since driving solo will be involved and that worries me. I have driven in Italy but not alone. Here are my thoughts. Please jump in with yours.

I would land in Rome and train to Chiusi to pick up a rental car. I very much want to stay in the area around Pienza, Montalcino and Montepulciano. That way I can see several towns without driving very far each day. I do not plan to drive at night.

I really would appreciate your help with a place to stay. I would prefer an agriturismo with great views and plenty of room to walk and enjoy the scenery. I plan on spending some time just relaxing and reading in a beautiful setting. I would like the option of dinner since I will not be out driving at night. I can spend around E150 per night for at least 5 nights before dropping the car back in Chiusi and train back to Rome. This will take place in May or June of 2014 so I need to get to work on this really soon.

Thanks for helping. I look forward to your ideas..
cathy52 is offline  
Old Nov 8th, 2014, 09:58 PM
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What are your concerns about driving solo? I don't think it matters if you are alone or have a dozen people with you. Tuscany is a very easy place to drive as there is little traffic and good signage.

I stayed in Pienza for the same reason about not wanting to drive after dark. Pienza is small but has several restaurants for dinners. Although it's in town and not an agriturismo there are plenty of places to walk nearby.
adrienne is offline  
Old Nov 9th, 2014, 03:35 AM
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Would you consider renting self catering accommodation in an agriturismo? Your budget would certainly cover that, in the shoulder season.

You'd lack the company that a B&B offers but would be able to cook at home at night, thus avoiding night driving (which we positively loathed in that corner of Tuscany)
tedgale is offline  
Old Nov 9th, 2014, 05:05 AM
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In summer, you should be able to go to a nearby town for an early dinner (7 or 7:30) and get back before dark.

When traveling alone, I prefer to stay in town with options of restaurants. I don't want to eat the same place every night. Pienza would be central to Montalcino and Montepulciano (and some other towns) with easy driving in and out. I've stayed at Il Giardino Segreto before also (way below your budget), but it has an enclosed garden so no views from it. If you decide to stay there, pick an apartment that has some comfortable seating (their smallest apartment doesn't have that).

I've also stayed a few minutes outside of Pienza, but they only served breakfast. There are quite a few agriturismos within a 10 minute or so drive from Pienza. I'm not sure which would serve meals.

This is where I stayed, but there was no AC. You might need that in June. I think we paid 70€ per night a few years ago.

I've seen several reviews on Fodor's for this one and I think it does offer meals. It's an easy drive to Pienza also if you wanted to go to there for dinner one night.

Here's a list of agriturismos in the Pienza area. Some are easier drives than others.
kybourbon is offline  
Old Nov 9th, 2014, 05:21 AM
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Most agriturismi rent apartments with kitchens, so you can have the best of both worlds by picking one that offers dinners as well.

You should track down recent reviews for these places to see if they are what you might be looking for

Terre di Nano only offers meals by request, by I think it might be beyond your budget.

You can also use and websites to locate agriturismi withe restaurants in your target area. One thing it is wise to do is to get confirmation that dinners will be served during your stay. Sometimes the agriturismi advertise they serve dinners, but they only do it in high season or by request.
sandralist is offline  
Old Nov 9th, 2014, 05:24 AM
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Also, different strokes for different folks, but even when I stay inside a town in Italy for multiple nights, I tend to eat in the same restaurant every night. You get best that way, in my experience. Also, if you want the countryside with views and the sounds of the countryside, and the connection with a farm, it is really not the same as a town.
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Old Nov 9th, 2014, 05:26 AM
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have a look at this lot
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Nov 9th, 2014, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Hi Cathy,

Congratulations on the birthday trip. Perfect idea!

I did a solo trip a few years ago that included a week in Tuscany and Umbria. I picked up my car in Chiusi and stayed in Montalcino. I was eager to taste the Brunello and had read "Vanilla Beans and Brodo" by Isabella Dusi.

Really, don't even think twice about driving in the countryside solo. It's a breeze and very enjoyable! I did it easily with no GPS, so if you take GPS you will have an easy time. Just know when to ignore the GPS and go with your instinct and common sense. You may already have this down if you've driven in Italy before.

I stayed in Il Giglio *** a hotel in Montalcino because I wanted to stroll and have multiple dinner options. The hotel was good, some rooms with spectacular views. A very cold wind was blowing when I visited in mid-Sept so outdoor relaxing/reading wasn't on the list anyway. Really enjoyed Montalcino as a town. Did day trips to: Sant' Antimo, Montepulciano, Pienza, Monte Olivetto and did my share of wine tasting at the Montalcino Fortezza.

I loved the restaurant Grapplo Blu so much that I had dinner there all 3 nights. Fabulous traditional Tuscan food goes perfectly with the wine.

There are so many choices for agritourismo type lodging, that I'm sure you will find something perfect for you.

Wish I was going. Buon viaggio!
Dayle is online now  
Old Nov 9th, 2014, 10:52 AM
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This may give you some ideas
Henry is offline  
Old Nov 9th, 2014, 12:47 PM
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. I will look at them all and get back with more questions I'm sure.
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Old Nov 9th, 2014, 02:10 PM
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Being alone, I would want to stay in either Montalcino or Montepulciano in a hotel or apartment. Here are some places I like:

B. IN-TOWN LOCATIONS: For walking convenience to shops & ristorantes.

1. Palazzo del Capitano 170 to 210E
Very nice small hotel in center of San Quirico—perfect location to explore.

2. Vecchia Oliviera 150 to 200E
Nice 4 star hotel at the gate into lovely Montalcino---has pool.

3. Palazzina Cesari 80 to 110E
Lovely small B&B in heart of Montalcino—great value—2 night stay minimum.

4. Locanda di San Francesco 180 to 200E
Nice boutique B&B in a lovely location in Montepulciano—great reviews !

5. Politian apartments Good value apts. with minimum stay of 3 nights in Montepulciano---helpful host---85E
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Nov 10th, 2014, 02:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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If someone wants "great views and plenty of room to walk and enjoy the scenery" and "spending some time just relaxing and reading in a beautiful setting" then staying on an agriturismo makes perfect sense, as already figured out. Staying in a town it will be harder to find places outside the town for comfortably reading in a beautiful setting", or even a comfortable space for just relaxing with great views. On an agriturismo, you have your own terrace, with a kitchen right nearby, lots of walking paths and panoramic views.

Traveling alone, I would rather have dinner at an agriturismo than sit by myself in restaurants twice a day. In addition to having one's own kitchen on a farm, another advantage of an agriturismo that serves dinner to its guests is that you can work with whomever is cooking to get a light dinner or anything you prefer on request.

Some people don't like farms, and they won't like them if they are traveling with people or alone. But there is no particular advantage to staying in a town just because you are a solo traveler -- especially if most of what you want is located outside of town.
sandralist is offline  
Old Nov 10th, 2014, 02:42 AM
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Also, the OP didn't mention this, but if peacefulness and tranquility is part of what is being sought, then being in the countryside has that to a much higher degree than the towns being mentioned. It is more of a retreat, and the agriturismi are set up to really support that. There is often farm activity and noise, including from animals, but some might prefer that to the sounds of the tourist towns.
sandralist is offline  
Old Nov 10th, 2014, 07:32 AM
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I've stayed at Fonte Bertusi many times and will continue to return. The location is perfect (3km outside of Pienza, incredible surroundings and views), it's easy to get to, the property is well maintained, and the hosts are wonderful. Each apartment has a kitchen. They offer a terrific breakfast but no dinner. You could drive into Pienza or San Quirico d'Orcia iin 10 minutes for dinner, or just next door at the agriturismo La Fonte. Highly recommended.

La Fonte, an agriturismo mentioned by kybourbon, is in the same area and is also nice. They offer a very good dinner each night.

If you can go in May rather in June, you will find the scenery still green and IMO more beautiful. But either time will be nice. As others have mentioned, driving is easy.
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