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Help with where to go and stay in Tuscany

Help with where to go and stay in Tuscany

Feb 9th, 2008, 02:16 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 52
Help with where to go and stay in Tuscany

This is going to be my first trip to Italy and driving in Europe. I will be in Florence for 1 week then planning to tour Tuscany for 1 WEEK afterward in EARLY APRIL. I am planning to pick up the car in Florence for the Tuscany tour(I am not sure if it is a difficult process). I want to visit Lucca and all the way to Montepulciano and back to Florence for the flight back. I have a few questions.

1) Should I pick up and return the car just outside of Florence's city limit to avoid driving in the city? I am not sure if there is rental station just outside of the city.

2) Should I stay at two places in Tuscany (north and south) or just one place in the middle for the week? Any recommandation?

3) Also, my return back from Florence will be a 7am Monday morning flight. Should I just stay the Sunday night in Florence (hence return the car in Florence instead of the airport) to avoid traffic or very early drive from Tuscany to Florence airport?

4) Is Arezzo worth visiting or should I do Cortona instead? How about Morteriggioni; is it worth fitting into the itinerary?

at12am is offline  
Feb 9th, 2008, 05:48 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 565
Why don't you do it the other way around, outside Florence 1st. That way you can just leave from Florence instead of having to drive back to Florence when you depart.

For your final night, just stay in the city, it's only about a 20 minute ride to the airport and the Florence airport is very small and easy to get around.

I thought Arezzo was worthwhile but it depends on what you like to do. Do not plan on visiting any more than 2 towns in one day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. All the shops close down from about 12:30 to 3 or 3:30. Use that time for lunch and travel.

If you are planning a full 7 nights in Tuscany, you may want to spend 3 nights up North say in Lucca and 4 nights down South in Siena and do day trips from each. The places we have stayed in Lucca and Siena had parking available and were fairly easy to navigate. We just parked the car after our day trips and spent the evening in town.
Pugsly is offline  
Feb 9th, 2008, 05:55 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 2,707
1) Avoid at all costs driving in the city. Not having picked up a car there, I don't know where the rental office is. Another Fodorite can help with this.
2) I'd stay at two places - the distances are too far (north and south). We stayed here and enjoyed it: http://www.larasina.it (Montalcino).
3) Don't take a chance - stay as close to the airport as possible.
4) With only 1 week, I don't think you'll have time for Arezzo or Cortona. Morteriggioni is close to Siena and San Gimignano and is certainly worth a visit.
TuckH is offline  
Feb 9th, 2008, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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You could pick up the car and return at the Florence airport, which allows a quick and easy access to the highway leading south into Tuscany.

Think about visiting Lucca as a day trip by train from Florence. There are regular direct trains and the Lucca train station is just outside the town wall. It's an easy 5-10 minute walk.

My favorite part of Tuscany is the Val d'Orcia. I suggest staying there for the entire week and exploring the towns within a 10 minute to one hour radius. This might make things more relaxing and quite rewarding. I highly recommend the agriturismo Fonte Bertusi, located 2 km from Pienza in the heart of the Val d'Orcia. fontebertusi.it.

Spend the night before your flight in Florence.

Enjoy your trip!

zoecat is online now  
Feb 9th, 2008, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,913
Also, you can visit some of the towns in the Chianti area on your way to the Val d'Orcia.
zoecat is online now  
Feb 9th, 2008, 08:25 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 52
Doing Tuscany before Florence do make more sense. I do have prior engagement in Florence for the first few days. So, may be I will see if I can change the hotel booking in Florence. I will finish my business in Florence and head straight for Tuscany and return to Florence to finish the Florence tour.

More recommendations on places to stay around San Gimignano, Siena and Montepulciano/Montalcino would be wonderful. I am looking for a place with nice view (the Tuscan feel, rolling hills). Something more romantic than the flat Canadian farmland (I am from Canada). I am hoping to get a reasonable rate for early April (around 100 to 120 euro per night).
at12am is offline  
Feb 9th, 2008, 08:53 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 52
I have made the change in Hotel in Florence. So I am going to sandwich the Tuscany tour in between the two Florence stays.

4 nights in Florence (business)
8 nights in Tuscany
3 nights in Florence

I think that will allow more leisure travel time for Tuscany.

According to the Frommer's day by day book, the suggested one week Tucan tour goes like this:

Lucca Day 1
Pisa Day 2
San Gimignano Day 3
Morteriggioni Day 4
Siena Day 4
Montalcino Day 5
Pienza Day 6
Montepulciano Day 6
Arezzo or Cortona Day 7

How does that look? Any changes needed? Base 1 will be San G or Siena and base 2 will be Montalcino/Montepulciano. Any suggestion of scenic places to stay?


at12am is offline  
Feb 9th, 2008, 09:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,155
I have a large file on places to see in Tuscany. E-mail me and I will send it to you. It is too big to post.

Henry is offline  
Feb 10th, 2008, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,215
IMO: Pienza and Montepulciano could be done in the same day (neither has an awful lot of sights), which would enable you to fit in both Arezzo and Cortona.
Nonconformist is online now  
Feb 10th, 2008, 12:55 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,560
May I suggest you have a 'neverlost' or some kind of navigation system included with your rental car? We've found it invaluable driving in Italy. We spend 4 nights in Montalcino at La Crociona. Wonderful little agritourismo with warm and friendly hosts (Barbara speaks quite good english). We drove from Florence, stopped for 3/4 day in Siena and then went down to Montalcino and day tripped from there. San Antimo is beautiful, many small vineyards and villages to explore. On our way back to Florence, we went via Pisa. We went to Florence for the first week of our trip and stayed at Accademia Hotel which is within a few minutes walk of the train station where we also rented our car from Hertz. the neverlost was critical for us but you may be better with directions, non-english roadsign, etc.
cmeyer54 is offline  

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