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Italian honeymoon itinerary revisions and questions

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Italian honeymoon itinerary revisions and questions

Old Jun 18th, 2015, 08:41 AM
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Italian honeymoon itinerary revisions and questions

We are currently planning our 15 night honeymoon to Italy for mid-April next year. Our budget for flights and lodging (open to both hotels and AirBnB/similar rentals) is about $5K, and we're planning on $3ishK for food/entertainment/etc. We both LOVE to walk (we often walk 10+ miles/day when hiking on weekends or visiting cities), and we love off the beaten path, non-touristy activities. I'd love advice on perhaps specific areas/neighborhoods to stay in, traveling from place to place, or any other ideas. I know that this time of year in Italy tends to be cooler and rainier, but we're okay with that.

Here is what we have tentatively figured out so far:

1) Fly into Venice for three nights. Considering the Ca'Pisani Hotel.
2) Rent a car and drive to Lake Garda for three nights (either stopping in Verona, or making a separate day trip there). Considering the AktivHotel, but also have seen some AirBnBs that look like they have amazing views. Is it worth is to be closer to the lake, or is being up on the hill fine, especially considering it will likely be too cool or lake activities?
*Here we originally planned to head to Cinque Terre, but having read that a car there is inconvenient, we have made the following revision
3) Drive to an undetermined Tuscan hill town for four nights. We found lovely looking AirBnBs in Casole d'Elsa and Pergine Valdarno, but is either of these places a good home base for exploring?
4) After dropping off our rental car somewhere convenient TBD, taking the train to CT for two nights. Not sure yet in what town we'd stay in and open to recommendations around $150 or less per night.
5) Taking the train from CT to Florence for three nights. There are many AirBnBs we've found that look very nice, but we aren't sure if there are particular neighborhoods that are "better" (which is very subjective, I know) than others. Again, we'd prefer something less touristy but still charming (I lived on the Upper West Side in NYC for several years and loved it, for reference). Flying home from Florence.

Does this look do-able, particularly with the car/train travel? This is my first time to Europe, so it's a bit foreign (har har) to me. Welcoming any and all tips!
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Old Jun 18th, 2015, 08:50 AM
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April can be good in CT and then again not so good. Like the idea of Tuscany, you could use the trains to travel out and walk back from a few rather than use the car. Casole is right up in the hills, in April I might try one of the larger towns just so there were more places to eat and hang out. I don't know it that well so maybe others can advise.

Florence inside the walls is pretty good.
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Old Jun 18th, 2015, 08:52 AM
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The historic center of Florence is not very large and I would do your best to find lodging there. No fun to have to spend 20 minutes to and fro on a bus to stay in a suburb versus just walking out the door and being only steps from the sights.

Our favorite hotel is right at the foot of the Ponte Vecchio - but out of your price range. But staying there makes the whole experience more magical.
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Old Jun 18th, 2015, 10:18 AM
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>

Neither are good base locations. Do you have goals of where/what you would like to visit while staying in the countryside?

I feel the most beautiful and centrally located base for exploring my favorite part of the Tuscan countryside is near Pienza and Montepulciano. The hiking in the area is wonderful, with lots of loop hikes and hikes from village to village. My favorite hikes:

Pienza to Monticchiello- Start in Pienza and have lunch in Monticchiello, then hike back to Pienza. It is about 1.5 hours each way on dirt roads.

Montepulciano to Montefollonico- I always start the hike at the cemetery and just head out on the dirt road toward Montefollonico in the distance. Right after passing the creek there is a fork in the road (the road narrows and becomes a tractor path). Head up the hill on the right fork. At the top of the hill (~1 mile), you come upon a road. Turn left and follow the road up into town. About 2 hours each way.

There is plenty to experience in the area within a 30 minute drive to keep you busy for 4 days.

I like to stay here (about 8 times)-
http://www.fontebertusi.it/en/
It is the perfect location, a beautiful property, and lovely hosts. You can dine in Pienza or San Quirico d'Orcia, both a 5 minute drive away.


In the Cinque Terre area, I really likes staying here-
http://www.lamala.it/en/index.html
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Old Jun 18th, 2015, 11:31 AM
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I agree with Zoecat--you want to stay further south in Tuscany. Do not let AirBNB determine your options. There are many B&B type lodgings at good prices. She gave you one.
Another is Terre di Nano.
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Old Jun 18th, 2015, 12:24 PM
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Ha, no we don't have particular goals, beyond just meandering and exploring- we've had so many different recommendations from friends and it seems that we can't really go terribly wrong!

Thank you for the hiking tips! And I am checking out the lodging links now
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Old Jun 18th, 2015, 12:35 PM
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As nytraveler said, the center of Florence is pretty compact and easily walkable.

We stayed at this studio apartment, which was about 10 minutes' walk from the Accademia and 10-15 minutes from Santa Maria Novella station. The walls are pretty thin, but otherwise it was a good place to stay.
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2403167

Lee Ann
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Old Jun 18th, 2015, 01:33 PM
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The Tuscany suggestions you've already gotten sound great. In fact, I would love to take any of those hikes.

If you end up staying further north, though, near or in San Gimignano, we took a hike just south of town that lead to an old ruined castle. It was magical to see the ruins in the middle of the forest. Lots of tourists visit San Gimignano, but they don't spend the night, so evenings and early mornings there are very peaceful.

In Florence, it's a B&B, not AirBnB, but we really loved our stay at Casa dei Tintori, which is in an old building that was originally used by fabric dyers (that's what Tintori means). The rooms are beautiful, and the owners very helpful and pleasant. It's near Santa Croce. We like that area because it's still close to pretty much everything, but not right in the middle of tourist hordes.

You can definitely take a car to the Cinque Terre if you want. We stayed at the Villa Steno, located in Monterosso, and has its own parking (limited, so you have to arrange ahead). And the rooms have gorgeous views. You might want to book a room, then see what the weather forecasts are in the week or so before you leave. Because also, remember that 2 nights means only one full day, which is not a huge amount of time.
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Old Jun 19th, 2015, 02:59 PM
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Hi! We stayed at La Torreta in Manarola in the CT on our honeymoon a few years ago and it was very lovely. Not sure what the pricing is like now though.
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Old Jun 20th, 2015, 03:08 AM
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A car in le Cinque Terre in April is really not so much a problem unless you are going around April 25, and even then it is doable. However, April can still see a lot of spring rain, and if it is rainy in le Cinque Terre there is reallly nothing much to do, and the walking surfaces aren't good for wet weather walking. Consider going to Lerici or Portovenere instead, both of which have lots of local beauty with good hikes. You can visit le CInque Terre from there, or if it is rainy, you can take a day trip to Pisa or the Bolgheri wine towns.

As for Lago di Garda in April it also can be rainy/ chilly in April. Plus, the most scenic parts of the lake are well north, and then if people are urging you to go to southern Tuscany, that is a lot of driving with the Riviera in the mix.

If you really love less touristy places, and if you are willing to part with a lakeside view, consider going from Venice to Parma by train and enjoy the town for 2 nights. You can pick up a car in Parma (visit Torrechiara), and head down to the Italian Riviera (stop for lunch in the sweet little town of Pontremoli along the way. Then drive to Florence airport to drop off the car and finish up your visit to Italy in Florence.

Or, if you would rather go to southern Tuscany than the Riviera, take a train from Venice to Arezzo, spend a two nights there, rent a car in Arezzo and make the scenic drive through the Chianti to the Pienza/Montepulciano area, and then finish up in Florence.
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Old Jun 20th, 2015, 03:15 AM
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http://www.italybeyondtheobvious.com...les-near-parma

http://www.apathtolunch.com/2014/05/...ngs-to-do.html

http://clubgeographic.com/life-is-be...-arezzo-italy/

http://www.casentino-toscana.com/tus...scrizione.html
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Old Jun 21st, 2015, 01:56 PM
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Thank you for the tips! Although my preference is to go on our honeymoon straight after the wedding, I have now heard enough times about the iffy weather that I'm considering delaying till mid May (this also happens to be a better time for me to take off work-wise, too). Would traveling in mid May improve the odds of less rain, better hiking, etc.?
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Old Jun 21st, 2015, 04:15 PM
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Yes !
Plus longer days and great flowers
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Old Jun 21st, 2015, 08:42 PM
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Hi,

I live on the Italian Riviera and spring generally lasts until the first weeks of June. When it comes to April vs May, you up your odds of dry weather for hiking in that area only marginally, but temps are generally higher in May than April, which aids outdoor lunches, and you have later sunsets. Around the Riviera, April is an ideal month for flowers, but May and June are lovely too.

Hiking on the cliff-hugging goat paths of le Cinque Terre can be impossible if you hit a 3 day stretch of moderate to heavy rain, which can happen at any time in spring. Just the way it is.

You can see here roughly how many rainy days there were this year in April in le Cinque Terre

http://www.ilmeteo.it/portale/archiv...re/2015/Aprile

and for May 2015

http://www.ilmeteo.it/portale/archiv...ia/2015/Maggio


But other years it could be different, with more rain failing in April than May or vice versa. And you can use the links I gave you to look up other areas of Italy and find the archived weather for April and May of previous years.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 02:29 AM
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I think pushing to May is a great idea. It is not yet too hot and weather is just cooling. You can google for a forecasted weather report. Although they may only give you a rough idea. Alternatively you can check out my blog for romantic things to do on a holiday:
https://www.bonappetour.com/blog/hon...-do-on-holiday
Lastly, congratulations!
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