Italian Itinerary

Old May 11th, 2016, 08:44 AM
  #21  
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Thanks everyone for the input! We're all set for the day in Milan rather than Como and I'll work on getting the car in CT or Tuscany, rather than driving from Milan.

A funny wrinkle: Every hotel in Milan was $$$ and I couldn't figure out why. Turns out we arrive same day as the Champions league final. That's going to be interesting...but fun!
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Old May 11th, 2016, 08:49 AM
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Another question - Is there a train straight from Milan to La Spieza? If I was not going to have a car in CT, would it be feasible to take a train/cab to Monterosso?

My plan is to either get a car at the end of my CT time to drive to Tuscany or pick up a car in Tuscany itself. Is there a train anywhere nearby Monticchielo that may have car rental services? I'm not sure which towns I should be searching for. Thanks!
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Old May 11th, 2016, 10:15 AM
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You can train from Milan to Monterosso. (The train line goes right into the town and near the water, but you didn't mention where your hotel is located.) Then you can train from Monterosso to La Spezia. But you can't get anywhere near Monticchielo by train.

If you didn't pick up the car in La Spezia, you'd have to train to Pisa, Livorno, Grosseto or Siena. Siena would be a convoluted, time-consuming journey. Grosseto would be closest to Monticchielo of the other options.

You can search trains timetables at the link below. Use Italian spellings (Malpensa Aeroporto, Milano Centrale, etc.).

http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en

You can look at car rental locations at the link below, but I also compare quoted rates directly with the individual companies. Also, there are sometimes discounts for AAA membership, etc., that require booking directly with the company.

http://www.autoeurope.com/

Don't forget you need an International Driver's Permit.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 10:36 AM
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>>> Every hotel in Milan was $$$ and I couldn't figure out why. Turns out we arrive same day as the Champions league final. That's going to be interesting...but fun!>>>

Another reason not to stay in Milan on arrival day. It always makes sense to put your departure city at the end of your stay, not the start. It also doesn't make sense to stay in Milan at the beginning of the trip and then again at the end. It wastes time, getting to and from hotels twice, checking in and out, etc.

There is a train from Milan Central to Monterosso with no changes at 8:10 or 12.10 (27€). Travel time is about 3 hours. There are other trains, but require a couple of changes.

I think heading to Florence on arrival day is your best option because the train connections are better and it's shorter travel time. Trains from Milano Centrale to Florence depart hourly on Trenitalia with travel time of 1:39. Italo also operates hourly trains on this route with a tad longer travel time (1:50).

Putting all your Milan days at the end is more efficient.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 10:39 AM
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Forgot Italo's link

http://www.italotreno.it/?sc_lang=it
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Old May 11th, 2016, 12:06 PM
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Thanks again. Jean, we are going to pick up the car from La Spezia and drop off at Florence when we get back at the airport there. I appreciate you saving me a headache of driving out of Milan and through the CT towns. On top of it with the IDP.

For the days in Tuscany I am juggling a few cities in my head. Anyone have any insight as to which are the best to visit? Montelpuciano, Montecino and Siena have all been suggested. Also, would love restaurant and winery recommendations.

Thanks!
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Old May 11th, 2016, 12:11 PM
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*Montalcino
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Old May 11th, 2016, 12:13 PM
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Sorry for the multiple replies, but would appreciate any recommendations in Monterosso or nearby towns as well for food or activities. Thanks!
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Old May 11th, 2016, 01:07 PM
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I like Montepulciano more than Montalcino. Also San Quirico. Although many here love Pienza, it's not as high on my personal list. Siena is probably bigger than you imagine and has lost some of its charm for me over the past few years. It will be very crowded in mid-June, and you should try to get there early in the day.

If you can get an early start from La Spezia, you could stop in Volterra (lunch perhaps?), then drive (east) through the Val d'Elsa and see the towers of San Gimignano in the distance. The Val d'Elsa is beautiful. You'll drive past San Quirico on your way to Monticchiello if you choose this route.

If you decide to drive the autostrade rather the above route, you'll drive past Montepulciano on your way to Monticchiello.

We found parking easy to find at all of these smaller towns, but we travel in October and not high season. Every town has a ZTL, so watch for the signs.
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Old May 12th, 2016, 10:03 AM
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Thanks, Jean!
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