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Italy-Cinque Terra to Rome: accommodations, cycling, wineries in Tuscany

Italy-Cinque Terra to Rome: accommodations, cycling, wineries in Tuscany

Jul 26th, 2009, 11:23 AM
  #1  
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Italy-Cinque Terra to Rome: accommodations, cycling, wineries in Tuscany

Flying into Milan then training it to Cinque Terra (via La Spezia train station) for 2 nights. Then train to Florence for 3 nights. Any recommendations on which trains to catch and how frequently they run? Rental car from Florence to northern Tuscany via Pisa and stay in San Gimignano (Hotel Leon Bianco, which I've now heard mixed reviews on) or just outside San Gim. (anyone heard of Fattoria Voltrona-a winery and horse farm?) Or, I'll book an entirely different spot if anyone has a good rec for this area. Here for 2 nights and would like to do a day bicycle trip that includes a winery tour. Any rec's on wine tours around the San Gim. area and how to make reservation? Also, any recs on how to arrange for a biking tour in a small group? Prefer this over private so we can socialize with other travelers and not so $. Anyone heard of Federico Gori-a guy who provides these types of tours? Then we need to make our way to Umbria or southern part of Tuscany to get close to Rome where we end our trip. Found a villa outside of Montepulciano called Il Rondo and also found (on this forum) a place called Agriturismo La Rossa near Orvieto and now deciding which town to base out of. Noticed La Rossa offers bikes-perhaps we switch our itinerary and stay around Orivieto for the 2 nights and just one in San Gim. Then, we do our biking and wine fun based out of here? With only 3 nights total allocated to Tuscany, how would you rec'd I do it? Also, are there car rental places in Montepulciano or Orvieto where we can dump car then train to Rome? 3 nights in Rome. Have reserved two places in Rome: Hotel Villa del Parco -City Area:Trieste Salario Nomentano (northeast of city zone) or have more expensive place reserved at B&B Trevi Roma (right by Trevi.) It's so much cheaper to stay at Villa del Parco I may cancel Trevi Roma (saves $235) Anyone familiar with either? Grazie!
nannibray is offline  
Jul 26th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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nanni.. Hotel Parco is not walking distance to the major Romans sights and you must rely on public transportations to reach different areas.

Try Residenza san Pantaleo is located at the corner of piazza Navona..is small but has good reviews ..

http://www.residenzasanpantaleo.com/

or Hotel Parlamento is off Via del Corso, walking distance to the Forum or Piazza di Spagna..I stayed there many times..

http://www.hotelparlamento.it/
kismetchimera is offline  
Jul 26th, 2009, 11:47 AM
  #3  
 
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Try Pensione Barrett in Rome, Michelin-recommended.

The Trenitalia website will answer your train questions.

If you are only going to Firenze to pick up a rental car, you should either pick it up in La Spezia or Pisa.

San Gimignano is best known for its white wine, if that makes a difference.

Looks to me like your choice of Tuscan towns should be governed by how you can satisfy your bike urge and what kind of wine you like.

There are car rental offices in Chiusi (30 km from Montepulciano). Chiusi to Rome by train is less than two hours. There are also offices in Orvieto.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 26th, 2009, 11:56 AM
  #4  
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We are 3 nights in Florence, just didn't think that was pertinent as I have that all figured out. Great comment on San Gim and white wine...I think maybe one night there and 2 nights out of Montepulciano or Orvieto may better satisfy our urges. Perhaps drive from Florence through Pisa for a stop then one night in the town of San Gim. will take care of that part of the countryside then onto good food and wine! Thx to others for Rome recs and trian/car, etc.
nannibray is offline  
Jul 26th, 2009, 12:01 PM
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Just so you know, Orvieto wine is also white, but I think it is much better than San Gimignano's Vernaccia. But you should be able to find good food in the area of San Gimignano. I had a wonderfully enjoyable if quite rustic mean at Osteria Enoteca I Quattro Gatti, at via Quercecchio, 9.

It's possible that there are Italians somewhere who call San Gimignano "San Gim" but I've never heard it. (I live in Italy.)
zeppole is offline  
Jul 26th, 2009, 12:47 PM
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Wow--one sentence with 12 questions. Sounds like a good challenge for Zeppole to tackle, but she has already insulted you. Come back when you have narrowed your questions to something readable--my head is spinning right now.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jul 26th, 2009, 12:59 PM
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Excuse me, but who insulted who other than you insulting nannibray? I didn't have any trouble reading nannibray's post, and didn't insult her once.

Soaking your head. bob, can help.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 26th, 2009, 02:21 PM
  #8  
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Whoooa...Easy! I'm a novice...just didn't want to do a bunch of separate posts so lopped it all into one. Bob,if you'd like a narrower focus I need a good 4 day itinerary for Tuscany and/or Umbria. Any recs of where to stay, how to bike for a day? Regarding all the other stuff...I've already gotten good advice w/websites for trains and car rental info. Thank you all!
nannibray is offline  
Jul 26th, 2009, 02:48 PM
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Start here--good places to stay in Tuscany. Location is the most important consideration. Good luck !

BOB’S FAVORITE DIGS IN TOSCANA

A. RURAL LOCATIONS: All have parking and good food options nearby

1. Relais La Saracina www.lasaracina.it 230 to 300E
Fabulous country home near Montepulciano—helpful owners

2. Cretaiole Agriturismo http://www.cretaiole.it/ Good value for families

3. Terre di Nano www.terredinano.com 100 to 155
Both rooms and apartments at rural Agriturismo near Monticchiello

4. Hotel Pescille www.pescille.it Good value at a rustic hotel only 3 km from famed San Gimignano with great views---100 to 130E

5. Fattoria Tregole www.fattoria-tregole.com 110E to 180E
Has both B&B and apartment accommodations. Near Castellina in Chianti

6. Agriturismo apts. near San Quirico— www.poggiolo.info/ About 110E


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

1. Palazzo del Capitano www.palazzodelcapitano.com 130 to 180E
Very nice small hotel in center of San Quirico—perfect location to explore.

2. Vecchia Oliviera www.tuscany.net/oliviera/ 130 to 180E
Nice 4 star hotel at the gate into lovely Montalcino---has pool.

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

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

5. Palazzo Ravizza www.palazzoravizza.it 130 to 180E
Very nice & popular hotel in Siena with parking.

6. Fattoria Vignale http://www.vignale.it/eng/ Four star hotel in Radda in the heart of Chianti. About 230E for double
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jul 26th, 2009, 03:08 PM
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On the biking question, and wineries. Have you biked in Europe before? Are you familiar with the terrain in Tuscany? I like to bike (road bike) in the U.S., and I'm a bit of a sissy in terms of sharing the road with cars, and too much of a sissy to bike in Italy, so not the best for giving opinions on the subject. But the reason I don't bike in Italy is that the roads in Italy are narrower than in the U.S., not much of a shoulder. Also, all of the towns you mentioned are hilltowns - that means they're on hills, of course. So (i) you'll be biking up and down the hills to get in and out of town, and (ii) on roads that are shared by a lot of car traffic going in and out of those towns. There are definitely biking tours that go into these towns, so people do it, but just make sure you know what the biking will be like.

With only 3 nights in rural Tuscany, you might want to spend them all in one place, though the idea of one night in San Gimignano and 2 nights in Orvieto or Montepulciano is good, too.

On places to stay, we prefer to stay inside of the hilltowns, and have dinner in town, so we don't have to drive after dinner. In San G. (I don't call it that - just abbreviating) we've stayed at La Terrazza (or is that the name of their restaurant, and the hotel's named La Cisterna - I can never keep it straight), which we liked very much.

Focus your wine visits on the kind of wine that you like - Montalcino is the area for Brunello. Montepulciano is quite close by.

Also consider whether you want to go out of your way upon leaving Florence to visit Pisa, then heading on to San G. Personally, I'd choose pretty much anywhere in rural Tuscany over Pisa. Tuscany is so gorgeous, with so many beautiful hilltowns to visit (and fantastic wine to drink), whereas IMHO Pisa is pretty and the tower is interesting, but given a finite amount of time, I wouldn't chose Pisa.

You can drop your rental car in Orvieto and take the train from there into Rome.

I don't know what kind of prices you're looking for in Rome, but this fall we'll stay for the second time at Residenza Canali ai Coronari, about one block from Piazza Navona (very central), on a very quiet street, for 210E/night for a deluxe double (190E if you pay cash). Comfortable but not luxurious, the staff is very helpful, but there's no elevator.

Enjoy!
Lexma90 is offline  
Jul 26th, 2009, 03:59 PM
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nannibray - it's better to ask all your questions in one thread rather than separate ones so people who want to answer can see everything together.

I think what Bob is referring to is that it's easier to read posts that are separated with some spacing such as this.

background and question 1

background and question 2

I opened this thread and saw a huge paragraph and my (old) eyes glazed over.

I don't bike nor visit wineries but I loved Orvieto and the area. And I love Orvieto wine.
adrienne is offline  
Jul 26th, 2009, 04:27 PM
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This turned recently in another thread, nannibray, and I thought you might find it useful:

pisceantraveler on Jul 24, 09 at 06:28 PM
I had to jump in here since my husband also is an animal on the road bike. As a special treat while visiting Toscana this year, I sought out a bike for him to ride. I relied on a bike that came with our rental, but it wasn't quite up to "par" for him.

I scrambled and found Cicloposse outside of Pienza, and although they were swamped preparing for a tour coming in -- they gave my DH a bike that they custom made themselves. Marco and Giuliana were fantastic -- lending him some gear, although we brought our own helmet, bikewear, shoes and clips. They also made DH a custom map based on his skill and desire to crank through a small tour of the southern wine region. We met DH in Montalcino for a wine and cheese break and all along the route, he enjoyed himself immensely while the kids and I did our own touring of the towns.

Since you are thinking about an anniversary dinner, I also cannot recommend enough Le Logge del Vignola in Montepulciano. We consulted with a local woman who also happened to be the woman we rented our apartment from, and she personally recommended it as her favorite special occasion for couples location. Absolutely, it was one of the best meals of my life, from the food to the service from Massimo, the proprietor. I would go back to relive all this in a heartbeat.

As for driving, the best thing we did before leaving here was to purchase an Italy maps cartridge for our portable GPS. We drove in and out of Rome and Florence smoothely. With all the distractions of the hustle and bustle of traffic, cyclists, scooters and pedestrians -- not to mention the one way streets that come so quickly since they are so small and narrow -- it was so very worthwhile to take off the stress of finding quick directions.

As for places to stay, we loved our stay in Castelmuzio outside Pienza. It was such a lovely quaint little village and we had easy access to many places, although it does take longer to drive to many than you would anticipate. The apartment was called Casine de Castello and I'd also stay there again in a heartbeat. The proprietress Isabella, was so warm and knowledgeable and was able to steer us in several wonderful directions for what we wished to do in the area.

That reminds me... I really ought to write and post a trip report.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 26th, 2009, 05:47 PM
  #13  
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1. We'll probably skip biking altogether unless we stay at an agrituismo that provides bikes for back road meandering. My husband can crank it in high gear Armstrong-style, but I am a different story.
3. I'll switch itinerary to one night in San Gim. (not a pet name-just an abbreviation) and trade for
4. Two nights in Montepulciano /Pienza area for wine tours, food and art!

For Bob-would you rec'd switching my one night in San G. to Hotel Pescille instead of Leon Bianco if there is availability? My brother stayed at their sister hotel -Bel Soggiorno and really liked it. I'm checking rates/avail at Terre di Nano and Poggiolo. Have you heard of Il Rondo in Montepulciano? Bob, you are my sister's favorite poster and she trusts your hotel recs. I am trying to do for 100-120E/night!
Zeppole-thx for the biking post! You've been an awsome help too!
nannibray is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 10:31 PM
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CLW is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 12:42 AM
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I have biked across Tuscany and Umbria... If you are not used to mountain biking up/down very hilly terrain ...cycling in Tuscany will NOT be for you then. In other words, unless you are in most excellent shape physically, then shelve the biking idea in Tuscany. Even for someone such as myself who teaches high impact aerobics and cycling it is a challenge.
russwuf is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 07:24 AM
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For sure I can share my experience about Rome as I have been there 3 times. The first time I was in an hotel while last two I have found a good vacation rentals agency I recommend: leonhouses.com (http:///www.leonhouses.com).

I am planning a further trip to Italy on next spring. This time Rome will be only the starting point and I would like to go indeed towards the cinque terre. any suggestion about possible stops in Tuscany? I will have 15 days more or less.

Thanks!
Alex_75 is offline  

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