Italy First To Weeks in May

Old Mar 8th, 2010, 07:26 AM
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Italy First To Weeks in May

I have been reading the great information on this forum and researched what I think is a reasonable itinerary....I NEED your expertise
Family of four, flying into Rome on 1 May 2010 and flying out of Florence 14 May. Plan is to stay in Rome for three to four days, leaving Tuesday or Wedesday, and picking up a car in either Orvieto or Chiusi. From there travel to Tuscany for about a week, then on to Florence. One adult child would like to revisit Cinque Terre and the other Venice. I am thinking that this might be too much and a destination for another trip, but I don't know.
I would appreciate recommendations for hotel accomodations. I would like to be centrally located in Rome so that we can walk to most attractions. In Tuscany, I would like to be in the country as we will have a car. Is Southern Tuscany the best place, it appears that CT is a good 3-3 1/2 hrs away, if we were to try and go there? I looked at Vignamaggio and they have the "independent cottage" available....not quite sure. Obviously, my first time to Italy!
vanne49 is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2010, 08:14 AM
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Two weeks total less one week for Tuscany leaves one week. In that one week left, you are thinking/ looking at: Rome, Florence, Venice and the Cinque Terre. That portion of your plan is overbooked. A good rule of thumb is no less than a half week per stop. This puts you at a pace of one day to travel and two days to sightsee.
Big_Red is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2010, 01:02 PM
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Your family definitely has to make some cuts in the desired itinerary. After Rome -- 4 days, I think due to jet lag -- I suggest going to CT by train for 3 days including your travel day, then finding one location in Tuscany for four days, then on to Florence. OR skip CT and go to Venice, but not both.
charnees is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2010, 02:31 PM
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Since you are flying out of Firenze (Florence), I suggest you drop Venezia.

I think a week in an agriturismo in Tuscany would be fun, but I suggest that you pick one nearer somewhere around the Pisa/Lucca area (they do have them in the countryside) so you can make day trips to towns of more interest to young people than wine towns (as found south of Siena or in Chianti.) I think some of your target towns for visits would be San Gimignano, Volterra, Pisa itself, Lucca and maybe the marble quarries of Carrara on your way to le Cinque Terre.

Maybe the child who would like to revisit Venice can get interested in Lucca. Any bike riders in the family? It can be great to bicycle Lucca's walls. I wouldn't hesitate to go back to Lucca more than once if it's a hit.

You can revisit le Cinque Terre as a day trip from the Lucca/Pisa/Camaiore area, it that helps keep the peace. And then you can do it when you are sure the weather is nice, not book yourself in.

I would finish up the trip in Firenze, since you have to fly out of there.

Increasingly, Tripadvisor has user reviews for villa rentals and agriturismi all over Tuscany, and in the Lucca/Pisa/Camaiore area as well. I have also seen posters on Frommer's message boards describe how happy they were with rentals in the hills near Lucca. You can also use this website, and use it's search filter to locate ones with special features like a restaurant on site (very helpful!) and a pool:

For a long trip like yours, it is sometimes helpful to post on the Slow Travel message board.

Have a great trip!
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 05:12 AM
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Oh-- !

I just noticed that the children you speak of are adults. So while I still think you need to be in an area of Tuscany offering the most interest to your group, the input from your group is really crucial here. Some of the areas where the main attraction is scenic driving through wine country visiting tiny towns is is either just the ticket for your group or too quiet for young adults. Towns like Volterra and Lucca can have more impact, and it becomes easier to visit the sea, but you are outside what many believe to be the most beautiful farm country in Tuscany.

Instead of revisiting places you have been before, see if your adult kids can be persuaded to try something new. I think Venice and le Cinque Terre don't quite fit into a trip where your destination airport is Firenze. If you get beyond the standardized view of "Tuscany" -- that it is all about driving a car and "hitting" tiny town after tiny town, it has quite a variety of things to do: hot springs, spas, shopping, bicycling, hiking, beautiful art destinations. If the group can set some activity priorities, it can get easier to pick a base.
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 06:22 PM
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Posts: 95 right you are, I meet with the adult children this weekend and hope to tie up some of the loose ends. I am reading that southern part of Tuscany is a beautiful area to explore. The "variety of things to do" sound great. Is this the area that would be best to focus on for a week (is that too long) or are there other thoughts?
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 07:15 PM
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This may be some help---good luck !


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

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

2. Cretaiole Agriturismo Good value for families

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

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

5. Fattoria Tregole 110E to 180E
Has both B&B and apartment accommodations. Near Castellina in Chianti

6. Agriturismo apts. near San Quirico— About 110E

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

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

2. Vecchia Oliviera 130 to 180E
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
New boutique B&B in a lovely location in Montepulciano—great reviews !

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

6. Fattoria Vignale Four star hotel in Radda in the heart of Chianti. About 230E for double
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 07:21 PM
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Bob, many thanks for your reply, this information I am sure will be very helpful!
vanne49 is offline  
Old Mar 10th, 2010, 01:22 AM
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The key word in your post is "explore" and the area of southern Tuscany is a wonderful place to feel the freedom of exploration. I think it is possible that why your adult children are attracted to Venice and le Cinque Terre is because those two places are also places where people feel a great deal of freedom to get out on their own without a guidebook.

The best way to experience Tuscany, I believe, it to stay on a farm that cooks dinner for you, using the daily produce of the farm. Many of these farms make their own wine and even olive oil. It is wonderful to Italian food that is so fresh and not have to drive home after dinner.

Increasingly, you can find these places reviewed on Tripadvisor. Here are some examples:

The scenic areas of Southern Tuscany are LOADED with charming, clean accommodations with great hosts. With the internet, you can see pictures and get user reviews. The area is so small and scenic, you needn't stress the "location". Instead, look for the right kind of accommodation with the amenities you want, be it a pool, horseback riding, WI-FI, your own kitchen or a restaurant or both (I like both), etc.

This a good website, and it has reviews for many places right on the site:

It can be a mistake to plan a trip to Tuscany around "destinations" rather than around exploring without a destination. Some people rent a lovely apartment on a hilltop farm in Tuscany and then spend four hoursevery day driving trying to get to other hilltowns that they read about in a guidebook or somebody enthused about. Everyplace you go is terrific, so don't overplan.

That said, since time is short for you, you might want to peruse this guide from Amazon. It's the Italian Touring Club's "Authentic Tuscany" guide, in English. I'm not suggesting it as a destination but because it has more than most guidebooks about spas, authentic eating, and the true culture of Tuscany:

Have a great trip!
zeppole is offline  
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