Italy in October

Old May 2nd, 2017, 01:48 PM
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Italy in October

My wife are planning a trip to Italy arriving in Venice October 7 and flying out of Rome on the 19th. Plan is to stay 2-3 nights in Venice take a train to Florence where we will be for 5-6 nights and then finish up in Rome. Any hotel Airbnb, recommendations for Florence would be appreciated. Would like to stay near the Doumo. Plan is to use Florence as a base to venture into Tuscany. Any tips on tours vs on your own would be appreciated. Not opposed to renting a car and touring the countryside. There is also an option to keep our lodging in Florence and stay one night in the countryside. Would also not rule out leaving Florence staying in the countryside and then taking a train to Rome. Lodging budget no more than $250/night US Thanks!
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Old May 2nd, 2017, 02:10 PM
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Also what about the antique market in Arezzo the first weekend of the month able to back up travel plans if it is indeed worth it
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Old May 2nd, 2017, 03:00 PM
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How about renting a car in Florence after say three days there and then winding thru the Tuscany countryside from say Siena and down via Mulitpulciano to Chiusi or even Orvieto - returning the car at those places and taking trains to Rome?

Anyway book your long-distant train tickets far in advance - www.trenitalia.com or competitor http://www.italotreno.it/en for nifty discounts (non-changeable from specific train at cheap price though) - for regional trains like if you do Chiusi or Orvieto to Rome just buy those at the station - reasons not to buy in advance and a flat-fare that is dirt cheap- faster trains generally do not stop at those smaller stations. For lots on trains check www.seat61.com - great info on discounted trains; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old May 2nd, 2017, 05:14 PM
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In Florence, we've stayed at the Tourist House Ghiberti a few times. It's not a hotel in the traditional sense. No real lobby, and reception is on the second floor of what feels like an apartment building. It's close to the Duomo, very reasonable, comfortable and quiet. There is a bus stop very near the door to the building.

https://www.touristhouseghiberti.com/en

There are many day trip options from Florence using public transportation, but most of the "countryside" is not realistically accessible without a car. The smaller towns are not on the train lines, and bus service isn't timed well for sightseeing. Day tripping out of Florence with a car is difficult and becomes expensive with overnight parking charges.

You need to decide where you want to explore in Tuscany and how you want to divide your time between Florence and the countryside. If you decide to do some driving, you'll need an International Driver's Permit and knowledge about ZTLs (Zona Traffico Limitato) which are areas in the center of most towns you can't drive into. This article specifically mentions large cities, but nearly every town of any size has established a ZTL.

https://www.touristhouseghiberti.com/en
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Old May 2nd, 2017, 06:51 PM
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We stayed at Firenze number 9 in 2014. It was quite near the duomo. I don't recall the pricing, but I loved the location.
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Old May 3rd, 2017, 02:46 AM
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I recommend Hotel Alba Palace. It's between the train station and the Duomo (about 5 minute walk), right around the corner from Piazza Santa Maria Novella. The street and the exterior of the building are not much but the room was amazing and the price and location were great. I have more description and photos of it here: http://andiamo.zenfolio.com/blog/201...art-2-florence

I don't know about the antique market in Arezzo, but the town itself is nice, the main square incredible.

The first time I went to Florence I stayed 6 days and did day trips. Much less 'bother' than renting a car, although driving around Tuscany is obviously a great vacation. But sounds like you only have a couple of days 'extra' between Venice, Florence and Rome so might not be worth it for that time. Siena is an easy day trip (by bus, leaves from near the train station) as is Lucca and Pisa ( same day, by train). If you want to see more countryside/rural areas there are numerous one day organized tours that do that.
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Old May 3rd, 2017, 04:56 AM
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The Arezzo market is a wonderful idea if you like that type of market. It's a real mix of fine antiques, collectibles, weird treasures. However, as a general tourist attraction, it really is best for people who love to paw through antiques markets. It's not a festival or folkloric event. You can find plenty of those elsewhere in Tuscany, within day-trip reach of Florence.

If you go to Arezzo for the antiques market, it entirely occupies the Piazza Grande (main square) and makes its layout pretty difficult to appreciate. But the entire historic center is quite lovely.
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Old May 3rd, 2017, 09:18 AM
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I stayed in Arezzo and yes it's a nice town but besides any special interests like the market it is not your dreamy hill town but a nice modern-looking city. Pleasant but no wow factor.
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Old May 3rd, 2017, 09:21 AM
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I'd add a day to Venice and subtract one from Florence, but that's obviously a personal decision.
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Old May 4th, 2017, 05:05 AM
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If you know nothing about art or history, then maybe Arezzo has no "wow" factor. Or maybe somebody's idea of "wow" is just really the kind of tourism you may not like. But Arezzo has several masterpieces of art in its churches, and several masterpieces of architecture. There are also Roman ruins in Arezzo, and Arezzo is an important town of Etruscan civilization, as well as where the western musical scale was invented.
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Old May 4th, 2017, 02:08 PM
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Yes I liked Arezzo too but again if looking for that dreamy iconic Tuscan/Umbrian hill town this is not one - but more a larger real town with several neat attractions.
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Old May 4th, 2017, 07:24 PM
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We used Hill and Road for a day tour of Tuscany. Although I guess technically they are a car service. Andrea was very warm ,kind and accommodating. We visited several small towns, loved Pienza. They also arranged a farm to table lunch that was outstanding.
We also liked Siena with its fan shaped piazza. The pizza at Consorzio Agrario was delicious and they had lots of local goodies to take home. We also had a great dinner at Taverna Giuseppe. We only stayed one night. I wish it had been longer.
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Old May 5th, 2017, 03:47 AM
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Cjar I can't find a website for Hills and Roads
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Old May 5th, 2017, 04:19 AM
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Tried hillsandroads.com?
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Old May 9th, 2017, 07:53 PM
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Huh? It is hillsandroads.com. When I put a search in with just hills and roads and Tuscany, reviews come up on trip advisor from as recent as last week,but the website won't come up.Per trip advisor the phone number is +39 328 837 9272. Maybe try that?
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Old May 9th, 2017, 07:59 PM
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They do have a facebook page. You might try that since the website seems to be down.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 06:57 AM
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Website is working now...

http://www.hillsandroads.com/inflash/index.html
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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:22 PM
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I absolutely love Florence, but 6 nights there is rather a lot. I second PalenQ's suggestion of shortening the time in Florence and spending a few nights in Tuscany. I once stayed at a lovely and charming agriturismo called Fonte Bertusi just outside of Pienza.(http://www.fontebertusi.it/en/) The owner is an artist (as is his son) and it shows in how they've renovated their olive farm. It's a really manageable distance to several other hill towns if you have a car. And it's easy to rent a car just on the outskirts of Florence and drop it off at Orvieto to catch a train into Rome. I've used Kemwel a few times to rent cars and have always been pleased with the price and quality of the cars. I would not want to actually try to take a car into one of the big cities like Florence or Rome however. Too easy to accidentally break the local traffic laws and end up with a really hefty ticket (my brother-in-law has gotten two tickets doing this. By staying out of the cities, I've avoided that problem both times that I rented a car in Italy). There's something about driving through that countryside that I just love - and it's beautiful in October!
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