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Italy: Traveling from Rome to Lake Como with Tuscany Inbetween.

Italy: Traveling from Rome to Lake Como with Tuscany Inbetween.

Old Jun 29th, 2007, 03:21 PM
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Italy: Traveling from Rome to Lake Como with Tuscany Inbetween.

April 30 - May 15, 2008. We will arrive in Rome (tug of war as to whether we spend one night or continue up to Lucca/Viareggio.)

Either way, we would like to stay in either Lucca or Viareggio (flexible with the # of days) and tour Tuscany. From that point we will continue on to Lake Como. Fly home out of Milan.

OK, we can take the ES train to Florence and then onto Lucca (3+ hrs.). I know there are regional trains that we can take to Pisa, Montecatini for day trips. What we cannot decide right now, is if we should base ourselves in Viareggio (love the seashore)or Lucca.

I know there are car rental companies in both of these towns. Should we rent a car or use the regional trains?

Also, when we leave this area to go north, the train option seems horrendous (3 trains), and the rental car option looks good. It's a fairly simple drive up the highways and a lot shorter than the 3-train scene.

That's as far as I've gotten with the planning. I would appreciate any and all comments.
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Old Jun 29th, 2007, 04:02 PM
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I read recently that someone took a train from Florence to Como without having to switch. There is a stop in Milan, but you don't have to move. We're doing this from Venice to Como. However, we are going from Como to Tuscany and getting a car. We are going to a small town in Tuscany and it would require us to take quite a few trains to get there as well. The drive is about 4 hours, but at least we can stop along the way.
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Old Jun 29th, 2007, 06:12 PM
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TTT
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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One last try...
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 11:31 AM
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One comment I'd make is that I think Lucca is pretty far removed from the quintessential Tuscany - San Gimignano, Siena, Cortona, Montalcino, et al. We spent one night and morning there and pretty much covered all there was to do. Personally, I don't know what all the hype is about. I can't comment of Viareggio since I've never been.

That said, I'd definitely rent a car. We loved driving the secondary roads exploring along the way to our destination. Maybe spend your first night in Orvieto. It's about an hour north of Rome and simply magical!
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 11:34 AM
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It depends entirely on why you chose that part of Tusany and what you plan to do from there.
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 12:26 PM
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The reason I initially selected the Lucca area is because 1) it is Tuscany, and 2) the drive up to mid-lake Como from there isn't terribly long.

However, since yesterday, I have re-thought this trip:

Fly into Rome and take a Eurostar to Assisi (am I nuts?). The train route to Perugia is awkward. In Assisi, we can rent a car and visit Perugia, Spello, Montefalco, Spoleto, etc. (I am thinking that this is the part of Tuscany that is the most beautiful.)

From Assisi we can either keep or dump the car or continue on to Lucca by train. I would like to see this part of Tuscany in addition to the more southern area.

It is too far from Assisi/Perugia to go nonstop to Lago di Como...that's why we chose Lucca for a short stay (3 days). There are quite a few small towns w can visit from Lucca.

toni, we visited Orvieto in 2006 and, although it is lovely, it's not on our radar for 2008.

Am I making any sense with this trip?
The FF tickets have already been "purchased."

Bob, you are real good at this...be a sport and put that thinking cap on.

I so much appreciated your help last year when planning for our May 2007 trip. Stresa/Lago Maggiore was great.
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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I need the facts !
Arrive Rome 30 April
Depart Milan on 15 May ???

Those towns you mention are not Tuscany--they are Umbria. You have time for both a good Tuscany location and some time at Lucca or on the Ligurian coast. You can do 4 destinations in that time easily.



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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 03:14 PM
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Bob,

Arrive FCO on April 30th at (hopefully) 7:15 a.m. Depart Milan on May 15th at 12:00 noon.

We have already been to the Ligurian Coast from Portovenere up to Camogli with our base as S.M.L. So scratch that.

Back to Tuscany...we want to be somewhere that has those beautiful tuscan hills (picture-perfect). At our ages, we may not go to Tuscany again (so much to see, so little time).

Is the Assisi/Perugia part of the trip not agreeable to our objective?

Bob, what else do you want or need to know?
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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Those beautiful Tuscan vistas are in southern Tuscany, not Umbria. Do a search for Crete Senesi. Those are the vistas you want.

Lucca is north Tuscany and not anywhere near as attractive as southern Tuscany. Umbria is nice(Assisi, Perugia, Spello)although not as convenient to your final destination. It would probably be less crowded.
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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 07:13 PM
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Kybourbon, I did a search:

"Crete Senesi
Just south of Siena is the intriguing and distinctive semi-desert landscape of the Crete, which break up the enchanting green landscape of this part of Tuscany. The Crete are geographical features of clay, harsh and wild, difficult to cultivate by anyone who is not an expert and who doesn't respect the laws of nature."

This doesn't sound like what we are looking for. Is this info correct?

I appreciate your comments though.

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Old Jun 30th, 2007, 07:44 PM
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Time for a good map!

As mentioned, Spoleto/Spello/Assisi/Perugia is Umbria. Lucca/Viareggio is Tuscany, but that part of Tuscany is not necessarily more convenient to Lake Como. (I also was unimpressed by Lucca.)

What I think is your Tuscan dream is probably Chianti, Siena and any number of hill towns and the spaces in between. One of the hill towns often mentioned is Cortona which is close to ... Perugia! in Umbria!

You don't say how many days you'll spend in Tuscany/Umbria, but I wouldn't discourage the idea of going immediately to Assisi/Perugia and renting a car. See a little Umbria, see a little Tuscany (Cortona, Montepulciano, Siena), a little Chianti. Turn in the car in Florence and train to Lake Como.

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Old Jul 1st, 2007, 05:18 AM
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Jean,

What is considered a "good" map?" I have (what I thought)is nicely detailed one I got in Italy last month. It is printed by Hertz indicating all their rental car cities. I also have Frommer's "Italy's Best-Loved Driving Tours."

The Chianti/Siena area you mention...is that the Val d'Orcia? This is a vast area of land, and there's a lot to research, if we want a memorable trip.

This trip will be our fifth to Italy in seven years, and my standards are high. Each and every trip has been wonderful.

I will take your suggestion (last paragraph you wrote) into consideration. You recommend dumping the car in Florence. Are you saying we shouldn't have a car once in the mid-lake region of Lago di Como, and rely on the lake boat system?

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Old Jul 1st, 2007, 07:13 AM
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I didn't mean to imply these were the same area, just that both are southern Tuscany and shown in many pictures.

TCI (Touring Club of Italy) regional maps are available on Amazon. Get Stu's (do a search on the Europe board) driving route. He covers much of the Val D'Orcia in a one day route. He will also e-mail routes to you.
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Old Jul 1st, 2007, 07:24 AM
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Thanks for the clarification kybourbon. BTW, I have already printed Stu's driving route.

I will check out TCI regional maps.
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Old Jul 1st, 2007, 09:34 AM
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You really don't need a car in the mid-Lake Como area. The ferry system is good, although I don't know the date they begin their summer schedule which is probably sometime in mid- to early-May. Either way, unless you want to see sights beyond the usual Menaggio/Bellagio/Varenna, the ferries will serve you well. You can even take a day trip to Lugano using public trans.

The Tuscany/Umbria portion of your trip does require research. It's really your call how you want to spend those days. You really can't go wrong. Tuscany! Umbria! It's all good.
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