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Just back from Tuscany - any Qs?

Old Oct 9th, 2000, 06:46 AM
  #1  
alex
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Just back from Tuscany - any Qs?

We just got back from Tuscany and since there was so much great advice on this forum, I hoped I could put my word in on what a fantastic time we had. After landing in Bologna and catching the Eurostar to Florence (delayed both times), we headed down to the Chianti area and Siena before staying in Florence for a few days.
 
Old Oct 9th, 2000, 05:39 PM
  #2  
larry
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Hi, Alex - we leave Friday - anything really special - we have two days in Chianti - recommendations?? Thanks
 
Old Oct 10th, 2000, 06:39 AM
  #3  
alex
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Larry - based on our experience in the Chianti region - we stayed in Castellina and spent 3 days around the area. Spend time in Siena - I think that needs no further recommendation if you've looked at this forum - see the Duomo, Palazzo Publico and try to climb the 500 or so steps up the bell tower if you can! San Gimagnano was a bit too touristy for my liking - but worth the trip just to see and wander round. We also took time to visit the castle at Brolio (but better just for its views), but two of the nicest and quietest places were the small villages/abbeys at Badia Contibuono off the ss429 north of Gaiole and Badia a Passignano west of Greve on minor roads. Take your time driving round slowly, stopping to admire the views and visit villages/churches, wine shops and vineyards with vendetti directe signs.
 
Old Oct 10th, 2000, 08:19 AM
  #4  
stephanie
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I am arriving in Florence on Thursday with 14 women. Any wonderful places to shop and eat???
 
Old Oct 10th, 2000, 09:22 AM
  #5  
Diane
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Hi we will be in Florence at the end of October and we were interested in Siena. Anything of special interest we should know about? Thanks
 
Old Oct 10th, 2000, 09:22 AM
  #6  
alex
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Steph

Have to say that I am not a shopping fan - however, a look round the designer names of Via Tournabuoni was one of those things I still had to do! Its west of the Piazza Signoria, north of the Santa Trinita bridge. We stayed near San Lorenzo (north of city centre) and there was quite a touristy street market (lots of leather goods and bargaining) around the San Lorenzo church. Also you should go to the Mecato Centrale in the same area - a proper food market with excellent cheeses, fruit/veg etc. Good for a picnic and edible souvenirs. The market runs 7am to 2pm. For dining, I would certainly recommend making reservations in advance as most places were pretty full for dinner. We had some great meals in the same area - always going for a stroll to check out and reserve for the next night's dinner every night! On Via Guelfa (no 35r) near the junction with Via de Ginori is Cafaggi (tel 055 29 49 89 - closed Sundays)which is recommended in the Eyewitness guide which everyone has. It did not disappoint - excellent pasta, salads and florentine steak (if you want that sort of thing) came to £40/$60 for two with wine. It is a down to earth sort of place, but was the highlight of our Florentine dining!
 
Old Oct 10th, 2000, 09:24 AM
  #7  
Diane
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Hi we will Be in Florence at the end of October. We wanted to see Siena as well any special interest? Thanks!
 
Old Oct 10th, 2000, 09:33 AM
  #8  
alex
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Diane

Siena is a complete contrast to Florence as it does really look good from all angles, whilst the streets of Florence are pretty claustrophobic. From Florence it is an easy 45min drive along the main dual carriageway, though we approached it from the Chianti region. There is also a train station outside the city, but perhaps someone else could advise on this if you are travelling by train. In addition to the advice above, if you are driving, you should park outside - I think it is only 2500lira per hour and walk around. By all means go to the main sights but also wander up and down the steep side streets stopping for coffee etc. The main Palazzo Publico is partly covered in scaffolding, but the frescoes inside are superb. The Bell Tower has a super panorama and you can really appreciate the layout of the city - very haphazard and medieval. It is a steep 505 steps though which can involve a bit of a squash as you meet people coming down. The Duomo is also brilliant - especially the marble interior, pulpit and marble floor.
 

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