Just returned from southern Tuscany

May 28th, 2002, 06:02 AM
  #1  
Roberta
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Just returned from southern Tuscany

Greetings! Just returned from 10 days at Palazzo Bandino an agriturismo near Chiusi/Chianciano Terme. Weather glorious, poppies and ginestra in bloom.
Visited Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pienza, Assisi, Siena & Florence.
Happy to answer questions.
Roberta
 
May 28th, 2002, 06:44 AM
  #2  
Jane
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Hello Roberta,
Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip. Could you tell me a little bit more about the agriturismo you stayed at? Was the location good? Was the price reasonable and what facilities did they have?
Thanks much...
 
May 28th, 2002, 07:39 AM
  #3  
Roberta
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Hi Jane! Liked Palazzo Bandino very much and am hoping to return next year. I made arrangements through Initaly.com who were a pleasure to work with. If you visit their site, you can pull up a a description and photos which were true to life as well as comments from guests.

Great location 10 minutes from the autostrada and shopping mall and supermarket, 15 minutes from Chiusi (interesting Etruscan museum, great restaurant, La Solita Zuppa, 20 minutes from train station. We did day trips to Siena and Florence. Could go to Rome, too, for the day.

In other direction, 5 minutes to Chianciano Terme - modern spa resort , 20 -25 minutes to Montepulciano, Pienza and Montalcino.

Palazzo Bandino very comfortable - well-equipped apartments, good showers, nice pool, lovely staff (fluent in English). We were the only American guests - mostly German, some Dutch and italians. No problem - after a few glasses of P.B. chianti everyone very cordial.

Hope this is helpful

Roberta
 
May 28th, 2002, 07:47 AM
  #4  
Leaving Soon
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Roberta -

We're planning one day to visit Montalcino and Montepulcian (lunch at Fattoria dei Barbi). Do you think this is sufficient time for these two towns (and did you enjoy them)?

Also, planning on visiting Pienza in the morning on our way from Cortona to San Gimignano. Again, is a leisurely morning enough time to explore Pienza?

Thanks
 
May 28th, 2002, 08:10 AM
  #5  
Roberta
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I liked both Montalcino and Montepulciano. Montalcino has a terrific little museum - Sienese art - well worth visiting. Practically empty while we were there.
Montepulciano a bit more commercial - but good food, good wine, good ceramics and good views. Would say two to three hours in each place is adequate.

Would say two to three hours in Pienza is plenty. I ate lunch at a trattoria called "Sette di Vino" (I think). Very good.
 
May 28th, 2002, 08:35 AM
  #6  
arney
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I would not have lunch at the Fattoria dei Barbi in Montalcino. Although it's in most guidebooks, the food was poor when I was there in November 2000 and I would not go back. Instead, I'd go back to Ristorante di Poggio Antico on a Brunello-producing estate with a wine shop 4 kms SE of town. It's in the Michelin red book. A first-rate gourmet experience. Try the Menu a Degustastazione, the chef's 6- or 7-course tasting menu. The portions are small, so you can handle it. Was about 110,000 lire (about $55) per person, including a glass of Brunello. Closed Sunday evenings and Monday. Reserve. Tel/Fax 0577/849200.
arney
 
May 28th, 2002, 08:38 AM
  #7  
arney
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Correction: Ristorante di Poggio Antico is 4 kms SW of Montalcino, not SE.
arney
 
May 28th, 2002, 02:45 PM
  #8  
dean
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I have a very different opinion of Poggio Antico than does arney. We had a perfectly forgettable meal there and the service was standoffish and bordered on rude. Much more to our liking was La Chiusa just outsdie of Montepulciano in Montefollonico. This is a simply superb restaurant where the emphasis is on locally grown ingredients. They referred to the lamb as "Foreign" as it was grown 10 km from the restaurant. Not cheap, but absolutely superb.
 
Jun 15th, 2002, 10:55 PM
  #9  
arney
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In light of Dean's above message, it's possible I had an atypical experience at Poggio Antico. I had a long lunch there on a rainy weekday of Thanksgiving Week 2000 and I was the only customer in the place. But several other posters also have highly recommended Poggio Antico in other threads on this forum. So it's equally possible that Dean's experience was atypical. The waiters were very formal in their demeanor and generally did not speak unless spoken to, but that didn't bother me, and they warmed up as a long meal progressed.
arney
 
Jun 16th, 2002, 04:09 AM
  #10  
ann
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Roberta, when you visted the small towns I assume you drove to them. How is parking. Are there lots on the outskirts, are they easy to find, etc. Will be visiting many of those town in July and was wondering if you had any advice on getting in and out of them. Thanks
 
Jun 16th, 2002, 10:16 AM
  #11  
Roberta
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Hi Ann! I did not find parking a major problem . . . There are designated parking areas on the outskirts of town. I followed the blue "P" signs and grabbed spots that were reasonably within walking distance (as opposed to cruising to get the closest available). I also tried to be at my designation early-ish in the morning, say 9:30 or 10:00.
Pienza was the easiest - lots of parking on side streets off SS146 just outside the city walls.
In Montalcino I found a small lot just outside the gate - about a 10 minute walk uphill to the center of town. (There is (pay?)parking close to the Fortezza and it looked as if there were spots). In Montepulciano I parked at the public bus station and also on the road ascending the hill to the top. I parked in the public lot to the right of the train station in Orvieto Scalo and took the funiculare up the hill to Orvieto itself. I parked at a roadside lot in Assisi, about 7-8 minutes walk from the Basilica.
Hope this is helpful.

 
Jun 16th, 2002, 10:31 AM
  #12  
Biz
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Hi Roberta. I am curious about your thoughts on Assisi and Florence. Where did you stay? Did you just do a day trip to Assisi? If so, did it take all day, or could it be done in a half day? Are the tablecloths and linens in Assisi as wonderful as I hear?
 
Jun 16th, 2002, 04:44 PM
  #13  
Roberta
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Hi Biz!
I daytripped to Assisi (car) and to Florence (train) from just outside Chianciano Terme. Assisi can be done in half a day if the your main focus is the Basilica of St. Francis. I did see some pretty linens and also beautiful childrens clothing and layettes. The Basilica is stunning - an absolute must see!
One day (unfortunately a Monday) was only enough for a taste of Florence. Did a three hour guided walking tour in the a.m., visited Santa Croce, San Lorenzo market, Mercado Centrale for lunch, window shopped the Ponte Vecchio, ate gelato and caught the train back. Next time, more time!
 
Jun 17th, 2002, 06:07 AM
  #14  
Henly Gold
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Anyone visiting Southern Tuscany must have lunch in the small town of Bagno Vignoni at La Parata. This is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Italy. Tell Susan you do not want to even look at the menu, just bring out whatever you recommend we try for our first time in Tuscany. The town itself is also incredible if you even just come in for lunch, or decide to soak in the natural hot springs.
 

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