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looking for advice - florence venice s. tuscany

looking for advice - florence venice s. tuscany

Nov 19th, 2005, 04:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 29
looking for advice - florence venice s. tuscany

My husband and I are planning to visit Italy next March (early March) - our first trip to Italy. We'll fly into Florence, spend 3-4 nights there and then visit southern Tuscany for 2 nights - Montalcino or Montepulciano. Another couple of nights in Venice. We want to spend some time sightseeing but also take it easy so that we're not rushing around all the time.
Suggestions - weather at that time, what to see, route to take from Florence to Montalcino, what not to miss, moderately priced accommodation suggestions...? Also, I am a vegetarian (no meat) - will I run into problems with dining? Thanks a lot in advance.
slowtrav1 is offline  
Nov 19th, 2005, 04:35 PM
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Southern Tuscany is stunning in early March. The winter wheat is about 6" high then and covers the countryside like a green velvet blanket - with a medieval village or cypress trees sticking up here & there.

I think 2 nights in Southern Tuscany followed by 2 nights in Venice will have you "rushing" quite a bit to even scratch the surface of these two locations. I would spend more time in Venice than in Florence, and more time in Southern Tuscany than in Florence also (unless you are big art lovers). Can you add a couple of days to your trip??? Perhaps 3-4 days in Florence, 3-5 days in Southern Tuscany & 3-4 days in Venice.

You won't have any trouble finding non-meat dishes on the menus - lots of pizza & pasta in Tuscany.

I have a 20+page itinerary which describes my favorite villages, scenic drives, sites, etc. I've sent it to over 400 people on this travel board. E-mail me at [email protected] if you want a copy.

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is offline  
Nov 19th, 2005, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Bringing your message back up "to the top" since you are brand new here...

Welcome to the forum.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Nov 20th, 2005, 03:08 AM
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Posts: 6,098
Unless you're a huge Renaissance art fan, 3-4 days in Florence PLUS a couple of days in the Tuscan countryside seems excessive to me.

If you're going to set aside a couple of days out in the boondocks, I'd cut Florence to 1 or 2 days (again, unless you are some sort of Renaissance art groupie).
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Nov 20th, 2005, 03:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,152
Hi slow,

The Tuscany region is best seen by car.

For example, it is 2 hr from Florence to Montepulciano by train. It is another hour by train from M to Siena. You would have to carry your luggage with you.

If you really want to see the countryside, I suggest 2 nights in Florence, pick up a car and spend 3 nights in Tuscany (choose a town and daytrip from there), drive to Venice for 3 nights.

For a first-time visit to Italy, I would split the 7 nights as 4 in Florence, with a daytrip to Siena by bus, and 3 nights in Venice.

Have a nice visit.

ira is offline  
Nov 20th, 2005, 04:15 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,762
Will you be flying out of Venice? If so you will need to drp off your rental car on the "mainland" at Maestra prior to taking a bot to Venice, If my memory serves me finding/getting in to the parking garage to drop off rentals is a tad tricky even though it is directly across from the boat station. Perhaps others can comment. (do not do as I did a few years back and leave your wallet in the car.... it worked out fine...but very frightening)
seafox is offline  
Nov 20th, 2005, 08:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 140
I agree with spending less time in Florence and more time in the Tuscan hilltowns. For us, the small villages are the best of Italy. Several nights in Venice will make a great finish.

Our experience with the weather in early spring is variable - brilliant sunny days but also cold and even snow! in the higher terrains of Tuscany. Not sure what route you should take to Montalcino, but you couldn't pick a better place to get "lost".

We're also veggies and you'll love the Italian menu and the regional variations on dishes. Problems are few, but you may have a few dining adventures along the way, such as prosciutto or pancetta being added to a dish. It's helpful knowing some basics sauces such as Bolognese being meat and Alla Norma eggplant. As a last resort, just wash it down with a local wine and all will be well. Ciao.
39Steps is offline  
Nov 20th, 2005, 08:48 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 588
Dear Slowtrav1,

Agree with others above that the best way to see southern Tuscany is via car, and it is easy to drive, especially if you have an Italian Touring Club Map. We rented our car in Rome (in your case, Florence) and dropped it off at the Mestre Airport near Venice. Very easy, then received great directions from the bus kiosk at the airport on how to take the bus to and from the airport to Venice.

Your screen name makes me think you may know of a nice travel web site that describes some great detailed drives in southern Tuscany:



This last one is written by Stu Dudley, who posted above. We took most of the drive and it was a beautiful as he described.

Good luck in planning,

Susan Eva
SusanEva is offline  
Nov 20th, 2005, 05:08 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 29
Wow! This is a great forum - thank you everyone for sharing and Stu, I'm going to check out your itinerary and if I cannot find it I'll email you.
slowtrav1 is offline  
Nov 21st, 2005, 02:33 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 22
My boyfriend and I just returned from Rome, Florence, and Venice.

In Venice, the Ca' Amadi (Room 102) is definitely worth checking into. We paid 70 Euros for 3 night. It was definitely worth the price since we were upgraded to a suite. I notified them ahead of time if possible to upgrade since it was my boyfriend's birthday. They were very kind and I believe we were lucky since it was off season for tourists. http://caamadi.hotelinvenice.com/

I booked through a different site that was cheaper.

In Florence, we were not so lucky for hotels. The one I booked from the US was Hotel Balcony (60 Euro) which I do not recommend at all. I would recommend Hotel Accademia (Room 3) (70 Euro) based on our experience. However, Trip Advisor.com has postings that do not agree with our recent experience. http://www.florence-hotels.accademiahotel.net/index.htm

We booked 3 tours in Florence with Walking tours of Florence. They were all excellent and explained a lot of art and history that I had no idea about. They were a combined package called Florence in a day (or two). We did not book any tours of Venice. http://www.artviva.com/florence_italy_tour.htm

Weather.com will help you with the average temperatures etc for that time. I am not sure about the difficulty with dining. I know that a lot of dishes did not have meat, but they did use cheese if you are vegan you will run into a problem. We ate at one restaurant that I had ravoli with pears and cheese. It was actually pretty good.
Kimberly1881 is offline  

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