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Need some advise regarding Chianti region tours

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Jul 9th, 2013, 08:35 PM
  #1
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Need some advise regarding Chianti region tours

I will touring with Tauck - going to Rome, Umbria, and ending in Florence. I am meeting up with a friend in the Amalfi Coast 5 days after the tour ends. I have 4 nights to spend on my own and would like to spend that time in the Chianti region of Tuscany, visiting Sienna, Greve, Montefioralle, and San Gimignano. I would like to stay over night in one of these towns. There are many day tours out of Florence, but I am having a difficult time finding tours that actually start in these Chianti region towns. Does anyone have any suggestions? I suppose that I could remain in place in Florence and take day tours but I would really prefer to stay in the smaller towns I have mentioned. Can't seem to figure this part out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I will not be driving.
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Jul 9th, 2013, 08:52 PM
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It's quite easy to stay in one of these smaller towns and hire drivers for day tours.

Of your choices, I might pick San Gimignano because it is nicest in the evening and early morning when you would be out touring. There is easy bus service to Siena from San Gimignano.

I have names of drivers and also a wine touring company that I've used for clients and got very good feedback from. I'll try to post it in the morning.
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Jul 9th, 2013, 10:24 PM
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There are quite a few tours that depart from Siena, but Siena isn't really a small town.

If your tour ends in Florence, I assume you will have a couple of days there included in the tour so you won't need to stay there. Does that mean you have 4 nights for the countryside? If so, you could catch a bus to San G for a night and then on to Siena. Take a Chianti day tour from Siena. You could also take a day tour to Montalcino (or take a bus). To head to Amalfi from Siena, you would catch the Sena bus to Rome (faster than the train) and catch a train in Rome to Naples and continue on to the coast.

Greve is not as easy. You can catch a bus from Florence to Greve (takes about an hour - about 4€), but not much bus service from Greve on to elsewhere. Monterfioralle is close enough to take a taxi from Greve (you could walk it in about 25 minutes). I'm not a fan of Greve. Is there a reason it's on your list?
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Jul 11th, 2013, 05:54 AM
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Tuscanlifeedit - Thanks for your feedback. I would be happy to take the name of the drivers and wine touring company. Is it possible to have the driver drop off and come back 4 or 5 hours later vs. staying the entire time. I am good to wander the villages on my own. I had been thinking that San Gimignano would be a good place to stay. Can you point me in the direction of the bus schedules from San Gimignano as well?
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Jul 11th, 2013, 05:58 AM
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Kybourbon - yes I will have been in Florence a few days before the tour ends. Thanks for the info regarding Chianti to Amalfi. I had not yet gotten that far but now I know where to start for that leg. Yes, I have found that Greve is not that easy. No particular reason it is on the list other than a friend had stayed in an apt in Montefiorelle and liked the area. Perhaps staying in San Gimignano would be the best bet and then hire a driver to Greve for a few hours. What was it about Greve that did not appeal to you?
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Jul 11th, 2013, 08:48 AM
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If you decide to stay in Florence (I wouldn't), here's one company with a variety of day trips. The Florence tourist office will have lists of other companies. This company is a bit cheaper than some.

http://www.caftours.com/excursions-and-day-trips.html

You might find a few tours operating from San G., but many more from Siena. From Siena, there are tours offered to San G, Chianti area, Montalcino/Pienza/Montepucliano, etc.

Staying in an area like Montefioralle requires a car really. I wouldn't stay somewhere with no public transport unless I had a car.

I can't tell whether your interest is hill towns (Greve is not), wine or vistas. What is it you want from these places?

If wine, Montalcino (Brunellos) hands down over the other places (an hour south of Siena). Small hill town with fabulous views, Fortezza (you can sample wines there) and great wine. You can go to the top of the Fortezza (for a fee), but you don't have views if you are tasting there.

http://www.enotecalafortezza.com/english/index.php

For views while tasting (order some food too), I like Enoteca Osticcio.

http://www.osticcio.it/visita.htm

http://www.osticcio.it/

>>>What was it about Greve that did not appeal to you?<<<

Greve's old town/piazza is very small (you can walk across in 1 minute) - no sweeping views like San G or Montalcino although there's some vineyards if you take a bit of a walk (towards Montefioralle). You can go to the Cantina there and sample Chianti, but it's not in the old town.

http://www.lecantine.it/cantineUtente/index.php

From Florence to either San G, Siena or Greve, you would take a Sita bus. The bus station is by the main train station in Florence. With your back to the train station and facing towards the historic center, the bus station would be to your right, across the street and around the corner (you will see lots of buses going that direction).

For Siena there is a rapid bus 131R to Siena (no changes - about 75 minutes 7€ or so) or a slower bus 1310 (about 7€)which stops in Poggibonsi. You would take the slower bus if you were going to San G as you would change to the San G bus in Poggibonsi. The buses are pretty much timed to meet, but check schedules as there can be times of day with gaps. One of the early bus departures will only take about 80 minutes to San G (departs around 8). Later departures make take 100 - 120 minutes because of waiting in Poggibonsi.

Here's a bus map for much of the area.

http://www.sienamobilita.it/mappe/Mappa_EXT.pdf

If you don't mind changing hotels, I would take the bus to San G and spend a night. The next day travel on to Siena and stay there the other nights. Do a few day trips from there (driver, bus or tour). The area south of Siena between Montalcino/Pienza/Montepulciano is the Tuscany you see on many postcards. Depending on time of year, it could be brown or green.
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