need to refine my Tuscan itinerary

Dec 9th, 2010, 07:47 AM
  #1  
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need to refine my Tuscan itinerary

Following our visit to Lake Como, Cinque Terra, and four days in the environs of Bologna, we would like to drive thru Tuscany for a week in September 2011 before departing Florence ( via Milan) to retun to USA. I think that driving south from Bologna towards Arezzo then making our way back to Siena and San Gimgnano before dropping the car off in Florence would make sense. Any comments?
Are there "must see/do" suggestions?
nsalerno is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 08:55 AM
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nsalerno,
This should give you some ideas http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/tuscany/hs_planning.htm
Henry is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 08:59 AM
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IMO one "must see" in Siena would be the cathedral, especially the mosaic floors which are spectacular. Parking can be problematic depending on when you are there but if you cruise around you can usually find a reasonably-priced pay lot...PAY it because it is worth it and you don't want to lose a lot of time "saving" a non-fortune. Sometimes it helps to have COINS with you for the machines.

In San Gim be aware that there are multiple parking lots outside the city walls as well as some space along some roads if you get there early enough. When we were there this summer we weren't quite prepared for the hoard of visitors from all over...I am sure there is at least SOMEBODY who would have the absolute nerve to call the place somewhat of a "tourist trap" but there's a reason people flock to certain places and the reason is usually a good one. The views out over the countryside are wonderful as are some of those "skyscraper" towers.

And please don't let anyone SCARE you about "not driving in Florence." We heard ALL the scary stories here before we went including those from some of the self-appointed experts but we rented a car IN Florence and drove around and out of the city without any problems at all...it isn't as hard as people said it would be and we knew there were places we couldn't get close to and didn't try. Having a GPS was an enormous help, too
Dukey1 is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 09:14 AM
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I think that driving south from Bologna towards Arezzo then making our way back to Siena and San Gimgnano before dropping the car off in Florence would make sense.>

Yes indeedy IMO - Arezzo is not the finest hill town but IMO Perugia, Gubbio, Todi, Cortona, Siena and San Gimignano certainly are amongst the most dreamy of the proveribal Tuscany and Umbrian hill towns - and all are in a fairly compact area - and there are zillions of others like Montepulciano. You cannot go wrong in Tuscany and Umbria - arezzo I think is in Umbria but not sure it could be Tuscany.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 09:35 AM
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Arezzo is in Chianti in Tuscany; Perugia, Gubbio, and Todi - and Orvieto - are in Umbria. I don't find the combination of Umbria and Tuscany that compact, even if you rule out northern and western Tuscany.

Rural Tuscany is a chance for the traveler to slow down, take life a little easy, live like the Italians. So many people rush through a trip to Italy, ticking off sights from their list. These people miss a big part of the travel experience, a taste of the local lifestyle.

When in Italy, I try to live a little bit like a local. Eat the local food, never have capuccino after breakfast, rest in the afternoon, take part in the passagiata, spend time in sidewalk cafes.

On separate trips we've stayed overnight in the historic centers of Siena and San Gimignano. Both offer a lot after the daytrippers empty out. Siena is dark and medieval at night; San Gimignano at night and in the early morning feels like a real town, not a hive of tourists.

I'm not clear on your itinerary in Tuscany, but it sounds like a lot of one-nighters.
Mimar is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 09:40 AM
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I'm sorry but I think the "local lifestyle" INCLUDES the people who live in Italian cities, also. I agree that the countryside, especially in Chianti is wonderful but olive groves can only sustain you to a point. Going more slowly is great but so is seeing a lot of other aspects.
Dukey1 is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 10:39 AM
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Henry has great input for you above. I would concentrate in that part of Tuscany.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 12:36 PM
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Thanks www.slowtrav.com contains a wide range of useful info.
There are so many typical Tuscan venues that selection will be difficult.
No matter where we are, navigating thru the smaller towns every two or three days probably requires a GPS
nsalerno is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 12:47 PM
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No no GPS needed - just a good map - as in much of Europe there are always road signs pointing to the next towns. Hard to get lot in the hills too as there are relatively few main roads.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 9th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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I agree with Bob & Henry. The area south of Siena - especially the Val d'Orcia, is the prettiest part of Tuscany - both the countryside and the small villages.

Stu Dudley
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