Northern Italy Planner's Block -- Help!

Jan 19th, 2015, 05:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,853
We had 2 nights in Lucca, and that was enough. Lovely town, but not one I would return to. Garfagnano was beautiful, but driving in that area if the weather was bad maybe would be a little tricky. Stunning area. Volterra was interesting for Etruscan history.

If you have never been to Tuscany in the early spring, it might be quite lovely. We have been to Tuscany/Chianti 3 times in September, this article has convinced me to try a March trip.

I agree with the others about splitting your Tuscany/Umbria bases into north and south. In another thread, bobthenavigator suggested this agriturisimo for an Umbria base.

It was absolutely wonderful, and we visited Asissi and Gubbio from there, both of which we loved more than we thought we would. If it is more pricey than you would like, email them directly and talk with Mary. You may be visiting enough off season that she would offer you a better deal for 4 nights. We also visited Piano Grande di Castelluccio, which if Italy is enjoying an early spring you might see the crocus and early spring wildflowers. Google some images, it is stunning, but your timing might be off.

And I think those that suggested starting at an area furthest from Venice made sense. You don't want a long trek the last day.
wrenwood is offline  
Jan 19th, 2015, 11:45 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,518
I am currently looking at B&B's in the vicinity of Castiglion Fiorentino.
Any recommendations or warnings?
Dave_Ohio is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2015, 06:47 PM
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Following some of your advice, I've reversed our itinerary as follows:

Day 1 Arrive in Venice -- Train to Arezzo area (Castiglion Fiorentino) and rent car; or rent car in Venice and drive to Castiglion F (see below).
Days 2-6 S. Tuscany/W.Umbria -- daytrips as above (Rome?)
Day 7 Train or drive to Pisa (drop off car)
Days 8-10 Pisa -- daytrips to Cinque Terre, Florence,
Day 11 Train to Milan
Days 12-13 Milan -- daytrips to Lake Como or Lake Maggiore; other
Day 14 Train to Venice
Day 15 Venice
Day 16 Leave from Venice

A question that arises is whether to take a train from Venice or to rent a car at the airport and drive to Castiglion F? Since we will be renting a car at our destination anyway, concerns over train schedules and fares would be eliminated by picking up the vehicle in Venice.
Has anyone out there driven from Venice (i.e., VCE or Mestre) to the Arezzo area?
Dave_Ohio is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2015, 07:24 PM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Having driven over the mountains between Bologna and Florence, it is not a drive I would want to do jet lagged (especially if beginning the drive at the Venice airport). However, one wrinkle in taking the train to Arezzo and picking up the car there is whether you arrive in Arezzo at a time when the car rental office is open. They usually close between 1pm and 4pm (roughly).

Would it be OK to arrive in Venice and take a train to Pisa first? Spend 3 days there, then rent a car, spend your time in Castiglion Fiorentino, then drop off the car in Florence and take the train to Milan?
sandralist is offline  
Jan 26th, 2015, 10:08 PM
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Posts: 3,518
Things seem to be looking up. I found an incredible "Super-Saver" advance fare of € 9 per person, from Venice Mestre to Arezzo. I adddition, the people at Autonoleggio Martinelli say they will meet us at the station whenever we arrive in Castiglion F.
Dave_Ohio is offline  

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