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Once in lifetime Tuscany trip, recommendations

Once in lifetime Tuscany trip, recommendations

Feb 5th, 2009, 06:51 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Once in lifetime Tuscany trip, recommendations

My mother casually mentioned that the one thing she would like to do before she dies is go to Tuscany and paint. So for her 80th birthday this september I am taking her and my teenage daughter first to Paris then on to Tuscany for one week. Since our time is short I'd like things to be a relaxed as possible; just eat, paint, enjoy the countryside and take some short trips to sightsee.

Is Florence the city we should fly into?

If you were 80 and this was the only trip you will take to Italy what region of Tuscany would you most want to spend a week painting the countryside?

Any suggestions on choosing and arranging a villa?

Thanks so much.
Jaymingo is offline  
Feb 5th, 2009, 07:00 PM
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For a start, you might stay at la Saracina. I rented a car in Florence to drive there.


The location is a stone's throw from Montepulciano and several of the hilltop towns. Can your mother negotiate the steep towns? Cars are parked at the bottom, so there can be quite the hike up.

The view over the Val d'Orcia from la Saracina, however, is one of the most beautiful vistas I have ever encountered. I'm sure, others will chime in here.

Hope your trip goes well.
muskoka is offline  
Feb 5th, 2009, 07:04 PM
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Florence or Pisa both have airports that should have flights from Pars.
ellenem is online now  
Feb 5th, 2009, 07:11 PM
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Jaymingo: I forgot to mention that as of two years ago, only breakfast was served at la Saracina, so you would have to travel the short distances to the towns for lunch and dinner.
muskoka is offline  
Feb 5th, 2009, 07:45 PM
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Try www.slowtrav.com. They have tons of reviews of vacation rentals for Tuscany.
We went 7 years ago and stayed a week at a castle about 25 km southwest of Florence. It was Castello di Montegufoni, and there are several reviews of it on the slowtrav site. Gorgeous views, great ambience, would stay there again in a heartbeat! We rented a car in Florence for the week. There were no steps (unless you rent a second-floor apartment) and no steep climbs at the castello.

You're a wonderful daughter to give your mother such a wonderful gift - I'm sure all of you will have a memorable time.
Hagan is offline  
Feb 5th, 2009, 08:44 PM
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I think the Val d'Orcia is a beautiful area of Tuscany. I would look at Pienza which is pretty flat as a home base. You will need a car.

Henry is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 04:49 AM
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Maybe you need to consult with your mother about her wishes. If you are based in a city like Florence or Sienna there will be more to see "nearby" but certainly not have the beautiful Tuscan vistas in the Vald'Orcia.

Can she walk well, need to rest each day, would she be mostly painting or interested in seeing at least some great art, churches...or only want a very rural relaxing place?
lowcountrycarol is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 05:03 AM
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The Abbey of Sant'Antimo near Montalcino is a wonderful subject and it offers numerous opportunities for the artist.
(I've done 2 watercolors of it.)

It's located in the scenic Val d'Orcia and Pienza is nearby (see Henry's post).
TuckH is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 05:12 AM
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Hi Jay,

I suggest visiting Tuscany first (1).

Fly into Pisa PSA or Florence FLR.

Car rentals at www.kemwel.com or www.novacarhire.com.

You will need an International Driver's Permit.

(1) After Mom sees Paris, she might not want to leave to go to Tuscany.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 05:12 AM
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When are you going?
ira is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 05:33 AM
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ira - OP said in September.

knoxvillecouple is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 05:53 AM
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Fly into Florence. Be aware that from the US, this will likely mean a change of planes. Delta has direct service to Pisa a few days a week. Failing those two, fly into Rome.

Southern Tuscany is a given.

Did you want a hotel or a villa? I would think a hotel would be better. Give us a price range; with a large budget, La Saracina, mentioned above should be wonderful. Here is another upscale option:


For painters, the ruined abbey of San Galgano is just one of the endless subjects:


ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 05:59 AM
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Hi knox,


ira is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 06:59 AM
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Here are a number of hints:

Make sure she has a portable seat that is comfortable and secure.

Buy all supplies before you go and be her bearer so she is not restricted. Let her think what she needs now. There are a number of good on-line art suppliers-Cheap Joe's, Pearl paint, Dick Blick.

My wife and her sisters wear an old sock with a hole so the hadn pops through on their non-painting hand and use it as an old rag. it is very convenient.

Have her practice her techniques by her home to make sure she all she needs.

Bring an umbrella.

Check art tours to see where they stop.

See the view from the villa, which may make it easier.

Give her time to paint.

Bring a digital camera and shoot what she is painting in case it needs to be touched up or she wants to do more when she returns home.

Do not go during rainy reason.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 11:07 AM
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Great comments, thanks.
Mom uses a cane but gets around fairly well. She is so beside herself that we are actually going and just tells me to set things up, but my feeling is that she would be most happy being able to walk out of her villa sit down and paint the view. Though I am sure she would also like to take some day trips to some sites to paint and look at artwork.

We are spending a few days in paris on each end of the week in Tuscany so that mom can see Giverny. A few years ago she and my father went to Paris but someone fell ontop of my mother on the airport escalator upon their arrival and she spent the entire stay and the trip home flat on her back. Needless to say she didn't get to see Giverny or Paris.

We will be flying into CDG.

If anyone has any Ideas where to stay in Paris I would appreciate it.

Thank you all again this is a big help. I can't wait to have all the ducks in a row.
Jaymingo is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 11:37 AM
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Here is the link to my favourite Paris hotel


This boutique hotel has an elevator and is located across the road from the Metro, a park, and a taxi stand and is in a wonderful arrondissement. The Rodin Museum is nearby - have a look at the map.
Staff is extraordinary. Bistros and a Franprix are within a comfortable walking distance. I would live there if I could!
muskoka is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 11:57 AM
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look into agriturismo (staying on a working farm/vinyard). many are very nice - you can get basic to luxurious and everything in between. many have apartments with full kitchens and pools, etc. you usually also get a richer experience with the opportunity to meet the family that owns the farm. agriturismos register with the gov't and the programme is very well run and standards are high. i've stayed in many and i highly recommended it.

places like chianti (castellina, etc) would be well suited for such a trip in my opinion.
walkinaround is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 12:11 PM
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What a great thing to do for your mother!

Give us an idea of your budget for Paris hotels. Do you want a triple room or 2 rooms?
Weekender is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 01:09 PM
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ira is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 02:32 PM
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Forgot to add that when we stayed in the Castello di Montegufoni, there was a large group of artists staying there for some kind of seminar - they would set up their easels in the AM's in the castle archways and paint away. So it must be a good place for artists. By the way, Dante supposedly stayed there during a famine outbreak in Florence.
Hagan is offline  

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