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Please Help me to decide where I should base myself in Tuscany (in December)

Please Help me to decide where I should base myself in Tuscany (in December)

Old Oct 29th, 2008, 08:45 AM
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Please Help me to decide where I should base myself in Tuscany (in December)

Hi all
We are going for our honeymoon for 26 days, late november to mid december. We would be going to Spain and Italy. We have finished the itinerary for Spain however now we are stuck in this Tuscany itinerary. I know December is not the best time to visit Tuscany however, we would really like to go there. We have allocated 7 days for Tuscany / Florence before hitting Rome. We are thinking of experiencing the small Tuscan towns . Any advice where we should base ourselves? We do not really want to lug our bags around every 2-3 days so would prefer a base location and perhaps do some day trips.
Thanks in advice
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 08:46 AM
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Oops, typo error.
Should be Thanks in advance
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 09:34 AM
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I think this one depends on whether you prefer city or hill town for base.

If city, obviously stay in Florence and day trip out.

If you want to stay in hill town and explore then I would suggest somewhere around Siena, San Gimignano, or Volterra.

This way you are close to Florence to go in for day, close enough to coast (2 hours) to go to Lucca, Pisa etc, close to Chianti, and close enought to southern Tuscan towns (1 hour) like Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza and Cortona to see those.

I would plan on renting a car if you decide to stay out in hill town. Use it to go everywhere except Florence.
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 09:41 AM
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Hi Catherine, and congratulations on your honeymoon coming up. Have you thought of Siena, not really small, but definitely lovely and a great base? Small could be Castellina in Chianti if you are into wines. Lucca is a gem, and then there is Cortona from Under the Tuscan Sun. Let me know if you're going to Cortona, I've been in Italy 27 years and had one of the best meals ever there. Don't forget to hook onto ItalianNotebook.com before you go to get a real feel of everyday Italy. Have a wonderful time, and even if you have to bundle up and take an umbrella, Italy is a delight in the off season. It will be all yours. Auguri,
yolanda
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 07:51 AM
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Hi
Forgive me for being ignorant. What would the weather be like in Lucca and Montalcino/Montepulciano?
Most likely, we would be either taking the train from Venice, can someone advise me how can we get to the hill towns? Do we need to go to Florence/Siena and rent a car if supposedly, we want to base ourselves in Lucca?

Thanks in advance
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 08:02 AM
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I think the prettiest spot in Tuscany (actually, my favorite countryside in either France or Italy) is the Val d/Orcia around Pienza. Montepulciano is 15 mins away, Montalcino 25 mins, Siena about 50 mins, Orvieto 1 hr, Assisi & Perugia 1 hr, San Gimignano 1 hr, Florence outskirts about 1 1/2 hrs.

If you prefer staying in the countryside instead of in either Pienza or Montepulciano, I think the perfect honeymoon spot is la Saracina. You can swim laps in the jaccuzi in the room. See if you can get the Malvinsa room
http://www.lasaracina.it/home.en.php

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 08:10 AM
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You need to base yourself somplace where if you get early ice or even snow, you won't be stuck until it clears because you're afraid to drive or you need chains on your tires. I've enjoyed very fine weather in Tuscany in December, but it is is unpredictable and especially so at higher elevations.

Siena might be a very good pick because if it the weather turns bad, there is no end of things to do there, and you can go to other places from there by train.

Lucca is flat and in a valley, but I not a great base for seeing the more legendary hilltowns of Tuscany.

You might consider Saturnia, with its abundance of thermal hot springs.

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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 08:15 AM
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Winter is the "off" season in Montecatini and Montecatini Terme, about 40 minutes by train west of Florence and about 20 minutes inland from the coast. The town is quite lively with the locals, has abundant hotel rooms at "off season" prices, and convenient to many other Tuscan towns. It's a remarkable spa town. We loved its shops, places for strolling, and manicured parks.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 08:48 AM
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How's the weather like in Montecatini? Will there be snow and thus making it difficult to drive?
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 09:41 AM
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Hi Catherine, Tuscany in December is Lovely, for few days you can't visit a lot so would be good Siena and his Valley with lots of place such as Monteriggioni, Montepulciano, Casole D'elsa, Pienza, San Gimignano etc.., delicious food, vine and sweets. Is the perfect place for a romantic Honeymoon !!! For nice accommodation take a look at http://www.allhome.eu/search-accomodation-Toscana-TOS

Have a nice time in Italy
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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We were in Montecatini in November, and the color of the leaves was spectacular. No snow. Cloudless days.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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Catherine,

It doesn't snow anywhere all the time anywhere in Tuscany in December. Therefore, people who have spent two or three days in Tuscany in December -- or even a week -- may not have seen snow, especially if they didn't go to the hill towns where it might have been snowing.

I think what you should do is figure out where you would like to go in Tuscany. And then think about what you would like to be doing if it turns out you have to wait out bad weather. Do you want to be sitting in a spa? Montecantini Terme is a good choice for that, but only if you want to visit the towns of Northern Tuscany. If you want to visit the towns of Southern Tuscany, it's better to be in Saturnia.

Would rather be visiting churches or museums if you can't be outside because of bad weather? Then pick a town that has more than one interesting artistic complex AND is close to the parts of Tuscany you most want to see.



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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 10:07 AM
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Unlike several posters above, I am not flogging anything. I came across a rental apartment in Lucca during one of my searches; take a look at this if you are considering Lucca for a base:


http://www.knowital.com/tuscany/lucc...iso/home2.html
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Old Nov 1st, 2008, 08:52 AM
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Is Pienza, Lucca or Montalcino a better base to explore the tuscan countryside?
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Old Nov 1st, 2008, 09:26 AM
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We based in Montalcino; actually just outside at an agritourismo which was lovely. There are some very nice hotels within the city walls as well as some well regarded restaurants. You may want to rethink the entire tuscany/florence combination....our family found that 5-6 days in florence alone was not enough...but you could do a couple of day trips from there I guess. Maybe you could do 4 nights in Florence and then stop in Siena or Montalcino for 3 nights enroute to Rome. Pick up a car in Florence, drop it at siena and take the train from there to Rome. Be sure to get a navigation system with the rental!
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Old Nov 1st, 2008, 09:27 AM
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That is hard to answer since Tuscany is a big place. I would prefer near Pienza or San Quirico for my favorite parts of south Tuscany.
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Old Nov 1st, 2008, 09:48 AM
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The new Conde Nast Traveler (I think) has a story about Perugia, calling it the sexiest small town in Italy! oooh la la!
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Old Nov 1st, 2008, 10:18 AM
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>>The new Conde Nast Traveler (I think) has a story about Perugia, calling it the sexiest small town in Italy! <<

National Geographic Traveler

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 1st, 2008, 11:09 AM
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My vote goes with Siena. We spent 2 weeks there one time, and it IS indeed central....and you can visit all the above suggestions, (with a car preferably ) It's an interesting city/town with lots to see and do (but NOT the big city of Florence, or small towns like Montilcino, Pienza etc. .....though: Pienza is one of our favorite places in Italy! (to visit for a day or so)
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Old Nov 1st, 2008, 05:14 PM
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Pienza can be very cold. Churches in general can be very cold. Old stone buildings are cold. I have had a very cold time of it in Pienza.

I don't think Decemeber is the ideal time for the Val d'Orcia or surrounding areas, just my opinion. I would never suggest the Val d'Orcia or southern Tuscany without a car in December. That doesn't even sound like fun. Short days and busses. No way.

San Gimignano is hard to get to and from without a car. I've seen people standing at the bus stop at night, freezing.

In Siena, the train station is too far from town. But bus connections are good. Not a tiny town, but...

Someone mentioned Perugia, in Umbria, which I think would be great.

Lucca is great for transportation, and has its charms although it isn't a hill town.

I myself would base in Florence but I love Florence.
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