Rome - Florence - Tuscany

Old Mar 24th, 2005, 05:28 PM
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Rome - Florence - Tuscany

Quick synopsis. Love Paris, but being Italian I need, that's right NEED, to make my first trip to Italy. Husband and I would like to feel like locals (our favorite way) and not so touristy. Have about 8 days. Any time of year, preferably off season. Want to do Rome then Florence and Tuscany. Have only just started my reading books on this .... would like help from Fodorites. How to travel between the 3 cities, if landing in and departing from Rome? Train? Which city in Tuscany? Remember only about 8 days. Thanks to everyone.
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 05:34 PM
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Trains are fine - Florence is in Tuscany, so add Venice and you have the big unmissable three!
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 05:35 PM
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I just posted 2 separate trip reports on Al Poggiolo apartments (in Tuscany) and on Rome. See threads under those search-words or click on my name to see my recent posts.
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 05:36 PM
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Oh, yes, Sorry. I know Florence is in Tuscany...I meant which "little" town or towns in Tuscany? Thanks!!!
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 06:00 PM
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I completely umderstand your "need" to see Italy as we felt the same way.

With only eight days (nights?), you can easily do three in Rome and five in Tuscany.

Rome is a fabulous city. I would suggest staying in the Centro Storico area near the Pantheon/Piazza Navona. There are many charming hotels in this very charming part of Rome.

Then rent a car and drive to Tuscany. Driving is the best way to see Tuscany.

Again, there are so many great places to visit and to stay. For smaller towns, look at Montalcino, Castellina, Pienza, Greve, Montepulciano--all great choices. For larger towns, look at Siena and San Gimignano.

I'm sure you will many other excellent suggestions.
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Old Mar 25th, 2005, 09:02 AM
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I "second" Lorac's suggestion to stay near the Centro Storico in Rome near the Pantheon. Hotel Santa Chiara is a very short walk from the Pantheon itself, and near Piazza Navona for night strolling and gelato.
As for driving through Tuscany, I also agree with the towns mentioned above, and add to that Orvieto, which is not at all out of the way if traveling to Rome.
Did not take trains but rented car at Rome airport, drove north visiting small towns, on to Siena, Florence(park the car!),then out to San Gim on way back to Rome for a stay.
A great first trip to Italy ~ you will love.
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Old Mar 25th, 2005, 12:23 PM
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I would suggest three nights in Rome, train to Florence for two nights, rent a car and drive to Pienza area for three nights, and then drive back to Rome airport for flight home. Of course, you could do this in any order. Many on this board would agree that the area around Pienza is the best in Tuscany in terms of beautiful countryside and interesting hill towns including Montepulciano and Montalcino.
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Old Mar 25th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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These are wonderful suggestions for this Italia neophyte! I am studying the maps fervently and I like the suggestions very much.

What I have read here and in books is that a car should be rented while still in the US prior to trip. True? Also, how likely is it that we will get lost on our drives through Italy?! Thanks again.
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Old Mar 25th, 2005, 12:45 PM
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Not sure if its a no-no to say so here! But I have found Rick Steves Italy book so helpful in our quest to see Italy like locals. Like you my Mom is Italian and making her first trip to her Dad's homeland and we want a low key trip. I found lots of great info here but have also found that book to be an invaluable guide in planning the practical aspects of our trip. (and no I don't work for him!
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Old Mar 25th, 2005, 12:52 PM
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Paris, I didn't find driving in Italy difficult but generally its difficult to find signs with road numbers, the signs just tell where the road is going to, as long as you have a good map so you know what town is in what direction, you should be fine. We had no trouble driving between towns. We didn't on my first trip to Northern Italy.
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Old Mar 25th, 2005, 12:55 PM
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We did rent a car in the US before departure for Italy during our most recent trip to Venice, and for our trip to Rome and Florence some time back. It was very easy to get the car at the Rome airport. It was also not difficult in Venice ~ we just had to get to Piazzele Roma, the transportation hub of the city, because we did not rent it for our airport arrival day, but midway during our stay for road trips.

As for driving in Italy, between Rome and Florence and to all towns mentioned in this thread, we found no difficulty at all. In fact, we thought the roads well-marked, and somewhat winding (of course), but very manageable for both driver and passengers!
Have fun planning.

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Old Mar 25th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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You will get lost driving in Italy but it is part of the fun. And you will no be lost for long. Get a good map and memorize the main towns along your route as you will see signs pointing you in the direction of certain towns which may be one mile away or 200 miles away. As long as you know that you are pointed in the right direction you just keep driving. And I would definitely reserve the rental car ahead of time. Auto Europe is very good - we have used them seven times with no problems.
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