See Siena 4 Me (or Ciao)

Old Oct 5th, 2000, 04:29 PM
  #1  
jeri
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See Siena 4 Me (or Ciao)


booked a room outside of Siena for 4 nites and would greatly appreciate info on what towns to see by car. Gracie!
 
Old Oct 5th, 2000, 09:07 PM
  #2  
Susan
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Jeri,

I suspect many will advise San Gimignano, but we spent less time there than anticipated, because there seemed to be too many people visiting at the same time. If you stop there, my favorite experience was touring Sant'Agostino, which has great frescoes by Gozzoli. We had a guided tour by one of the Augustinian brothers who explained the frescoes and the life of Saint Augustine. (The brothers had just begun doing these tours when we visited about 2 years ago, hope they are still doing so.)

But consider driving west from San Gimignano to the town of Volterra - definately off the beaten track for most tourists and a great town for walking around for a few hours. The town is surrounded by Etruscan walls, as you walk around them (I believe on the north and west side) you realize that the town is set upon a high escarpment and you have great vista across to smaller villages and fields below. There are also ruins of a Roman theatre and baths, an Etruscan museum, and medieval times are well represented by the Piazza and Palazzo dei Priori.

Volterra is known for the roast boar and wild game used in its cooking - but I wasn't brave enough to try. It is also known for alabaster; purchased some very simple and beautiful white bowls for under $10 US.

I'm looking forward to reading the advice from others. I think a car for this area is great, it gave us lots of flexibility to enjoy a variety of places and to get a close look at the vinyards and olive groves.

 
Old Oct 6th, 2000, 06:09 AM
  #3  
jeri
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thanks susan - really appreciate the info.
 
Old Oct 6th, 2000, 08:26 AM
  #4  
Paulo
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Jeri: would you mind making the picture more complete? Which month are you travelling? Which days of week would you be in the Siena area? Where exactly is your base? From where will you be coming and to where are you going after your stay in the area? Will you already have a car when arriving in the area or will you rent in Siena? What's the maximum time you feel like spending behind a driving wheel on daytrips out from your base?

I know ... I'm a pain but answers to the above questions may lead to better suggestions!

Paulo
 
Old Oct 6th, 2000, 09:00 AM
  #5  
spinelli
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Jeri,

My wife and I just returned from Siena. I agree about Volterra. Just note that there are no cars allowed in town ad you will have to mount 200+ stairs to the town proper. There is an alabaster shop at the head of the stairs, and a co-op in the center of town that have some nice items. Lunch at Il Pocellino. Once you leave the autostrade in Tuscany you will have to deal with corkscrew roads. Volterra winds up about an hour's drive from the autostrade.

An hour south of Siena the town of Pienza is an interesting Renaissance town. Lunch at Falco's.

I would rcommend not driving in Siena, particularly on Wednesday, market day. Parking is very limited. We used cabs from our hotel in Colle Val D'Elsa. (We were lucky to witness a special Palio on September 9-a spectacular event.)

Have a good trip.

Siennese are very friendly and they have a beautiful city to be proud of.
 
Old Oct 6th, 2000, 01:07 PM
  #6  
jeri
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Paulo-we are arriving Rome tues. rent car from airport. drive to Siena staying hotel Borgo Pretale.other 2 choices taken.we have 4 days to see the area.thanks for your help.
 
Old Oct 6th, 2000, 03:13 PM
  #7  
Paulo
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Would this be Tuesday next week?

You may wish to note down the cities that will be holding weekly markets during your stay in your area. I, for one, love to stroll a market site, to watch people around, to chat here and there and, why not, to do my own shopping (e.g., all the ingredients for a nice picknick). Markets are usually on from 8am to 1pm (here and there it may start at 7am or end at 2pm)

On Wednesday, as noted by Spinelli, the La Lizza market will be on in Siena. It would be a nice introduction to the city. After an hour or so, you should be ready to star visiting this outstanding medieval city. On Thursday, you'd have a choice of Castelnuovo Berardenga or San Gimignano. Castelnuovo Berardenga would be on the Gallo Nero Chianti district itinerary ... but under the circumstances I would go for San G. On Friday the action takes place in Colle Val d'Elsa and Montalcino. Don't know where you're heading to Saturday ... there would be a market in Castellina in Chianti.

I take it that you'll play it by ear on Tuesday. After a long flight maybe all you'll care for is to get to Sovicille as fast as possible. Anyway, if your flight arrives in a "reasonable" hour and you feel fit along the way, you may consider stopping in Orvieto. The nonstop drive from the airport using Autostrade shall take some 3 hours. A short visit to Orvieto would take from 2 to 3 hours.

I would spend one of your days in Siena (I would choose Wednesday). On Thursday I would visit San Gimignano in the morning and, after lunch, I would either do the Chianti district drive (Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti, Castello di Brólio and Castelnuovo Berardenga) or plan a visit to Volterra. On Friday, I would go for a visit to Montalcino and from there to San Quirico, Pienza, Montepulciano, Monte Olivetto and Asciano). On Saturday ... it would depend on where you're heading.

Paulo

PS. If you're travelling next week, there would be a nice festival in Castiglione d'Orcia on Saturday (the "salga" dei fungi e castagne). Unfortunately, this may be out of the way, to the south ...
 
Old Oct 6th, 2000, 04:09 PM
  #8  
jeri
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thanks Paulo for all the great information on Siena and area.

on the way back to Rome we'll stop in Orvieto, unless as you said we're not too tired from the flight.

you wouldn't by any chance be able to recommend some restaurants in Rome would you? we have 2 days there.

Thanks again for helping me. im really looking forward to this trip. jeri
 
Old Oct 7th, 2000, 01:58 PM
  #9  
Leslie
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Thanks for the great info. We are also leaving on Tues. Oct. 10. Land in Rome & on to Florence then Sovicille (Borgo Il Poggiaccio) for 7 days and finally Rome. Cant thank you enough Paulo for all of your suggestions. The market info will come in handy.
 
Old Oct 7th, 2000, 04:36 PM
  #10  
Paulo
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I'm just copying an old post of mine, Jeri, regarding restaurants in Rome (prices, once again, should be somewhat outdated ...due to the Italian tourism inflation)

Paulo

.........................

Author: Paulo ([email protected])
Date: 5/21/1999, 7:15 pm ET

Message: I'll add my 2 cents although I've not been to Rome in almost 2 years. I also haven't been to some of the recommendations below in the last 5 years.

Price ranges have been updated by using info availbale from many sources (guides, net, newsgroups, friends that have been more recently, etc.). Beware that fish in Rome normally adds some to the bill. Prices are prp person for a complete meal (copperto, antipasto, primo, secondo, dolce, caffe and 1/2 bottle of house wine). Dining in 2 normally saves some because of plate sharing. The lunch bill should normally be not more than 65%.

over Lit 100,000

* AGATA E ROMEO (Via Carlo Alberto 45 - Tel. 06/4465842, closed on Sundays and for lunch on Mondays). Although the neighborhoods of Sta. Maria Maggiore, and the street in particular, are not what one could call Rome's prime, the place is one of Rome's best. It certainly is the best we got to experiment. The place is very elegant and well kept. Cuisine is the traditional Roman somewhat criatively modified to use the quality ingredients available in the markets/season. Very fine wine selection. Reservations are essential.

* IL CONVIVIO (Via del'Orso 44 - Tel 06/6869432, closed Sundays and Saturdays for lunch) Reservations a must because it's very small. Classical and Roman Cuisine with a new, creative touch, specially regarding the use of herbs. Probably one of the best in town for a romantic evening.

 
Old Oct 7th, 2000, 04:37 PM
  #11  
Paulo
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from Lit 75,000 to Lit 100,000

* PAPA GIOVANNI (Via dei Sediari 4 - Tel 06/6865308, closed Sundays) Traditional Roman and Regional cuisines revisited criatively. Rustic but very elegant ambience. Very good wine selection.

* CHECCINO DAL 1887 (Via di Monte Testaccio 30 - Tel 06/5746318, closed Sunday evenings and Mondays) Traditional Roman and Regional cuisine. Surprising ambience in the excavated cavern in Monte Testaccio. Also outside tables. House specialities are dishes that include less than noble parts of beef (tripe, tail, marrow, etc). But don't be scared, there are plenty of more "normal" dishes. Reservations mandatory.

* SABATINI (Piazza Sta. Maria in Trastevere 13 - Tel 06/5812026). Roman cuisine and seafood. One of our preferred spots in Rome to dine outside, overlooking the charming piazza, the fountain and the beautiful facade of the church, and watching its hustle-bustle. If you can't find a table outside the price is too salty for my taste. We usually have fresh fish.

from Lit 40,000 to Lit 75,000

* PICCOLA ROMA (V Uffici del Vicario 36, Tel 06/6793546) - typical Roman cuisine in the heart of the historic center

* AL CEPPO (Via Panama 2 - Tel 06/8419696) Ideal to experiment if you book the last available schedule at the Galleria Borghese and don't want to go back to the hotel before dining. Regional cuisine from Le Marche. Delicious pasta and meat dishes. There's a big fireplace inside where meat dishes are prepared. Outside tables in summer.

* GRAPPOLO D'ORO (Via Palestro 4/10, Tel 06/4941441) This is just a bit more expensive than its mate at the Piazza della Cancellaria, but undoubtely much better. The cuisine is mainly marinara (seafood).

* NINO (Via Borgognona 11 - Tel 06/6795676) Near piazza di Spagna, we liked it so much some years ago, that we dined here 3 nights in a row. Cuisine is Italian, mainly Tuscan. Dishes are plain but of highest quality. Very professional waiters.

below Lit 40,000

* CANTINA CANTARINI (Piazza Sallustio 12, Tel 06/485528) - Located between the Via Veneto and Piazzale Porta Pia, this place serves regional cuisine from Le Marche and seafood/fish twice a week. There are tables outside.

* DA GINO (Vic. Rossini 4, Tel 06/6873434) - Very good traditional Roman cuisine/fish in this characteristic trattoria. The beautiful frescoes give it a nice touch. Very good service.

* ABRUZZI (Via Vaccaro 1, Tel 06/6793897) - This place is located at one side of Piazza SS Apostoli, just a short walk from Piazza Venezia. Its very good regional cuisine from the Abruzzo and moderate prices make it a students' choice.

* GINO IN TRASTEVERE (V della Lungaretta 85, Tel 06/5803403) Fish/Pizza. This is the place where we got the best spaghetti alle vongole veraci in town.
 
Old Oct 8th, 2000, 09:32 PM
  #12  
jeri
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Paulo- thanks again. all packed and know where i'm going!!!
 

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