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Should we go to Florence?

Old Apr 26th, 2009, 04:47 AM
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Should we go to Florence?

We are going to Italy with our 2 teenage sons in August, but only for a week. Here are the must sees...we need to spend one night in Sassetta near Bolgheri, and we need to spend the last 3 nights (to give us 2 full days) in Rome...our flight leaves in the am so the last day is lost.

I have 2 nights booked in the Val d'Orcia to be near Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano...so it looks like this so far:

Wed's am: arrive 7:00 am, drive to Sassetta (I know, brutal)
Weds night at Tenuta La Bandita in Sassetta, go to beach, Bolgheri
Thursday go to Bolgheri winery, drive to Florence in the afternoon?
Thursday night..? This is where I'm unsure, do we want to go to Florence or somewhere else? Suggestions?
Friday and Saturday, San Simeone in Rocca d' Orcia
Sunday late...drive to Rome, dinner stay at Ponte Sisto
Monday and Tuesday, explore Rome
Wednesday up and straight to airport.

I've been to Florence twice and last time said never again...crowded, hot, just too much...but DH wants the boys to see the Duomo, where their grandfather was baptised.

Worth it? I'm not sure, I'm wondering if we should go to San Gimagnano instead or spend another night in Sassetta, go to the beach again.

I'm open to any and all suggestions, the boys are 16 and 19.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 04:48 AM
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Meant to add, we're flying in and out of Rome, that's why we have to be in Rome at the end of the trip.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 04:59 AM
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If my grandfather were baptised in that duomo, I'd certainly want to see it.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 05:13 AM
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Firstly, August is certainly not a good time to visit Tuscany. It will be very hot, whereever you are.

Secondly, the drive from Sassetta to Florence takes over 2 hours - one way. Seems to be a lot for an afternoon. And I cannot imagine that you are going on a tour AFTER visiting a winery (it makes sense the other way round - why don't you visit the winery Wednesday afternoon?).

Thirdly, actually everything is pretty far from Sassetta (travelwise, it is not exactly a good base). I personally always find Pisa very impressive, but it is still over an hour driving time from Sassetta. San Gimignano is 1:45 min from Sassetta, which is a lot for a medieval village. Even Populania (Etruscan ruins) is 45 min driving time from Sassetta.

Fourthly, it seems to make sense to leave Sassetta for another base in Tuscany. Something in Siena or the vicinity (including S. Gimignano) would be good if you want to do some sightseeing. But given the imbearable heat in August, think about staying at the beach. And go back to Italy in a better time of year.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 05:31 AM
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After arriving in Rome you could train to Florence (1.75hrs) and spend one night there to see Duomo and then rent car the next day and head out to Sassetta (2.15hrs) stopping on the way to see whatever hill towns you want to that you go through on the way and then spend 2 nights in Sassetta. And then on to next stop.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 06:10 AM
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Sorry, but www.mappy.com shows Florence to Sassetta as 2.15hrs but re-checking after reading 1959s comments above it also shows Florence to San Gimignano 1hr, San G to Volterra 45min and Volterra to Sassetta 1hr, so it is 2.45hrs. Maybe I just need glasses.

And it will be hot as you noted but to me just an excuse to eat more gelato! You are so fortunate to be able to share Italy and family history with your sons.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 06:26 AM
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It's better not to drive in Florence. Cars in the historic center are strictly limited. You'd have to park on the outside and take a bus in. Instead you could stay a night in Siena or just outside and take the bus into Florence for a daytrip. The historic center of Siena is marvelously dark and medieval at night.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 07:48 AM
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"Fourthly, it seems to make sense to leave Sassetta for another base in Tuscany. Something in Siena or the vicinity (including S. Gimignano) would be good if you want to do some sightseeing. But given the imbearable heat in August, think about staying at the beach. And go back to Italy in a better time of year."

That was helpful. Imagine rolling eyes icon inserted here.

We can only go in August because of our kids school/work/sports schedules and because that's when we were able to use FF miles, we know it will be hot, and my husband specifically wants to visit Bolgheri.

If we go to Florence, it will be for an overnight, I don't know where you got the idea that it would just be for an afternoon.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 07:55 AM
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T4TX and Mimar, thank you, you're suggestions were very helpful and I hadn't thought of them. I'll look into your suggestions.

T4TX, your idea is actually really good!
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 08:34 AM
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hi nina,

assuming it's not a marriage breaker, I would leave Florence out. you will see very little in one eveing/morning,and you are moving around enough anyway. we spent a week there about 2 years ago, when our kids were 18 & 15, and they both far preferred Rome. are teenage lads really thrilled to see where their grandads were baptized? not in my experience. it wil mean much more to them when they are older.

regards, ann
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 08:42 AM
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In all due respect, isn't this something you should discuss with your family instead of a forum? Is it important to your husband that the sons see the Duomo? Are the sons open to visiting it? Will it give them a sense of family history in their teen years? etc.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 08:48 AM
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I agree with seaurchin. The problem seems to me not the logistics but the attitudes, including the one that says you all must be together doing the same thing every minute. Seems to me the boys can go to Florence with only one adult while you enjoy something else.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 04:35 PM
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"In all due respect, isn't this something you should discuss with your family instead of a forum?"

Not really, since it's a question of logistics more than anything else...

Ann, thanks, you make a good point. I don't know that the boys will care all that much about the Duomo.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 04:41 PM
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If baptising was done in the Duomo, then what's the Baptistry next to it for?
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 05:32 PM
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If you do decide to forgo Florence you may still want to consider the train option. You could train from Rome airport to Campiglia Marittima 3hrs, rent car and it is 30min drive to Sassetta.

Glad to help and it is nice to know efforts appreciated. Fodor folks have helped me, so like to return the favor.

Only you can decide if you want to brave the Florence crowds, (maybe such a limited visit would be a good thing) anyway, there is a wow factor to seeing the Duomo to the first time that stays with you. Just saying.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 09:05 PM
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I happen to love Florence, and our teenagers do also. One way to beat the heat is to sightsee in the morning and late afternoon, taking an air conditioned nap after lunch. Florence is just so wonderful in the evening!

If Sasseta is where I think it is (tuscan coast east of Val d'orcia?), i would suggest going straight to the val d'orcia location with your car from Sasseta. After your stay there, drive to Florence (driving in is difficult, but not impossible -- we've done it a couple of times w/o a GPS), drop your car, stay a night or two. Then you can take a train straight to Rome.

btw, We had a great 2 bedroom apt in Florence with our 2 teens half a block from the Baptistry through Sleeping in Florence (we rented apt conti, 156 euro per night). If you want to read more about it, click on my name and scroll down to my trip report - Three Weeks in Italy.

good luck planning,
dina
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 09:15 PM
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Dina,
We loved Florence as well -
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 06:35 AM
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Dina! Thank you! I don't know why I didn't think of that...duh.

Very, very helpful, we'll just do Florence last before Rome and it will acutally save a lot of driving.

I'm going to rearrange the hotels now, I just need a hotel in or near Florence with a pool that won't break the bank, thanks!

Oh and Sassetta is Tuscan coast west of Val d'Orcia near Bolgheri, which is a religious pilgramage for my husband the oenophile.

Thanks everyone.

PS, yes, my father-in-law was baptised in the baptistry, I just assumed that was understood...oh well.
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Old Apr 28th, 2009, 02:44 PM
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nina, we're a literal lot here.

you say Duomo, we think duomo.

your new plan looks good and keep the family happy. well done.

have you thought of Fiesole, as you are thinking about staying outside florence? many people take the bus up to Fiesole, no reason why you can't do it the other way round.


regards, ann
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 05:32 AM
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a hotel with a pool IN florence might be tough...

if a pool is a must... one year we stayed in impruneta, outside of florence, at a lovely place:

http://www.relaisfarmholiday.it/farmhouse.phtml

there is bus service into florence, but we never used it, since we stayed there after our florence visit.
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