Trip Notes - Tuscany / Val D'Orcia

Reply

Jul 26th, 2001, 11:46 AM
  #1
JB
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Trip Notes - Tuscany / Val D'Orcia

I am just home from another fabulous trip to beautiful Italia. Thanks to some recommendations found here and other places, we chose to spend four nights just outside the enchanting town of Pienza in the impossibly beautiful Val D'Orcia. This area is a great base for southern Tuscany - remote enough to feel like you have discovered your own personal little corner of heaven, yet within easy driving distance of good restaurants, shops, etc. Here are a few notes I would like to share - hope they bring you as much pleasure as they did to me!

HOTEL: We stayed 4 nights at Le Traverse, an agriturismo with three guest rooms, located just outside Pienza. The views of the town from the hotel are gorgeous. Very nice and comfortable accommodations at a BEAUTIFUL old converted farmhouse in an idyllic setting. Run and hosted by a retired "country gentleman" and his ambitious wife, who make their own wines, olive oil, jams, etc. Le Traverse was exactly the kind of charming place we hoped to find in Tuscany - simple, quiet, and in an idyllic setting - and at 220,000 lire for a double incl breakfast (about $100 per night), it was a fantastic value too.

DRIVING: You have to have a car to properly see this area. Once you are in the countryside, driving is relatively simple. My opinion - go SLOW, pull over and enjoy the view frequently. Dont think you will see all of Tuscany on this trip. Take a lot of little back roads and discover what is right in this area. Dont stress out trying to cover a lot of distance every day. I was CERTAIN when we arrived that we would drive to places like San Gimignagno and Lucca, but we never made it! Too many things to do on the way!

FAVE RESTAURANTS:
All require reservations made in advance during peak summer season. ALWAYS FULL!

Pienza - Latte di Luna - casual family-run place. Try for a garden table on a warm summer evening. Yum!

Montichiello (a few km from Pienza) - La Porta - high casual. In a lovely old building in the city wall - try for a table on the terrace with lovely view of the countryside. Simple yet more upscale.

Montalcino - Banfi Winery just outside of town has a to-die-for gourmet restaurant, complete with lots of tastsing of their excellent product. Worth going to see just for the scenery and the beautiful old castle the winery is in.

Happy trails through Tuscany,
JB

 
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2001, 12:12 PM
  #2
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
JB, any other info you can give on the Banfi vineyards (ie, tours, location etc), they are my personal fav. Thanks.
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2001, 02:04 PM
  #3
lisa
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks JB! I will be in Tuscany at the end of August and we are staying in Montalcino, so I really appreciate the restaurant recommendations. I can hardly wait!
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2001, 04:49 PM
  #4
Julie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks. We'll be in Pienza in September. I'm taking your info with me.
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2001, 06:39 PM
  #5
JB
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
P.S. Re Banfi Winery - happy to be of help. All I can tell you is that after much bumbling about trying to figure out where Banfi was, a woman in the city center told us to take THE ROAD TO GROSSETO. My memory says about 8 km outside of Montalcino. That is all I can give for directions. Keep watching the numerous winery signs for BANFI. I looked on the Michelin map - no road number, but it is highlighted in green as a scenic route. And so very scenic it is, with the beautiful Castello Banfi and killer Brunello di Montalicino as OZ at the end of the unmarked, yellow-brick (dirt) road. ENJOY! Worth the effort, especially if you love Brunello! And who wouldn't...?
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 26th, 2001, 06:49 PM
  #6
KF
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Ahhhhh, I love reading other people's thoughts on that little corner of Tuscany. I stayed a week in a villa down the hill from Montichiello in 1997, and loved every second of it. Montichiello doesn't appear on many maps - that's the charm of it. It's about halfway between Montepulciano and Pienza. I agree with JB... you won't really want to drive to other parts of Tuscany each day of your holiday. There's no need, what you have around you there is simply perfect. Enjoy the view of Mt Amiata at sunset!
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2001, 05:41 PM
  #7
terry
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
JB: Thanks for the great tips. It makes all of us long for that area. I'm taking that type of trip myself this fall. About how many kms. did you average in those casual driving days? Cost of gas? Would love to know. Terry
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2001, 07:40 AM
  #8
JB
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi re: driving - gas was VERY expensive - I didnt keep specifics but it cost about $50 to fill up our tiny little Fiat Punto rental car. We did not average any certain number of kms per day - just set out for a nearby destination, then got sidetracked wherever we wanted to on the way there and back. The most scenic road of our stay in the area does not have a number on my Michelin map - we bumbled onto it on our way out of Sarteano. Head out of Sarteano toward Chianciano, then on your way out of town, veer off on to a tiny gravel road that takes you to Catiglioncello dei Trinoro. This was accidental luck for us - we had NO idea where we were, just kept driving around this dirt trail, and it took us way up high, past BREATHTAKING vistas of the Tuscan countryside. There are no colors in the world like those of the Val D'Orcia. We stopped about every three minutes to take more pictures. Eventually, we wound our way back around to Pienza. We didn't cover many kms and we did not see typical tourist things, but it was the most beautiful day of driving I have ever done.

Have fun everyone! Thanks for letting me reminisce!
JB
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2001, 07:47 AM
  #9
April
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi, JB. Loved reading your trip notes.

I would appreciate hearing a bit more about what you meant by a "double" room at Le Traverse. Meaning, what size beds were they? Thanks for any info.
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2001, 09:28 AM
  #10
JB
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi April - double room was a room with two single beds pushed together. As you may know, this is typical in Europe if you want a double bed. But oooh the linen sheets!
Thanks and have fun.
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2001, 05:50 PM
  #11
April
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks, JB. Really appreciate your helpful response.
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 30th, 2001, 06:21 PM
  #12
Terry
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
JB: Thanks again. Your description sounds delightful. I'm staying @ Chianciano, so that detour is a must!
 
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:11 AM.