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Trip REport Sept '07 Italy with a sidetrip to Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia

Trip REport Sept '07 Italy with a sidetrip to Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia

Jan 25th, 2008, 09:29 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Day 14- Up early to get ready to sadly leave this wonderful part of Umbria. Fresh bread and paper at our doorstep, so another relaxing breakfast on the terrace. The hunters were up very early hunting for wild boar.
Drove to Perugia and took a little while to find parking. Walked up the hill and spent a few hours sightseeing the streets and piazzas and visiting
-Fontana Maggiore
-Palazzo dei Priori
-Duomo di San Lorenzo and several smaller churches, then again beautiful views as we walked back to our car.
We then needed a coffee and food to continue on especially for my brain to direct me around Perugia and head us in the direction of Cortona.
The drive to Cortona was lovely over the mountains. Stopped in Cortona(easy parking) and some lovely churches and views of Lago Trasiemeno. Wandered the streets and sat in the piazza while enjoying our gelato before our drive to Pienza.
We arrived in Pienza tired and hungry. We settled into our accommodation Agriturismo Il Colombaiolo after a drink outside watching the fields being ploughed for the maize crop, we went into Pienza town and were able to wander the streets before having a lovely meal at a very friendly trattoria with lovely fresh food-“Da Fiorelli”
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Feb 18th, 2008, 02:33 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Finally able to return to my report and hopefully finish it. Work and daughters engagement party have taken up some time, but here goes...

Day 15- Had a lovely breakfast on the terrace with a superb view then drove to Montalcino, wondered the streets and tasted some vino , then bought some Brunello vino and visited the cathedral.
Continued down the valley to Abbazia di Sant Antimo, a lovely Romanesque church dating back to 8th century AD and run by the Benedictine monks.
We went on our merry way through beautiful countryside to Bagno Vignoni, a small spa town. Walked down to the streams and around the sulphur pool and checked out some sculptures.
Continued our journey up through San Quirico D’orcia and made our way to Montepulciano which is a wonderful hilltop town with lots of corners to turn and find another scenic view.Here we visited the duomo and climbed the tower of the palazzo for some great views. We bought some lovely wine and jars of tasty bruschetta toppings for our supplies. We found it handy to have a small insulated bag for food supplies especially when we had the car and could stop for snacks or picnics.
After a café stop we drove back to our accommodation to relax on the terrace beforedriving up to Pienza for a return visit to Da Fiorelli. Another enjoyable dinner.

Day 16- Woke to an overcast morning, had breakfast watching the deer run across the freshly ploughed paddocks then left another lovely place to drive to Siena via San Quirico. Parked easily at San Francesco Parking station and went on the escalators right up into the town. I found Siena to be a majestic small city with an easy going atmosphere.
We spent some time at Il Campo people watching and strolling around its perimeter then the Duomo- another amazing building with so much to take in from the ground up. We spent quite a lot of time here viewing the floor, pulpit and paintings and then entered the Liberia Piccolomini – wonderful frescoes, choir books and statue.
We also visited the markets, having coffee and pizza we slowly walked back to the car to continue on our journey. Driving into Siena was easy, driving out to the direction we wanted was a harder task, but finally on our way to San Gimignano.
We checked into Hotel Relais Santa Chiara, a nice hotel with helpful staff, small but nice room with a balcony, fine for one nights stay. We walked up into the town, to the other end, stopping off at the Duomo, lots of spots for views, found some lovely little shops in out of the way lanes, then headed back to the hotel for a sleep. We went back into town to wander and enjoyed a late dinner at a wonderful small restaurant, we were lucky to get a table. Another stroll along the walls then back to the bar at the hotel for a few drinks and chat with some lovely English tourists that visit the area every year- how nice!
Slept well after a very long day.

Day 17- After a full buffet breakfast we left another wonderful town that we had again just touched the surface of and would love to return to one day.
This was our last day with the rental car and had found the driving in the countryside fine, parking at towns was fine.
We drove through the Chianti area stopping for many photo shots of the beautiful countryside. We only saw one accident in our 6 days of driving, this was a motor scooter and a car in the Chianti area. We stopped at Castellina in Chianti- picnic in a park and walked through the town, and Greve- wandered the town visiting the wine museum. We stopped at a tiny little town for caffe to ready us for the entering of Florence!
We had used maps through our travels of Umbria and Tuscany and mostly found this fine except maybe our drive into Florence. I was a little nervous but I had my directions ready. We were suddenly in closer than I thought and I directed beautifully, my husband did the round a bouts great (he had got used to the “wrong” side of the road) then we crossed the bridge and turned into the 2nd last street before our destination- I spoke to soon and said ”That was easy” The road was blocked, not to worry, we just needed to go back around the block and come in another way. After finding my alternative way a ‘one way street’ then finally into the right street and unable to find Hertz. my husband was getting a ‘little’ frustrated. We went back to the road block where he could stop and I knew we were only metres from the rental car return so I left him to find it on foot. I asked at another car rental office and found we had been given the wrong address, found Hertz then walked back to my husband and the car (thankfully still there) Redirected to Hertz with my husband going off about Hertz being useless (they had also told us our car was ‘Unleaded’ when we picked it up- luckily my husband checked for himself as it was ‘Diesel’) . Unloaded the car to find we had to drop it around in another street. I stayed with the luggage and left him to take the car. Luckily he returned and we could finally begin our visit to Florence.
I think my husband was ready to get a taxi to our accommodation but I had worked out the walking route and how far so off we went. In the countryside of Umbria and Tuscany we had been in a relaxed mode of travel especially with transporting our ‘heavier than before luggage’ and pulling our suitcases through the crowded streets was a challenge but I kept smiling back at my husband (both thinking ‘oh no this city isn’t going to be as good as expected’ – we live in a semi rural area and love visiting cities but also love countryside)
We found ‘Relais Grand Tour’ easily and was welcomed to our room. Beautiful room with lovely furniture, bathroom. Our host was very helpful and we had use of the internet. Recharged and ready to go
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Feb 18th, 2008, 07:40 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 148
Day 17 continued
We headed off to Piazza Duomo and visited Santa Maria del Fiore and the Baptistry- very impressive, then to Ponte Vecchio. As we were looking for somewhere for dinner we heard classical music coming from a church (Cathedral Santa Stefano) down an alley way. Of course I let my ears do the navigating and it was decided our early night was not to be. The Florence Symphonietta Orchestra were having a practise and selling tickets so we quickly purchased ours then off to have dinner before the performance. A wonderful evening of Haydn and Mozart.

Day 18- Up early and down to the café for pastries, YUM, and very good coffee. Our accommodation included vouchers for breakfast.
Walked to the Academia, lucky we had a booking as there was a long line. David was another highlight, and also the musical instruments on display were very interesting.
Booked our train tickets for the next part of our trip. ( If we passed travel agents we used them for booking the next leg of the trip and saved going to the train station)
Went back to Piazza Duomo and climbed the Campanile, all 414 steps and got a great view of the city and the Dome. Then to Piazza Della Signoria via Orsanmichele .Wandered the Piazza and Loggia della Signoria, caffe and pizza to prepare for the Uffizi.(again glad we had a booking) We enjoyed the art here and have learnt alot of history through the art. Also I find reading about the artists very interesting. We had a break at the café and to check out the view of the Dome and Campanile of Santa Maria.
Strolled back to our accommodation for a rest and dinner then spent the evening strolling the streets, crossing Ponte Vecchio, gelato and taking in the night sights of Florence.
AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 08:36 PM
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Day 19- Down to the café for our morning hit of caffeine along with savoury and/or sweet pastries. Well it had to keep us going till lunch. Caught an early train to Pisa and walked through the town to Campo de Miracoli to see the Leaning Tower, Duomo and Baptistry. While we were in the Baptistry one of the attendants sang to show how good the acoustics are.
Caught the train back to Florence and visited the Central Markets where we saw a great array of produce (rabbit, wild boar, ducks and many other interesting bits of animals) We went safe and had pizza.Spent some time around the markets outside and finally bought my 20 gifts to take home for my preschoolers, little Pinocchio dolls.
Back to our accommodation for a rest then caught the bus up to Fiesole. We visited the Roman Theatre (1st Century), Roman Baths, Temple and Museum. (very impressive) the Duomo then up the steep climb to enjoy the wonderful view. We then enjoyed drinks and snacks as the sun set. Back down to Florence where we went out for one last stroll through the city centre stopping for some coffee and delicious torte. YUM
We were sad again to be leaving another wonderful place but looking forward to our next destination.

AmanteDelLimoncello is offline  

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