Trip Report - Tuscany 10 days - Part 1

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Dec 13th, 2006, 02:45 PM
  #1
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Trip Report - Tuscany 10 days - Part 1

Trip Report Tuscany, September 2006 Ė Part 1

Note: My husband and I traveled to Italy the end of September 2006. We absolutely loved everything about Tuscany, and if you like art, architecture, food, and wine, youíll enjoy traveling there too. Iím offering this trip report as a possible guide for those who may be planning a trip to this region, and also since I garnered so much information and help from this forum when planning our trip, I thought Iíd give back! Hopefully youíll learn from our great experiences and some of the mistakes we made. Finally, please excuse any errors in spelling or misuse of words I may have made in this report. Enjoy!

Day 1:

Our cab has not arrived for our 4:00 p.m. flight to Italy! A frantic call and they donít have our reservation that was called in that morning. A cab will be dispatched. Lots of traffic, but our cab driver does a good job, and we make it to the airport in time. There is bedlam at the airport, it is jammed with international travelers.

We had been anticipating an enjoyable flight on Alitalia, hearing that they were great, however, the airline staff can be described as uncaring. They just donít give a hoot and are not shy to show it. For instance, we were served dinner, and people were asking for wine and there wasnít any, just beer. No real sorry, since they were not stocked properly, just take it or leave it attitude. However, we were comfortable, and survived our transatlantic night crossing landing in Rome the next morning.

Day 2:

We easily make our connecting flight to Florence and there waiting for us was our driver from Hotel Lungarno holding up a sign with our name. He efficiently escorts us to the car. Guy and I stare in wonder out the window as he drives us expertly through the crazy traffic and narrow streets of Florence. We are delivered competently to our Hotel.

What at warm welcome we receive at Hotel Lungarno! The hotel is located on a narrow street adjacent to the Arno River and very close to the Ponte Vecchio. The staff is so pleasant and helpful. We are shown our room with a balcony overlooking the Arno and we can see the many bridges along the river. Guy and I feel like weíve been thrown from a run-a-way train into a little piece of heaven. The view is intoxicating.

Letís go explore! We throw ourselves into the throngs parading the Ponte Vecchio and surrounds. Wait, am I in LasVegas, our can this be real? The statues in Piazza della Signoria are the originals (accept David) and we have stepped into the Renaissance, just beautiful. What fun to wander around the streets. I have my first gelato, and Guy orders his first of many paninos, both are excellent.

We pick up a bottle of Chianti at a wine store where we find ourselves feeling like kids in a candy shop, the wine being so inexpensive. Back to our room where fresh fruit has been delivered looking like a still life painting. We throw the French doors open and sit down to sip our Chianti and enjoy the scenery.

It is amazing how many people are touring Florence. Florence is a wildly exciting for shopping with beautiful specialty shops. The streets, lined with cobblestones, are clean, and people we meet are nice. Every narrow street, or alley, has an interesting shop, bar or café. The buildings are old and beautiful with pretty shuttered windows. There are lots of people on bicycles whisking down the crowded streets. The many drivers on the roads are aggressive, so jumping on a curb or squeezing yourself up against a building, to avoid getting hit, is quite normal. We are here to see the art and architecture, and so far we are not disappointed in the least.

After our relaxing sojourn, we went out to explore again. We stroll along the River Arno heading uphill to the Michelangelo Garden. It was a hike for our travel weary bodies, but very much worth the great views of the city from the top. There is another famous copy of the statue of David.

Dinner at our hotel is an event lasting four hours. I might add that this dinner was included in the cost of our stay. Though expensive, the Hotel Lungarno is worth every Euro, everything is wonderful. I practically pass out from jet lag while finishing my Crème Brule. What a perfect meal we had topping off a perfect day.

Day 3

After a wonderful night sleep in our comfortable room, our alarm clock wakes us at 7:00 a.m. Cappuccino and breakfast and weíre off to the Academia where the hotel has made reservations for us. Guy was in a panic; we were in the wrong area of Florence. The museo was another brisk 15-minute walk away from where he thought it was. No worry, even though we have reservations we have to wait in the reservation queue, which is about a 15-minute wait.

The Academia is a smallish museum housing the original Michelangeloís David and other amazing original works of Renaissance masters such as Bottecelli. Being able to view such work, only seen before in art books, is truly incredible.

After the museum we took a walk around Piazza San Marco, then headed back towards the Arno. Passing by the Duomo, we decide to climb the 463 steps to the top. The ascent took us inside the Duomo giving us a closer view of the ceiling frescoes and the interior. This ticket only allows you to go to the top, not inside the church, however, the view of the church when entering and exiting is superb. Itís a workout getting to the top, but what views of Florence and the Arno River!

Leaving the Duomo, we referred to notes given to us by our son who had gone to school in Florence. He had recommended visiting San Lorenzo, so there we went to take in the shopping. So many vendor booths and so much activity! We joined the crowds looking at that the goods for sale. There are lots of leather, jewelry, accessories and the like for sale. After some shopping, exhausted, we find a sidewalk caféí and order vino dícasa and a pizza, which was delicious and so cheap! We hiked back to our hotel for some needed rest.

Our friendly concierge Elisa made dinner reservations for us this evening. So we headed out again back across the Arno to a different section of the city. We had a pleasant dinner and unfortunately I forgot to write down the name of this lovely place.
4mimi is offline  
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Dec 13th, 2006, 03:46 PM
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rex
 
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While it i preferred (in my opinion) that you post all the parts of your trip report in a single posting (as responses to yourself) - - and I still recommend that you do that...

... the next best thing is to post the links to the other parts here (since the parts will not stick together).

Part 2 - - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34913571

Part 3 - - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34913574

Part 4 - - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34913580

Ideally, similar links could/should be posted in each of the parts. Let me jnow if you need help knowing how to do that (not so necessary of course, if you cut and paste the other parts here).

Best wishes,

Rex
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Dec 13th, 2006, 04:03 PM
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I just read all four parts and loved your enthusiasm. I visited Italy for the first time right with you. I love your descriptions, thanks for posting them.
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Dec 13th, 2006, 04:45 PM
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Very much enjoyed Part 1 and looking forward to the other parts this evening.

Thanks, rex, for posting the links!

Linda
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Dec 14th, 2006, 05:36 AM
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Rex, You have confirmed my reasons for using this forum - very helpful! I've made a mess of my posting because they only allow 3,000 words per posting, and I had no idea what to do about that. Pardon my ignorance, but have you them linked together?
thanks
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Dec 14th, 2006, 07:52 AM
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You put them on one thread by posting each section as an "post a reply to this message" like you just did.
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