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TUSCANY: 10 people traveling together in Tuscany

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Feb 24th, 2011, 05:32 AM
  #1
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TUSCANY: 10 people traveling together in Tuscany

There are 10 of us traveling in Tuscany. We have rented a villa half way between Florence and Siena. Do you know of any private tour company that you can recommend that would take the 10 of us various places in Tuscany.
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Feb 24th, 2011, 05:51 AM
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I suggest you consider renting 2 vehicles and driving yourselves. That will give you tons of flexibility.
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Feb 24th, 2011, 06:38 AM
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Luca Garrapa of www.hillsandroads.com is an excellent guide and driver and has a van that can accomodate all of you. If you do a search on this board you will find many many warm recommendations. He lives in the Siena area and knows Tuscany inside out. He can tailor your personal day trip(s) to your likes, abilities, and interestts. He is an intelligent and interesting person to spend the day with and an excellent and safe driver.
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Feb 24th, 2011, 07:05 AM
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Two cars is an excellent idea, do not rent a big van. You will need two navigators and two drivers. Easy part of the country to drive.
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Feb 24th, 2011, 07:06 AM
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Even if you find a tour company, I'd still suggest 2 vehicles for your group, especially if your villa is not within walking distance to restaurants and commerce. You all may welcome going in a couple different directions on occasion.
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Feb 24th, 2011, 08:29 AM
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I agree w/ the others. Having two vehicles will allow the group to tailor to the likes, abilities, and interests of a group of 10 much more than even the best tour guide. Heck, I have trouble just getting 4 people on agreeing where to eat.
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Feb 24th, 2011, 09:23 AM
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This may seem obvious but if you rent two cars be sure you have two willing drivers. I have been to Italy with 5 couples traveling together on more than once occasion and no one wanted the responsibility of driving, including me.

With your location vehicles will allow more freedom but you have to weigh all the considerations and factor in the individuals in your group as well.
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Feb 24th, 2011, 01:10 PM
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Go to www.slowtrav.com and read their info on traveling with a group. There's all sorts of considerations you need to be aware of.

Also, if you are staying in a villa, be very sure to have everyone contribute a fixed amount in a common fund from which you buy food. It gets way, way too complicated if everyone buys some out of their own pocket and then you have to figure out who owes what to whom. It's crazy!
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Mar 11th, 2011, 07:26 AM
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Flame123, I contacted hills and roads to use them in Sept. Very excited. Was wondering if you could tell me more about them. Also, I could get a 5% discount I guess if I have you as a referal. If you need to email me separately, use [email protected]. We are going to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and have 12 friends/family joining us, staying outside of Florence. Any recommendations? We are going into Florence for one day, Siena & San Gim, Wine Tasting in Chianti, Cinque Terre for a day, and my friends all want to do the long trek to Venice for the day. Any recommendations for that long day?
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Mar 11th, 2011, 05:16 PM
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I recently traveled in Tuscany with a group of eight and the one thing i didn't realize was how much longer it took to get places. Make plans and get everyone to agree on times and to stick to what is planned. Have a great time.
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Mar 12th, 2011, 09:40 PM
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socal8 - Luca Garrapa is the owner of Hillsandroads and he is a very knowledgeable, friendly young man (around 40), an excellent and safe driver and a wonderful person to spend a day touring with. Which tour have you booked with him? The individual private tours? Or his newer "Joinable" tours with other people? We used him for 2 separate touring days several years ago, before he had the other newer type tours available.

He picked us up (three women) at our hotel in Florence at the appointed time and took us to several beautiful small hill towns in the Val d'Orcia area (personally, my favorite area), and we fell in love with it. We had several wineries that we visited as well, all from his recommendations (since we were not as knowledgeable then as we are now and I requested his guidance and input and it was great!), we had lunch at small trattorias which were wonderful, and at the end of the day towards evening, he deposited us back at our hotel.

We thoroughly enjoyed our 2 days with him and have since recommended him highly to many other people who have always been grateful and thankful for our (and many others on this board) reco for him.

If there is anything else specific you would like to know, let me know and I will try and answer.

As for your other quesdtions above, not clear : "Any recommendations?" Recommendations for what?

I would not particularly try to do a one day trek to Venice, would leave it for another trip, or take extra time so that you at least have one or even two nights there.
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Mar 13th, 2011, 01:09 AM
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We have traveled and shared lodging with friends fairly often, sometimes in Italy. You get good advice above, especially about pooling money for food.

You should have a food czar who plans the meals (collboratively) and makes shopping assignments but does not get stuck with all the shopping and cooking. Or hire a cook.

Be prepared for it being some distance to a supermarket for things like toilet paper (ten people can use an astonishing amount) as well as village shops and local markets for daily food. Be prepared for small town shops to be closed one day a week (plus Sundays). Find out when that is, and make sure you have enough food and wine for a day when you can't shop.

You do need multiple cars, but I think you need more than two. What cars that you can rent in Italy will hold five adults comfortably for a day of touring? What about luggage to and from the airport?

The toughest problem in a shared house is differences in expectation. How do you deal with the difference between those whose idea of a vacation is seeing every local site and those who want to sleep in? Do you know which is which? It freaked us out that someone would come all the way from the US only to sleep until noon and drink gin and tonic by the pool all afternoon, but that was our problem. They had a great time.

What about the differences between the art lovers and the shoppers? The more cars, the more you can go in different directions.

How many bathrooms and do people have similar standards for using them? Alice may expect to do all her makeup in the bathroom, but Bob and Carol need to get in for showers. Ted may have never cleaned the shaving residue out of a washbowl in his life. You will learn all these things, believe me.

Still, shared rentals can be quite successful. We have shared in Tuscany and are going to share a house in the Veneto in September. And we are sharing for the fourth time in Paris two weeks from now. But we have had friends who never spoke to each other again after shared rentals.
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Mar 13th, 2011, 05:06 AM
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My husband and I shared the Villa Saraceno in the Veneto last year - 12 people + 6 cars, giving everyone total independence and the opportunity to shop for their turn at the group dinner cooking. It all went very smoothly.
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Mar 13th, 2011, 05:23 AM
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We had 7 in a villa in Tuscany last fall. The advice you are given above is excellent. We had 2 cars and didn't use a guide as some of us are very familiar with Florence and the Tuscan countryside. I would definitely have 3 cars for 10 people; you don't want huge cars as many of the roads are narrow and winding.

And be prepared for meals with lists for each town that you will visit. What meals will you cook at home, which will you eat at restaurants. And be flexible - go with the flow.
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Mar 14th, 2011, 01:44 AM
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tarquin, I don't want to hijack this thread, but it is the Villa Saraceno where we will be staying in the Veneto in September.

Have you posted on your experience? I did a fruitless search on this forum.
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