Tuscany

Feb 19th, 2018, 06:40 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 621
Tuscany

We are looking to rent a villa in Tuscany for a week as a family get together. What things are must sees in the area? Is it possible to do a day trip to a coastal town from there?
LoisL is offline  
Feb 20th, 2018, 01:00 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,304
Tuscany is a very large area. Where are you basing yourself?
jamikins is offline  
Feb 20th, 2018, 02:09 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Yu driving or going by train or bus. The highlight of Tuscany is Tuscany and its hill towns. Siena is the most famous and largest probably and San Gimignano a 2nd I'd say IMO are

musts but there are so many others...yes where are you basing? With car easy day trips to seaside. Viareggio is one nice seaside resort.

Oh Florence is the absolute highlight of Tuscany- don't miss it!
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 20th, 2018, 03:10 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,777
There's no way to begin to answer without knowing where the villa is located. Tuscany encompasses 9000 square miles, and most roads you'd be using are low-speed which makes for longer drive times.

It would also be helpful to know when you're going, who is going (i.e., ages of kids, multi-generational, total number of people, etc.), and whether the group intends to be joined at the hip or will pursue various interests.
Jean is offline  
Feb 20th, 2018, 04:08 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 621
I guess I will have to wait till our villa is set. We have no children coming. My husband and I are seniors, and our kids and spouses are late 30s to early 40s. I love medieval towns, and all things historical.
LoisL is offline  
Feb 21st, 2018, 01:44 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 2
Hi,

You could look at renting a villa a little outside Florence to serve as your base. You will be located in a very beautiful area as well as being close to make day trips to a number of places. For example, you could do day trips to Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa as well as Cinqu Terre. Your options will be vast, you can decide based on what you find most interesting.
fourwaystotravel is offline  
Feb 21st, 2018, 03:17 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 49
+1 with PalenQ. Make Florence the base if possible. It itself is a beautiful city. Lucca, Pisa, Sienna, Monteriggioni , Chanti region and so on can be visited as day tours from here.
Nashh is offline  
Feb 21st, 2018, 06:53 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
All those trains are regional trains to places like Lucca, Pisa, Assisi, etc. Just buy tickets at stations - no need to pre-book as reservations not possible. for lots on trains check www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 21st, 2018, 08:18 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 146
Some suggestions you may wish to consider: If you're looking for a villa, it's likely you'll need a car or cars. Those will be great for exploring hill towns and the Chianti region, if that's what you're after. If you want to concentrate on larger cities such as Florence, cars are a pain since most cities have auto-free zones, and trains make more sense. I guess it also depends on how much time during your week you want to set aside to hangout at the villa.
greytop13 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2018, 11:31 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,777
It sounds like your group is 6 people. That puts you in a situation where you either rent one fairly large vehicle (minivan) or two cars with enough cargo space to hold luggage for six. One large vehicle means you have to do everything together all the time, and you might have a problem here or there parking or maneuvering in narrow streets/spaces. Two vehicles allows for more flexibility but could slow travel times when you're attempting to stay together.

My perspective on the villa is that EITHER you pick a location that is fairly central to what you want to see/do OR you pick a villa that appeals to you and see/do what's within a reasonable distance. One or the other. Don't pick a villa in southern Tuscany (like the Pienza area) but have Lucca and Pisa on your sightseeing list. Do some research (as a group) and decide what you'd like to do/see in whatever time you have (you still haven't said how many days or what time of year). You need a map of Tuscany and a website like maps.google.com or viamichelin.com to help you understand distances and how long it takes to get from point to point.

Florence can be a terrific base for exploring by train and bus and it's my favorite Italian city, but many people find it just too crowded in high season. So, we're back to wondering when you're going and how many days you have.
Jean is offline  
Feb 21st, 2018, 02:22 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,003
I don't think there are any minivans that will hold six people and their luggage. We used to have a Multipla, which would work if the amount of luggage isn't great, but they are no longer manufactured, because EU law now prohibits three passengers in the front. There are now some 7-passenger minivans, but only five fit in the main compartment, with the other two on a fold-up seat in the luggage compartment.

Anyway, with a group of six adults, I think two cars is the best option, especially if there is a big age difference. All non-EU drivers must have an International Drivers Permit (IDP) in Italy, in addition to the normal license. This is basically just a standardized translation of the normal drivers license. You can get the IDP at the AAA (or CAA, or whatever) for a reasonable fee. You pay less if you bring along your own passport-sized photos.
bvlenci is online now  
Feb 21st, 2018, 02:49 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,684
It's actually possible to rent a villa in Tuscany on the coast, if that's what you're after. The sea coast in Tuscany isn't generally what people think of as quintessential Tuscany, though. The region has a long stretch of flat coastal areas that aren't what I would fly across an ocean for. Hill towns, history, monasteries and cathedrals, and wine making are more what most people visit Tuscany for. Are you a part of the decision making?
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Feb 21st, 2018, 07:34 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,943
Originally Posted by fourwaystotravel View Post
Hi,

You could look at renting a villa a little outside Florence to serve as your base. You will be located in a very beautiful area as well as being close to make day trips to a number of places. For example, you could do day trips to Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa as well as Cinqu Terre. Your options will be vast, you can decide based on what you find most interesting.

OP did say one week right?

If this is a first trip to the region, I'd just say concentrate on Florence and do some day trips and that should cover the week.

Unless they have absolutely no interest in the museums and squares in Florence, or spending time to visit the Duomo, climb the Campanile, go up to Piazzale Michaelangelo as well as Fiesole. Or visit inside the Palazzo Vecchio, Bargello, etc.

In other words, treat Florence like another town, not the center of the Renaissance. It's one thing to breeze through Pisa on Volterra on a day trip, since those have smaller centro storico.
scrb11 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2018, 09:28 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 621
Thanks to all all for your wonderful feedback. There are actually 7 of us going. This is the first trip to Italy for all but one day. Our group, although 4 of us have been to Rome, that is the extent of my travels in Italy. It is for a ‘big’ birthday celebration for me, so yes, I absolutely do have input into the decision making . We will be staying for a week in one location, and then going our own ways afterward. Part of my concern is because of the size of our group. While we will be doing many things together, we also will venture off in different directions. My kids are very active, enjoying hikes/long walks, and I have limitations due to very advanced arthritis. I don’t want to hold them back. We all would enjoy exploring some wineries at least one day. We all share a love of quaint villages, medieval towns, and coastal villages. We would definitely be interested in some museums, picturesque scenery, and of course, wonderful food. We have mastered the art of packing light, and I doubt we’d have people, it seems likely we would have to split up, which defeats the purpose of this family trip ;(
LoisL is offline  
Feb 21st, 2018, 09:30 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 621
I forgot to mention, we will be traveling in late spring (2019)
LoisL is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2018, 12:03 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,943
Many hill towns are not level. The quaint stone roads and walkways can be hard on joints.

Florence isn't so bad but some of the best views are on hills (though you can take a bus or taxi up to them).

There are all kinds of towers you can climb in Florence, Siena and San Gmignano.

But again, I think the one-week time frame will limit how much you can do together so probably best to choose one or two places, maybe some day trips from that one place.

For wine tasting, you can drive to the wineries in Chianti but you can also go to wine tastings in Florence. Or you can go on a tour which will drive you from Florence to Chianti and back so that everyone can partake.

For visiting cities like Florence and Siena, be aware that you won't be able to drive into the centers unless you want to get fines. Only exception is if your hotel is in the historical center and they can have your car's license plate whitelisted by the cops. But you have to have them do that each time you enter a ZTL. In San Gmignano, I think they have parking outside the city walls and you have to hike a bit into the center. Similar setups for other hill towns.
scrb11 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2018, 08:15 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 146
I can definitely sympathize with you regarding the arthritis. Thinking back over the hill towns we've visited (before and after bad knees), Pienza (with a wonderful view of the valley below) and Buonconvento are two without a lot of climbing from the carparks. I would avoid Montepulciano and Montalcino. Siena has a lot of up and down too, but we can't stay away from it. As was said, Florence is relatively flat and has a wealth of sightseeing possibilities. I dislike driving into Florence, so we take the train from Siena. It drops us near the city center and relieves my wife of her duties as navigator when I drive .
greytop13 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2018, 09:12 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,943
I wonder if they have Uber in these towns.

It might be worth it just to go up to Piazzale Michaelangelo instead of trying to figure out the buses.
scrb11 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2018, 11:25 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,684
I've taken taxis as well as buses to all the elevated points in Florence and Fiesole. It's not expensive and taxis are plentiful. Buses are fairly easy to figure out in Florence.
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 08:00 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Uber was banned in Florence and many Italian cities last spring and appeals are pending according to www.ricksteves.com. Regular taxis work well as do buses.
PalenQ is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:36 AM.