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cols116 Feb 29th, 2016 04:29 PM

Tuscany Honeymoon
 
Hello! I am hoping to get some help finalizing my itinerary for my Honeymoon in Tuscany! My fiance and I have never been to Italy but have always wanted to go- weve even started learning the language! We are traveling from Sept 1-Sept 17th. So far I have a general itinerary but am hoping to get some help! We have three musts for the trip: 1. Venice 2. Beach 3. Tuscany country side. Below is my general itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Venice in afternoon
Day 2: Venice
Day 3: Venice
Day 4: Beach (Maremma? Elba island? Cinque Terre?)
Day 5: Beach
Day 6: Beach
Day 7: Beach
Day 8: Beach
Day 9: Tuscany (Keep in one spot for next 5 days and do local day trips or maybe split 2/3 between two locations?)
Day 10: tuscany
Day 11: Tuscany
Day 12: Tuscany
Day 13: Tuscany
Day 15: Florence
Day 16: Florence
Day 17- Depart early for home

My budget is $12,000-$14,000 for everything for the both of us. We are interested in romance and slow pace. I definitely do not want to spend half my honeymoon traveling. I didnt add Rome as I HOPE to come back one day and do Rome/Amalfi/Capri another time. My questions are:

1. Any recommendations for a beach area? I have been researching Elba island and it really is beautiful with a mix of white sandy beach and small towns built into cliffs. Ive also looked into the Maremma area as I could stay near the ocean and still be near all the wineries and i found some hot springs nearby as well. Anyone been to both and have a recommendations? Places to stay?

2. If I did Elba island for 5 days and Tuscany country for another 5 would you pick one base for all 5 days? Or maybe splint 3 in countryside and 2 in walled in city to really get the culture of the small town? Ive heard wonderful things about all the small ancient towns but Siena, Cortona, and Lucca are high on my to see list. Any other musts??? Recommendations on accomodations??

3. Any other recommendations?

Thank you in advance for any answers! Planning the honeymoon has been overwhelming on top of planning a wedding! I pondered a travel agent but I want to stay at some B&Bs and small local hotels to really get the feel of the area so I am nervous to try an agent. Any advice is appreciated! Thank you!

socialworker Feb 29th, 2016 05:40 PM

Are you going to have a car during the Tuscany part? That would make a difference about where you stay, I would think....

You will have plenty of people here who are experts who can weigh in.

cols116 Feb 29th, 2016 06:32 PM

Yes! We plan to rent a car for tuscany and maybe the beach area (depending on location). Id also maybe like to hire a driver one day to visit a few local wineries!

sandralist Mar 1st, 2016 02:06 AM

Sounds like a very lovely trip, even before you fill in the details! Le Cinque Terre would be the most crowded of your beach destinations, and after the crowds of Venice, you might like a break from that. I've never been to Elba, but I agree with you that the pictures are enticing, and it is considered to have some of the nicest beaches in northern Italy. I would want a car on the island, but I would take a train from Venice to the coast to pick it up.

I'm not sure which spot in the Maremma you are looking at, but also look at it in terms of how long it will take you to get there from Venice and then afterwards drive back in inland to complete your Tuscan itinerary.

There are a very few people who regularly post on this board who have been to Elba or the beach areas of the Maremma. There are more, I think, on the TripAdvisor message forums, so if you haven't already, ask your questions on that message forum too.

Whether you stay in one or 2 places in the Tuscan countryside after you've finished with beach really depends on what you want your experience of Tuscany to be. You can get the experience of life inside a walled town in places smaller and less touristed 24/7 than Siena, Lucca and Cortona. Most of the towns in the wine country of Tuscany are "fortified". They had to build them with walls to protect the wine.

So the more important thing to decide about your experience of rural Tuscany is whether you want to do a lot of sightseeing to well-known and/or visit distinctly different wine areas, or if you would rather settle into one corner of the land, and go exploring every day as the mood takes you. Maybe you will see the famous things, maybe you won't. Maybe you will just stay "home" and swim for the day and go for a walk.

If you think the first more suits your style, then you might want to have 2 places so you can see the most, since driving around rural Tuscany is not speedy. If you like the idea of the second plan more, then 1 place will do.

Try not to get overwhelmed planning a trip to Tuscany or Italy. It is a tremendously beautiful country, with something delightful just about every 2 steps you take. It is very hard to go "wrong", especially since you have a nice chunk of time to work with. Italy is very rewarding in the areas you are considering, nobody sees it all, and people will help you with the details once you decide your spots.

ashwinb Mar 1st, 2016 06:35 AM

I would have based myself in Siena and done day trips around the town. The countryside looks beautiful around. And a lot of the towns are concentrated in that area. I used Florence as a base, but looking at the distances I think Siena is a better choice.
Do have a look at my Tuscany TR: https://ashwinbahulkar.wordpress.com...montefioralle/

yorkshire Mar 1st, 2016 07:50 AM

1. While I have not been to either yet, I have already planned a trip to Maremma for when I get the airfare, and I think that would be a wonderful honeymoon destination. Elba would also be great. I find the crowds of CT lessen the experience but on Elba you can probably find your own coves, etc. Early September = warm water.
2. It depends on the base and how you would get around. I find that accommodations and restaurant offerings in a town are usually the best predictor of trip happiness for me and my partner.
3. You got this--plan what makes you and your fiancé happy and you are all set.

yorkshire Mar 1st, 2016 07:51 AM

ps There are some luxe looking cabins in Maremma:
Emiko Davies is a font of good Maremma info. (this site does not like the link but google her)

cols116 Mar 1st, 2016 12:26 PM

Thanks for the wealth of info everyone :)

Yorkshire- do you recommend any websites for the cabins in Maremma? I checked out Emiko and i cant wait to try some of the restaurants she suggests!!

yorkshire Mar 1st, 2016 01:17 PM

These are the cabins Emiko describes on her blog:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationR...to_Tuscan.html
Rustic, but interesting. You've lots of choices in the region.

sandralist Mar 1st, 2016 01:43 PM

If you decide to go that far south in the Maremma following a stay in Venice, consider taking a train to Orvieto or even a direct train to Rome FCO airport to pick up a car. Another possibility might be Livorno. You could also think about taking a train to Rome and switching to one for Grosseto, and picking up a car there.

If you haven't already bought air tickets, you could also consider reordering your trip so that you end in Venice rather than begin there, or put Florence in the middle and fly out of Rome at the end, after your beach time. But if you very much like the idea of your present order for personal reasons, then you should keep it, even if it means it is not totally "efficient" or you spend a bit more on air fare to make it work.

Henry Mar 1st, 2016 03:33 PM

cols,
This may give you some ideas http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/tuscany/hs_planning.htm

kbmtravel Mar 2nd, 2016 05:17 PM

If you decide to stay in Siena, I HIGHLY recommend you stay at Agriturismo Marciano! My fiance and I were there in October and loved it! Siena also was our favorite place in Tuscany.

However, and I may get yelled at for saying this, before you commit to Tuscany make sure there are things to do/see there that interest you. We went to Tuscany with the idea that we would just rent a car and drive around to the different hilltowns each day and go to a winery or two. We went to many hilltowns, but found them all very similar without a lot that interests us. We also went to a winery and found it to be a completely different experience than what we are used to in the states. Don't get me wrong, Tuscany is beautiful, just make sure that you have some ideas in mind of what might interest you there instead of making the same mistake we did of just "driving around to visit the hilltowns." We found ourselves very bored, with the exception of staying at the agriturismo where we had fantastic meals and met other travelers from all over the world.

We loved Venice though! If you go be sure to do the Venice free tour, it will allow you to see past all of the tourists and it was fascinating. Also, I recommend eating at Pontini and La Zucca, two of our favorite restaurants on the trip!

socialworker Mar 3rd, 2016 09:13 AM

I see your point about the Tuscan countryside, kmb, b/c we did a similar thing---staying in an old villa converted to a B&B outside of Panzano and spending 3 days driving to different hill towns. Unlike you, we loved it b/c we found the scenery endlessly fascinating and each town having its own personality.....that is the great thing about travel, everyone experiences it differently.


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