Tuscany Itinerary check!

Feb 17th, 2003, 11:17 AM
  #1  
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Tuscany Itinerary check!

I am planning our 1st trip to Italy (going at the end of March for two weeks)
26-29: Rome 101
We're hoping to see the Vatican, Ancient Rome and Catacombs (should we even bother with these?). Please help prioritizing!!! Will be staying in Hotel Navona...

29-Leave Rome( rent a car) and drive to San Gimigniano. Via Michelin says the trip will take 2.5 hr- realistic estimate? We will not be in the hurry: if there are any good sights on the way, please let me know!!!
3/29-4/4- Stay in San Gimigniano
So far I planned 1 (or 2) days for Florence, 1 day for Siena and 1 day for Piza. Any other suggestions?
4/4 (pm) drive back to Rome, spend a night and fly out on the 4/5.

I would appreciate any help in planning this trip further: suggestions for restaurants, places to explore, etc. (especially cool attractions for pre-teens, since our 11 year old will be traveling with us)

Thanks so much in advance,
Katie
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Feb 17th, 2003, 11:19 AM
  #2  
RAC
 
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I'd base myself in Siena instead of San G--it's more interesting and a better hub to see the surrounding area.
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Feb 17th, 2003, 01:23 PM
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I think you are thinking just fine.
Try to hit the Forum early in your trip and latch on to one of those free tours. The guides are very dramatic and your pre-teen should enjoy it more than just hiking around looking at the ruins on your own. We enjoyed our tour so much, we signed up for the group's Vatican tour the next day and it, too was excellent. Get Rick Steve's book and do his walk at night to see all the fountains and monuments lit up.
I think the idea of staying in San Gig is just fine. Try not to have to drive downtown in Florence. You can probably park across the river and catch a bus into town. Keep your itinerary fairly open so you have room to change your mind on some days. Read about some of the hill towns you might visit, you can easily do 2 or 3 in a day. Yes, it is about a 3hr drive from Rome, but you might want to stop in Orvieto (either on the way there or coming back...it was only about an hour or so drive to the airport if I remember correctly, so you might want to stay there.) Take the English language tour of the underground caves. Your 11 year old should enjoy it (you will too). Especially about how they raised pigeons down there so they would have food during sieges. (There were wells from which they could always get water.)
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Feb 17th, 2003, 01:29 PM
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I agree with the above post to use Siena as a base rather than San G. It is easier to get in and out of, more centrally located, and has more to offer. The skyline of San Gimignano is impressive as you approach the town from below but once in the town it is really not much different from most other small towns (other than being more congested with tourists).
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Feb 17th, 2003, 03:46 PM
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Call me crazy--but I would not start in Rome. Get your car at FCO and drive to Tuscany--or overnite in Orvieto. See Tuscany from whatever location--I prefer south of Siena--and then drop the car in Orvieto and train into Rome.
Then, enjoy Rome without having to worry about driving out from Rome, or having to return for one nite. Does that make sense?? I have done just that several times.
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Feb 17th, 2003, 09:33 PM
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hi bobthenavigator.
What cities/hotels/villas "south of Siena" would you recommend?
cheri is offline  
Feb 18th, 2003, 07:03 AM
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Well, price range is a factor. But here are the ones I will be choosing among for my trip in Oct:
www.lacosta.it
www.palazzodelcapitano.com
www.montalcinoitaly.com
The region between the former and the latter is the best of Tuscany to me.
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Feb 18th, 2003, 07:40 AM
  #8  
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All,
Thanks so much for the wonderful advice. Also, should we do 2 days in Florence? What are the "must see" there (other than David and Ufizzi)?

Thanks again!
Katie
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Feb 21st, 2003, 02:54 PM
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I agree that Orvieto offers much to interest the 11 year old; in addition to the caves, try St. Patrick's Well. Great town, even the funicular up to it was fun. My kids loved Montalcino; especially the fortress. WE liked Brunello wine! In Florence, the Duomo is awesome! (grownups should read Brunellechi's Dome before going!) We liked climbing to the top of Giotto's tower. There's a kids' guide to the Uffizi; go in the gift shop BEFORE touring the Uffizi to get it. There's a cute book; something like Melanie Martin goes to Italy for the 11 yr old; you can find it on Amazon. Read before you go. We also made sure our kids watched the Agony and the Ecstasy plus Ben Hur before we went.
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Feb 22nd, 2003, 07:44 AM
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Why not get your rental car in Florence after taking the train from Rome? Also I agree with the idea of staying in Siena over San G however you will read many previous posts that would suggest San G.And..this month's Gourmet has an article on places to see and eat in Rome.
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