Tuscany Itinerary Help

Feb 14th, 2010, 01:03 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2010
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Tuscany Itinerary Help

Couple traveling to Italy last two weeks in May, for 11 nights. Flying into Rome (3 nights), train to Florence (2 nights), drive around Tuscany (4 nights and where I need help), drop car off in Florence and train to Venice (2 nights). Flying out of Venice.

I could really use some help figuring out the where to spend the four days in Tuscany, where we've never travelled before. We are planning to rent a car on our way out of Florence, but could use suggestions about where to stay in Tuscany. I'm currently considering Pisa/Lucca for one night, then to Siena for three nights, but welcome suggestions/critiques! We are foodies/oenophiles that love to wander around towns and beautiful drives. Since we'd have a car, parking would be important. I don't know whether it would be better to split our time between two cities (and, which cities), or just have one home base, and do day trips from there.

Thanks for your help/advice!
dc22 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 01:25 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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A car might not be necessary. See useful post:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...venice-etc.cfm
christabir is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 01:30 PM
  #3  
 
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I would stay south in Tuscany. A car is a very good idea if you want to see the best of Tuscany. Here are good places to eat in my favorite part of Tuscany:

GOOD EATS IN TOSCANA---2008
I have never been called “ BOB THE FOODIE” , but here are some of the best places to eat in Tuscany based on feedback from many of my clients. Reservations are suggested for most!
$=inexpensive $$=moderate prices $$$= expensive

FLORENCE:
Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco $$ Across the river & very good.
La Giostra $$$ Excellent, but you must book in advance

SIENA:
Osteria Le Logge $$ Great place for lunch and near Il Campo
Cane e Gato $$$ A fixed price & menu for a true feast—allow 4 hours

LUCCA:
Buca di San Antonio $$ Best in town and near San Michele
Il Giglio $$ In the piazza of the same name---favorite with locals

SAN GIMIGNANO:
Il Pino $$ Very good typical Tuscan fare
Le Vecchie Mura $ Good value for a tourist town

MONTALCINO:
Taverna Grappolo Blu $ Popular with locals as well.
Ristorante Poggio Antico $$ Excellent cuisine 5km south of town at winery location
Enoteca Osteria Osticcio $ Best wine tasting & small meals in town

MONTEPULCIANO:
La Grotta $$ Near San Biagio church & very good
Café Poliziano $ Great place for lunch on shopping street

PIENZA: Latte du Luna $$ Best choice in this charming village

BAGNO VIGNONI: Osteria del Leone $ Good lunch choice in this spa hamlet

MONTICCHIELLO: La Porta $ Charming place with outside terrace

SAN QUIRICO: Trattoria al Vecchio Forno $ Good food & fair value

CASTELLINA: Al Gallopapa $$$ Creative & varied menu in Chianti
bobthenavigator is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 02:26 PM
  #4  
 
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I would eliminate going to Florence twice. Train from Rome to Orvieto or Chiusi and pick up your car. Tour Tuscany (preferably southern Tuscany), drop car in Florence and spend your 2 nights in Florence, train to Venice. You talk about nice drives and wandering around towns, but you listed all cities.
kybourbon is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 04:05 PM
  #5  
 
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I've traveled in Italy several times both via train and car. After your two days in Florence, you can get your car and pick a base. I wouldn't hop from one place to the next too much, that takes too long. If you get your car from Florence, get it from the airport, it's easier to drive out of a busy city from the outskirst (airport) than in the city center. San Gimignano is a good base. I stayed at Casanova di Pescille - Agriturismo and it was incredible. Free parking. www.casanovadipescille.com After a few days with your car you can give it back up at the Florence airport, get to the train station in Florence for your train trip to Venice. (Exactly what we did in 2004). As others have mentioned, you can easily see some of the hilltowns without a car via train, such as Orvieto, Cortona and Assisi. If going to Cortona by train, go to the Camucia stop, it's only 3 km from the town of Cortona. From the train station in Florence, it's only a 10-15 minute walk to the Duomo. (Not sure where your hotel is but most people walk pulling their luggage.) Have fun.
ALANP is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 05:05 PM
  #6  
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Bob - Thanks for the great restaurant recommendations! I'll definitely spend some time tomorrow checking those out.

kybourbon - I hear what you're saying about Florence twice, but I'm worried about paying extra to pick-up and drop-off in different locations. I've heard that can get expensive.
dc22 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 05:24 PM
  #7  
 
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There is no extra cost to pick up in one location and drop off in another, unless its in another country. There is a surcharge to pick up at an airport (think tourism tax) but nothing for different pick-up/drop-off places.

I like kybourbon's itinerary--efficient and fairly easy on you as a driver. Like Bob said, use the car for the hilltowns and countryside and ditch it for the cities. Have fun. Paul
macanimals is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 05:36 PM
  #8  
cwn
 
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We spent a week in a small "villa" outside of Cortona this past May. We had a car and did day trips from Cortona several days...Orvieto, Siena, Assisi plus a number of small hilltop towns around Cortona.

Cortona is a nice town wirh some interesting things to see right in the area. We drove to Cortona from Germany then drove on into Florence spent the night and then on to France.

If you haven't already finalized you plans with the train, I think the idea of renting a car when you are ready to leave Rome, find a place for a few days in the Tuscan countryside then drive on to Florence, drop the car and finally onward to Venice is a better use of time and not so much back tracking. The drive time between Rome and Florence is that long and the highways and roads are good.

We posted our trip report for our time in Tuscany with pictures at:

www.aroundtheworldin132days.blogspot.com

Click on May on the righthand side and scroll down to May 15 and read through May 22 for our time in Tuscany.
cwn is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 05:41 PM
  #9  
 
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We stayed at a wonderful vineyard 10 minutes from Siena - Fattoria di Corgignano - http://www.tenutacorsignano.it/english/home.html
Siena is an wonderful place and so is San Gimignano (both can drive from Corsignano.
zeddies is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 05:48 PM
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As macanimals explained, you only pay an extra fee at airports or dropping in another country. Do a search on this board for either ZTL or traffic tickets in Florence to see how many people get tickets for crossing into a restricted zones (ZTL) in Florence.
kybourbon is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 06:23 PM
  #11  
 
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Kybourbon has it nailed.

He has suggested the cleanest, simplest, itinerary.

Base in Pienza/Montepulciano for 2 days and San Gimignano for 2 if you want the small town/great drive experience.
Aramis is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 07:13 PM
  #12  
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Thank you so much for all the ideas! We'd already booked Hotel Casci in Florence and they don't have availability on the alternative days, so need to see if we can cancel.
dc22 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2010, 07:37 PM
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Zeddies...the Fattaria Di Corsignano looks wonderful, any recommendation regarding room selection, we are a family of four adults
vanne49 is offline  
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