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Tuscany: my husband thinks we'll be bored.

Tuscany: my husband thinks we'll be bored.

Oct 10th, 2005, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
jenmenke, I can relate to this discussion. I could be perfectly happy waking up, lingering over breakfast, hanging out in the garden writing poetry, and visiting an interesting museum or ruin for a couple hours. But hubby is a high-energy restless man. At a B&B he wakes up and is already literally pacing before breakfast is ready! I used to feel pushed by him all day, and by the end of the day I felt stressed and he was saying, if only we had gotten up earlier and moved faster, we could have fit in more things!!!

I have found the perfect compromise. I carefully choose our base hotels/B&Bs so that they have the best of both worlds: a nice little garden for me to relax and write poetry in or a pleasant sitting room or a room with an inspiring view; and tons to do nearby within easy access, preferably within walking distance. This way when I need a break to sort out my thoughts, hubby can just keep on going and we can meet up in a couple hours to re-group. This is a great plan if you have teens too, who can then choose whether they want to "hang out" back at the hotel/B&B or keep going with Dad!

Therefore for example we all had a fantastic time in Rome, where we stayed at the very centrally located Hotel Nazionale a Montecitorio on Piazza Montecitorio, easy walkng distance from the Pantheon, tons of restaurants, gelato shop, atmospheric piazzas, piazza Navona, Trevi fountain...no problem with one person wanting to rest and the others wanting to go-go-go.

HOpe these ideas help.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 05:38 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 8
Also don't have the patience to read all that came before, but just returned from Tuscany... Tuscany is a big place, a villa for 7 nights is not as much time as it sounds. You don't say which way out of Arezzo? You could spend part of a day just wandering around there. There are good train connections to Florence (only about 30 min, around 9 euros, highly recommend this instead of driving, reserve a seat at least a few hours in advance), do book your museum tickets in advance to avoid the lines. Cinque Terre is not a good day trip from Arezzo, nor is Venice, both are hours away one way, although definitely worth a trip another time. Pisa may be pushing it, also. Remember that Arezzo is in eastern Tuscany, and Tuscany is big.

But Tuscany is also full of tiny hidden treasures, drive to Sansepolcro and Anghiari one day (to the North). Head down to Cortona and maybe further to Perugia or Assisi (to the South). Head over to Siena and the hilltowns (either north or south from Siena, lots of options). Consider saving Arezzo for mid-week, as you'll get tired of the car.

The scenery is gorgeous, the food and wine wonderful (all the areas have local specialties). You don't really need to leave the eastern T/ central T area, and will still run out of time. And if you do start getting bored, head toward Le Marche and the Adriatic Coast - a great drive over the mountains, stop in Urbino. Your trip can be done leisurely with a full dose of culture, churches, and ruins thrown in, and shopping too (keep an eye out for market days)!! If you're rambling the countryside, get the Lonely Planet and/or Rough Guide Tuscany/Umbria books, these are great for off-the-beaten-path travel, and have shown us some real jewels. If you really love local food, get the Eyewitness "A Taste of Tuscany" guide. I haven't used the Blue Guide to Tuscany, but they are usually high-end and very, very seriously into history/ art/ archaeology, so if that isn't your main focus I'd avoid. It's hard to comprehend without being there how spread out the area is and how much there is to see.

And as always when traveling, it's important to leave time to sit in the cafes and people-watch, even if it's only for a breather. And you need to also remember that you are on Italy time, it is easy to get caught up in sight-seeing and then you end up missing the "official lunch hours", and dinner is served late and you starve! Always travel with snacks! Good luck!!!
Agratravel is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 06:42 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 12
Thanks guys. Again, ALL great suggestions. sssteve: your website is amazing. I printed out both the tuscany trip and the one with some umbria. Agratravel thanks to you, too. We know Cinque Terre is a 3 hours drive. We love road trips. But we'll play it by ear. We mostly just want to do a hike and see the ocean. We Minnesotans need to see saltwater once a year. Maybe the Adriatic would be better tho. At any rate I appreciate all your comments.
jenmenke is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 09:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 957
I'm jealous that you'll be in Tuscany during the chocolate festival in Perugia !!!

In my budgettravelonline.com newsletter, they state the 11th annual Eurochocolate Festival is from October 15-23, "transforming the heart of this Umbrian university town—and birthplace of Baci hazelnut chocolates—into a chocoholic's paradise. Canopied stalls line the main piazza and cobblestone strip, Corso Vannucci, are stocked with bite-sized goodies from local chocolatiers, and big-name houses like Toblerone. Street vendors make fresh, paper-thin crepes filled with Nutella and dole out helpings of a super rich, dense hot chocolate. Mmmmmmmmm!

JBX is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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I would recommend buying the book "Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria." The book offers walking itineraries throughout the region, all of which can be completed in a few hours (at most, 6 or so). During our week-long stay in Montepulciano, my husband and I spent a day hiking from there to Pienza, which we really enjoyed. It's a really wonderful way to explore the country, and you can't beat the view! The weather at this time would be great for that as well.
TarheelsInNj is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 01:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,126
I would give him the last 2 full days in Rome, especially if you are spending the night there. There is so much to see. Why not make your one church the Vatican on the first day and your one museum the Villa Borghese (tickets in advance) on the second. You will not be bored or disappointed in either. You can walk the city in the evening and visit Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navonna, Pantheon. The Forum and Colussium are spectacular when lit up at night.
bugswife1 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 96
I'm trying to put myself back into the mindset of having never been to europe...you have no idea what you are in for! One week is such a short time and there is sooo much to see and experience and taste! One day in Florence and/or Rome is bound to be frustrating... my advice is to enjoy where you are and expect to go back, because by the time this trip is over, I'm willing to bet, you'll be planning your next one.

Can't wait to hear back from you after you return.

Don't miss the Borghese in rome, you must call in advance, the Bernini sculptures are miraculous.
nancyz is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 05:42 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 150
We just came back from 3 weeks of a very similar trip in Italy. Be prepared to drive at least 2 hours there and back and at least 1 hour looking for parking places. Italy is all about art, churches, musuems, liitle towns and countryside. You won't be bored but there are a lot of what you don't want to see. U'm with you, you can only see so many churches and museums! In my opinion, I wish we had taken an escorted tour because we spent most of the time driving around.
MauiMaui is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 05:54 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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There's no point searching for things on this site: the search function is useless, and Fodors are more interested in censoring debates (or getting their undertravelled staff to interrupt threads to give babyish and inaccurate advice) than in doing anything about it.

FlannerUK: I'll cop to the bad search engine, but can you provide examples of threads interrupted by babyish and inaccurate advice by our undertravelled staff?
bronxzilla is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 06:10 AM
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Another vote for taking a look at "Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria." Many of the suggested walks take in a church or monastery, and nearly all recommend a good restaurant on the route. Unfortunately, I haven't tested it in the field yet, but I'm hoping to soon.
Oct 13th, 2005, 07:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 12
Well, after a hellish week, we are off tomorrow. I'll probably be up all night packing...
I'm printing this thread. Thank you so much everyone and I will write when I get back!
jenmenke is offline  
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