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Tuscany - Private 1/2 Chianti Region Tour - Worth It or Not?

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Jul 23rd, 2010, 07:41 AM
  #1
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Tuscany - Private 1/2 Chianti Region Tour - Worth It or Not?

My husband and I are considering doing a 1/2 day private Chianti/wine tasting tour next month. It will be a 4 hour tour with our driver picking us up at our hotel in Florence and dropping us off in Siena where we will be renting a car for the remainder of our time in Tuscany. We could of course pick up the car in Florence and do the whole thing on our own, but I am wondering if having a driver is worth it. The cost is 300 eur and before we leave for Italy we would provide them with an idea of what we want to do and see. I plan on telling them I'd like to do wine tastings and see the highlights of the countryside with time left to give us an overview of Siena before dropping us off...we'll be spending time in Siena on our own after that. My question is this... is it worth the money for this type of thing? Anything I could add to the itinerary to make it worthwhile? A visit to San Gimingiano perhaps? Is 4 hours even enought time to do that? Suggestions would be greatly appreciated... we want to make good use of our time and money on this trip!!
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Jul 23rd, 2010, 07:54 AM
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That is pricey for only 4 hours--I think you can do better.
Or, read a good guide book and do it yourself.
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Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:05 AM
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I haven't taken any of these "wine tours" with a driver so perhaps I am not the best resource. I have however spent weeks and weeks in Tuscany exploring the hills, vineyards and wineries of note and enotecas--I know it sounds hard but you gotta do what you gotta do.

That being said, 4 hours will go very fast and I doubt you will get to more than 2 wineries unless you make specific requests. What are your goals in this area? Learning the winemaking process, visiting vineyards, tasting wines, learning the producer's history? Certainly the guide/driver will provide this info and a lot more with his familiarity of the terrain etc. I love information and it alone can be invaluable but all of the above goals can be achieved privately in your own car and in your own schedule--but it won't be packed into a 4 hour window with transit from Florence to Siena. Any 4 hour period will just give you a good experience if it is wine focused in this area. You will not learn or experience everything and traditionally the wines are designed to be paired with food--a process which takes longer to savor considering every such offer has italian hospitality to go along with it.

Bottom line, your call--is 300 euros worth 4 hours of wine touring and info. Alternatively, you could schedule a trip to Greve-visit the Cantine there to taste as much as you want (150 available), check out their museum and then visit any of a dozen nearby wineries . This requires driving, deciding and self education--maybe its worth 300? Cin Cin! Paul
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Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:54 AM
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For our excellent full-day private tour with Luca of hillsandroads.com, we had twice as much time for about the same cost. We thought the private tour was worth it, but since we paid about half the price you have quoted, I might feel differently at your price. We visited Greve in Chianti, Montefioralle, Panzano, Castello Vicchiomaggio, Radda in Chianti, had a great lunch, and had one wine tasting at a winery.
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Jul 23rd, 2010, 09:15 AM
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It is WAY to much - I'm spending much less for an 8 hour day with wine tasting at different vineyards, driving through Tuscany (from Siena) and then dropping me off. My price I was quoted was for 220 Euro for the entire day for 2 of us to go.
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Jul 23rd, 2010, 09:16 AM
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meant to say - dropping me off in Florence.
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Jul 23rd, 2010, 09:46 AM
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We stayed at Relais Villa L'Olmo in Impruneta, 30 minutes from Florence. The hotel offered us the following tours:
1. Half day Chianti tour:
You will have a private driver for 4 hours who will drive you into the Chianti region stopping in few places to give the possibility to taste very good wine.. Euro 170,00 rate for 2 pax

2. Private half day Chainti tour with driving guide:
You will have a driving guide for 4 hours (he speaks English and gives you all useful infos and news about the area and its products) who will drive you into the Chianti region and will stop in a few places to offer you winetasting ..Euro..220,00 rate for 2 pax

3. Castello di Verrazzano Tour:
This is the place the hotel usually suggests to guests for an amazing WINE&FOOD EXPERIENCE.
It is located at about 20 km from the Relais (20 minutes/half an hour driving) and you could choose to book different kind of tour:
"CLASSIC WINE TOUR": visit of the gardens, cellars and winetasting .Euro 14.00 per person
"WINE & FOOD EXPERIENCE" visit of the gardens,the cellars, winetasting and lunch..€48 per person

We chose the third option at €48 per person and a private driver at €80 both ways for two people through Chianti Drivers. We had so much fun that day just visiting the one spot and so glad we had the private driver as we had a little too much wine! The driver also took us through the back roads to and from the winery which we would never have found on our own if we were driving.
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Jul 23rd, 2010, 10:59 AM
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I think it's really a matter of private opinion. I think some people would just want to enjoy the tours and the sights without the worry of driving and navigating. And for others, I think it might be more fun to drive and experience the discovery on their own.

Certainly, hiring a driver can offer a bit of convenience. You're likely not to miss things you want to see and you're likely to get to certain points faster and more comfortably. Renting might be cheaper, but you'd be left to pick out your own stops, create your own schedule and navigate traffic yourself. So I guess the question is, is the convenience you may experience by hiring a driver worth it?

If you're looking for a more worry-free option for your trip, I'd say go with the driver and private tour. If your idea of fun is jumping right in and discovering the sites yourself and/or if the budget is an issue I'd say go for the car rental.
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