tuscany towns

Old Apr 12th, 2005, 07:42 PM
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tuscany towns

Hi, I am planning a trip to Tuscany and would like some recommendations for places to visit.
I'll be staying two nights at Castellina in Chianti after three days in Florence. The first day I'll be seeing the Chianti wine region. The second day I'll be exploring Siena. On the third day, I can stop by one or two towns before heading to Perugia for the night. Am debating if I should go to San Gimignano or some small towns in South Tuscany (Montalcino, Sant Antimo, Pienza, etc.) Would appreciate any comments. Thanks
wky123 is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2005, 07:53 PM
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Well, your direction will dictate your options. I would see Cortona if Perugia is your destination.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2005, 09:14 PM
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From Siena, take S438 south...the drive is magnificent.

A nice place to stop would be Monte Oliveto Maggiore near Asciano. This road will take you to Montalcino, Pienza, etc. You will enjoy whichever towns you decide to visit. It is definitely a win-win situation.
Lorac1127 is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2005, 11:58 AM
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I like San Gim, but the southern towns get my vote.
jabez is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2005, 01:06 PM
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We all love San Gim. but would you drive another 3 hours RT just to see it when Cortona is on the way.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2005, 05:44 PM
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Here's another vote for Cortona...We just spent a week there and loved it, despite warnings that there would not be enough "to do." Fun shops, kind of artsy, small, neat square, etc. At the risk of offending anyone, we did not care for Montalcino...it seemed more tourist-like; tons of wine stores. We later heard Pienze would have been a better choice, but I'm sure it's all just personal preference.
NatalieM is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2005, 07:55 PM
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1. Guess what I saw and enjoyed last month, that I had resolved to hate? Lago di Trasimeno (Lake Trasimeno). We pulled off the motorway en route to Perugia and just sat by the shore.

I had only seen it before under grey winter skies and, as I come from Canada, had been unimpressed by this "huge" lake.

Fellow tourists in Montepulciano sneered when we mentioned heading there -- Lake Trashy-meno, they called it.

Well, we stopped on the east side opposite the large island (Name?? probably Isola maggiore...?)

Sunny warm day, a lake ferry was coming in to the dock, there was no-one around (mid-week). It was lovely.

2. Perugia: Get a map in advance! What a shocker to me, who had lived there in 1974. I used to think of the train station as the edge of town -- in fact you could WALK out of town back then.

Now the station marks the edge of the downgtown core. That place is HUGE!

And as it is perched atop a hill and the road system is exceptionally complex, you can easily get lost.

We decided to park halfway up, despairing of finding any parking closer in (we were wrong) and climbed the equivalent of a 20-25 storey building's height to reach the centre.

The centre is as marvellous as ever -- I mean it is utterly unique and not at all like Tuscany.

But what growth there has been -- all of it ugly in that distinctively Italian way.

How does a country lose, in the span of a few years, a visual sense honed over centuries?
tedgale is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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Lots of great info! Thanks everyone. I remembered reading something on a post a month ago about a Tuscan town where no cars were permitted, there was a place to park, and then a pedestrian bridge (suspension?) into the town, which was described as largely unvisited/untouristy. Does this ring any bells with anyone?
jules12 is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 11:21 AM
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I am going to butcher this spelling - but I think you are talking about the neighbor town to Bagnorecio. Civita di something is the name I am thinking of.

It is in Rick Steves book and I know he did a special on it. I'll look on google and see if I can get the real name for you
TexasAggie is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 11:25 AM
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Well, I was close

Civita di Bagnoregio

This is the town I believe you are looking for...

"People who've been there say "Civita" (chee-VEE-tah) with warmth and love. This precious chip of Italy, a traffic-free community with a grow-it-in-the-valley economy, has so far escaped the ravages of modernity. Please approach it with the same respect and sensitivity you would a dying relative, because in a sense that's Civita.

Civita teeters atop a pinnacle in a vast canyon ruled by wind and erosion. But, while its population has dropped to 14, the town survives (and even has a website: www.civitadibagnoregio.it).

The saddle that once connected Civita to its bigger and busier sister town, Bagnoregio, eroded away. Today a bridge connects the two towns.

Entering the town through a cut in the rock made by Etruscans 2,500 years ago, and heading under a 12th-century Romanesque arch, you feel history in the huge, smooth cobblestones. This was once the main Etruscan road leading to the Tiber Valley and Rome.

Explore the village. The basic grid street plan of the ancient town survives, but its centerpiece a holy place of worship rotates with the cultures: first an Etruscan temple, then a Roman temple, and today a church. The pillars that stand like bar stools in the square once decorated the pre-Christian temple.

TexasAggie is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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TexasAggie: Have you actually been to Civita di Bagnoregio? Given the number of posts about it that I see here and knowing that, by and large, Fodors posters are not primarily Rick Steves people, it would surprise me greatly if it were still the untouristed, "untouched by time" village that Steves has been flogging for years.
Eloise is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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We were there last September. It didn't appear to be overrun by tourists. There's a B&B on Civita and a restaurant or two. It's not on a main travel route -- it's kinda tucked away. Maybe that's the reason it's not well visited.
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Old Apr 28th, 2005, 12:23 PM
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Hi Eloise,

No I have never been there, nor did I imply that I had re-reading my last post. I have no idea what the town or area is like today, as it is not on any of my planned trip itineraries for the next few years.

I simply recalled that I had seen it on a Rick Steves show several years ago in college, and that it was in the 2002 Rick Steves guide I used when I planned my graudation trip through Europe. So I went to the website and cut and paste the description - hence the quotation marks.

It seems to me that many Fodorites use Rick Steves material as I do - as one of MANY information sources.
TexasAggie is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 12:43 PM
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I was in Tuscany 2 weeks ago, and would tell you that unless you want to see what my husband refers to as "the 700 year old shopping mall" don't go to San Gimignano. Everyone told us we "must see" it. It is lovely from far away and beautiful inside the walls, but crowded. Keep in mind we were there in April on a cold and cloudy day. It's just a bunch of shops and so-so restaurants. Siena is wonderful... lots to see and do. And you will absolutely love Castellina. We stayed in Radda - stop there if you can. Very charming. All of Chianti is incredible. Have a wonderful time.
lopossofare is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 01:21 PM
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Thanks for the info, TexasAggie. Civita. 14 people. Hmm. I checked out the website, it looks cool. I'll have to see where it is relative to where I am staying.
jules12 is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 01:38 PM
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Hello, TexasAggie,

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you had been to Civita; I asked whether you had been.

And had you been, I would have been interested in how you found it.

And I did say that I thought that most people here did not use Rick Steves as a *primary* source, i.e., that they might use it as one of many, as you say.

I'm sorry that I seem to have offended you in a number of ways; it was certainly not my intention.
Eloise is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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No problem Eloise, I definitely misunderstood your original post.
Thank you for clearing it up though, I appreciate it
I have found many of your posts on so many threads very helpful, by the way.
TexasAggie is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 05:32 PM
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Re Civita. I visited a few years ago as 1/2 day trip while staying in Orvieto. We loved it! Beautiful view of the town from below before you walk up the bridge. Great views once you are up there too.

Very unique and charming tiny town. We were there in mid-May and only saw one other small group of visitors. We spent about 1 1/2 hours wandering around and got some great pictures. My two friends thanked me over and over for putting on our itinerary.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is online now  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 05:44 PM
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I'm not sure why no one had mentioned Lucca. It is my favorite Tuscan town with a wide Roman wall around the city that allows you to ride a rented bike or walk. Friendly people, one of the best, local restaurants I have ever visited in Italy (Da Leo), active olive farms in the outlying area, not very far from the Coast, about an hour from Florence. Lucca was a beautiful, welcoming town that I will revisit often.
RichardSpitzer is offline  
Old May 10th, 2005, 06:36 AM
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sorry i've been out of the loop (i'd sent you info about Sora)
Di you make it to Sora?
please contact me at [email protected]
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