Tuscany Vacation Planning Help

Feb 14th, 2007, 06:05 AM
  #1  
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Tuscany Vacation Planning Help

Hello everyone!
I am new to this site. I am planning a vacation to Italy in August. I wish there was another time we could go, but August is it! We will have around 8 days. I have been to Rome, Florence, and Venice before. This time around, I would like to visit the Tuscan countryside. My husband and I enjoy some relaxation, but like to be active as well. Our vacation last year to an island was perfect because we would hit the beach for around 2 hours in the morning and then do an activity in the afternoon (snorkeling, golfing, fishing etc.). Islands are nice, but Italy is the best, my husband has never been, so it's time.

I have been reading, but there is so much information that I feel very overwhelmed!! I'm not sure if we should stay in one place the entire time or split our time between two locations. I thought that I would start with suggestions from others who have been there. What would you recommend in terms of locations to stay. I realize that there is a lot of exploring to be done in the towns which I would like to do. If you did any one specific activity (like a wine tasting) that you just loved, please let me know! Any suggestions would be appreciated...
Golfer26 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 06:17 AM
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In general, you should pick a town as home base and use the trains to do your day-tripping. You will never run out of wonderful small towns to visit.

I suggest you get a really good map of Tuscany and Umbria and start writing down names of cities you'd like to visit and map them out. Rent videos and guidebooks so you get a better idea of what these cities have to offer. It will help narrow down the list (or may add to it).

The train website is www.trenitalia.com

Come back here with questions!
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 06:44 AM
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Don't be afraid to rent a car for the very best way "to visit the Tuscan countryside".
TuckH is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 06:45 AM
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Hi Golfer,

I disagree with Sandi's advice to use trains in Tuscany. Tuscany is not the place to try to use trains, especially if you plan to stay in one place for a week and daytrip.

Rent a car and pick it up in either Orvieto, Cusi or Siena. If you actually have a full 8 days, not including travel days, I would split it between 2 locations, such as northern and southern Tuscany, or even Tuscany and Umbria.

If your husband has never been to Italy, you might want to consider a day or two in Florence if he has an interest in art, or a day or two in Rome just for a taste of the highlights if he's interested in Roman history, etc.

Many, many options and they are all GREAT!

If you both like the beach, how about 5 days inthe Tuscany countryside and another 3 on the Tuscany coast, Marremma (SP?). Might be crowded too though in August!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is online now  
Feb 14th, 2007, 06:51 AM
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Husband and I like to rent a car in Tuscany. Just so many out of the way places you can't reach by train and we love riding through the countryside.
We base ourselves in the Val D'orcia region of Tuscany (Pienza) and do day trips. Easy drive to Siena,Montalcino,Orvieto etc..
With 8 days you could also break it up with 4 days in the Chianti region.(Maybe Greve, Cortona )

As the previous poster said get yourself a good guidebook and decide which towns appeal to you.
grimmy is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 10:30 AM
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My point is the same, to map it out and use a city as home base. Travel between home base and day trips any way you'd like.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 06:35 AM
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is an international drivers license required to drive in tuscany? if yes is one obtained from home or at the car rental office? we are us citizens. thank you.
virginia is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 06:41 AM
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Yes, an international drivers license is required. AAA will take your photo and issue you one if you have an office near you. It took 5 minutes and the cost in Canada was I think 18.00 but can't remember for sure. It wasn't much more than that.
CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 08:28 AM
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Actually, I don't think an Intl license is required if you have your local one. They are very simple to obtain if you don't want to take a risk. I think I got mine at AAA for $10.
ssbnorman is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 09:13 AM
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How about 4 days in Tuscany with a car (Siena/Chianti/Multipulciano) at a nicely located villa (we loved Le Boscarecce)with 1 day in Florence - you can pre-book (and not pay if you are unable to arrive) Accademmia and Uffizi as well as other sites (see Ira's numerous messages on this site), and the balance near Cinque Terre or Rapallo/san Margherita/Portofino (we found Rapallo - Grand Bristol Hotel - to be a great base for 3 days, with 1 day relaxing, 1 day doing the walk to Portofino, and 1 day training early on to Monterosso for the day at C.T.).

...just some ideas to ponder...
nevertooold is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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An international driver's permit (or a certified tranlation of your US permit) is mandatory in Italy. Just because no one asks you for it doesn't change the law.

And I agree that a car is pretty much essential unless all you want to see are the main town. The greatest thing ahout Tuscany and Umbria is wandering around through the coutryside and "discovering" the little out-of-the-way villages.

With 8 days I'd divide my time equally between Tuscany and Umbria. As already suggested, if you don't want to drive out of Rome, take a train and pick up a car at the station. I particularly like the Chiusi (note the correct spelling) station because it is in the lower town and very easy to drive out of, but Orvieto or Assisi would also work.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 05:34 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions! We will definitely rent a car. Now, I have to decide which town to stay in!
Golfer26 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 08:30 AM
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I am just starting my research on my dream vacation to Italy for our anniversary. Planning anywhere from late summer to mid-fall. This site has helped me so much in the past. You sound like you are planning the same kind of trip as we are and I would love to hear how you made out. So much to learn.......
ljc4creb is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 09:01 AM
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We rented a car in Florence (from AutoEurope, a Mercedes automatic at a very good rate, about $60/day) and drove to Siena (drive the slow route through Chianti). Siena is an excellent base because the day trips through Tuscany are a very easy drive. In the Siena area we stayed for 3 nights at Casa Bolsinina in Monteroni d'Arbia, about a 15 minute drive to Siena. The Casa is a restored farmhouse. Very quiet and comfortable. The proprietors (Maria and Marcello) are very helpful and serve a wonderful breakfast (and dinner sometimes). Easily accesible towns from Siena and worth the trip: Volterra, San Gimignano, Monte Riggioni, Montalcino, San Quirco. Maria and Mrcello go over the map with you and make excellent recommendations.
pbeitchman is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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International driver's license definitely NOT needed in Italy. Any US state driver's license is OK.
pbeitchman is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 12:48 PM
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An International Driver's Permit is indeed required in Italy for foreigners. It's a translation of your license, so if your license is Italian, you won't need it. Not all car rental companies demand to see it, however. But, if you get in an accident, you want to have it. As others said, it's cheap and easy to get at AAA.

Also, Italy requires you to buy insurance when you rent a car there. Coverage by a credit card doesn't count.
Mimar is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 02:54 PM
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Golfer26,
Send me an e-mail and I will send you some ideas for Tuscany.

Henrt
Henry is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 02:54 PM
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Golfer26,
Send me an e-mail and I will send you some ideas for Tuscany.

Henry
Henry is offline  
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