Villa or Hotel

Jul 9th, 2001, 11:52 AM
  #1  
Bev
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Villa or Hotel

My sister and I have rented a villa about 6 km from Sienna for 10/6-13. We are going to rent a car and do day trips to Florence, Sienna, Assisi, Cortona, Orevieto, Montepulciano, San Giamingano and more. Neither one of us really want to drive tho. We are now thinking that instead of the villa,we might just stay in Sienna as a home base and day trip to all these great little towns by bus or train? Is that possible? Also, it might be nice to be in a town instead of out in the country for a week. Any opinions?
 
Jul 9th, 2001, 03:19 PM
  #2  
Nancy
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If you don't want to drive, don't stay out of a town. We were outside of Volterra in a villa this Spring and needed a car just to get groceries, coffee, sightsee, mingle, etc. Staying inside a town would free you from driving, if that is what you want.
 
Jul 9th, 2001, 03:24 PM
  #3  
Diane
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Driving in the Tuscany countryside was fabulous, and not at all difficult. You may find yourself spending a lot of time waiting for buses or trains, and you won't see half of what you would with a car. Besides, one of the coolest things is stopping in places you didn't know about, and just happened to see on your way there. I'd stick with the villa, or find an agri-turismo with a pool. Either way, have a good time.
 
Jul 9th, 2001, 07:25 PM
  #4  
Sherry
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Hi Bev. The most difficult thing about a car in Italy is the actual time and effort to rent one. Cars there tend to be fairly expensive because Italy has a very high theft rate. Also they charge a premium if you rent from an airport location. But do not let this discourage you. Buy a very good map, become familiar with the area in which you are located and enjoy this fabulous country. There is nothing like having your own wheels. Just factor in that it will take you a little longer on some roads on the country.
 
Jul 10th, 2001, 12:53 AM
  #5  
Leslie
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Was just in the same region in Italy this April w/ my family. We combined city stays in Rome, Florence, with some time on a farm in the country. Here's my opinion...a villa (self-catering) sounds very romantic, but for only two people (as opposed to a large group). I think it would be very isolating. Also, many of them require a full week's stay. My preference is a B & B type agriturimo in the country, especially one where you eat breakfast and possibly even dinner with the other guests. Also, you can stay, say 4 nights or even 2 and 2, so you're day trips are no so very long each night as you return to your base. We drove our car into Florence only to return it but you REALLY don't want to drive into this or any other big city every day for multiple days and it takes a good 2-3 days to see much of Florence. Example, it's probably to two hour drive, minimum, each way from Siena to Assisi. Driving on the autostrade was very easy and not stressful. Just stay to the right if you don't want to travel at high speeds. Caution, in the small hill towns, get to know all the signs for one-way, pedestrian only, etc. Go very slowly and don't follow any smaller vehicles down small oneway streets as you can easily get stuck...backing out is a real bear!

 
Jul 10th, 2001, 12:58 AM
  #6  
Leslie
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Sorry re-read my own message and I wasn't very clear. I think week-long stays in isolated villas are better for large groups than for two people... Think you should stay in a hotel or B & B in Florence for a few days with no car rather than driving in each day. And think only one base in the countryside for all the places you mention would entail too much driving. Recommend you stay at two different country B & Bs, say one in Tuscany and one in Umbria to reduce the day-trip miles you'll be driving...but yes, do drive in the countryside instead of trains.
 
Jul 10th, 2001, 10:38 AM
  #7  
Yikes
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Please don't encourage someone who doesn't want to drive to rent a car in a foreign country. Not everyone has the temperment or experience necessary to pull it off. It may just add stress to their trip.
 
Jul 10th, 2001, 11:40 AM
  #8  
Bev
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Thanks for all the responses and good advice. I am torn because I would love to stumble onto some quaint, beautiful little town, which I know we won't by training or busing it, but then on the other hand, we can take a bus to say Cortona from Sienna, relax over lunch and few glasses of wine and not have to worry about driving home. I think also if we were staying in a town rather than the villa, if my sister wanted to stay in and read and I didn't, I could take a walk, maybe go have a snack or another glass of wine in a cafe, or whatever - I guess just more choices. Yes, the villa sounds very romantic and relaxing, but maybe a little too boring for 7 days? I think if we stayed in Florence 1 nite and spend 2 days there, maybe 2 nites in Sienna, and then maybe 2 nites in another region that would would cut down the distances to each town we want to go to? We are flying into Milan, staying 2 nites in Bellagio, next to Venice for 2 nites, Rome for 2 nites, Naples, Sorrento, Amalfi area for 3-4 days, our week at the villa or, and then ending at the Cinque Terre for 4 days and flying out of Milan. Boy, I'm getting tired just thinking about it. We are leaving 9/26 - 10/17. Think we can do it? Do I need to pack a coat?
 
Jul 10th, 2001, 11:56 AM
  #9  
Nora
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Bev, it sounds like a great trip you have planned. I would suggest an in-town
place also. It is so easy to just walk outside your place to the "action" instead of driving in from outside town.
I have done almost exactly what you are planning, and it was wonderful.
I would say a jacket instead of a coat.
 
Jul 10th, 2001, 01:34 PM
  #10  
Bev
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Thanks Nora, I think town over villa has almost won out. What were the highlights of your trip? Any recommendations for good pensions in Sienna, Florence, or other towns in Tuscany, Umbria? I have Rick Steves Italy book and I think we will follow his suggestions for hotels in the big cities, but always appreciate any input. Our budget is approx. $80 - $100 per nite. Thanks
 
Jul 10th, 2001, 01:59 PM
  #11  
ellen
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Sounds like you've made up your mind but I must say that looking at your schedule prior to Tuscany, the week in a villa looks relaxing, being able to stay in one place for a while. And if it's only 6 km from Siena it is not isolated. Driving in Tuscany is not a big deal - we were there in October last year, rented a car and I wouldn't do it any other way - IMO, it's the only way to really visit the Tuscan hill towns.
 
Jul 10th, 2001, 02:22 PM
  #12  
Nora
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Hi again Bev, a few of the places I like
for the price:
Milan: Delle Nazioni, fax: 01139 02 6701804 (near train station).
Florence: Nouva Italia, fax: 01139055210941 (center of town, clean, no elevator, nice staff, basic rooms, nice continental breakfast, good rest. across the tiny street)
Fenice Palace: 01139055210087 (center of town also, but more expen., buffet breakfast)
Venice: Hotel Ala (center, nice, great buffet breakfast).
Sorrento: Loreley & Londres (Rick Steve's rec.) excellent for price IF you get the view rooms. Arrive early in day for best choice.
Rome: Hotel Due Torri (good location, nice staff, small buffet breakfast).
Let me know if you want more info. and I will Email you directly.
(PS: I know how it is when you are with a friend/relative who might not always want to do the same thing as you, that is why I like being in the center of things where I can come and go easily by myself sometimes, cuts down on stress.)
 
Jul 10th, 2001, 03:36 PM
  #13  
Bev
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Nora, I think you are right about cutting down the stress. You know, no matter what we decide, villa or hotels, how can you not have a great time in such a beautiful place. This is my first time to Europe, so it will be a learning experience and an adventure. That's why no tours for us. I would like to hear more about your recommended hotels, restaurants, etc., so go ahead and email. Thanks.
 

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