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Week in Tuscany

Old Feb 16th, 2020, 07:27 AM
  #1  
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Week in Tuscany

We are going to be in Vienna for family commitment on May 14. We are trying to plan a weeks vacation before hand somewhere in Europe and we are thinking about Florence and the Tuscany area. Maybe 3 nights in Florence and then moving out of the city into the countryside ( lodging in one place) , renting a car and poking around the smaller towns, we like smaller inns with local flavor clean but not 4-5 star budget breakers. Also canít decide if we hand this over to a travel agent or book on our own. . I need suggestions on
1- which town to stay in
2- which towns to visit
3-any cool local experiences ie- cooking classes, markets etc. thanks Diane.
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Old Feb 16th, 2020, 05:40 PM
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I always have trouble with these open-ended inquiries...

Have you looked at any guidebooks to narrow the list of smaller towns that interest you (either to visit or stay in) or at least zeroed in on a small geographic part of Tuscany that you'd like to explore? Tuscany covers nearly 9000 square miles, and there are dozens of charming small towns and multiple scenic areas that could be recommended.

We don't know how you'd define a "budget-breaker," so you need to give a rate range in currency terms.

If you haven't driven in Italy before, you need to learn about ZTLs which are zones within nearly every village and town into which you can't drive except perhaps to check into/out of a hotel or access their parking lot.
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Old Feb 16th, 2020, 05:47 PM
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Another thing you might want to look into is your flight from home and the flight onward to Vienna. If you can't fly non-stop to Florence or Pisa, you might choose to fly into Rome, explore Tuscany for a few days, then end in Florence and fly from there to Vienna.
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Old Feb 17th, 2020, 06:40 AM
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We are just beginning our plan, figuring out flights etc. of course we will consult travel books but I wanted peopleís opinions about their favorite places, which is why I left it open. Not breaking the budget, would mean under $200. Per night. Less is even better. Thanks for your idea about renting a car in Rome and beginning with that. Will research that idea more thx.
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Old Feb 17th, 2020, 07:42 AM
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If you start from Rome, the usual suggestion is the Val d'Orcia (Montepulciano, Pienza, San Quirico, Montalcino) and north to Siena. But you could substitute the area around Lake Trasimeno (good area for local crafts) or the area circling Lake Bolsena (lots of Etruscan sights).

If you start from Florence, you could explore Chianti to Siena and/or a bit west (San Gimignano, Volterra, Certaldo).

Another options would be to stay in Florence longer and make multiple day trips by train or bus. Montecatini Terme, Lucca, Pisa, Bologna, Arezzo, Siena, San Gimignano, Fiesole. No hotel change, no car rental, no dealing with ZTLs. Don't underestimate how much time you'd want/need in Florence, esp. if your stay includes Sunday/Monday when many of the sights on your list might be closed.

If you land at FCO after a long/overnight flight, consider taking the train to Orvieto or Viterbo, spending a night, picking up the car the next day and then begin driving. Driving immediately after landing can be dangerous.

One more thing... As you're deciding on where to stay, think about how much time you want to spend in the car every day. Google Maps is good for route planning, but their driving time estimates are overly optimistic and don't include time needed to find parking and walk into/out of the towns. Also, I set the search options to avoid highways and follow the more interesting and scenic secondary roads. This also increases drive times.
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 02:26 PM
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Thanks so much for your idea. Great one. We’ve decided to fly into Rome. Rent a car. Do 1 night Orvieto, 2 nights Siena, 2 night Lucca and 3 in Florence. Looking for hotel recommendations for Florence under $200 a night. Had a recommendation of hotel bottechelli, or B and B climatori. Any thoughts? Thanks
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 04:44 PM
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Just personal preference, but I wouldn't change hotels that many times. Since I'm not a big fan of Lucca, I wouldn't stay there but would visit by train from Florence, have lunch or dinner and explore for a couple of hours. The train each way takes 1:19 hours, and the last return to Florence is late enough to allow for dinner. I would add one of the Lucca nights to Siena and the other to Florence.

I can't help with the Florence lodging... Our go-to place is closed for renovations.
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 04:54 PM
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Great information from Jean. Another alternative would be to fly into Bologna, Florence or Pisa instead of Rome, depending on flight availability. Or even better, avoid flying and take the train, perhaps breaking the journey overnight somewhere like Udine. Udine would be your alternative stop to Orvieto (but doesn't have to be Udine, just any attractive town enroute). The train would be more interesting and relaxing than flying.
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