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What do you wish someone had told you about Tuscany?

What do you wish someone had told you about Tuscany?

Old Sep 13th, 2012, 10:21 PM
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What do you wish someone had told you about Tuscany?

I just read this great thread on TripAdvisor asking the same question about Florence. We're heading to Tuscany for a week in early October and would love to get some advice from anyone who could offer some.

I'm going to submit the same question for the Cinque Terre, where we will be spending three days.

Thanks so much,

Leslie
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Old Sep 14th, 2012, 04:08 AM
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This doesn't fit "I wish" as I knew.

There's a phone number you can call to reserve tickets for the Accademia Museum (David) in Florence.

We just walked in through the door on the left side (the right hand door had a line that went around the block), gave our resrvation number, paid for the tickets and walked in.

There was one person in front of us.
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Old Sep 14th, 2012, 05:47 AM
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Again, this is about Florence. I wish someone had told me that the San Marco Museum is only open in the morning. On a trip some years ago, we saved it for our last day and arrived just as it was closing. We had to wait until our next trip.

A reminder to closely check opening hours in one's guidebook.

As for the Tuscan countryside, I wish someone had told me how hectic and crowded Siena is these days. On our last trip we took our travel companions, telling them in advance how fabulous it is, only to run into crowds that made it next to impossible to enjoy the city and to find someplace for lunch. We left after a half day. Fortunately, we have enjoyed many lovely times in Siena previously.
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Old Sep 14th, 2012, 07:16 AM
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mamcalice - I had the same experience with Siena that you did. I've been there twice and the first time the campo had lovely restaurants and shops. Now it's bad food and tacky souvenirs. During my first trip there were about 4 people in the cathedral (including me and my friend). Now there is a waiting line and 400 people are admitted at a time.

I wish someone had told me not to visit San Gimignano on the weekend.
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Old Sep 14th, 2012, 07:34 AM
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That it is much larger than you may think and cannot be seen well from a single location.
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Old Sep 14th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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This won't impact the OP, who is going in October, but I went with a group in March once, rented a villa with a pool about 40 mins from Florence and it snowed. Sure made some of our gang in their sandals and capris look out of place!
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Old Sep 14th, 2012, 02:50 PM
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I wish I had known that my vision of Tuscan countryside and favorite towns would be found in the Crete region. I much preferred that area south of Siena compared to the area between Siena and Florence. I only learned the difference at the end of our week. Fortunately I was able to spend 2 splendid days there. But, had I known how lovely the area is, I would have changed my itinerary. Next time.....
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Old Sep 14th, 2012, 07:14 PM
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I wish I'd known that Umbria is Tuscany X 1000. But happily
now I do.
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Old Sep 14th, 2012, 08:09 PM
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The weather can change. It can be cold in the hills, or hot at that time of year. Bring layering clothing and socks.
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Old Sep 14th, 2012, 08:49 PM
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I wish someone had told me that in October the Tuscan countryside is hills of dirt clods as far as the eye can see. They have already turned the fields at that point and scenic it is NOT.
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Old Sep 14th, 2012, 10:09 PM
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That parking in Sienna can be hard to obtain and a long walk from Piazza Del Campo. That the lines to Accademia are long and hot during the day but were non existent in the early evening that same July day.
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Old Sep 15th, 2012, 08:46 AM
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I agree with MonicaRichards about parts of Southern Tuscany in the fall. I know I should have done more research and I would have known to expect the fields to be dirt clods but when we were there in late September, Monica is correct - a lot of the area was not very scenic. All the towns we visited (Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza, San Quirico d'Orca, Sovana, Saturnia, Pitigliano and many more) were wonderful - and so was the wine. The vineyards with the huge, ripe grapes still on the vines were incredibly beautiful but the wide open fields of nothing but dirt were a disappointment.
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Old Sep 15th, 2012, 08:55 AM
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I should have qualified my previous post with "in my opinion". Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and in my opinion, fields of dirt clods are not my idea of scenic.
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Old Sep 15th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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That mountain villages do not always have a bar. We walked from San Marcario in Monte to Fabbiola last week ( a lot of up) looking forward to the cool drink at the end of it. Nothing! Not even a lemon soda!
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Old Sep 15th, 2012, 10:24 AM
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I wish someone had told me that the San Marco Museum is only open in the morning. On a trip some years ago, we saved it for our last day and arrived just as it was closing. We had to wait until our next trip.>>

here is a link to the opening hours for all of the major museums in Florence:

http://www.uffizi.firenze.it/
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Old Sep 16th, 2012, 09:31 PM
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Wow! Went away for the weekend and came back to some great responses. Great advice not to visit San G on the weekend. We have a choice and can avoid doing that. Also didn't know San Marco open in mornings only. Will check on that. We're getting the Firenze card but don't think San Marco is covered. Also it helps to know that the vineyards will be ploughed by then...am sure it will still be beautiful, though. We're staying at an agriturismo outside of Siena, so will also try to avoid the weekend there. We're realistic that we won't be the only visitors to this area and are prepared for other tourists...but good to know to try to avoid weekends in certain places. Am hoping to visit the towns south of Siena mentioned by John183, but had not had Sovana, Saturnia, Pitigliano on the list. Will check these out. Thanks so much, everyone. This is all very helpful!
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Old Sep 16th, 2012, 10:24 PM
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leslieq, oh, not the vineyards, you don't plow those! Just the regular fields. But that was mostly what was in our area of Tuscany, not a lot of vineyards over near Pisa.
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 07:58 AM
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leslieq - I can't imagine getting the value of a Firenze card which is much more expensive (50€) than the Roma Pass (30€)and Florence museums are much cheaper. The museum entrance fees are only 3-7€.
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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I am with DeeDee: I liked le Crete and people always point you someplace else!

But I am not like john183. I also was in Toscana in November and to me the brown fields looked like velvet, and they were filled with deep lines that looked beautiful when the sun was low. I liked the colors of the leaves in November, and the clouds in the sky. When the clouds move over the hills in south Toscana, it casts moving shadows and the hills look like the ocean.
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 08:24 AM
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I agree that I was quite surprised, that during our October visit, Tuscany looked nothing like the green rolling fields, covered with red poppies I had envisioned. But it was still beautiful, the grape vines were starting to turn and really stood out in contrast to the dirt hills.

The plowed over fields were still beautiful because they looked like a quilt made from various shades of earth tones. Brown is beautiful too! Make lemonade out of lemons I say.

On our most recent visit in May we did get to see the beautiful fields of red Poppies and bought a beautiful oil painting in Rome that I just sit and stare at daily in my living room.

IMO, it's beautiful no matter what time of the year.
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