Where to stay and go in Tuscany?

Old Apr 30th, 2007, 06:55 AM
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Where to stay and go in Tuscany?

This is my first post after a few years of being a loyal Fodors.com/Talk reader. Any help would be greatly appreaciated!

I will be in Tuscany for 3 days/nights (in between Florence and Venice for 2 nights each) with my boyfriend in mid-July. I am trying to decide on where to stay/visit in Tuscany.

We are mostly interested in the wine/food of the area and want a relaxing "Tuscan experience." I was thinking of staying in one place (maybe a farmhouse) for the 3 nights, and traveling to different towns by day with our car.

Any suggestions on where to base ourselves, specific places to stay, and what towns to visit? I keep reading about San Gimignano, Siena and Montepulciano, but I'm also interested in going to that small town or vineyard and having a great meal/experience without all the tourists.

Thanks!
Anne
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 09:04 AM
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I'm sure you will have a great trip.
Tuscany really isn't considered "between Florence (which is in Tuscany) and Venice.".I assume that you mean your Tuscan stay is between your two stays there.
I recommend 3 nights to best maximize your experience.
assuming that you will have a car for this portion of the trip, will you then be training to Venice.
If so, I tend to recommend northern Tuscany. If you stay in Chianti you can more easily get back to Florence for your train.
That said, my favorite area to relax in in the Val D' Orcia area.
If you base near Siena ,you could hit a little of each.
I generally don't "mix" my travel of northern Tuscany with southern. The three towns you mentioned are spread out and will have plenty tourists (Tuscany+July=tourists).
I'd skip Siena. With Florence and Venice you'll taste some fairly big towns.No need,with a short schedule,to add another.
If it's 2 nights go with Chianti.
If three, southern Tuscany.
After you choose which one, then it's easy to direct you.

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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 10:43 AM
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Thanks for the reply. Yes, I meant we are staying in Tuscany between a 2-day stay in Florence and 2-day in Venice. Unfortunately, we already booked flights and are in/out of Venice. I was planning on training b/t Florence/Venice and then renting a car in Florence for 3 nights in Tuscany. It's still doable to get back to Venice from S. Tuscany in one day, right?

Is it San Gimignano that is in Northern Tuscany and the rest in Southern? I assume that Val D' Orcia is in the Southern based on your comment. I think we would rather do Southern, if that helps. I would love to hear more suggestions. Thanks!

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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 10:57 AM
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Hi abcsports,

Stay in the Val D'Orcia for the 3 days and you will be soooo happy. The food and wine are wonderful; the people are lovely; you can get away from the tourists by visiting some of the smaller towns; and the landscape is just like all of those postcards and calendars you see of Tuscany.

I like to stay at a place very central for day trips to small towns in the area and located just outside of Pienza-

fontebertusi.it

You can rent a car in Florence and return it in Venice-

autoeurope.com

Have a wonderful trip!

Zoe
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 11:00 AM
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Zoe, thanks for the advice. I can't wait to check out your suggestions. It sounds like that might be right up our alley!

Anne
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 11:01 AM
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Zoe, I forgot to ask -- it's not difficult to drive to Venice?
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 07:33 PM
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Hi again,

I have never driven from Tuscany to Venice, but I've heard that it's simple. If you are apprehensive, you could return the car in Florence or Chiusi (~ a 1 hour, simple and beautiful drive from Fonte Bertusi) and take the train to Venice.

Also, to make things easier for getting out of and into Florence with the car, consider renting at the airport. It's a 10 minute taxi ride from the city and it will allow you to avoid the congestion of busy Florence. There is an additional fee for pick up at the airport, but I feel it is worth it.

Enjoy your travels!

Zoe
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 07:48 PM
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Dear abcsports,

I read this forum quite often and post questions whenever I'm planning a trip. Finally, I have information to post for someone else!

If you want an unusual wine/food experience, go to Castello Banfi in Tuscany. You must have the lunch tasting menu there, followed by a tour of their beautiful vineyard. We had a choice between the casual taverna and the more formal dining room. The taverna was so welcoming and cozy that we decided to stay there and the food was spectacular as were the paired wine choices. Make sure you reserve in advance, and definitely take the tour. Our tour guide, Annalisa, provided one of the highlights of our trip. Castello Banfi is in Montalcino. You can find more info at: www.castellobanfi.com. We stayed in the town of Montalcino right after (a walled city). can't remember the name of the hotel, but it was literally right outside the city walls.

Hope this helps!

Annie
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 11:47 PM
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I know you'll hate me for it, but YOU MUST know how we say in Italy about Brunello?

Brunello/Tavernello...

Tavernello ( www.tavernello.it) is a cheap wine....
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Old May 1st, 2007, 05:50 AM
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I'd stay in Montalcino and keep the car to return it in Venice.
Choose one of the inns that have great views.
There's also some nice agriturismos.
I'd plan on driving to the Val d'Orcia through Chianti on S2. You will get a taste of some different scenes and hill towns.
Plan to have lunch at Antica Trattoria La Torre in Castellina. My favorite lunch stop in Tuscany.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 06:11 AM
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Oops! I meant take S222
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 07:58 AM
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Eugenio,

Wine is very subjective. We love the better Brunellos of which Castello Banfi is one of our favorites. We are in the restaurant business in New York and, as we say, to each his own.
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