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Allenesses Mar 26th, 2011 06:29 PM

Where to stay in tuscany
I'm looking to rent a vIlla in Tuscany for a week. What part of Tuscany should I look to stay in? I'm traveling with my wife and adolescent children

Jean Mar 26th, 2011 07:26 PM

Do you plan to spend all of your time at the villa or will you use it as a base for exploring Tuscany? If you plan to explore, where you stay would depend on what you want to see/do.

Allenesses Mar 26th, 2011 09:13 PM

We want to explore most of the time but chill a couple of days

Flame123 Mar 26th, 2011 10:10 PM

It is my opinion, and that of many others on this board, that the most beautiful area to base in Tuscany is the Val d'Orcia. It is in southern Tuscany and if you will have a car, easy to get to any of the beautiful surrounding hill towns.

tarquin Mar 27th, 2011 01:36 AM

Agree with Flame that the Val d'Orcia is a good base, not as busy as some areas of Tuscany but with good roads and easy driving. You can happily explore for days without battling with fellow tourists.

zeppole Mar 27th, 2011 03:04 AM

Last year the New York Times published an article about avoiding crowds in Tuscany, and advised going to the val d'Orcia in winter.

zeppole Mar 27th, 2011 03:24 AM


When you aren't chilling, what will your adolescent children want to be doing? The San Gimignano area is often popular with young people, including Volterra, if they are Twillight seires fans. Pisa and Lucca are doable as day trips, and you can also visit the coast. You can also do a driving tour of the most strikingly scenic part of Tuscany, le crete Senesi, from there.

People will howl to see me post this, but the val d'Orcia is beloved of retirees, shutterbugs and wine-hounds. It also has some attractions that grab the young -- hot springs, horseback riding, visiting Siena and plenty of castles dotting the landscape. But it's mainly about quaint towns, scenic driving, wineries and shopping.

Instead of renting a villa, you might consider renting a good sized apartment on an agriturismo that has a restaurant so you don't have to drive to dinner or face shopping and dishwashing if you elect to eat at your lodgings. I'm just posting this as an example, and you should check out reviews of such places on TripAdvisor

If visiting Florence is part of your plans, consider the hills of Lucca or the hills of Arezzo -- both of them incredibly underrated areas of relaxing beauty in Tuscany -- or the general area around Certaldo/Val di Pesa/Val d'Elsa.

Flame123 Mar 27th, 2011 05:16 AM

"People will howl to see me post this, but the val d'Orcia is beloved of retirees, shutterbugs and wine-hounds."

Not howl exactly but certainly disagree with your esteemed opinion. I am none of the above, although I do love good wine, and still I find that the Val d'Orcia is a beautiful area, certainly a good place to "begin" Toscana adventures. The OP does not write whether they are first-time visitors to the area or not, so that might make a difference. In any case, this was the first area that I discovered in Tuscany and IT was what made me fall in love, returning time after time, and THEN wandering into the other areas.

mamcalice Mar 27th, 2011 05:29 AM

While I agree that the Val d'Orcia is indeed beautiful, we prefer Chianti. Chianti is also beautiful and, IMHO, is more centrally located and convenient to the sites you will likely want to see (i.e. Flrence, San Gimignano, Lucca, Pisa, etc.) We have stayed in the Val d'Orcia once but have recently stayed in Chianti, near Greve and find it more to our liking.

bobthenavigator Mar 27th, 2011 06:04 AM

I love it!
Yes, you should completely discount the opinions of:

RETIREES---why listen to experienced travelers? We are going back in May for our 17th trip to Italy and have chosen to stay a week in south Tuscany where the the Twilight series is actually filmed---Montepulciano

SHUTTEBUGS---Why would you want to see the most scenic venues of Tuscany? Pick up any coffee table book of Tuscany and most of the images are from the Val d'Orcia

WINE-HOUNDS---Of course, totally discount the wine heritage of Tuscany--it is what Tuscany is all about

Welcome back Zeppole---you continue your contrarian views.

mama_mia Mar 27th, 2011 06:34 AM

The differences in opinion stem from the fact that all of these areas are nice; whichever you choose, you won't be disappointed.

I do like the suggestion of staying in an agriturismo with apartments and pool. We did this on a trip when our sons were mid-teens and they had the opportunity to interact with other teens who were also staying there. After a day of sightseeing, they enjoyed coming back to the pool to hang out and it made it interesting to have other families there. On that trip, we were just outside of San Gimignano, which they really liked. The proximity to the town gave us the opportunity to see it after the large groups of tourists left. We had easy trips to Volterra, Siena, Pisa, and Monteriggioni--all within an hour I think. Just don't drive into Florence.

On a later trip, our sons were more of an age to enjoy drinking and sampling wines with us. We stayed in Montepulciano and explored Pienza, Montalcino, Sant' Antimo, and Assisi (the last a little longer drive). Very nice to stay in town, drink, and stroll in the evening.

I think the thing to do is decide which towns hold a particular interest for you and pick a spot that would entail about an hour's drive tops to most destinations. I would say I felt there was more diversity in the towns we saw on the first trip than in the towns we went to in Val d'Orcia--although both trips were wonderful.

mama_mia Mar 27th, 2011 06:44 AM

Sorry-I meant to say, we did go to Florence as a day trip from San Gimignano. Just be careful to not drive into Florence--it is a hassle and one has to watch for the traffic zones.

kybourbon Mar 27th, 2011 08:45 AM

That travel article was pretty silly since the writer brought 120 Americans to Pienza (a very tiny town) and then complained about it being overrun with Americans.

My most recent trip to Val d'Orica was in what is considered high season (this past September). Most towns were quite deserted and I didn't encounter any Americans and only one tour bus group. Perhaps the recession has affected things a bit, but on a previous trip to the same area there were only a few more people, no hoards at all.

I prefer to stay in a town with several restaurant choices where you can walk to things and everyone can go off on their own.

Henry Mar 27th, 2011 09:15 AM

This may give you some ideas

Jean Mar 27th, 2011 09:26 AM

There are many lovely areas in Tuscany. I still think it comes down to what places you want to see/explore. No point in picking a base if it's hours away from the places on your itinerary. If you have no priorities, then pick the area and property that appeals to you most. I agree with mamcalice that Chianti is generally more central to all of Tuscany, and I agree with kybourbon's comment about staying in a town rather than needing to get in the car for everything.

GianlucaPisa Mar 27th, 2011 09:38 PM

In this web site you can find a lot of charming accommodations in tuscany

KAlles Apr 4th, 2011 09:06 AM

I would go to Chianti or Val d'Orcia. If you are a samll party, an apartment in an agriturismo is great. Your kids might meet other kids, you definitely need a pool and screens on the windows. Take a look at, the have a restaurant where they serve meals 3 nights a week.

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