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Jul 26th, 2014, 01:00 PM
  #1
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Yest Another Val d'Orcia "how to drive" post

We are staying outside of San Gimignano and for sure we're going to explore the Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano loops, etc.

I'm coming at this a little differently - I've read the "expert" (is there any such thing as an "expert" tourist? lol) posts and itineraries - if we have one complete day to devote to this (which we do), what could we reasonably skip to put more time into general exploring adventurously without any particular destination in mind. Also, the must dos?

This way I'll avoid the cut and pasters hopefully, but feel free to link me to some of your wonderful threads!

James
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Jul 26th, 2014, 01:09 PM
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What is a cut and paster?

We spent a lively week just too doing around val d'Orcia over NYE last year. I think any route around the area would be great.
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Jul 26th, 2014, 01:12 PM
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San Gim, is best visited after 5pm or before 9am. Montepulciano is good for lunch, a siesta and maybe an aperetif, Pienza for supper overlooking the great drop to the south. I guess Montalcino for coffee.
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Jul 26th, 2014, 01:28 PM
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With only one day---and coming from SG---I would start at St. Antimo by 0930 and include Montalcino, Bagno Vignoni, Pienza. That will be a full day.
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Jul 26th, 2014, 01:40 PM
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I'm, once again with Bob. If have to eliminate I would eliminate Montepulciano.
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Jul 26th, 2014, 02:54 PM
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Thanks so far! I just meant: out of 17 days we are staying 6 days just outside San Gimignano and will be going to Siena, Lucca, Volterra on 3 of the other days, so we'll have plenty of time in San Gimignano itself.

I am just focusing on this one trip down to Val d' Orcia, and we even have a free day that is unplanned so far so we could even come by a second time, but just want to take a full day trip down - BobtheNavigator got my drift (and is probably why he's a navigator!)...

Thanks to all who commented so far and those still to come.

(Cut and paster is someone who would cut and paste a 6000 word trip report into my thread)

James
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Jul 26th, 2014, 03:08 PM
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>>>I guess Montalcino for coffee.<<<

For wine - Brunellos.

San G is at least 1 1/2 hours from Montalcino taking the fastest route so is Montepulciano. Most of the routes between Montepulciano and Montalcino are scenic whether you take the most direct by Pienza or lesser roads. All three towns are worth a visit (or a stay).

If I really wanted to visit all three in one day, I would start in Montepulciano, head towards Pienza for lunch and Montepulciano for late afternoon wine tasting or dinner.
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Jul 27th, 2014, 12:59 AM
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I think when you get to Tuscany you will see for yourself you have a choice. Either you can set your alarm clock every morning and stick to your pre-trip analysis plan of popular tourist sightseeing or "put more time into general exploring adventurously without any particular destination in mind." But I don't think you can do both, especially not on the same day.

What I've found useful is in Italy is to pack comprehensive and detailed guides, so that when I go off on my own, and arrive at some place fascinating, I have information with me that tells me about the history and details.

What I have found disappointing in Italy is to follow the tourist tick-tock of "if it's Tuesday 11am, it must be Monte..... , rain or shine or mood notwithstanding" But if you like that style of travel, be sure before you set out that you know the opening and closing times of everything you have on your list.

I miss many things other people have seen, and I've seen many things other people have missed. You are going to be in the area long enough that within a few days you'll find out whether you want to see a lot of what's on your list and even more, or whether you have more fun when you lose the list.
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Jul 27th, 2014, 04:23 AM
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I agree with both Bob and Sandra, depending on what you want.

This is an area of Italy in which virtually everywhere is worth seeing, especially the small towns. I would t miss Pienza or San Antimo or Monteriggioni or Montechiello, but you might. Montalcino, meh.

If I were going back, I would try to stick to what I think of as "white roads", rural roads paved with some kind of pale stone. I never saw one that wasn't magical.
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Jul 27th, 2014, 09:04 AM
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Yes, we travel like Sandra - I think I'm going to do our usual and point in the general direction and see what happens - we even have another still-free day to come back...but appreciate Bob's input as well - always good to know some stuff in advance!
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Jul 27th, 2014, 09:54 AM
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Evenings in Montepulciano are pretty special. Dusk at San Biagio was magical. Dinner at La Grotta, a good way to end the day. Have someone who isn't tipsy drive back to S.G.

We enjoyed lunch at Il Pozzo in Sant'Angelo in Colle. It is reachable by a white road from Sant' Antimo.
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