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Your opinon on Tuscany regions and Places to stay

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Your opinon on Tuscany regions and Places to stay

Old Nov 16th, 2003, 09:09 AM
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Your opinon on Tuscany regions and Places to stay

A group of 4 first timers to Italy is in need of some help with where to stay in Tuscany. We would like to see Florence, Siena, San Gim., Chianti, but we're confused as to where would be the best area to stay. Closer to a city like Florence? Closer to Siena? What are pros and cons? Here is a little background:

4 nite stay at the end of March, 2004
We will have a car and plan on day trips
Possibly interested in a villa - about $150/night would be preferrable

Any recommendations on actual villas/hotels would be appreciated as well. We're overwhelmed with all the choices on websites like slowtrav.com, tuscany.net, etc!

Thanks alot!!
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Old Nov 16th, 2003, 09:34 AM
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Tuscany IS a region.

I think it would be good to stay maybe 4 or 5 days in Florence, taking day trips by bus or train if you get tired of the city, or spending all your time in Florence if you prefer, and then, if you would like to see more of the countryside and small towns, maybe another 4 or 5 days in some town in southern Tuscany.
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Old Nov 16th, 2003, 09:54 AM
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Good point, I guess my subject should have said "towns" or "cities" in Tuscany?!

In any case, we will only have 4 days in Tuscany and then we're off to Rome for 4 days. So spending any longer than 4 days is not feasible, at least for this first trip!

We've heard wonderful things about both Florence and Siena, but also heard that staying outside of these places might be nice as well. Too many options....
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Old Nov 16th, 2003, 09:59 AM
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four nights are really not enough to do much of tuscany. the raw minimum would be 10 days.

i would suggest ditching the auto, staying in florence and doing a day trip to siena by bus.

if you find there's not enough in florence to interest you, try another day trip to san gimignano or pisa/lucca.

save the chianti region for another trip.
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Old Nov 16th, 2003, 10:01 AM
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Hi cz,

I suggest that you take your question to http://www.slowtalk.com/.

Those folks *really* know Italy.
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Old Nov 16th, 2003, 10:34 AM
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At Fodorites recommendation stayed this Sept at Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino in Castellina di Chianti. Loved it so charming. Beautiful country hotel surrounded by vineyards. Only stay here if you can get a room with view of vineyards or pool as some rooms are claustophobic (#32 is best). Great location in center of Chianti. Can do the chianti wine road, stopping at daily markets and castles, Orvieto, Siena (20 minutes), Florence (45 minutes) are close by. San Gim is overrun with tourist. If you have to see it make it a brief stop!
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Old Nov 16th, 2003, 11:36 AM
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Wow, Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino looks wonderful and sounds like it is in a prime location. This also might be a great suggestion since we are interested in wineries.

How was the restaurant on site?
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Old Nov 16th, 2003, 12:17 PM
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Do a search above by putting " Tuscany" in the window--you will get 100s of good answers. I prefer south of Siena rather than centro Chianti.
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Old Nov 16th, 2003, 05:10 PM
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A group of eight of us went to Tuscany last March and we rented an apartment in a Villa called "La Coloniche". It was great!!! It is a small villa that has been remodeled and divided into 6 apartments. On the grounds there are also two houses for rent. We rented an apartment for a whole week for the six of us (my husband and myself/daughter and husband and son and girlfriend). The other couple rented a smaller apartment for two.
We were situated between Florence and Pisa about 10 minutes from the autostrada. The apartment was fabulous - had two bedroom, two baths, huge kitchen, a dining table for eight/dishwasher/washing machine and also breakfast was included. We were able to do day tours to:Florence/Lucca/Pisa/San Gimigniano,Montecatini Terme, the Chianti region etc and return in the evening to our "home away from home".
We got it from tuscany.net - great service. And also the staff was super!!!
Check it out in their web site.
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Old Nov 16th, 2003, 06:37 PM
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For czm316 Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino restaurant - Didn't get a chance to try but wished I did, food smelled wonderful. They post the daily menu each morning. Dining room is charming with arches and brick wall. I highly recommend -in town of San Quirico d'Orcia east of Siena "The Trattoria al Vecchio Forno". Outdoor eating in a charming garden. Outstanding food! We came across it by chance but apprarently well-known and should reserve ahead -www.palazzodelcapitano.com. In Florence for a restaurant with outstanding views try "Ristorante alfredo sull Arno". Terrazza Panoramica. When you cross over Ponte Vecchio with your back to the Duomo, its on the left at end of block on left. Right on The Arno, terrific views of Ponte Vecchio and Effizzi Gallery lit up at night. Food good.
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Old Nov 16th, 2003, 10:37 PM
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We just came back a few weeks ago from Italy. We stayed in different areas but our favorite out of all was Greve in Chianti. We loved the feel of the small town, yet it had all the amenities we needed, plus good restaurants. It is about half way between Florence and Siena. There are many wineries in the area.

Have you considered Agriturism, they have apartments, and you are seeing first hand the workings of an estate. Most grow, make and bottle their own wine and olive oil. The 3 we stayed at were wonderful, friendly and very helpful. The last place I had considered staying was Agriturism, (even though many posters on this forum highly recommended them) but we did stay due to unforseen circumstances and I am so glad we did. We found them to be quiet and charming. I will definitely use them again. I believe they all have parking and some even serve breakfast.
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Old Nov 17th, 2003, 03:05 AM
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"I suggest that you take your question to http://www.slowtalk.com/. Those folks *really* know Italy."

Shame on you, Ira, for this slap in the face. As far as I know, you're the only fodorite offering Italian language suggestions before you admit you don't know the language.
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Old Nov 17th, 2003, 04:07 AM
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With 4 nights in Tuscany and a car, you will have to make tough decisions. One thing for sure un my opinion, I wouldn't take a hotel in Florence city center with a car to take care of.
I would choose a small location slightly out of Siena, maybe San Gimignano, maybe Montalcino and do day trips.

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Old Nov 17th, 2003, 07:30 AM
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You are already doing Rome for your big city. Do not stay in Florence. Stay N of Siena in one or near one of the little villages. Rent a car. Explore. It's fabulous. Our favorite time was at an agriturisimo further S of where you will be but so amazing. www.tuscany.net has some great places to stay and once you target in your area won't be so overwhelming (select by "near Siena" etc). Greve was nice. Castellina also. We really enjoyed San Gimiganano. I'd skip FLorence completely for the hill towns if I only had 4 days. If you stay near San G you can hit Chianti region, Siena, Lucca too if you have time. Enjoy!
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Old Nov 17th, 2003, 07:50 AM
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I agree with e roz. We just returned from a week in that region and wish we hadn't stayed in Florence but taken a day trip or two there. We stayed some time in Siena, loved it and found it very central for exploring San G., Greve, Cortona, Pienza, Montalcino, Montalpulciano. Siena to us was way less touristy than Florence.
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Old Nov 17th, 2003, 07:53 AM
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P.S the places we stayed in Florence and Siena were both within your price range. Albergo La Scalatta in Florence was OK, nothing great but doable. We stayed at Frances Lodge on the outskirts of Siena and loved it, there was a bus to go in the walls a 2 minute drive away (with free parking) and it had free parking at the hotel. Check out their website at www.franceslodge.it.
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Old Nov 17th, 2003, 10:47 AM
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On our last trip to Italy we stayed at a great little place in Regello called Villa Rigacci. It isn't too far off the A1 and it's only about 30 to 45 minutes south of Florence. It was a good spot for day tripping all over Tuscany. If you are in the area you have to go to a little restaurant in the town of Penna called Osteria Il Conto di Maggio. It will be a meal you won't forget.
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Old Nov 18th, 2003, 12:40 PM
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Check out I Parigi B&B in florencyby.com. My husband and I and 2 grown children stayed there last year and loved it! It's a beautiful place just south of Florence proper in Galluzzo and just off the road to Siena. We paid 130 euros for an apartment with a double bed and a sofa bed with an excellent breakfast. You get get the bus into Florence at the bottom of the hill-a 15-20 min. ride. The owner even sells bus tokens. At the end of the day it was a little tiring climbing up the hill but the view is spectacular! Enjoy Tuscany!
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Old Nov 20th, 2003, 08:35 AM
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Florence has a lot to see, but with only 4 days, I would spend one in Florence seeing as many of the important things as possible and then head for the hills near Siena and spend a day there, then see as many hill towns as you can drive to. After 4 days, you will just have your appetite whetted to go back for more Tuscany. I could go there every year and never get tired of it.
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