August 18, 2013, 03:31 AM
Touring Italy over 12 days - few questions
We are going to Italy in October. Couple quick things about us - we aren't that in to art/museums and not big eaters. We don't have much desire to be in large crowds unless it is something we must see, like Rome's main sites so that is why I only have 2 days in Rome (and we aren't spending time in Florence, but rather picking up a motorcycle to head into countryside). We love beautiful scenery and prefer to see it on motorcycle or horse when possible. We do appreciate seeing historic sites/buildings/streets/statues/etc. My husband gets pretty cranky if we are on a forced march - so I can't jam pack a whole lot into every single day.
Rough plan is:*
-Day 1-2 = Rome
-Day 3 Train to Florence and (day 4 as well,) explore Tuscany via motorcycle and horseback - where we need your help. We would love to rent a motorcycle out of Perugia, but can't get a response from them. As an alternative I did get a response from Florence Harley Davidson, so that's my plan as of now.
Val d'Orcia seems like the area we would most like to explore in our short 2 days in Tuscany - suggestions on best route to take from Florence (unless we get a response from Perugia) to get the best scenery?
Suggestions on Horseback riding place? Suggestions on a place to stay overnight in Tuscany/Val d'Orcia?
Rest of trip...
- Days 5 & 6 head to Cinque Terre - how to we get there? Is there a train or should we rent a car?
- Day 7 Train to Lake Como
- Day 8 & 9 Lake Como area
- Day 10 Train from Lake Como to Venice
- Day 11 Venice
- Day 12 Fly out of Venice in am
Someone else suggested we may want to travel the east coast b/c these are all touristy - any thoughts on that?
Thanks so much - new to the forum and look forward to reading more!
August 20, 2013, 01:08 PM
I'd also get cranky if on a forced march - and there is SO much to see in each place, it is really not the best way to handle visiting Italy. Here, you have to have a general idea of where you want to go - for example, head into Florence for a day - and then once you're here, definitely just head in a certain direction and walk around.
There are so many museums here (everywhere) but to see art and masterpieces, you don't even need to go into any of them (unless you want to see specific works). The entire outdoors - the streets, squares and buildings - will offer enough to see without the need to spend time indoors.
For example, Piazza della Signoria in Florence: aside from the beauty of Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi, the statues on the square include works by Michelangelo, Ammannati, Giambologna, Cellini, Bandinelli.... just as one example that there is no need to go into a museum!
Ok, so as far as Tuscany goes:
from Florence, head south out of the city taking the Chiantigiana road (SS222) - you drive through the heart of Chianti, very scenic and great views.
Have lunch along the way, spend your day stopping at the hilltop villages and exploring. The roads around Castellina are particularly beautiful ;-).
Arrive in Siena for dinner and spend the night there.
Next day head south into the Val d'Orcia. If you want to do horseback riding, I'd suggest staying at a place in Val d'Orcia that offers horses on site or nearby, so you could head there directly in the morning and spend the rest of the day on horseback + time at the agriturismo.
Here are some options in the area:
Agriturismo San Fabiano
Agriturismo Il Colombaio
Antica Tenuta Le Casacce
For the Cinque Terre, I'd suggest heading back north and returning the bike in Florence and from there taking the train - it does take about 2-5-3 hours but since you have 2 days there I think you'll be fine taking a late morning train. Check timetables on www.trenitalia.com.
Yes, all of these places on your itinerary are "touristy" but you're also coming in October when many of the big crowds have been reduced (summer is high season) so I think you'll be fine.
Accept that Venice is on an island and that the streets are narrow, any time of the year it will seem crowded even if it isn't.
If this is also your first time to Italy, I think you have to can't not see these top places. There are, of course, many other places that are also beautiful and merit to be seen, but it's the perfect excuse to come back and see them on another trip!!
The Eastern coast of Italy does have its own attractions, definitely less widely known and less touristy as far as non-Italians are concerned. But while Italy may be small geographically, it is packed with history and monuments, so if I was doing the east coast, I'd take at least a week to 2 just to do that. Like I'm saying - a second trip should be planned ;-)