March 2, 2012, 03:53 AM
Itinerary july 9-16-2012
Hi I would like to thank you and commend you on a fabulous site, and very helpful forum. We will be staying at agriturismo Fattoria Lavacchio, near Pontassieve from July 9 to July 16. We are a family of six 2 grandparents age 74 & 83, two children age 16 & 12 and myself and my wife. I will be renting a minivan and will probaly drive to very location but Florence.
I'm confused because I have decided that Florence is a must see, but I have so many more places I want to visit. On my wish list are. ( Volterra and San Gimignano ),( Lucca and Montecatini Terme and Monticatini Alto ), ( ( ( Sienna ), ( Arezzo and Cortona ) , ( Montepulciano area ) ( Chianti area ) ( thermal bath ? ) ( cinque terre ? )
Because of my diversified group I need to consider the age of my parents and potential boredom factor for my 12 year old son. I was thinking of 4 day trips , 2 ( 1/2day trips ) and 1 relaxation day at the farm with maybe a small shopping trip to Florence or the local Factory Outlets.( maybe a sandy beach would great too ?)
Would you have any suggestions, we love to do things slowly, enjoy long delicious meals ( trattorias, pizzerias, osterias) and absorb the culture. I enjoy doing things of the beaten track, less turists more locals.
Most of us speak Italian fluently.
Grazie in anticipo per la tua aiuto!
Ps. Where can I park outside of cities like Lucca or sienna which would not be to far for my parents to walk into the city centers.
Last edited by amluco; March 2, 2012 at 05:01 AM.
March 7, 2012, 12:51 AM
you can see a lot in a week but better to take it slow and enjoy each day!
Ciao Francesco and welcome to our forum! We're glad to hear you've found the forum useful so far
I know Fattoria Lavacchio!! I got married in a little church just up the road from Lavacchio, so once you're there I highly recommend you make your way up the road to the small church of Montefiesole. It holds a very precious painting from the 1500s showing a pregnant Madonna, there aren't many depicting Mary like that The church itself dates back to the year 1000 AD.
You can definitely drive down to Sieci from Lavacchio and take the train into Florence, to avoid driving in and worrying about parking. Florence is a must see, I know you won't have enough time to see everything on your list in a week but that can provide a very good reason to come back in the future ;-).
Because of the factors you cite - elderly grandparents and as well as teenagers, as well as the love to do things slowly - you'll love Italy! The motto here is to do things slowly, enjoy what you're doing in the moment and you see what you can, without stressing to do or see more than you can. I wholeheartedly agree - it's a vacation, right!?
You're in a very good area - you can explore the area for good restaurants, many are often in the countryside. You're in wine country as well, so you can do wine tastings at Lavacchio as well as the other nearby estates (Frescobaldi and Castello del Trebbio are in the area, among many others).
Here's an idea of what you might do:
- 1 day in Florence
- 1 day driving through Chianti, stopping when you want along the way, reaching San Gimignano, then head back
- 1 day in Siena, visit the Monteriggioni castle nearby - very cool, you can walk along a good section of the still standing walls around this really small medieval castle
- 1 day in Val d'Orcia which is the area where you find Montepulciano, Pienza and Montalcino - this is the farthest one from where you're staying so do it a day after resting since it will be a long day out. It is also wine country (all Tuscany is like that really) so you can't go wrong with food and wine. Montepulciano is all on a hill - maybe Pienza will be nicer for the grandparents - small and pretty flat.
- On other days, you could do the shopping outlets and just hang out at the agriturismo. Cinque Terre is too far for a day trip and even if it can be done, I don't recommend trying to fi it in for your group. Volterra is also pretty far past San Gimignano, and it is very similar to the other towns you might visit - I really like Volterra but I don't think you should go all the way out just to get there and realize you're too tired to enjoy it. Lucca and Montecatini would in the end be a whole day out - see if it fits in, but if it doesn't, it is the one I'd say to leave out. Play it by ear and see how every day unfolds - it is better to have a flexible plan of what you want to do but also see how the group feels and whether another whole day out will add to the vacation.
Take a look at this article on parking in Siena - you basically just want to avoid entering the town walls - if you follow the "P" parking signs to one of the lots, or park near these lots, you shouldn't have problems. See the "Il Campo" parking lot? If you head to that one and then decide you want to head back out, just go in, take a ticket and then head toward the exit and head back out (you need to do this since the street leading there is one way and if you want to back out, this is the only option - you won't pay anything for the 2 minutes you're in there (speaking from experience We then headed back out the door and parked on the street, avoided paying anything along the strada dei tufi)). In most towns you'll easily find parking; there are signs for parking and if you follow those, you generally stay out of any centers that are off-limits for non-residents.
Hope I've been helpful in clearing out your doubts - feel free to post any other questions you might have!!! Hope you're having fun planning your trip to beautiful Tuscany
March 7, 2012, 03:12 AM
Re: Itinerary july 9-16-2012
Thanks for your reply, It s very nice of you to take your time and give all of us detailed responses, the warmth of locals such as yourself is one of my favorite things about visiting Italy, Mille Grazie
Thanks for your reply to my car rental question in the other post!!!!
March 7, 2012, 10:32 AM
Re: Itinerary july 9-16-2012
You're very welcome! I cannot ignore requests for information - even if I'm not an expert, traveling and living in Tuscany brings first hand experience and if I can share that and make it easier for others to discover the beauty of the region, my time is well worth it! Feel free to post back again if other doubts pop up, I'll try to do my best to offer suggestions and tips.
The car rental dilemma is hard to solve, I'll see if an idea comes up.....
March 9, 2012, 07:53 PM
Re: Itinerary july 9-16-2012
I was thinking of visiting a caseificio nearby , or maybe on the way to Bologna, so we can combine a caseificio tour and a walk through the historical center of Bologna. I am open to suggestions I can combine the caseificcio with or without another activity.
Grazie in anticipo
March 12, 2012, 04:33 PM
Bologna as you drive down from Venice
Since you're driving south to Tuscany from Venice, you might consider fitting Bologna as you head down then so you don't have to drive back up. Gas is pretty expensive right now and will not likely be coming down any time soon so anything to avoid driving too much would be a good idea (to give you an idea, price is about euro 1.85 per LITER at the moment! )
As for the caseificio, there is one located not too far from Lavacchio near Dicomano that you can visit called Il Forteto. It is a pretty big cooperative that produces pecorino, mozzarella and lots of other cheeses as well as raising cattle and growing produce. I am just not sure whether they do tours of the factory, letting you see how it is produced. My mother-in-law loves to go there to buy the fresh ricotta direct from them as well as some of the other cheeses. I'd highly recommend a visit even if it is just to the shop to buy products you'll use during your week since you'll likely dine it at the agriturismo for some meals. You can see their website here: http://www.forteto.it/web/ita/visite-guidate.asp - they do tours for schools, so I am thinking they will for small groups too, like a family.
If you're going to be down near Pienza and Montepulciano, they are pretty famous for the Pecorino di Pienza - this Cugusi caseificio offers tastings of their products with a video of their production process.
Then there is another Caseificio Pienza SOLP with a shop right along the road between Montepulciano and Siena that you can see here: http://www.pienzasolp.it/contatti.asp as well as another small shop in Pienza.
March 13, 2012, 03:10 AM
Re: Itinerary july 9-16-2012
I hope your well, thanks again for answering. If I lived near your mother-in-law I probably would have met her by now, I would be at the caseificcio all the time. It sounds like she knows where to find the good stuff !!!
As for Bologna I was planning to stop by , just like you said. I spent a week in Bologna with my daughter last fall ( on business ) and we both fell in love with the city. Very beautiful, great shopping, great food, and not touristy at all ( which was the best part )
My concern with driving from Venice and stopping in Bologna as I was planning, is where do I park, and would it be safe to leave all of our luggage in the car for many hours??
Thanks again, your a great help !!!