August 10, 2012, 03:39 AM
Pre-planing stage for Tuscany- Help
Greetings from Malaysia!
This is our first trip to ITALY and with so much info out there, i feel kindda lost and am not sure how to even start on my travel itinenary for tuscany.
We family of 3 adults and 3 young kids are looking at Italy for a summer vacation in June. We have a month to spare. SO far, i am thinking of flying into Milan and flying out of Rome. Hence i am planning of the following order of tour starting from the Italian Lakes, Venice, Florence/ Tuscany, Rome and ALmalfi Coast.
As this is a Tuscany forum, i have so many questions and am actually feeling lost as to where do i even start Would really appreciate if we can get some feedback on how best do we get to Tuscany from Lake Como. Which would be a good base for us to stay so that we could visit surrounding places like Chianti, SIenna, etc. Do we need to have several bases or would one base be enough. We are not big into art but more of sightseeing the preety countryside, landscape, food and relaxing and taking it easy.
I have kids with us, i would like for us to stay in a farm house if there is one located close to shops, restaurants and am so looking forward to taking kids to Pinochio Park, castles, etc.
The other dilema i have is whether to rent a car in Tuscany or just to engage a driver to take us sightseeing. Would that be too expensive? Time is so precious that i don't want to be tense up about driving and getting lost with 3 kids in tow. If we were to rent a car for Tuscany alone, where should we hire a car from? AM also concerned on language barrier, hence would GPS help us in driving around..
AM thinking of staying in Tuscany for 9 days.......would that be a reasonable amount of time to cover tuscany?
I so look forward to your kind advise .
Have a great day!
August 10, 2012, 04:49 PM
Recommend several bases for your trip in Tuscany
Greetings from Florence,
I'll try to answer all your questions one by one:
9 days are enough to enjoy most part of Tuscany, of course if you can stay here longer, I advice you do stay since Tuscany is a large region and there are many beautiful places to visit out of the standard itineraries.
I think one base wouldn't be enough for you to move around Tuscany. To enjoy a journey that covers the most important areas of the region, I'd suggest 3 different bases: one in Florence, then one in between Florence and Siena in the Chianti area and the last to the south of Siena right along the southern Tuscan border.
- I would suggest you to start with Florence and enjoy the city at least 2 nights, 3 would be better. You can dedicate a day or two to exploring Florence and the other to head to Pisa, which is about 1 hour's drive away and enjoy the sights in the Piazza dei Miracoli, including a climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
- Then you might spend 2-3 nights in Chianti (or in Siena), enjoy the area, the landscapes, some glasses of wine and exploring the medieval hilltop villages before heading on to Val d'Orcia.
- This wonderful region in southern Tuscany offers unforgetable landscapes and beautiful towns such as Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino and San Quirico, among others.. 2 nights shoulf be enough to explore the area, since the towns are near to each other. But if you're taking a slow pace, you might want another day here.
At the end, I would suggest driving towards the sea coast and spending a few days along the seaside. Monte Argentario in Maremma, in the province of Grosseto, would be a splendid place in which to spend your last days in Tuscany.
As for the car, I really don't know how much an exclusive driver for your whole vacation would come out but likely expensive.... I think if you have a GPS, and drive calmly you should be fine with a car rental. I suggest you have a look here to compare costs: http://www.discovertuscany.com/tusca...n-tuscany.html.
For the farmhouses or any sort of accommodation, check this website out: http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/
A farmhouse with apartments would be ideal for your family because it gives you more space and the kitchen in case you want to cook a few meals in instead of eating out the whole month.
Hope you will enjoy our landscapes and cities!
August 12, 2012, 03:02 PM
9 days are good amount to see Tuscany, can easily spend more to see more
From Lake Como, the best way to head south is to head toward Milan and from there continue on the A1 south in the direction of Florence and Rome. It is about a 4 hour ride not including rest stops so you might want to plan a stop maybe in Parma or Bologna along the way ;-). This is if you're already driving...... if not, depending on where you're staying, you still have to take the train to Milan, then proceed on to Florence passing through Bologna.
As for a good base, depending on how many days total you are planning to spend in Tuscany, you could definitely do 1 or 2 bases as Sara suggested.
With 9 days (which are a good amount although you could easily stay longer), you just stay in one place in the central Chianti area at a farmhouse apartment (generally come with pool so are great for relaxing and for the kids!) and from there visit the region or divide the stay into 2 - one in Chianti and the other in southern Tuscany, in Val d'Orcia area as Sara suggested.
I suggest taking a look here for Chianti: http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/...accommodation/
(Romitorio di Serelle and Il Cellese farmhouses are very well located in a beautiful area and right outside Castellina, making day trips really easy to do). And here for the Val d'Orcia area:
As for the car rental, if you don't rent a car for your entire trip, consider that many farmhouses are outside of city limits and if you're in the countryside, you really do need it to get there and move around, particularly if you want to go out for dinner at a nearby town and then return to the farmhouse late. A private driver would get expensive, driving in Tuscany is not stressful if you take it easily and do not try to get places in a hurry. Most roads are 2 lanes and you'll enjoy the drives through the area where you'll see vineyards and olive groves everywhere. With a GPS handy, you'll do fine! If you're arriving into Florence by train, rent the car there - see tips and additional info here: http://www.visitflorence.com/florence-car-rental/
Let us know if we can help with any other suggestions!