September 2, 2013, 03:24 AM
10 days in Tuscany- side trip to Modena
I'm planning a short notice trip to Tuscany (surprise vacation), and could use some advice. My husband is a chef and I'm a photographer, so food and gorgeous scenery are the primary focus for us. We are also celebrating our 4 years delayed honeymoon. Since this is all very short notice, I'm trying to figure out how to maximize our experience without 'trying to see it all' and then not having any time to relax. We'll be in Tuscany for 10.5 days.
Part of my confusion is how to plan this considering that we are going to be going to a restaurant in Modena for dinner midway through (my husband will be heartbroken if we miss this place, so it must happen!)
We are flying into Bologna on a Friday around noon, and plan to head to Florence right after lunch. So far my plan is this:
Friday: Bologna to Florence via train
Mon & part of Tues: Pick up a car first thing in Florence, then head down to San Gimignano and Volterra.
Tues: Drive back up through Lucca and environs.
Wed: I'd REALLY like to drive up to Cinque Terre and see that area. I know it doesn't take a ton of time, so I'm thinking we could head out early on Wednesday and see that, then drive over to Modena from there for our dinner reservation at 8:30pm. We'd probably stay in Modena overnight as dinner will be late.
*note- not sure if we should stay in a B&B or agritourismo in the middle of these areas as a base of operations, for those days, or find a place in one of the towns- would appreciate input there!
Thurs/Fri/Sat: Would like to head out from Modena and get down to the Chianti region. I'd love to take a leisurely drive through this area, hitting up Montepulciano and Siena in the process. Will most likely book an agritourismo for these days, but not sure what location will be best to maximize our chance to see the region and enjoy the wine.
Sun: we still have Sunday that isn't 'called for'. We need to get back up to Bologna, so may just turn it into an easy day back up that way.
Mon: flight back from Bologna at 6:15am (gah).
I'm trying to decide if cutting a day from Florence (or half day) will be better so that we can see more winery stuff around the San Gimignano/Lucca/Pisa area. I'd love input on that as well!
I'm sorry this is so vague- we just found out 3 days ago that we have this vacation time and I'm going wild trying to get it all sorted. Thanks for your input!
September 19, 2013, 06:13 PM
I had studied your itinerary so long I was convinced I had already replied :/ Sorry to find your post now and see it wasn't so! Hope I still have time to be helpful....
Sounds like a very full itinerary right now...I know you want to do as much as possible but with the dinner in Modena in the middle, I am thinking less will be more so that you don't end up stressed from your vacation! ;-)
So train ride to Florence, then visit to San Gimignano, Volterra, Lucca and Pisa sounds good - the best accommodation in this case would be one single base which you can do on Saturday.. you pick up the car one day before and if you want to head back to Florence, you can, for half a day or dinner. So maybe a farmhouse or B&B just outside of Florence would be a good option - how about one of these:
Once you return after the night in Modena, you could move your base further down in Tuscany, closer to Siena so that you have a more central base from which to see other areas of Chianti and then Montepulciano. Some ideas:
or even a stay in Siena itself, with parking. Take a look here for places in Siena: http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/siena-city/
The part I am definitely recommending you take off the itinerary is Cinque Terre - even if it looks on a map like it is "on the way" up to Modena, the actual geography of Tuscany/Liguria/Emilia Romagna is going to prevent you from popping in into the 5 villages since they sit behind a mountain on cliffs along the coast, more easily accessible by train than by car and from there you have to pass through the Apennines on your way to Modena.
So you could be satisfied and reach one or two of the towns, such as Monterosso al Mare since it is the easiest to reach by car, then hop on the train to Vernazza... and then depending on your time, head toward Modena to make it there in time for check-in and to get ready for your dinner. So it is possible, just know that it will be a long day!