January 6, 2014, 11:33 PM
Information - A Week in Tuscany
I am planning a trip to Tuscany the first week in September 2014 and am looking for information on all sorts of topics. Here is some background information followed by specific inquiries:
When: Saturday 30 August through Saturday 6 September
Travelers: I will be vacationing with a group of 8 people total, including myself and my husband (both 30 years old), my parents (mid 50's), friends of my parents (also mid 50's), their daughter (22) and a friend of their daughter.
Accommodations: We would like to rent a private villa in Tuscany for the entire week to serve as our home base. Accommodations to include at least 4 bedrooms, as many bathrooms as possible (ideally 4 but no less than 3) and a pool. Would also like air conditioning, wifi (a must), full kitchen, washer/dryer, etc.
Aside from the above, we do not have anything else set in stone. We are all wine lovers and would be spending much of our time traveling to and touring different wineries. In addition, we would like to do at least a day trip to Florence as well as other recommended cities (excluding Rome, as we have already visited there on a previous trip).
As far as where to stay in Tuscany, we are open to recommendations but have initially been looking at villas in the Siena/Montelcino area.
I'd appreciate any insight you can offer on this, and also have the following specific inquiries:
1. Weather - Is air conditioning a must this time of year?
2. Location - is the Siena/Montelcino area a good location to stay in? Is it a good, central location with access to visiting recommended wineries and cities?
3. Wineries/Cities to visit - any recommendations would be greatly appreciate. With a group of 8, should we be making advance reservations for each winery we'd like to go to?
4. Transportation - We are interested in hiring a driver for this trip. Is this feasible with a group of 8? Any recommendations on drivers would be appreciated. Even if we do hire a driver to take us to tour the wineries, do you also suggest we have a rental car?
5. Accommodations - Can you recommend any great villas?
January 6, 2014, 11:39 PM
Clarification - Price Range
With respect to villas, we are looking for those in a reasonable price range (nice but not extravagant). Somewhere in the range of USD$ 12,000 - 13,000 for the week.
January 20, 2014, 05:08 PM
Ciao kls40 and welcome to the forum!
I'll start with #5:
Off the bat, 3 villas come in mind that would be perfect for your family, all within and below your price range:
Villa Corsanello - this is the one that would be perfect for your family, in terms of size and area to the south of Siena.
Then these two which are slightly bigger but which you might still contact for info on availability and price.
Villa Vianci - close to Monteriggioni, not far from Siena
Villa Piaggia - closer to San Gimignano
These two (San Giovanni in Poggio and Podere Cunina) are not villas to be rented exclusively but with a few apartments - you could contact them and find out whether for that week they still have the apartments open so that you could rent everything out, or a few of them to divide the group up a bit for more privacy...... if that is a possibility you'd entertain.
But overall, I think Corsanello would be perfect so I'm going with that one as a first choice - contact them and hope they're available for that week!
As far as your other questions go:
1. no, A/C is not required. Most villas are built in stone and with thick walls, making them really cool in the summer. Most are also in the countryside on hills, so even when it is warmer in general, you can quite pleasantly enjoy time outside because there is always a breeze! There are always exceptions and we've had some hot summers in the past, but those are hard to predict! In general, A/C is not provided as it really isn't a necessity so don't insist upon it - the owners definitely know whether it is a service that is required or not in their home.
2. the area from Florence down to Siena is very central - you'll be close to Chianti, Montalcino, San Gimignano, Montepulciano - most of Tuscany is a wine area whether it is known internationally or not so you'll find wineries all over the place.
3. there are many wineries concentrated around Montalcino and Montepulciano, most of which appreciate reservations of at least a day ahead but many others that have fixed days and times for tours and tastings so that reservations are not a must. Once you select your accommodation, the BEST source for information on LOCAL wineries will be your hosts - so do contact them and ASK them for help in planning your trip, they will be happy to help.
4. Transportation - where do you fly into and how are you planning to get from there to the villa? with a group of 8, you'd need 2 cars or a van and, in that case, is someone in your group willing to drive it? If not, then the private driver with a van would definitely be recommended. I'd go with a local driver from wherever you arrive, so if that is Florence, I'd find someone here..... you'd have to set up a schedule for every day so that you can get a precise price quote for the week's activities.
How about for meals, if you want to eat out in the evening?
You planning a winery a day? Tour of nearby towns and meals included?
You don't need a driver just for the wineries, you'll also need one for all activities - if you wish to head to a local restaurant (all villas are in the countryside, not in a town) or to visit towns in the area - just some things to consider to try to determine what is the best course of action!
What do you think of the suggestions given? Look like what you're looking for?