Hello all,

Thank you for your very informative and helpful website. What a great tool!

My family and I (husband and 18-yr old daughter) are planning a trip to Tuscany on 7/6/ to 7/12/14 together with 6 other relatives and a friend, total of 9 or 10 in our party.

We will be in Malaga, Spain for a week prior to Tuscany.

Any suggestions on best way to get to Tuscany from Malaga, Spain?

If by train - which railway company, length of trip, scenery worthwhile?
Or take the train late afternoon from Malaga, Spain to get in Florence early the following day?

If by air - which airline, length of trip, baggage limitations to consider?

We plan to see Florence, maybe Pisa/Lucca, Siena, Chianti, other parts of Tuscany and maybe Rome for some of us who have not been there, if doable and schedule permitting.

We will not drive to Florence, Pisa and Siena due to TZL but we intend to rent a van or 2 cars to get around Tuscany.

We prefer to stay in B&Bs or farmhouses run by owner/family to be able to somehow immerse in the real Tuscan culture, less touristic, if possible.

The first 2 nights (7/6-7/7) we plan to stay in a B&B in Montalcino (in or near town) for the convenience/accessibility. From here, perhaps visit Florence one day and Pisa/Lucca the next day or vice versa.

Our last 4 nights (7/8 to 7/11), we plan to be in Val D'Orcia area (B&B, farmhouse/agriturismo).
From here, we plan to see Siena, Chianti, San Gimignano/Volterra, Pienza and others.

Staying in Montalcino on our first 2 nights, are we getting the same feel/flavor as that of Val D'Orcia for 4 nights?

If so, perhaps stay all of 6 nights in Val D'Orcia to minimize moving?

If our two 18 year olds and one 25 y/o in the party are not tired of the beaches in Malaga, Spain after spending a week there, how many hours from Val D'Orcia to get to the nearest beach or for the older ones in the group, seeing the rocky coast with clear, blue water will be a consideration. How far from Val D'Orcia?

Any suggestions on other areas to consider (preferably not too touristy) to get a different experience/flavor from that of Val D'Orcia?

Is Val D'Orcia much farther to the airport for our return flight to the US on 7/12? Does it really matter since we will have a car?

Your thoughts on our over-all itinerary? Any suggestions, comments?

Little towns/places we HAVE TO SEE that may be off the beaten paths (or not) that you recommend?

Looking forward to hear from you.

Best, MAG