February 23, 2014, 01:46 AM
We took your advice and booked 5 days at the Palazzo Malaspina. This will be our "home" base. Now, here is the next step. We need to get from Rome to San Donato. Would it be wise to take public transportation to Florence then rent a car there? We are not keen on driving through Rome. We would like to take day trips from there...Siena and Florence and some wineries. What would you suggest? Thanks
February 24, 2014, 07:37 PM
Ciao Jormac and glad you've chosen Palazzo Malaspina as your base, the B&B is very charming and romantic and Maria is very nice and makes great cakes ;-). San Donato is very centrally positioned so it will be good for day trips.
I would definitely suggest skipping driving in Rome and taking the train up to Florence and rent from here. From Florence's SMN train station, you can head by foot to the main car rental agencies in the area to the south of the station, just a few blocks away. Take a look at my tips and map of the agencies found on this page.
From San Donato, I'd suggest a day toward San Gimignano and Volterra, another in Siena, another in Florence, another in Chianti just visiting the hilltop towns and doing wine-tastings. That leaves one other day... more wine tastings? Or a cooking class somewhere? I am sure Maria knows great wineries near San Donato that are open to visits, one I remember visiting is this one just outside of San Donato but am sure there are many others. You could email her and ask whether you need to book ahead of time or whether you can go to them the day of or with bookings once you're here.
You could also drive further away on one day... Pisa or Lucca or the Val d'Orcia. What do you think?