August 28, 2010, 05:31 AM
August 30, 2010, 01:10 PM
honeymoon itinerary in Tuscany sounds perfect :)
Glad to hear you've found the forum helpful so far and you've posted your remaining doubts. I hope we'll be able to be of help in resolving your last questions so that you'll have a marvelous honeymoon in Italy .
For the b&bs in Florence: definitely recommend Johanna and Johlea, just know that the 5 residences are in different buildings throughout the center of Florence. All are very conveniently located but look at their photos online and descriptions and decide where you'd like to stay. They are all elegant and make you feel like a guest in a home rather than a hotel which I personally like. The villa in Chianti is very similar, you feel like you're in a home but there is the added plus of pool, outdoor garden and view and a small spa area.
You should also have a look at Casa del Garbo which is located right in Piazza della Signoria, the heart of Florence, or at Casa dei Tintori, closer to Piazza Santa Croce. All have elegant rooms, perfect for your honeymoon. Take a look here to see these and other B&Bs in Florence with links to the site themselves.
As for the seasons, October generally is mid-season across Italy but that changes depending on the location, on whether it is city or countryside. For example, the island of Elba pretty much starts closing down and many hotels and residences close all winter long. Florence, and Rome and Venice, are such visited cities that while they have a "low" season in the winter, pretty much the rest of the year is busy whether it is "high" or "mid". So you'll find b&bs that set the seasons according to their own preferences (I don't think there is an authority that sets these for all), many small B&Bs will also actually close a few weeks during the year so there opening times and seasons vary. Rates do change a lot based on this setting, so write to several you like and then see whether you can get a good rate for an overall stay.
2-3 days in Florence with a day trip to Pisa and Lucca sound perfect - you can get to both easly with the train and not have to worry about it. These are both on the regional train lines so you buy tickets for the destinations and not for a particular train or time, just make sure to stamp your ticket in the yellow boxes before you head to the tracks and that shows the time and date stamp of use to show to the ticket controller onboard.
The round trip ticket Florence - Pisa - Lucca - Florence should be between 10-15 euros at the most per person. It is difficult to know the precise rate now because the train company has taken rates off the site for the regional trains
As for your days in the countryside, a car is definitely useful since then you'll be able to choose to stay anywhere you want without problems of moving around. A farmhouse is definitely an option since many are set up as b&bs where you can have a room and breakfast served in the common roon. Some on the other hand are set up as apartments with their own kitchen, so you can buy what you like for breakfast and eat whatever and whenever you feel like it.
I'll leave some of your last questions to Valentina to answer and then if anything else comes to mind I'll post again .
August 30, 2010, 03:58 PM
October honeymoon in Tuscany
I agree with Lourdes: your itinerary sounds great!
The main difference between a bed and breakfast and a farmhouse is the atmosphere. When you stay in a b&b like Palazzo Malaspina or Villa il Poggiale the atmosphere is cozy and friendly. Owners do their best to let you feel home and you also have the opportunity to meet other guests and share your experience. On the other hand staying in a farmhouse give you more independence since you'll have your own apartment where you can cook too. Of course apartments are also cozy and warm, but they generally don't have the "family" atmosphere.
Regarding being isolated, you don't have to worry Most of the destinations around Florence are lively towns and cities, even though they are located in the countryside. They are proper residential areas and you will be able to find shops, markets and restaurants. You'll just have to pay attention to opening hours. For example shops, such as bakeries, groceries and mini-markets are open from 8 or 9 am to 7.30 or 8 pm, most closing around lunchtime. So I suggest you ask at your accommodation's desk for hours. Even if you stay in a very small village in the surroundings you'll find something, maybe it will be within driving distance instead of being within walking distance.
I think taking a wine tasting tour is a good idea. First because you can learn many things about wine and the Chianti region and second because you won't have to drive after drinking I recommend you this tour of Chianti and San Gimignano that brings you to main destinations in the area and includes wine tastings at a family-run winery. Otherwise you can take a tour in Chianti supported by Florence Chamber of Commerce and tourism board to promote the Florentine Chianti. Tours are every Thursday and you need to book it at least a couple of weeks in advance.
Since you were thinking of a farmhouse accommodation I suggest you spend 3 nights in a B&B in Florentine Chianti, such as Palazzo Malaspina or Villa il Poggiale and 2 nights in a farmhouse near Siena. By splitting your stay you'll have the opportunity to visit the Sienese Chianti and Siena on a day trip, as well as stay both in a b&b and in a farmhouse.
I really think the itinerary you planned is good and give you the time to enjoy Tuscany while relaxing during your honeymoon.
I hope our suggestions solved your doubts and that you won't hesitate to come back with any other questions.
Last thing: congratulations for your wedding!!!
September 15, 2010, 05:32 AM
Ciao Valentina and Lourdes,
First of all thank you for your comments and sorry for my late reply. I have been vey busy the last Weeks.
One additional question: After our stay in Tuscany do you think it is better to return the car in Florence and go to Rome by train or drive down to Rome?
September 15, 2010, 10:28 AM
driving down to Rome or taking the train...
Not a problem and you're welcome!
Whether to drive down to Rome depends on your schedule: if you're leaving Tuscany to go down straight to the airport, then it is convenient to drive down and drop off the car at the airport. You'll avoid any hassles with luggage and changing trains along the way just to get to the airport.
If, on the other hand, you're leaving Tuscany to head down and spend a few days in Rome before heading back home, then you should definitely return the car in Florence and take the train down to Rome. Since you'll likely want to stay in the center of Rome to be close to all the main sights, you can avoid driving around there because it can be very hectic and nerve-wrecking.
You really don't need a car while you spend a few days in Rome, there is the metro and buses that take you most everywhere you need to as well as a train that goes from Termini (main train station in Rome) to the airport for when you need to get there on your last day.
Do let us know if you have any other questions and have fun planning the last details for your trip!
September 18, 2010, 04:21 AM
I intend to go down straight to the airport and since we will have the whole afternoon to drive from Tuscany to Rome I will consider it as an option. I think that´s all for now. Thanks again.
Hope to meet you and Valentina for a coffee in Florence!
December 27, 2010, 02:06 AM
Hello Lourdes, Valentina -
My wife and I had a wonderful honeymoon in Tuscany. Thanks for your suggestions and all the help. Your comments in this forum really helped me to better plan my trip and of course I recommended it to everyone.
Below some highlights:
We arrived in Florence by train and stayed at Casa Dei Tinitori; nice B&B. I wrote a review on Tripadvisor; recommended. For the ones who likes painting the uffizi gallery is a must see. Buy your tickets in advance via internet to avoid queues. We did the day trip tour to tuscany suggested by Lourdes. It is supported by the Florence Chamber of Commerce and simply fantastic! Marco is a great tour guide and you will visit some places that are not in the itinerary of the general public/tourists; Definitely the best cost/benefit of our trip. The full article is here.
We also did a day trip to Pisa. we took the train at SMN station; easy and cheap.
After 3 days in Florence we have rent a car and went to san donato in poggio. we stayed at Palazzo Malaspina (see review on trip advisor). Very good B&B. highly recommended. San Donato is a small town but has a very good location to move around tuscany. Despite being very small, there you can find good restaurants, bank with ATM machine and a small market near the B&B. From there we visited many cities around like radda, greve, castelina, gaiole and so on. The roads of the chianti classico are really beautiful, so do not go fast and enjoy the view. We found very easy to drive in tuscany and to find the places we wanted to visit. We had a GPS (which you cannot never trust 100% he he) and followed the signs on the road.
We did the wine tasting at azienda montefioralle. This is a small family run farm (mentioned by Lourdes here in the forum if I am not mistaken). Lorenzo and his father (owner) are very kind. we recommend!
Another must see is the dinner and wine tasting at Castello di Verrazzano. The dinner is called it's magic. see their website. Fantastic!!!
This was just a summary of our trip but I hope it helps other people.
Once again, thanks Lourdes, thanks Valentina.
December 27, 2010, 11:19 PM
It sounds like the honeymoon turned out to be wonderful! We are glad we could contribute in your planning stages to make it turn out great for the two of you.
We agree with your recommendations about the Uffizi, a must see for those that love paintings. There are also statues but that isn't the main focus. We're glad you liked San Donato, we found it to be a very charming hilltop village. How many days did you stay there? Did you make it to San Gimignano and Siena?
How about restaurants? Were there any that stand out in your mind that you'd recommend? We all have different personal tastes so recommendations of places you enjoyed eating at are always a plus .
We hope now you've been here and experienced Tuscany first hand you'll be able to come back and offer your own recommendations when you get the chance. And thanks again for sharing with us your trip and telling us what your impressions about all the places you visited. I'll go read your reviews on TA and see what else you added about the places you stayed at
February 18, 2011, 09:07 PM
We stayed 4 nights in San Donato. From there we went to the towns around. We visited Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, Greve in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti, just to name a few. Since the towns are not far from each other you can visit 3 or 4 in a day depending on your pace. We have also visited the Castello di Volpaia (beautiful road going up the hills), the Castello di Meleto (you can visit inside - they rent the place for events and weddings) and the Badia Coltibuono (nice place).
Yes. we visited San Gimignano and Siena. 1 day for each. Must see.
We went to some good restaurants in Tuscany but I really do not remember their names I must take some time to remind and find them in google. Now what comes to my mind is one in Florence called Iché Cé Cé (small place, nice service) and the wine tasting we did at Fattoria Montecchio (few meters from San Donato) it can certainly replace a lunch.