February 14, 2011, 11:43 PM
Spread to thin?
Hi everyone, great site - so glad I stumbled upon it.
My wife and I are planning a 9 day trip in march and I am starting to think we are spreading ourselves to thin.
We fly into Milan, fly out of Rome.. renting a car and planning on:
- Cinque Terre - 2 days, 2 nights (9/10th)
- wake up and follow the coast down to Pisa area and spend a night there. (11th)
- drive to Florence and spend 2 nights (12/13th)
- head towards Sienna and spend 2 nights somewhere in region (14th/15th)
- drive towards Montepulciano and spend 1 night (16th)
- Rome for our last night (17th)
A friend who works in the wine industry set us up with some tours at two wineries on the 15th and 16th outside Sienna and Montepulciano... so need to try to be local for those - but outside of that our goal is to sort of get lost in Tuscany.
While I mentioned some of the major cities above, we rather spend time in the country... just not sure exactly the best way to handle it. Are we better off picking one place in the country as home base and driving places from there?
Do we need to make reservations in March? Or can we find places as we drive around?
Is two nights in Cinque Terre to much for a trip this short? Would we be better off to do one full day, one night and leave the next afternoon?
Rome is the toughest decision for us... we sort of feel like maybe we wait and do Rome as part of a Naples trip next time we come... but how do you fly out of Rome and not at least take a day or two?
When is best place to rent the car? Should we train from Milan to Cinque Terre and rent after that? Is that possible? And if so - should we train from Milan, to Cinque Terre, to Florence and then rent?
Any advice would be helpful... really want to experience the best food and wine and we'd rather spend time in smaller villages than cities.
Thanks in advance!
February 22, 2011, 05:58 PM
Cinque Terre and Tuscany
Hi BDanahy14 and welcome to our Forum! Your Italian holiday is getting closer so I'll try to give you some tips about the plan.
Rent a car at the airport in Milan is probably the best way to reach the Cinque Terre and then move from there. You should spend two days enjoying this beautiful area and its villages.
On the third day you should move towards Florence, situated about 2 hour and half by car from the Cinque Terre.
Loving the countryside, you should find an accommodation in the Florentine hills around the city for the next two days. The surroundings of Fiesole as the Mugello valley offer the quiet and the authentic taste of the tuscan country at a short distance by car from Florence and its museums and main sights.
To discover and enjoy other areas of Tuscany, you can then move towards Siena and spend there other two days. I suggest you to consider to spend one day visiting the city of Siena and the other one travelling around the Chianti area (maybe your friend organized a wine tour here?)
I personally love the Valdorcia Area and I recommend you to spend there other two days before leaving Tuscany and reach Rome. The Valdorcia with its beautiful landscapes, the rolling hills and the characteristic villages of Pienza, San Quirico d’ Orcia and Montalcino is definitely a must see! Montepulciano is not considered part of this area but is very close to Pienza.
About reservations: March is not considered high season, in any case I suggest you to make reservations before arriving at your destination.
A small notice: recently the 17 of March has been proclaimed as national feast day (we celebrate the Unification of Italy) and some museums/shops/services should be closed or have holiday opening hours.
I hope this is useful!
March 4, 2011, 02:08 PM
If you've never been to Rome, then I do suggest you leave the Cinque Terre one evening before and head toward Pisa. You spend the next half day there and then move on to Florence. Since you'll have a car, why not combine the two nights in Florence with the nights foreseen in Siena into 4 nights in the countryside between Florence and Siena? You can do day trips into both as well as have the time to drive through Chianti (Radda, Gaiole, Castellina, Panzano) and go visit San Gimignano and Colle Val d'Elsa and Monteriggioni.
Then head south to the Valdorcia. You'll be in the area and see it before your tours so that as soon as you're done with the last one you can head on to Rome. A day and a half in Rome at the end won't be enough, but it will give you an idea of the treasures found there so that you know what awaits you on your next trip. It would just be sad to only see the airport once you're there .
While March is not high season, having your reservations sorted out ahead of time let's you freely move between all your stops without needing to take the time out to look for and find someplace nice - whether hotel or b&b or apartment - for the night. It will take time and thought away from what you are currently seeing and experiencing which in Italy is a lot. So I also recommend you do the searching and booking ahead of time.
Hope you and your wife have a wonderful time in Italy!