June 24, 2014, 03:11 PM
Absolutely love the site and there is so much fantastic information shared here. I'm looking for someone to help me out with my own query if possible.
We'll be honeymooning in Italy for just over 2 weeks in late July / early August 2015.
Our current plan is to divide the trip into 3 parts:
1) Milan and Lake Como
2) Tuscany and Florence
3) Amalfi Coast
In Tuscany we'd love to be based in the countryside and hire a car to explore including 1 day/night in Florence before moving down to the Amalfi Coast.
Here are a few questions we have and would love some advice:
1) Are we right in thinking it will be best to get the train from Milan to Florence?
2) When would we be best spending a day looking around Florence? On the day we arrive? Making a special day trip? Or on the day we leave?
3) We'll have 5 days in Tuscany and plan on spending 1 of these days in Florence, is that ok? Or are we wasting our time trying to see the main bits of Florence in a day?
4) What else should we include in a "best of Tuscany" itinerary?
5) Where would be best to hire a car?
What would be the best way to get down to the Amalfi Coast? Train to Naples?
Many thanks in advance for all of your help!
June 28, 2014, 01:16 AM
Sounds like you'll be enjoying a great honeymoon in Italy!
With 5 days in Tuscany, this is what I'd recommend:
- take the train down from Milan, it takes you right into the heart of Florence into the SMN train station
- spend the first 2 nights in Florence, will give you a little over 24 hours to really roam around and see the city, enjoy some museums but overall the atmosphere. If it's hot, visit lots of churches - they tend to be cool
take a look at possible places for your stay here: http://www.florenceaccommodation.com/
- then rent a car as you leave Florence (tips and location near the SMN train station here: http://www.visitflorence.com/florence-car-rental/
- drive to your next destination in Tuscan countryside, use that one base for the next 3 nights and from there do day trips.
I'd recommend something central, like Chianti - browse for places to stay at here: http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/chianti/
In particular, for a honeymoon, I'd recommend a romantic place - here are some suggestions:
http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/...a-meliana.html (rooms and apartments)
An apartment does offer more privacy, but sometimes won't include breakfast - make sure to check, some do offer it as an extra. Some examples of apartments:
As far as getting down to Amalfi, I really don't know what the best route might be.... train has to go through Rome and then on to Naples, so check the train website to see how long it takes compared to driving there. You definitely want to return the car once you're there, you don't really need it.
Hope you are enjoying the planning
July 3, 2014, 11:55 AM
Thank you ever so much Lourdes! Some fantastic advice there.
I have few other question if you don't mind. I've read lots of varying posts about a) the heat in Italy in August and b) that most Italians take their summer holidays in August.
- How much of an impact does this have on locals hitting the coast / mountains? Does it only really impact Florence or is it the whole of Tuscany?
- What dates do Italians usually take their holidays? I've read it revolves around the 15th Aug, but are people likely to be off at the start of Aug or end or all the way through?
- Should we consider delaying our honeymoon until the start of August? Or would this not make much difference in terms of heat and smaller stuff being closed?
July 9, 2014, 12:28 PM
Ciao Wayne, glad to be of help!
Yep, August can get quite warm - particularly in Florence as it is in a valley by the river, with hills around it. The rest of Tuscany gets warm, but many, many towns and farms are built at the TOP of hills so they get super neat cooling breezes and so it doesn't feel so hot as being in the city does.
Many Italians so their summer holidays between July and August. It used to be that up to around 15 years ago many shut down the shop and packed up and left to the sea for 2-4 weeks in August.... but times have changed and that is no longer the case. There are still some small shops that do that, but if their business is in any way connected to tourists, they definitely don't do it at all!
In any case, most of the closings will take place around the middle week of August, around the 15th as you've read. In Florence, this happens more as you leave the center and enter the residential areas.
So expect Florence to actually have less locals in August, many of the people in the center are mostly visitors.... except for all of the ones working in the shops and restaurants. The center lives off tourism, so that pretty much doesn't ever close down - except for August 15, of course. Commercial shops will close, as do all administrative offices... but restaurants and other small food places will be OPEN! Grocery stores do close, though... so if you stay at an agriturismo where you plan to do some cooking, just make sure to do grocery shopping on the 14th and be stocked up .
In any case, there are places that decide to close the first two weeks and then open, others that close just one week or the last two.... in any case, the places you're visiting are pretty popular throughout the entire summer, so delaying it by a week or two won't make too much of a difference (actually August is likely more expensive in general at the lake/coast because many locals also head there). So late July makes more sense overall.
So long story short - it won't make much difference for your honeymoon, since what will be closed will likely be quite limited.... and the heat can come in July as well, in the form of heat waves.... but often times a thunderstorm comes through and provides some relief as well so still pack some layers, in case it isn't too hot!
July 17, 2014, 03:43 PM
Thanks ever so much Lourdes - that's certainly set my mind at ease.
I looked through the accomodation recommendations you gave and there are some nice ones in there. Do you have any other recommednations for places that have a modern bedroom with swimming pool?
Cost is not really an issue as it's our honeymoon.
July 17, 2014, 06:25 PM
Glad to be of help!
What do you mean by modern? Just the type of furnishings, textiles used, that sort of thing?
I ask because some of the above are not all that "rustic" or traditional but still like to offer the "Tuscan" look by including wooden furniture or wrought iron beds, that sort of thing. Most are offer a mix...
Some of the ones that come to mind as being "modern" only do weekly stays in July and August so out of the question in your case.
The ones that are for shorter stays and that I'd recommend for being less "rustic" are
Villa Dianella - a cross between modern and "country" style, it is a beautiful Renaissance villa with winery right there, so you can do wine tastings, cooking classes, wine tours...
Tenuta Quadrifoglio - aside from the flowery bedspreads, offers quite modern furnishings as far as the rest of the offerings go.
This one is quite modern as far as the furnishings but the context - the farmhouse is rustic. An interesting mix. But it is only for weekly stays :/