October 13, 2013, 04:55 AM
Need help: Where to stay for 4 days in Tuscany on Honeymoon?
EDIT: Rebooted the itinerary as I decided to cut Rome for this trip in favour of Lake Garda (love lakes and mountains!!). Also found that Air France allows us to fly into Florence and out of Venice for the same price as a return ticket!
We're traveling to Italy for our honeymoon in early March 2014, would really appreciate help with our itinerary and options in Tuscany.
It's Carnivale in Venice until 4 March, which we want to avoid (we are really averse to crowds and noise and chaos), hence we will start in Florence and end in Venice.
We are not into art or museums, so have decided to stay in the Tuscan countryside (we love natural beauty) and make Florence a day-trip.
Here's our tentative itinerary, with questions in bold:
Day 1 - Arrive at Florence 11.55am (Air France)
Travel to Tuscany accommodation from Florence (by bus or train?)
Day 2-5 - Stay in Tuscany for 4 days (where: Siena? San Gimignano?)
Include a day trip to Florence and one more town in Tuscany (where to visit for natural scenery?)
Day 6 - Leave Tuscany for Lake Garda
Leave early and go to Florence main train station, switch train in Bologna. Have lunch at Bologna. From there take the train to Desenzano or Peschiera del Garda, both located along the southern cost of the Lake.
Day 7-9 - Three full days to explore Lake Garda, including Northern Shore
Day 10 - Travel from Lake Garda to Venice.
Day 11-14 - Four full days in Venice with day trips to Veneto, Verona etc
Day 15 - Depart Venice
As it stands, we are spending 5 nights in Tuscany, which is effectively 4 days excluding arrival day.
1) Lodging: Any suggestions on which town we should use as our base in Tuscany? Somewhere beautiful, not crowded, romantic...?
2) Transport: We will not be driving, so will need to stay in a Tuscan town/accommodation that is reasonably well-served by public transport.
3) Where to go: Where could we day-trip to see the best of Tuscany in March weather? We are there for four days but want to plan at a relaxed pace, so I reckon we can schedule two day-trips on alternate days.
4) Things to do: We prefer to explore on our own (it is our honeymoon!) instead of joining a tour. Is this possible to day-trip with public transport?
Would really, really appreciate any advice on our itinerary. Thank you in advance!!
Last edited by snuffles; October 13, 2013 at 06:13 AM.
Reason: Rebooted itinerary
October 13, 2013, 11:58 PM
I can't answer any of your questions, but I've been to Lake Garda (YEARS ago) and Rome (most recently in July)
You made a wise choice in the swap. I stayed in Desenzano in a hotel near the train station, and a short walk down to the lake. It was so long ago, that my knowledge of the place is irrelevant now.
If you want crowds, chaos and noise, then Rome is the place for you, otherwise - go to Lake Garda :-)
I had my purse stolen on a train from Bologna on my way down to Livorno. It was my own stupid fault, I put it on the shelf over my head -- someone snatched it when we went through a tunnel. Don't make my mistake!
Be sure and check out Murano when you go to Venice. You'll find the best Italian keepsakes there, things you'll treasure for years, and will also look very nice in your home.
I'm a little jealous; I would love to go back to Garda -- it was my first trip to Italy.
October 16, 2013, 06:52 PM
Congrats on your upcoming wedding and honeymoon
I agree with Melany, wise choice in choosing Lake Garda over Rome AND avoiding Venice during Carnevale.... I think it would be an experience to make once in a lifetime, but I myself also hate crowds and chaos and somehow have yet to pursuade myself to complete the undertaking! Who knows if I ever will do something that crazy - I've visited in June and September and it was so crowded both times, I can't imagine how it would be during Carnevale!
Anyhow, since you DON'T plan on driving in Tuscany, I highly recommend you stay in Siena. San Gimignano is small and charming but a little more difficult to get to and out of for day trips if you don't have a car. Siena is also small and charming but easier to use as a base with both more trains and buses on a daily basis. But definitely do go to San Gimignano (bus 131 from Siena).
So from the Florence airport, take the Vola in Bus shuttle bus to the main train station, Santa Maria Novella, and from there catch the SITA bus to Siena (walk out of the train station using the right exit onto Via Alamanni, toward Via Santa Caterina da Siena, as you round the corner you'll find the entrance to the SITA/BusItalia bus depot).
From Siena, best area to head to for beautiful scenery would be either north into Chianti - even just to Castellina in Chianti (reachable by bus - check out timetables here
or south into the Val d'Orcia (see some pics here).
If you decide for the Val d'Orcia, it is the only place I'd recommend doing a tour instead of relying on buses (buses do run but are more sporadic as you can see if you check the timetable above). There are some small group tours that wouldn't be too big, take a look here -
You can do tours with wine tastings, such as the one to Pienza and Montepulciano or to Montalcino and the Sant'Antimo Abbey here:
October 16, 2013, 06:52 PM
Melany - you'll figure out a way to come back sooner or later, I can tell! ;-)