August 13, 2014, 08:51 PM
Vacation Villa in Tuscany...HELP!!!
I appreciate any feedback you can give. My parents, sister and I are traveling to Tuscany from October 5th-17th. We are staying at a Villa in Siena and we want to do as much as we can. I was considering a Wine Tour, with Tours of Tuscany to see as many wineries as possible and a Tuscan lunch. We of course also want to see 'David" and travel around Florence. We also wanted to hire a personal chef at our villa to good the local fare.
I also wanted information in regard to traveling to Rome for a day trip or an overnight. I've never been to Italy, and really want to see all the tourist attractions in Rome. What is the best way to get there from Siena? Can you do Rome in a day, and what do you recommend?
We also wanted to do an overnight trip to Cinque Terra but again need some advice, as to the where to stay, best way to get there, where to eat, what to do....we are renting a car as well.
Its all very exciting and very OVERWHELMING!!!! Anything you can recommend would help me.
August 18, 2014, 03:52 PM
We stayed away from tours and did everything on our own - we were there for two weeks just returning home this past Friday. We spoke to a young couple on the train to the airport in Venice. They did Rome Florence and Venice in a week and spent most of the time in line visiting the tourist attractions and said that it was a waste of time as their entire vacation was standing in line. David for example is expensive to visit and they stood in line for 3 hours to see him. While awesome, not worth the time or money.
We had the most fun walking around, meeting locals and asking their advice as to where to eat, places to visit and vineyards to visit. We had met Max our waiter in a restaurant who hooked us up with a friend who owned a vineyard outside Bologna. We spent the day tasting his great wines and touring the vineyard one on one with the owner, his family invited us to lunch and we had a blast - needless to say a new friend! We also stopped at a 750 year old vineyard by chance - one of the oldest in the Italy. No tourist tours, just us and the owner.
I wouldnt get too wrapped up in schedules unless you need the structure! It's so awesome to fly by the seat of your pants while there! Good luck and have a blast!
August 21, 2014, 11:04 AM
Yes, I understand - there are so many choices that it can definitely be overwhelming.
Are you going to be based in Tuscany for the 12 days and that is the entire time you have in Italy? Or will you have a few extra days before or after Tuscany? Are you flying into Florence?
I ask because if you want to see Rome, then it might make sense to add it at the start or end and spend a few nights there. Rome is a large city and has lots of monuments, you need at least 2-3 days there to see it.
Tuscany also needs about a week - and you can do tours for some days, and on your own on others. Since you plan on renting a car, you could rent out of Florence - and still do tours, especially if you want to do wine tastings as then you don't have to drive yourself.
There are a lot of tours available, take a look at these:
and in particular to ones that start in Siena:
As for a chef at the villa, I'd look into getting these ladies to come out and cook for you, as well as do a cooking class together: http://www.discovertuscany.com/tusca...chez-nous.html
As far as Cinque Terre, I definitely recommend spending the night there so that you can do 2 days and take your time. We are working on creating a section on CT and will be putting that online soon, so for now I tell you that with car, the best town to base/head to would be Monterosso al Mare as they have parking. What to do - a lot of walking, sightseeing, more walking as in hiking between the towns (but you can also hop on the train that connects them), eating delicious seafood and enjoying the beautiful towns and views! ;-)
I also recommend in getting lots of ideas of what's possible, but not scheduling everything ahead of time (except for the tours, but never more than one a day) and then leave space for spontaneity and deciding once you're here what to do.
August 28, 2014, 09:02 AM
CT is definitely worth a visit -
if you are looking with the same charm you can stay at Levanto, located just on the outer edge of CT.
The train runs regularly, there are plenty of hotels, good restaurants and a lovely little beach. I stayed here the last time I went because I found good economical accommodations.
Rome is very do-able in one day and though everyone wants to see certain highlights, there is so much to see without ever stepping foot into a museum. If you decide to do it on your own, I think it is important to define your priorities before you get there, so you can make a small plan of action - BUT, I think Lourdes is spot on, leave some room for spontaneity.