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Thread: What is open in Siena between 23rd and 27th December?

  1. #1
    John Gayley is offline Junior Member - Learning about Tuscany
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    Default What is open in Siena between 23rd and 27th December?

    Hi-we want to visit Siena over the Christmas holidays. Will restaurants, hotels, etc. be available and open during this time? We understand 24-26 December are national holidays, But we are not clear on what this means for travelers. Any guidance or experiences much appreciated…

  2. #2
    StefanieO is offline Junior Member - Learning about Tuscany
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    Default Self Drive from Florence to Rome via Tuscany wine tastings and lunch.

    Hello all,

    We are visiting the beginning of November. We have a car and designated driver and are looking to drive from Florence through Tuscany working our way to Rome via wine tastings and lunch. We are more to the white wine drinkers and would love to visit a little of say three main areas. I would love to do a large winery and a small local farm to table lunch to get some local emersion. We would love to drive the most famous road on this tour. We have one day for this and is on a Sunday.

    I am overwhelmed by so many amazing places and want to get our trip just right. Please help!

    Thank you!!

  3. #3
    John Gayley is offline Junior Member - Learning about Tuscany
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    Default Tuscany in November

    Quote Originally Posted by StefanieO View Post
    Hello all,

    We are visiting the beginning of November. We have a car and designated driver and are looking to drive from Florence through Tuscany working our way to Rome via wine tastings and lunch. We are more to the white wine drinkers and would love to visit a little of say three main areas. I would love to do a large winery and a small local farm to table lunch to get some local emersion. We would love to drive the most famous road on this tour. We have one day for this and is on a Sunday.

    I am overwhelmed by so many amazing places and want to get our trip just right. Please help!

    Thank you!!
    Ciao--Tuscany is, for the most part, a "red wine" region. However let's break it into pieces: 1.) if you want the "most famous road" through Tuscany, it is the SR222, so-called "Via Chiantigiana"(the Chianti Route) which runs from Florence in the North to Siena in the south, and goes right through there Chianti Classico region. Again, mainly red wines, but very, very good. AND the scenery is gorgeous...total eye-candy. I can give you many possible wine stops if you wish.

    (if white wines are a real priority): To the west of the Chianti Classico region (but still in Tuscany)is the district around a very famous hill town called San Gimignano. This is a highly-visited town and a UNESCO world heritage site, because of the surviving mediaeval towers in the city (look it up.)Around San Gimignano they grow a characteristic white wine called Vernaccia. It is, admittedly, more famous because of its location outside San Gimignano than because of its transcendent quality, but you could nonetheless "check the box" on your desire to taste white wines, while also taking in one of Tuscany's most famous hill towns. AND very pretty scenery. Nearby are two other towns which aren't known for their wine, but might be nice stops on a one-day tour: Monteriggioni (a town fully enclosed by a castle with 11 towers) and Volterra, once an Etruscan capitol. We've been in Tuscany in November. The weather is passable, but the vines are turning incredible colors, much like the autumn in the eastern US (or UK).

    So much for Tuscany. At the lower end of the province, along the main Florence-Rome Autostrada, and technically in Umbira, lies Orvieto, a SPECTACULAR town on a high mesa of Tufa. This is a cool town in and of itself, but also has a vibrant white wine tradition: Orvieto classico, a wine that runs the gamut from dry to semi-dry to semi-sweet, and is very pleasant. This is a further drive south, and well on the way to Rome, but also is a possible consideration for you.

    Reach out if you need more.

  4. #4
    StefanieO is offline Junior Member - Learning about Tuscany
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Gayley View Post
    Ciao--Tuscany is, for the most part, a "red wine" region. However let's break it into pieces: 1.) if you want the "most famous road" through Tuscany, it is the SR222, so-called "Via Chiantigiana"(the Chianti Route) which runs from Florence in the North to Siena in the south, and goes right through there Chianti Classico region. Again, mainly red wines, but very, very good. AND the scenery is gorgeous...total eye-candy. I can give you many possible wine stops if you wish.

    (if white wines are a real priority): To the west of the Chianti Classico region (but still in Tuscany)is the district around a very famous hill town called San Gimignano. This is a highly-visited town and a UNESCO world heritage site, because of the surviving mediaeval towers in the city (look it up.)Around San Gimignano they grow a characteristic white wine called Vernaccia. It is, admittedly, more famous because of its location outside San Gimignano than because of its transcendent quality, but you could nonetheless "check the box" on your desire to taste white wines, while also taking in one of Tuscany's most famous hill towns. AND very pretty scenery. Nearby are two other towns which aren't known for their wine, but might be nice stops on a one-day tour: Monteriggioni (a town fully enclosed by a castle with 11 towers) and Volterra, once an Etruscan capitol. We've been in Tuscany in November. The weather is passable, but the vines are turning incredible colors, much like the autumn in the eastern US (or UK).

    So much for Tuscany. At the lower end of the province, along the main Florence-Rome Autostrada, and technically in Umbira, lies Orvieto, a SPECTACULAR town on a high mesa of Tufa. This is a cool town in and of itself, but also has a vibrant white wine tradition: Orvieto classico, a wine that runs the gamut from dry to semi-dry to semi-sweet, and is very pleasant. This is a further drive south, and well on the way to Rome, but also is a possible consideration for you.

    Reach out if you need more.

    We had a little change in plans which still works, we are going to day trip wine country from Florence and go back to Florence. With that being said is it possible to hit the most famous road area along with visiting to the west? We are big on white wines that are not dry, but your crisp to sweet (not super sweet) and very open to red's but would be looking for more sweeter reds not dry and harsh flavors. We would want a lunch built in for the day too, possibly dinner.

  5. #5
    John Gayley is offline Junior Member - Learning about Tuscany
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    Default wine touring in Tuscany

    Yes, this is all doable, although please see my observation at the end relative to your wine preferences.

    1.) San Gimignano is about 60-70 minutes by car from Florence, depending on where in town you're staying. If you're hiring a driver, they should know how to navigate this effectively. My suggestion? Do San Gimignano FIRST (i.e., right from Florence)and get a decently early start. Its a nice drive (scenic, even in autumn) and also the town itself can get pretty crowded since its a very popular tourist spot. Getting there early allows you to see a very cool town--if this interests you--and also to find some places that might be a good stop for wine tasting. Again, your guide should be able to suggest some places that specialize in the local Vernaccia wine. However, a few of well-regarded ones include: 1.) Montenidoli, slightly west of San Gimignano; 2.)Panizzi, about 5 miles west of town;3.) Il Columbiao di Santa Chiara about 4 miles SW of town. All these are white wine producers, and also make reds as well. A good lineup.

    2.) Heading back toward the primary Chianti District (The so-called "chianti Classico" district)--you can drive past Monteriggioni, another quaint hill town that is less crowded, and has opportunities both for wine tasting from local producers, and also several nice lunch spots...all in a village completely enclosed by castle walls.

    3.) from there your driver can take you into the Chianti Classico district, by taking SP 119 until it joins up with SR 222, (SR 222 is the so-called "via Chiantigiana")the famous road through the district I mentioned earlier. Taking the SR 222 northward will eventually get you back into Florence. But it also goes through the lovely chianti countryside that has several nice towns for walking or lunch/Dinner, as well as tasting more wines. The towns that might warrant your attention are (from south to North): A.) Castellina-in-Chianti, small walkable town built within the ramparts of a small castle and has several nice local restaurants (Including Antica trattoria la Torre, and Tre Porte. Several miles out of Castellina there's also another fine restaurant up a hill, called Osteria alla Piazza. B.) Panzano-in-Chianti, also smaller but situated right in what is considered by many to be the best growing area for Chianti, the so-called "Conca D'Oro" (the golden shell). Panzano also has several nice restaurants, of which our absolute favorite is Oltre Il Giardino. C.) Farther north (still) is Greve, which is a decent-sized town with wine tasting bars and stores laid out along a triangular piazza. A little south and east from Greve is a small hilltop town called Lamole, which a tremendous restaurant called Il Ristoro di Lamole, serving great Tuscan dinners with a great view across the region.

    Wineries--Chianti producers--a real treasure trove, and if you don't get your fill of trying the local wines in the various towns, there are many to choose from along SR 222 (probably with an appointment, which your guide should be able to arrange. Among the ones I might suggest, along the 222: Castello Fonterutoli(south of Castellina; MonteBernardi (south of Panzano); Il Molino di Grace (right off 222 near MonteBernardi); Fontodi(just as you enter the outskirts of Panzano). All of these are reputable and highly-regarded producers with a range of wines, and unique stories to tell. Keep in mind, though, their main product line is dry reds. In Tuscany you're really not in the best region for semi-dry or even semi-sweet red or white wines (unless you like dessert wines.) Also, most such wineries usually like to have guests make an appointment.

    Finally, back to something you said in your first note--Farm to table. Virtually all of the restaurants in the countryside use fresh local products. They're almost by definition, farm to table; and their menu items will vary seasonally depending on what's available. In November? I hope you like mushrooms in your risotto!

    UPSHOT: all of this is doable in one day with the right driver/tourguide. and an early start. Of course, its all weather-dependent, and in November you're starting to get more rain in the forecast, which may influence your plans. Hope that all helps.
    Last edited by John Gayley; June 24, 2021 at 08:19 PM.

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    Lourdes is online now Administrator - DiscoverTuscany Team
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    Thank you John for your great recommendations, I agree wholeheartedly with them.

    Stephanie - as John recommended, San Gimignano is a must and the Vernaccia is one of Tuscany's great white wines, the one with recognition. There are many wineries across the region and in Chianti, in particular, also focusing on younger, fruity wines as well as rosés, all to be enjoyed cold so very popular in the summer months. November is turn of the season but when the "novello" wines make a debut so I think they would be perfect for you to try them out, you will be surprised if you're used to having just tried more aged red wines.
    And while Chianti is known for reds, there are many estates trying out whites as well, you just need to always ask!

    Be sure to try out Vinsanto, a sweet dessert wine that will be great to try in November with some biscotti ;-) tradition here has them dunked in the wine before eating them.
    In the beginning stages of planning to come to Tuscany? Make sure to read Where to Stay in Tuscany WITH a car and Where to Stay in Tuscany WITHOUT a car for ideas on where to stay in Tuscany. Also read When to Visit Tuscany to decide when is the best times for your visit.

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    Lourdes is online now Administrator - DiscoverTuscany Team
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Gayley View Post
    Hi-we want to visit Siena over the Christmas holidays. Will restaurants, hotels, etc. be available and open during this time? We understand 24-26 December are national holidays, But we are not clear on what this means for travelers. Any guidance or experiences much appreciated…
    As for your original question John, everything is open (hoping we are back to a more regular routine by then and NOT again beset by another covid wave) - hotels and restaurants and museums. Museums generally close on Dec. 25 but everything else is open. Are you planning to be in town or in the countryside? Siena is beautiful at Christmas time!
    In the beginning stages of planning to come to Tuscany? Make sure to read Where to Stay in Tuscany WITH a car and Where to Stay in Tuscany WITHOUT a car for ideas on where to stay in Tuscany. Also read When to Visit Tuscany to decide when is the best times for your visit.

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