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Itinerary Assistance

jlf1

10+ Posts
Hello,

We will be a trio of travelers in May 2023. Starting with three nights in Rome. The next 8 nights are open followed by 7 nights in a villa in the hills outside of Florence.

We have been leaning toward Lucca or Siena but are open to other ideas. North of Florence? Umbria?

We would prefer to have a base for the 8 nights and do day trips.

Thoughts and/or suggestions are very welcome. We are late 60s and early 70s/

Thanks.

Judy

PS. We are definitely interested in private guides to drive us around even though we will have a car......think wine tasting etc and nobody wants to be the designated driver.

Also looking for cooking classes.
 

Giulia da Urbino

100+ Posts
Hello,

We will be a trio of travelers in May 2023. Starting with three nights in Rome. The next 8 nights are open followed by 7 nights in a villa in the hills outside of Florence.

We have been leaning toward Lucca or Siena but are open to other ideas. North of Florence? Umbria?

We would prefer to have a base for the 8 nights and do day trips.

Thoughts and/or suggestions are very welcome. We are late 60s and early 70s/

Thanks.

Judy

PS. We are definitely interested in private guides to drive us around even though we will have a car......think wine tasting etc and nobody wants to be the designated driver.

Also looking for cooking classes.
Le Marche, plenty to see for one week, not too much driving, not touristy, great food and wine...
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
I wonder whether staying in Montepulciano might work.
- It's en-route between the other two bases
- It's got enough to do / see there itself, and very much gets you easy wine tasting without the need to drive, or indeed book, as they have plenty of drop-in tasting rooms.
- It's in range of a few day trip options, including Siena and nearby San Biagio, plus Chianciano Terme if spa treatments appeal, with decent local bus (referred to as 'Pullman') services. The train not being as convenient as Stazione Montepulciano is such a long way away we actually changed to bus at Chianciano Terme.
 

Andrew

500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Ian, would you mean the train station called Chiusi-Chianciano Terme? That would be the place to do a train (Rome-Florence line)-bus connection; it's at Chiusi Scalo, and I think it got Chianciano Terme in its name because it was named when thermal resorts were more important destinations, but it isn't in that town.
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
Ian, would you mean the train station called Chiusi-Chianciano Terme? That would be the place to do a train (Rome-Florence line)-bus connection; it's at Chiusi Scalo, and I think it got Chianciano Terme in its name because it was named when thermal resorts were more important destinations, but it isn't in that town.
Yes Andrew, Chiusi-Chianciano terme
 
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susan

100+ Posts
Renting a car/hiring a driver will open up extra options of places to see. If you plan to travel by train, Lucca is easier than Siena. I have stayed in both places and loved them both!

From Lucca, you can explore places along the Ligurian Coast. Pisa is nearby (and there is a lot more to do in PIsa than just seeing the tower - although that climb will always be one of my favorites!). Because I travel by train, bus, or boat when in Italy, I am not as familiar with some of the little villages nearby. I have a few posts on my blog for Lucca.

From Siena, there are many options - by bus, I have traveled to Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano. Also you can hire a driver to explore the wine country. Just be aware if you do a day trip that there is that afternoon siesta time many places close. I arrived in Pienza right when everything shut down when I went there. Still pretty but I didn't get to spend as much time as I wanted exploring the shops, etc.

Tough choice!
 

BEERMAN

10+ Posts
4 years ago we stayed in Castello di Toranano in Gaioli, https://www.castelloditornano.it/
not far from Greve and 20 minute drive to Siena and convenient to the great hill towns of Tuscany. Not sure if you prefer a larger location, but this quiet countryside was what we were looking for. Very comfortable rooms, excellent restaurant offering cooking lessons and who doesn't like medieval castles!

Siena was very nice, large piazza (lots of people gathered) a couple times a year they have a horse race on the piazza, would be cool to see.

Our favorite hill town that trip was Pienza, perhaps because it's the hometown of Pecorino?!!
 

jan

100+ Posts
I have to throw Orvieto into this mix. It would give you some time in Umbria since you will already have a week in Tuscany and it is right on the main train line from Rome.
Also, you might consider adding 2 or 3 more nights to Rome. There is so much to do and see there. Three days (with jet lag if you are coming from outside Europe) may not be enough.
 

jlf1

10+ Posts
Just a short update. After much thought we have settled on Bologna for the other week. "Culinary capital" intrigued us and it sounds like there are day trip possibilities.

Thanks to every one for your help. It is much appreciated.

Judy
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
Bologna is good. Will you go apartment or hotel? We very much prefer the former, and especially in Bologna as it allows us to freely graze the wonderful food shops.

Also of note, is the tourist info https://www.bolognawelcome.com/ in Piazza Maggiore (aka Piazza Nettuno). They run a number of events and excursions, from mainstream to quirky. On the latter, we enjoyed their self-guided walking guide to the hidden waterways of the city. Not perhaps something to be obsessive about completing, but we found it a lovely encouragement to get out and explore the suburbs.
 

jlf1

10+ Posts
We will be staying in an apartment. More room to spread out, much prefer that over a hotel. Hotels are fine for a short stay.
Thanks for that website, looks like all kinds of info. Have only skimmed but will be using it in much more depth.

Judy
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
We will be staying in an apartment. More room to spread out, much prefer that over a hotel. Hotels are fine for a short stay.
Thanks for that website, looks like all kinds of info. Have only skimmed but will be using it in much more depth.

Judy
Excellent!
If it's of use, here's my cribsheet I've used when we've been to Bologna. It's been about 5-6 years though, and what with Covid shutdowns etc. it would be worth double checking anything that interests is still open.
 

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jlf1

10+ Posts
Wow, thank you very much. Will take me a long time to work my way through that but will be fun.

This is pushy I know but do you have the equivalent for Florence?
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
I'm sorry I don't - I've never been to Florence :)
 

susan

100+ Posts
Bologna! Great choice!! I've stayed there a few times. It's one of my favorite cities with many options (easy train routes) to visit other places nearby. I have many posts about Bologna on my blog that may give you more ideas on what to do there & see nearby.
 

jlf1

10+ Posts
Bologna! Great choice!! I've stayed there a few times. It's one of my favorite cities with many options (easy train routes) to visit other places nearby. I have many posts about Bologna on my blog that may give you more ideas on what to do there & see nearby.
Thanks Susan. I have bookmarked your blog and will be reading with great interest.
 

jlf1

10+ Posts
From Bologna consider a day trip to Ravenna (easy train) to see the mosaics. They are exquisite.
Thanks, it is on our list. Our landlord has provided every imaginable piece of information...from day trips, train schedules, food and restaurants of every type. There is enough to publish a book.
 

jlf1

10+ Posts
One further question.....we are in the process of finding an area in Florence to stay. We intend to rent an apartment. Is the area around Pizza Santa Maria Novella a safe area to stay?

I'm going to post on the general forum as a separate thread so that more people might see the query.

Thanks, Judy
 

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