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Odd request .. any suggestions appreciated.

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Vancouver, Canada
posts: 1,210
reviews: 15
Odd request .. any suggestions appreciated.

I'm in the early stages of planning a trip to Italy and will have approximately 1 week set aside for Tuscany. We will have a car rental for this portion of our trip to get around the region. My question is odd, admittedly, but I'm hoping someone can help. A few years ago I spent some time in Provence (France) and especially loved one of the towns we stayed in - St-Remy-de-Provence. I loved the laid back vibe, the amenities, the size of the town, the historical interest and the close proximity to other nearby areas of interest. Is there anyone who has been to both St-Remy and Tuscany who can suggest a Tuscan town with similar features and conveniences?

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 62,545
reviews: 12
1. Re: Odd request .. any suggestions appreciated.

Montepulciano and Montalcino have some similarities. Pienza is beautiful but a bit smaller.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,570
reviews: 52
2. Re: Odd request .. any suggestions appreciated.

Montepulciano, Montalcino and Pienza are all hill towns and St. Remy is dead flat. Pienza is 1/5 th the size of St Remy. Pienza has 2,000 residents, St Remy has 10,000+...

Edited: 8:54 pm, January 27, 2013
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 62,545
reviews: 12
3. Re: Odd request .. any suggestions appreciated.

In terms of the parameters set by the OP, I think that Montepulciano and Montalcino have similarities with St Remy.

Los Angeles...
Destination Expert
for Venice
posts: 5,345
reviews: 316
4. Re: Odd request .. any suggestions appreciated.

So, no one is thinking Siena or Lucca? Maybe Cortona for the size and amenities, but not really for accessibility to other areas..

I would compare St. Remy to these three above before Montepulciano, Montalcino or Pienza. I think the latter three are more like Gordes or Boneaux in terms of size and amenities in general. In my mind, Montepulciano, Montalcino and Pienza are villages, while St. Remy is a small town.

So, maybe if you can handle a base in smaller villages, then the three above would be largely comparable. Pienza is pretty flat, if you have mobility issues or just do not care for hillclimbing.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 20,287
reviews: 53
5. Re: Odd request .. any suggestions appreciated.

Siena is a city of more than 50,000. It is filled with an absolute wealth of beautiful things but I don't compare it with the more village feel of St Remy.

I think Montepulciano, population approx 14,000, despite being on a hill, is very central for touring Tuscany. You are more likely to find churches and abbeys than Roman and Greek ruins. You will find lovely vineyards and wines, good restaurants, the iconic Tuscan countryside in the Val d'Orcia and many more places than you can visit in a week.

I like Cortona too, but to visit. I find its internal steepness a bit too much for me on a daily basis, even more so that Montepulciano.

Some scenes around Tuscany

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Exeter, United...
posts: 163
reviews: 39
6. Re: Odd request .. any suggestions appreciated.

What about Arezzo?

Utrecht, The...
posts: 2,344
reviews: 67
7. Re: Odd request .. any suggestions appreciated.

We have stayed in Saint Remy de Provence a few times and are going again this summer. In terms of vibe and amenities I think Montepulciano, Pienza, Cortona or Greve-in-Chianti (although the last one is a bit smaller) are similar.

Montepulciano, Italy
posts: 3,811
reviews: 2
8. Re: Odd request .. any suggestions appreciated.

But St Remy is a great deal smaller than Siena / Arezzo, both of which have a "city feel", I think Greve is a far better comparison plus it's fairly flat with surrounding hills. Somewhere like Gordes or Menerbes would be more like Pienza. That said, I find Tuscan villages look and feel quite different to those in Provence, it's something to do with the stone / and difference in light, especially the light which is astonishing in that part of the south of France.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 1,210
reviews: 15
9. Re: Odd request .. any suggestions appreciated.

Wow! Thank you for all of your responses. To be honest, I thought I might have been batting too far into left field with my question.

Since posting my question, I remembered that we arrived into St-Remy at the start of the town's yearly fete - so the amount of people milling around probably wasn't a true representation of the population. It wasn't so much crowds (or that the landscape was flat) that appealed to me. It was the walkability, the laid back vibe, the small town feel, the amenities and the close proximity to places such as Glanum, the hospital where Van Gogh spent a year, Gordes, Roussillon, or the market at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Places like Gordes are beautiful - don't get me wrong - but after a couple of hours I'd be bored to tears.

You've definitely given me a good starting point for research. I can't wait to find our Tuscan 'home' base! Thanks again.

UK
posts: 94
reviews: 5
10. Re: Odd request .. any suggestions appreciated.

For me, Orvieto and Arezzo both have the wame walkability and laid back vibe that St-Remy has.