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Would love advice from experienced Tuscan travellers

los angeles
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Would love advice from experienced Tuscan travellers

Im trying to plan an idyll Tuscany trip in October with my husband and welcome any advice as Im so new to European travel. Our ideal week in Tuscany would be a rental villa/cottage that sleeps2-4, has old world charm but of course comfort and cleanliness, good beds etc. WE don't want or need a pool [in fact I think they detract from the atmosphere but they certainly are common]. We would very much like to be able to walk into town, we are big walkers/hikers though we will rent a car for day trips. It seems each time I see a likely listing and email some questions I get incomplete replies, I guess what I really want is a great recommendation. We haven't planned anything else yet so we're open to all areas of Tuscany, I think we'd most like something off the beaten path. Thank you.

north carolina
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1. Re: Would love advice from experienced Tuscan travellers

These are some places that we have stayed in Tuscany and enjoyed greatly. There may be many others that are just as good, but these are the ones we know by experience. All of these web sites are good representations of what they have to offer. All of the hosts are friendly, gracious, and accommodating.

In Chianti:

1. The Villa Lecchi. Lecchi is a tiny, tiny village that will not appear on some maps but does appear on Via Michelin. From Florence take the RA 3 (fast highway) South, just past Poggibonsi take SR 2 South to Staggia, in Staggia take the Lecchi-Staggia road North about two miles to a poorly marked right turn to Lecchi which is perhaps 200 yards up the road. The Villa is on the right as you drive into Lecchi.

This place is well situated for visiting Siena, Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, San Gimignana and other areas of western or central Chianti. The Villa is very attractive with lovely rooms and ==>> the most stunning views we have seen anywhere in Italy. There is no elevator, and the climb to the top floor may be demanding (but worth it if you get one of the "tower rooms"). There is an on-site family operated restaurant that we thought was fabulous.


2. Borgo Argenina Just off of the road from Siena to Gaiole in Chianti, S408, again the last turn is poorly marked. It is roughly half way between Siena and Gaiole. It is within a short walk from the tiny village of Monti which shows on the Michelin map. This place has, unfortunately, been discovered - reservations well in advance. It is an idyll of scenery and tranquility. There are numerous restaurants within a reasonable drive. Good location for touring southern Chianti, Siena, Cortona, Arezzo, perhaps Montepulciano.


3. LaFerrozzola, www.laferrozzola.com/italiano/index.html, This is a working vinyard quite near Castellina in Chianti. you can drive into town in three minutes, or hike in about 12-14 minutes (all up hill). We stayed there for four nights last October and loved it. Their wines, all Chianti, of course, are very, very good, and there are marvelous local Olive Oils for sale or tasting in town. The same people own the hotel in Castellina, at Squarcialupi Plaza. palazzosquarcialupi.com/english/albergo.htm We have never stayed there but I did inspect a few rooms and use their bar. It is a very nice place in the middle of Castellina. Castellina makes a good base for exploring anything in Chianti, or also Siena, San Gimignano, or points west of Chianti.

Destination Expert
for Siena, Montalcino
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2. Re: Would love advice from experienced Tuscan travellers


I think there are too many places in Tuscany. Narrow your search to an area of Tuscany. I like the Val d'Orcia in southern Tuscany. See for ideas slowtrav.com/italy/tuscany/hs_planning.htm

At the end of October this is possible www.montalcino-tuscany.it/sagra_del_tordo.htm

Carrara, Italy
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3. Re: Would love advice from experienced Tuscan travellers

My area is North Tuscany and you could visit so many things:

Stay in Lucca (or in a Villa in the surroundings)

Day trips to:

Pisa, Bolgheri, Volterra, Pietrasanta, Forte dei Marmi, Carrara Marble quarries, Sarzana, the green Lunigiana area, Gulf of Poets, Cinque Terre!!!!

Have fun in Italy

los angeles
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4. Re: Would love advice from experienced Tuscan travellers

Wow what fabulous, specific and informative replies. Just what I hoped I'd get, better than having a travel agent. All these suggestions will be looked into, it's great to know where to start, thank you so much!

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Would love advice from experienced Tuscan travellers

This place, La Foce, is set in beautiful gardens which can be visited Wednesday and Saturdays, very close to the iconic winding road of cypresses that appears on so many calendars and postcards of Tuscany. I have not stayed there, but I gather that there are individual places ranging from a place for two to a villa for lots of people. It appears to require week long bookings. It was recommended by a previous destination expert for Tuscany who gave us wonderful advice CatieC.


It is quite out in the country. We drove past it on our last trip when I was looking for the cypress roads. A photo of the cypress road.


and some more of Tuscany just to whet the appetite


los angeles
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6. Re: Would love advice from experienced Tuscan travellers

Your pictures are spectacular, thanks so much

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7. Re: Would love advice from experienced Tuscan travellers


My suggestion is the Val d'Orcia area. La Foce is a wonderful place but a bit isolated. I've been to villa Il Maggio in Sarteano twice (booked with http://www.tuscanviews.com), it is a wonderful villa, rustic but with all the modern comforts. There's an outside heated jacuzzi instead of a pool (that I think you'll not need in October). The main square of the village is less than 1km, various walking paths. Sarteano is a lovely small village less known than Montepulciano, Pienza and Montalcino but still charming.

Suggested daily tours:

Montepulciano, Pienza and Bagno Vignoni

Montalcino and Sant'Antimo

Cortona and Arezzo

Orvieto and Assisi (Umbria but really worth a visit!)

San Gimignano and Volterra


Florence (train station in Chiusi, 10 minutes from the villa, trains every hour)

Enjoy Tuscany


los angeles
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8. Re: Would love advice from experienced Tuscan travellers

It sounds perfect, I'm so grateful. To think I was consdering a travel agent, this is far better. Thank you.

Vancouver Canada
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9. Re: Would love advice from experienced Tuscan travellers

Here's another suggestion - Fonte Bertusi just outside of Pienza.


These are lovely apartments a 3 minute drive from Pienza. One of the owners, Manuela, speaks excellent English and will respond to inquiries promptly. The place is really as beautiful as its pictures. In October you will qualify for the low season rates. I also highly recommend that you opt for the breakfasts. Manuela always includes home bread or a cake as well as eggs, cold cuts, cheese and great cappuccino.

Pienza is very centrally located to tour villages in the Val d'Orcia such as Montepulciano and Montalcino. It is also a short drive to the abbey of San Antimo and a number of amazing hot spring towns. In less than an hour you can be in Sienna. You can take a train from Rome to Chiusi and pick up your rental car there. Pienza is a short drive (about 30 minutes) from Chiusi.

If you want to do a day trip to Florence, drive to Chiusi, and catch a train.

Edited: 3:51 pm, February 04, 2010
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10. Re: Would love advice from experienced Tuscan travellers

Hi. I know what you mean about not getting complete replies from villa/cottage rental hosts. A friend of mine rents a place that might fit your needs - it's well priced, just renovated, and has no pool; it's got old world charm and new beds ;-). Best of all, she is always happy to write and speak at length about her area (but she's not invasive of her guests' privacy). Contact Sara at www.poggiolotuscany.com and let her know that Alexandra sent you via the tripadvisor forum for these very reasons!

As for the location, this place is in the Valdarno, which is an area I suggest you look at in general - poggiolo or not - because it is very centrally located and near good roads. If this is your first trip in europe and first visit to tuscany, you'll want to be able to explore a lot (or just sit still sometimes). I find the Valdarno better for that than places near Siena or Lucca, which are gorgeous but perhaps more appropriate for return visitors.