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Our first time in Italy...

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Our first time in Italy...

Hi, all terrific TA co-members. This is a first for us, and, although I read and gather great information, I have never asked questions of the board - this seems like an appropriate time. My husband and I are travelling to Italy for the first time in May of 2011; this is also our first time to Europe. Our first week is taken care of - we will be staying in Positano, and visiting some of the surrounding towns as part of our package. I am designing the second week myself, and want to spend 4 nights in the Tuscany region and 4 nights in the Umbria region. We chose those areas mainly to proximity to Rome (although we are not visiting Rome) and because we want to experience the food, wine and culture. We are travelling from Rome to Naples by train to the Amalfi coast, and returning via train to Tuscany, then onward to Umbria, returning to Rome for our flight back.

I'd love to get some feedback on some places to stay. We love the water, so the coastal towns would be preferential in the Tuscany area. We are not visiting the tourist areas on this trip - no Rome, Florence, Venice, etc. We love peace and quiet, are not partiers, and tend not to go out late at night. We also tend to migrate away from crowds, and I love to cook, so a kitchen would be put to good use. (This probably sounds out of the norm a bit, doesn't it?)

Any feedback and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have already gathered such great info, but more specific suggestions from those who've been there/done that would surely be even more appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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1. Re: Our first time in Italy...

for your stay in tuscany close to the beach but near interesting towns like pisa and lucca, let's look at this topic: tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g187893-i67-k321…

...and if you need more helo, tell me...



Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Our first time in Italy...

Most of the charm of Tuscany is in the hill towns and the beautiful land such as the Crete Senesi which is planted and harvested and always looks so magical in the change of seasons


To concentrate on the coast is to miss this sensational countryside, besides which you will have been seaside in Positano.

Think of Siena in particular, full of history and wonderful architecture, but also towns such as San Gimignano, Arezzo, Montalcino (and the beautiful abbey of San Antimo nearby) Montepulciano (and San Biagio below) Cortona, tiny Monteriggione crowning a hill with its walls and petite Pienza with amazing views over the Val d'Orcia.

We have been three times, but this last trip is chronicled in our blog.


If you stay at one central town like Pienza or Montepulciano you can take day trips to all the other places. Have a look at this


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3. Re: Our first time in Italy...

My advice would be since you will be staying Positano, why not stay inland for Tuscany/Umbria? It will afford you the best access to all the hill towns you could ever dream of. I also would recommend renting a car for this portion of your visit -the driving is great fun and the sights can be stunning(but get a gps).

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4. Re: Our first time in Italy...

Thanks so much for all of your responses. I've enjoyed reading the information and the blogs - very informative! We were thinking about renting a car, but hiring a private driver or taking a car service would also give us the freedom to go wherever we like, and still not have the hassle of driving, especially during our wine tasting days. But, I have no idea how much this would cost versus an actual car rental plus gas. I am exploring the towns in southern Tuscany near the North Umbrian border now. That will allow us a full 8 nights ini one place without moving, but a good base location for trips either north or south of us. Looking forward to even more information, so thank you again! By the way, we do agree - our first entire week is by the sea, and the more I read and look at pictures of the inland areas, the more I think that this, too, is surely not to be missed!

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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5. Re: Our first time in Italy...

I agree with Lynn, and you also seem almost convinced. If you do stay in that area, a car is very useful. There's a lot more to the area than wine, but you can also always buy a bottle of wine and take it back to your lodging. If you decide not to rent a car, I would suggest Siena (in Tuscany) and Perugia (in Umbria) as the best bases for getting around to the hill towns.

I also love to cook, but it takes an awful lot of time on holiday, especially in Italy where the best ingredients are sold in separate little specialized shops, and where the rapport with your butcher and grocer is so important.

6. Re: Our first time in Italy...

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