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Help planning trip around Tuscany / Cinque Terre

Montreal, Canada
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Help planning trip around Tuscany / Cinque Terre

Hi

I'm just starting to plan my 18 day trip to Italy for next year and I need a little help. After spending 4 days in Rome, train to Venice for 4 days, I plan on taking a train to ?? (somewhere hopefully you will recommend) in the Tuscany area. I WILL rent a car for sure as I want to explore many different towns and have the flexibility to move around. I'm not set on how many days I will be there but I have anywhere from 5-8 days in that area (as well as Cinque Terre) before dropping the car off and back to Rome for my flight

I did a lot of reading... I will tell you a few things that I like and don't and hopefully you can help me .

My girlffriend and I (37-30) love to drive around little towns, stop for food, visit markets and pretty much just walk around. We do not like art and museums that much, but will visit one or 2 if recommended. We do not like RED wine either... only white. Is there a section that is better known for their white wine? I am a amateur photographer and will most likely stop at every mile to take a few shots!. I'm not too crazy about staying in a villa, are there small hotels/boutique hotels in areas outside bigger cities (Florence, Siena ... ).

Not sure what else you need to know... this will be our "relaxed" week after Venice and Rome... we pretty much just want to wander around and visit a few good spots, have good food and WHITE wine!! :-)

I would like recommendations for a base to be able to drive around and come back every night to the same hotel. any sites for car rentals in that area ?

That's it for now, please let me know if you need me to be more specific about certain things

Thanks for your help

South East England...
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1. Re: Help planning trip around Tuscany / Cinque Terre

Hi,

I would suggest staying in the beautiful medieval walled city of Lucca. You can take a leisurely walk around the city walls, have a nice meal in one of the many restaurants, climb the Guinigi tower which has trees growing on the top and has lovely views of rooftop Lucca and the surrounding hills, or just wander around the streets soaking up the atmosphere.

mesh

Milan
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2. Re: Help planning trip around Tuscany / Cinque Terre

As for Tuscany, Lucca is a great suggestion. Apart from that, wherever you go in Tuscany, you'll find plenty of pretty little towns worth seeing. Besides Lucca, I would mention small cities like Siena and Pisa and towns such as San Gimignano and Volterra (both between Siena and Pisa), but there are dozens more.

I can give you a few hints about the Cinque Terre. First, don't go there by car, especially if you go there in summer. The five towns that make up the Cinque Terre are really tiny and when they're packed with tourists it's almost impossible to park a car. Coming from Tuscany, you'd better drop the car in La Spezia (if you rent your car at some international company in Tuscany, you'll certainly find a branch of that company in La Spezia and you'll be able to drop the car there) and take the train connecting La Spezia to the five towns of the Cinque Terre. The train is the easiest, fastest and most comfortable transport to reach the Cinque Terre. Inside the Cinque Terre, you won't need a car: you'll go from one town to another either hiking (it's the best way to enjoy the wonderful paths and the breathtaking sights) or by train. If you have to go back to Rome at the end of your trip, you won't need to rent another car: it will be easier and faster to travel by train from La Spezia. So, use the car only to move around Tuscany and then drop it.

You're lucky: the Cinque Terre are famous for their white wine. The most renowned one is a strong sweet wine called "Sciachetrà" (pronunciation: Shah-ke-trah).

If you love small boutique hotels, I can recommend the "Locanda Il Maestrale", a beautiful B&B in Monterosso, the largest of the five towns in the Cinque Terre. Here is my review on TA:

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187820-d287…

Enjoy your trip!

South East England...
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3. Re: Help planning trip around Tuscany / Cinque Terre

Hi again,

In my opinion I would definitely not go to Pisa. The reason is that each time we pass the leaning tower on the bus there are many hundreds of people crowded in the campo dei miracoli which is surrounded by tacky market stalls, some selling cheap artefacts from Africa(?)

mesh

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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4. Re: Help planning trip around Tuscany / Cinque Terre

I understand that the souvenir stalls put you off mesh, but it is quite possible to walk straight past them and focus instead on the beautiful buildings at the Campo dei Miracoli. There is so much more than the stalls and the tower.

South East England...
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5. Re: Help planning trip around Tuscany / Cinque Terre

Hi,

To be forewarned is to be forearmed! Just to let people know what it's like. We were very disappointed when we went 10 years ago. The stalls are still there and to me spoil what is a beautiful place.

mesh

London
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6. Re: Help planning trip around Tuscany / Cinque Terre

What time of year are you planning to head over?

Regards John

Breda, The...
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7. Re: Help planning trip around Tuscany / Cinque Terre

I recommend you to visit at least Lucca, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni. All three are very nice historical towns in Tuscany. Monteriggioni is really small, but a very lovely walled town. San Gimignano and Lucca are a little bigger but also very nice. Especially San Gimignano and Monteriggioni are beautiful to photograph from a distance. Than you can see the wall of Monteriggioni and the towers of San Gimignano even better. Maybe you can stay a few days in Florence and use a car to do some daytrips to these towns. Florence is easy to reach with train and lies between Venice and Rome. And Cinque Terre is also easy to reach from Florence.

I agree that Pisa may be a little touristic, but if you have never seen the leaning tower I advice to go to Pisa. It is easy to combine Pisa and Lucca as a day trip from Rome. You may also consider a visit to Greve in Chianti, Volterra and Siena.

Finally, I think that 4 days Venice may be too long. Venice is not that big so 2 should be enough. 4 days in Rome would be the minimum to see the main attractions.

Montreal, Canada
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8. Re: Help planning trip around Tuscany / Cinque Terre

We're planning to go beginning of May 2012... Tuscany will be at the end of my trip so around May 13th to 18th aprox.

Thanks

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Help planning trip around Tuscany / Cinque Terre

If you do decide to stay in Cinque Terre, I would suggest you go there after Venice. You could spend a few days there and then rent a car in La Spezia and drive to Tuscany from there. At the end, drop off the car in Chiusi and train into rome or drive to Rome to drop off the car.

In Tuscany I would situate myself close to Siena as it is pretty well in the middle of Tuscany. For photography, you have the Chianti region to the north and the Val d'Orcia to the south, 2 differing landscapes and very picturesque.

Draw a circle 70km out and you'll be able to visit many nice hiltop towns. The villages of Chianti to the north, Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, San Quirico....to the south. San Gimignano and Montereggioni to the west.

Breda, The...
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10. Re: Help planning trip around Tuscany / Cinque Terre

BTW I mean that it is possible to do a daytrip to Pisa and Lucca from Florence and not Rome.