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Help? feeling Overwhelmed

Raleigh
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Help? feeling Overwhelmed

Looking to go to Tuscany in Sept of 14. Taking the Mrs and my two beautiful girls age 10,12. We ALL love to cook and are hoping for a CHILL vacation vs a go go go vacation. Yes, a car to go into Pisa, Florence, etc would be nice. Seeing some museums will be nice. DOing a lot of nothing will be nice too!

My biggest concern is where to stay based on reviews and value. I have heard there are farm villas where you get to cook with the host family, but I'm having a HECK of a time finding these online. I'm not locked into staying in Lucca, but I have heard good things. I plan to likely fly in, out of Pisa.

Boston...
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734 posts
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1. Re: Help? feeling Overwhelmed

Your basic plan sounds great. to me. There's lots to do in that area so you can't miss. Your kids will love Viareggio, and with your food interests you'll be intrigued even if you can't find a cooking component with lodging. The Garfagnana valley has numerous food specialties, as does the Lucca area. You can easily get to some wonderful small cities like Sarzana, Carrara, Lerici, Camaiore, Pistoia.

Adelaide, Australia
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2. Re: Help? feeling Overwhelmed

Staying in Lucca the bus service is more convenient to visit Pisa www.vaibus.com/pdf/Extraurbano4feb13.pdf

and the Train to Florence as visitors vehicles are not allowed in the centre of Florence www.trenitalia.com Click on the UK flag for current train times..

Ferry from Viareggio to Cinque Terre www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it Returning to Lucca by Trenitalia train.

Bicycles are available to rent in Lucca, to ride the town walls and the countryside.

Car rental www.auto-europe.com

Route planner www.viamichelin.com

Non EU citizens require an International driving permit for Italy

Be aware of traffic restrictions and ZTL areas roninrome.com/transportation/driving-italy

Accommodation www.venere.com www.discovertuscany.com/lucca

www.incinqueterre.com

Tuscany info www.italia.it/en/home.html

Edited: 3:42 am, October 28, 2013
Boston...
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734 posts
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3. Re: Help? feeling Overwhelmed

I did a Google search with some Italian words and found some places to get you started:

This agroturismo mentions cooking classes, under activities courses: piandifiume.it/en/farmhouse-garfagnana-holid…

Ditto: abbaccala.it/Toscana/Lucca/Agriturismo/agrit…

Ditto: http://www.cortebenedetto.it/famiglia.php

I have no knowledge of these places, and I didn't check reviews, but they looked sincere to me.

When they mention Collodi they're talking about a Pinocchio amusement park near Lucca in that town.

Florence, Italy
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134 posts
90 reviews
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4. Re: Help? feeling Overwhelmed

HI Jim

You will love Lucca it is the perfect base for a family. While staying in the city centre you can enjoy bike rides around the city wall. Fantastic Lucchese traditional foods. For cooking classes in the historical centre check out www.vinaio.com. From Lucca as Mike mentioned you are very close to the Versilia the Tuscan Coast. This is a perfect day out for a family. A half day in Pisa as it is not too far from Lucca is recommended. You can visit Florence for the day it only takes 45 minutes on the train. This is what is even perfect about staying in Lucca you can visit the main cities by train!

Enjoy ! Best Linda

North Carolina
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5. Re: Help? feeling Overwhelmed

I just returned from Tuscany and Lucca was my favorite town. In fact I am considering moving there. Lucca has great opera. I rented a car and did not need an international driving license. Do take a GPS and download Italian maps before you leave, otherwise you will never figure out the maze of autostrada entry and exit ramps. Also poor road signage. I regret driving in Florence. In fact I regret the whole Florence experience. Over-run by tourists. Lucca is more authentic experiem ce. Try airbnb.com for bed and breakfast. Of course check all the reviews and email the host first. Wifi in Italy is slow.

United States
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14 reviews
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6. Re: Help? feeling Overwhelmed

<<I rented a car and did not need an international driving license.>>

Having an IDP (Permit not License) is Italian law not car rental law. You are lucky you did not get pulled over in one of the frequent document checks. There would have been an immediate fine.

Glad you enjoyed Lucca.

TAB

Boston...
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297 posts
20 reviews
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7. Re: Help? feeling Overwhelmed

you inquired about agriturismo. I have been looking at them for a spring trip to Tuscany. This one sounds great to me and is where I have suggested our group stay.

http://www.cretaiole.it/index.en.php

albuquerque
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991 posts
35 reviews
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8. Re: Help? feeling Overwhelmed

A friend of mine stayed at Cretaiole a year ago and raved about it. She said it was a wonderful base for exploring southern Tuscany and a wonderful place to stay. Great for families too.

9. Re: Help? feeling Overwhelmed

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