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Pienza Vacation Advice

Vancouver
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Pienza Vacation Advice

Hi,

I am considering taking a vacation to the Pienza area April 25th to May 2nd and I have a few questions that I was hoping someone could help me with:

1. My plan would be to fly to Pisa and then drive to Pienza. Does this sound reasonable? How long would the drive take? Is driving in this part of Italy relatively easy (I'm from UK)?

2. Are there lots of places in this area where I can rent bikes and go for a cycle?

3. I plan to stay in a villa, does anyone have any advice on picking the right villa or have any recommendations?

4. Will the weather be good at this time of year? Will it be warm enough to use the pools that a lot of these villas have?

There are a lot of questions there but any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Southern Tuscany
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1. Re: Pienza Vacation Advice

Hi Tod,

1. Pisa's looks nearer on a map (it probably is nearer) but there's not much in it between here and Rome FCO and if you have better airline options into the latter, I'd go there. Pisa's probably 2.5 hr drive, Rome can be done in around the same time.

2. There are places to rent biks over at Montalcino but offhand I can't think of anywhere in Pienza itself or Montepulciano. I'll check for you though.

3. There are so many places to stay, the area is flooded with villas to rent/agriturismo. What kind of place are you looking for/budget?

4. As always outside of high summer, the weather is impossible to predict but I would think you'll be lucky to find it warm enough to swim even coming from the UK.

keep the questions coming, off now to try find you a bike.

Vancouver
4 posts
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2. Re: Pienza Vacation Advice

Hey - Thanks heaps for the quick response!

For a Villa, ideally I'm looking for something with: great views (and sunset views), not too far from (walking distance) or in a town/village (for supplies/restaurants) and somewhere where we can go for walks from - I don't ask for much huh, haha. We are probably going to spend half our time there just chilling out so I want it to be nice :)

My budget is ~750 Euros for a villa for 2 for 1 week.

Although the weather won't be warm enough to swim, it will still be nice (shorts during day)?

Thanks again!

Kansas
Destination Expert
for Siena, Montalcino
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3,772 posts
27 reviews
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3. Re: Pienza Vacation Advice

Tod,

Just a word of caution, if you don't know how jet lag affects you and your coming off a transatlantic flight, don't plan a long drive.

You can get a train from Pisa to Siena and rent a car there or from Rome to Chiusi and rent a car.

I would guess that most Italians in Tuscany will not have opened the pools at the end of April.

See slowtrav.com/italy/tuscany/hs_planning.htm for places to see in the area.

USA
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105 posts
12 reviews
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4. Re: Pienza Vacation Advice

Tod: In May 2007 we flew into Pisa from Paris and drove from there to Pienza. It was not a bad drive at all.(in fact, they lost our luggage, and when it was found, we drove back up-next day- to retrieve it, rather than wait for it to be delivered). We drove part of the journey on the S68 from Volterra and that is a gorgeous drive. Take a look at www.ilcolombaiolo.it. We had a two bedroom apartment with a gorgeous view. 500 meters outside Pienza. Very reasonable rate, spotlessly clean and large bright and airy rooms. Great hosts too.

USA
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105 posts
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5. Re: Pienza Vacation Advice

Tod: I forgot to mention, this property did not have a pool.

Chorley, United...
Destination Expert
for Venice
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6. Re: Pienza Vacation Advice

My wife and I have flown to Pisa, hired a car and driven down to Pienza where we stayed in the heart of this tiny walled town at the excellent Relais Il Chiostro. You can obtain permission to take your car into the walled city (which is entirely pedstrianised) to unload luggage at the hotel but you then have to drive out and park under the city walls. It is only a walk of 200 yards back to your Hotel.

You have a choice of routes one mostly along the autostrada and the other along more scenic roads. We chose the scenic route and took about 3 hours or so over it.

I have no experience of villas in Tuscany but I think you will be fortunate to find the weather warm enough to enjoy an outdoor swimming pool.

Vancouver
4 posts
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7. Re: Pienza Vacation Advice

Thanks everyone for the advice, these forums are great!

So, not warm enough for a pool - good to know as thats now not a priority in the villa searching :)

I'll be stopping off in London for 2 nights before I fly to Pisa so hopefully I'll be over most of the jetlag by then.

Thanks again.

Southern Tuscany
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1,540 posts
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8. Re: Pienza Vacation Advice

Tod, check out www.verdidea.com as they have heaps of houses in and around the Val d'Orcia villages (San Quirico, Castiglione). Quite a few are simply restored really quaint places but without pools. (Note: these are not generally top end luxury.) From what I remember though, several are within walking distance of the villages. I haven't been able to track down a bike hire company in Pienza (Pienza's pretty small) but, I was thinking, most houses/agriturismos keep bikes now in the barn for guests as it's so popular and such a great way of getting around this area so maybe ask when booking your villa.

Vancouver
4 posts
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9. Re: Pienza Vacation Advice

Thanks again CatieC, I'm searching through that website now.

Just one last question :) I'm now second guessing myself about the weather. I don't need it to be super hot (originally from Scotland so mid 20's is about as much as I can cope with :), and obviously weather cannot be guaranteed, but can I expect that the weather in late April/early May will be relatively dry and sunny?

At one point I was considering Sicily also, while the scenery does not appeal to me as much, I'm thinking that the weather will be more reliable at that time of year?

Southern Tuscany
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1,540 posts
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10. Re: Pienza Vacation Advice

Sorry, Tod, but you're not going to getting me to commit on that one!!! Let's hope and pray it'll be mainly blue skies and sunny but you can never tell. Much of last May was a wash out. If guaranteed sunny weather is an essential factor for you, and your other option is Sicily, I would possibly (only possibly) opt for the latter. But it's a gamble. Generally speaking, in all the years we've lived here, I'd say it's only from early/mid June to early September that you can expect to find long uninterrupted periods of dry, sunny weather. Outside of this period, it's pot luck, you take your chances.