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Old 07-04-2010, 09:51 PM
 
229 posts, read 810,552 times
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I am in the first stages of planning a trip to Tuscany next October. We have 10 people going and would like to rent a villa instead of staying in a touristy hotel. I'm looking for some tips from someone who has done this. We will probably want to go to Florence, Pisa, and Saturnia and its Thermal Springs. I'm wondering whether we should rent a car for the week or travel by train. There is also the consideration that we will be in a countryside villa and would have to somehow get to the train station. Any tips, or even places we should consider are all welcome. I've been scouring the internet but I always like to hear from people who have experienced it personally.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:12 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
9,601 posts, read 17,182,874 times
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I've never done it but I think it would be a great idea. With 10 people, it would just make more sense. I vote for renting the cars for economic reasons but I will warn you that it's extremely difficult to drive in Italy. Every road really does lead to Rome (though not all are equal) and don't expect to cover much distance in a day. That said, it's not really dangerous--just slow, and when you're actually looking for a place and you enter a round-a-bout and you're trying to read the signs but there're like 20 place names for each exit and sometimes the one you're looking for is on 2 or 3 of them.

We stayed at a good place while in Italy--it was a little town called Bolseno and it's right by a lake. It's near Orvietto, which is a really neat little town high on a big rock, and it's about halfway between Rome and Florence and it made a really good base place from which to see Tuscany. There are a lot of farms around that raise good food and some of them may be for rent. There is also a really neat attraction that you don't hear much about from the states: The Tarot Garden by Niki de ste Phalle. It is quite a drive out into the middle of nowhere to get there, but totally worth it--we spent a whole day there and in some thermal springs on the way. Have fun and if you need someone to go along and cook or watch the kids. . .
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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1. I'm jealous.

2. I've already subscribed to this thread in anticipation of the information that will be forthcoming.

Enjoy your trip. Wish I was going with you.
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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Can I hide in your luggage?
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Old 07-06-2010, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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"There are no villas in Tuscany!" --- Jerry Seinfeld.
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:24 PM
 
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you might want to look into accommodations on a Tuscan farm/winery. My colleague who studied in Italy says that agriturismo has really taken off in the past decade. I just googled & found one site: Italy's N.1 GUIDE for Agriturismo, Agriturismi & Farmhouse holidays but i'm sure you can find more.
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Old 07-07-2010, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Eureka CA
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My friends stayed in a place that offered cooking lessons as an option. Have a wonderful time!
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Old 07-07-2010, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
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I stayed at an agriturismo outside of Arezzo, in eastern Tuscany, not too far from Umbria. They have apartments and separate houses that you can rent, and it's on a working farm that makes its own wine! It's about an hour from Florence. Here's the website: Agriturismo Tenuta il Palazzo - Home

When we stayed in Tuscany, we rented a car. There are so many little towns, monasteries, and vineyards that you will miss if you don't have a car, although be ready to shift into first gear on some pretty steep hills! We had no problem parking outside of towns like Siena, Arezzo, San Gimignano, etc. The parking was reasonable, and you can't take a car into many of the walled cities anyway. When we went to Florence, however, we dropped the car and just used our feet! I wouldn't recommend driving in Florence- it seemed expensive and difficult to park, and a bit stressful.

It is very easy to take the train from Florence to Pisa, although if I were you, I'd stop at Cinque Terre, which is only a short train ride from Pisa. Cinque Terre is ONLY accessible by train and is absolutely stunningly beautiful- the cliffs and the coastline are like a painting. You can also get great seafood and really good limoncello there.

Hope this helps!
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:57 PM
 
229 posts, read 810,552 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissLizzie85 View Post
I stayed at an agriturismo outside of Arezzo, in eastern Tuscany, not too far from Umbria. They have apartments and separate houses that you can rent, and it's on a working farm that makes its own wine! It's about an hour from Florence. Here's the website: Agriturismo Tenuta il Palazzo - Home

When we stayed in Tuscany, we rented a car. There are so many little towns, monasteries, and vineyards that you will miss if you don't have a car, although be ready to shift into first gear on some pretty steep hills! We had no problem parking outside of towns like Siena, Arezzo, San Gimignano, etc. The parking was reasonable, and you can't take a car into many of the walled cities anyway. When we went to Florence, however, we dropped the car and just used our feet! I wouldn't recommend driving in Florence- it seemed expensive and difficult to park, and a bit stressful.

It is very easy to take the train from Florence to Pisa, although if I were you, I'd stop at Cinque Terre, which is only a short train ride from Pisa. Cinque Terre is ONLY accessible by train and is absolutely stunningly beautiful- the cliffs and the coastline are like a painting. You can also get great seafood and really good limoncello there.

Hope this helps!
Great info! When you went to Florence you mentioned that you didnt take the car in... Where did you leave it and how did you get into the city then?

Thanks
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
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We left the car at the rental car lot at the airport and took a bus into the center of town. It was very easy!
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