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Tuscany

Discussion in 'Personal' started by perdita, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. I'm thinking of booking a family holiday to Tuscany. We would fly to Pisa, stay there for a couple of days and then rent a self catering place for a week, we aren't too worried about beaches, so would probably head inland.
    Any one got any suggestions of places to visit/things to do. Our kids are 14 and 11.
    Thanks
     
  2. Noja

    Noja Senior commenter

    Went last year - Pisa is a bit disappointing really but Florence is just beautiful - we did an evening tour with a 4 course meal thrown in which was a great night and our kids enjoyed it (though they are older). We also did various wine tasting courses and olive groves...was a great holiday but very very hot!
     
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Why not stay in Lucca rather than Pisa. There are walls round the city and you can hire bikes ( our hotel - Villa Romantica - v sweet - had them for us to borrow) it's fab cycling all round the traffic free centre. Your kids would enjoy it. Then move on to self catering with a pool further south, nearer Sienna - which is heaven - and spend the ams in the pool and pms travelling round fab hill top villages - or vice versa. San Gimignano, Certaldo Alto, Volterra. Save Umbria and Lake Trasimeno for another holiday. You lucky, lucky peop.le
     
  4. Hmmm... getting the impression that Pisa isn't the place to go. We would still fly there, see the tower and go on to somewhere else, I suppose.
    Anyone used public transport in this area? I've driven in Italy before and would quite like to avoid it this time.
     
  5. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    I agree - Lucca is beautiful! You have to visit Pisa, just to have the obligatory photos, but the road up to it is full of tat stalls.
     
  6. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    Pisa is a bit of a one-trick pony!
    Lucca is fab, Siena is glorious, Florence is always full of tourists but stunning. San Gimignano is gorgeous in the evening and early morning before/after the coaches.
    The train links from Pisa are pretty good and there<u> used to be</u> a very good network of buses, too, but I haven't been in that area of Italy for a while so I don't know what it is like, now.
    Viareggio, Livorno, Pietrasanta, Massa are all good seaside towns.
    Hop over to Elba on the ferry.
    Head north towards La Spezia and the Cinque Terre.
    Head south and inland to Umbria and the glories of Orvieto and Perugia.
     
  7. Oooh... I've just done a quick picture search - Lucca looks beautiful. I like the idea of riding bikes round traffic free streets (see earlier post about driving in Italy)[​IMG]
    Getting excited now, I just love Italy
     
  8. Just looked up Siena and Cinque Terre - can barely contain myself[​IMG]
     
  9. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Assisi is wonderful and definitely worth a day out. It's very pretty and most of the town has been renovated after the last earthquake, which makes it look like it must have appeared when first built.
    We had a car when we went but travelled to the nearest town and used the train for a day out to Florence as we guessed, rightly, that parking would be an issue there.
    It was our first trip to Italy (very familiar with Spain) and we were surprised at how early restaurants closed compare to Spain. We went to one on our first night at 9pm and were turned away because they said there wasn't time to serve us and clear away before the restaurant closed.
     
  10. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Assisi and Perugia are in Umbria (the New Tuscany!) and we stayed in a small village on the Tuscany side of Umbria that made trips to Florence, Siena and Pisa easy.
     
  11. They eat very late in Spain don't they
    I was pregnant on my first trip to Spain and was just at that horrible sicky stage where you have to eat regularly. Waiting till 10pm to eat did me no good at all!
     
  12. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Pisa was a big disapointment. We parked the car, walked into the Field of Miracles, saw it all and then got back in the car. We didn't even pay for an hour's parking!

    I agree with whoever suggested Lucca, my favourite day. Sienna was also very good, we were there the week before the palio and so they were getting everything ready. Arezo is also worth a day.

    Florence was nice although the queues to get in anywhere were too big to even attempt. We decided not to risk the car and took the train in from Montevarchi which was the closest large town to where we were staying. Our Villa was on the side of a hill over looking the small town of Loro Ciuffenna.

    If you have the car take a drive into the hills towards the town of Poppi.

    One day we got lost (sat nav brainstorm) and took a really wierd route to get back to the Villa. By pure luck the route took us right through chianti country and through several of the old villages. We noted the names and went back a few days later when we had time to stop. Radda in Chianti is a beautiful walled village on the top of a hill.
     
  13. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    We thought driving round that area not too bad. If you can do the M6 you can do Italian motorways. yes they drive up close behind but you get used to it. Lane discipline is far better than UK.
     
  14. I've driven in Italy before, although not round that area. I can remember being over taken on hairpin bends on the mountain roads, very scary.
    I'm resisting hiring a car because both our children struggle with car sickness, I'm also trying to keep the cost down (well, as far as that is possible in Italy!). At the same time I don't want to go all that way and not be able to get round for the sake of a few hundred quid.
    Anyone know of any cheap car rental places?
     
  15. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    You don't really have a choice regarding flights. They all seem to go into Pisa.
     
  16. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    I've recommended this campsite a few times now. We have had several holidays here, starting in 2001 when our girls were 10 and 8. Keycamp and Eurocamp have mobilehomes there:
    http://www.parcodellepiscine.it/it/site/Gallery/123
    It's on the edge of Sarteano, a medieval hilltop town. It is great as you can walk into town from the campsie quite easily, and there are noit many tourists. You can get there from Pisa or Rome. Our preferred option is to fly to Rome and hire a car. It is just off the main motorway that runs from Rome to Florence.
    We love it because it is up in the hills, in the SE part of Tuscany, on the borders with Umbria, and even in August is not heaving. The pools are fed by natural spring water, hence no chlorine, and replenish themselves every 2 hours. The temperature of the water is a constant 74 degrees.
    My husband cycles a lot and the terrain is quite challenging, which he likes. You can drive to the nearest station, Chianciano Terme, and take the train to Florence or Rome. One year we forgot our driving licences, which meant we weren't able to hire a car, and we had to make our way to Sarteano by train, which was do-able, taking a taxi from Chianciano to the campsite.
    Our favourite time for a visit is May half-term, as all the poppies are in bloom and the hillsides are glorious.
     
  17. We went to Tuscany last year and stayed in a place called Bagno A Ripoli a few km out of Florence. We hired a car which was a brilliant way to get around Tuscany. We went north into chianti and visited a village called Greve which had lots of little wine shops and a big cellar type thing which did lots of wine and oil tastings. We went to San Gimignano which is an old medieval walled town - really stunning! It was my favourite place! Amazing views over the Tuscan countryside! Pisa was pants but we visited the beach on the way back. Florence is gorgeous and we managed to do so many brilliant things! Definitely try Bistecca alla Florentina for your dinner one evening! Sienna was stunning, the duomo was like nothing on earth - much better than the duomo in Florence! And the panoramic views over sienna are amazing too! Ooh it makes me want to go back! Bagno a Ripoli is a lovely place to stay in too. We stayed at Villa Olmi which had a pool and stuff to keep you occupied, I don't know if it does self catering apartments too though. It just made it nice to lounge about and have a chilled morning before heading into Florence in the afternoon. Hope some of this helps! Sorry about lack of paragraphs, I'm on my phone!
     
  18. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    When we went (in 2009) we drove all the way. ferry to Dunkirk then Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and then into Italy. 2 overnight stops on the way. We also crossed the Gotthard pass rather than take the tunnel. At the time we had a convertible. If you are going to hire see if you can get one, it would be worth it.
     
  19. We went to Tuscany last year and stayed in a place called Bagno A Ripoli a few km out of Florence. We hired a car which was a brilliant way to get around Tuscany. We went north into chianti and visited a village called Greve which had lots of little wine shops and a big cellar type thing which did lots of wine and oil tastings. We went to San Gimignano which is an old medieval walled town - really stunning! It was my favourite place! Amazing views over the Tuscan countryside! Pisa was pants but we visited the beach on the way back. Florence is gorgeous and we managed to do so many brilliant things! Definitely try Bistecca alla Florentina for your dinner one evening! Sienna was stunning, the duomo was like nothing on earth - much better than the duomo in Florence! And the panoramic views over sienna are amazing too! Ooh it makes me want to go back! Bagno a Ripoli is a lovely place to stay in too. We stayed at Villa Olmi which had a pool and stuff to keep you occupied, I don't know if it does self catering apartments too though. It just made it nice to lounge about and have a chilled morning before heading into Florence in the afternoon. Hope some of this helps! Sorry about lack of paragraphs, I'm on my phone!
     
  20. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    Prego signore!
    Lucky you - no doubt the old surfio busio will be doing the honours and ferrying you around in style.
    I adore Italy, and am jealous that my non-teacher husband is off cycling around the Veneto next month, and taking in one of the stages of Il Giro whilst he is there. Pah! [​IMG]
     

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