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Weekend in Tuscany

Kalkan
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Weekend in Tuscany

This is a very general - and therefore probably very annoying - question, but I am organising a weekend break for my best friend for her 30th birthday in August. She loves Italy and lived in Florence for a while, but we are both great lovers of the countryside and keen wine drinkers.

I love the idea of taking her to Tuscany for the weekend, but don't know the area at all. I am considering other areas, which is why I have not had the time to investigate the area in as much detail as I'd like, and is why my questions are very broad!

Basically I'm looking for advice on the best area to spend the weekend. A nice inexpensive B&B style hotel in rolling fields with easy access to local vineyards, nice restaurants and a generally relaxing, easy going, traditional feel. Is there a specific area in Tuscany I should be looking for?

I'm also looking for information on transfers from the airport (which I believe is Pisa). Is it sensible to pre-book a private transfer or are there buses or alternative/cheaper ways of reaching the area?

Apologies once again for such a broad query, but I very much look forward to your suggestions and advice.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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1. Re: Weekend in Tuscany

Would you be willing to rent a car? "Easy access" and "countryside" are not exactly compatible unless you have a car.

Kalkan
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2. Re: Weekend in Tuscany

Thanks for your reply.

We wouldn't rule out hiring a car if we end up staying somewhere far out from any amenities, but if there was somewhere that ticked all our boxes (ie restaurants within walking distance of the countryside views we are after) this would be ideal. I realise it may be a long shot but as I have no idea of the area I'm clearly making assumptions!

Looking forward to your response.

Kuru

Le Marche, Italy
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3. Re: Weekend in Tuscany

There are many Tuscan towns with nice countryside views and restaurants. It might be hard to get to the vineyards unless the town (or your hotel) offers an organized tour The most picturesque towns are nearly all well known on the tourist circuit, so you'll be sharing the views with other tourists. August is also not the best month, perhaps. If it's been a hot, dry, summer, those fields will be pretty brown. It can also be pretty hot in August.

Montepulciano and Montalcino are two hilltop towns with great views over the surrounding countryside. Of the two, I have a slight preference for Montalcino.

If you want to avoid the heat, you might want to consider another region of Italy, maybe somewhere in the mountains or their foothills, or somewhere on one of the northern lakes, such as Garda, Como, or Maggiore.

Kalkan
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4. Re: Weekend in Tuscany

Thanks once again for your helpful response.

I have now done a bit of research using your advice, and have come across what appears to be a small rural house in Montalcino - Porta Castellana. It looks great, but appearances can be deceptive! I would be grateful if those in the know could let me know if it is in a decent spot and whether it is suitable for a relaxing weekend break. We are not bothered by the heat (I have lived in southern Turkey for nearly 10 years).

This brings me back to another question - airport transfers. To get to Montalcino should we fly to Pisa and if so how long is the transfer and what is the best method of transport?

Thank you so much once again for your help and advice.

Kuru

Le Marche, Italy
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5. Re: Weekend in Tuscany

I suggest you read the reviews on Tripadvisor for this B&B. I would give more weight to reviews from people who have made numerous contributions to Tripadvisor, because those who've made few contributions may be a B&B owner (either friend or foe).

Getting to Montalcino from Pisa airport without a car would be a bit of a challenge. The nearest train station to Montalcino is Buonconvento. Getting there by train would require two changes of train, and would take around three hours. I don't know how taxi service is from Buonconvento. There are also two buses daily from Pisa airport to Siena, and then there are infrequent buses from Siena to Montalcino, which don't run on Sundays or holidays. because of country roads and difficult geography, even driving from Pisa airport would take a long time.

August 15th is a big holiday in Italy, and a lot of Italians choose that week for their holidays. Around that date, everything in the countryside is very crowded and expensive. I would try to go in the early part of the month.

If you have to fly into Pisa airport, you might want to consider San Gimignano instead of Montalcino. The connections are better. Montalcino is a much better known town for wine, though. Lucca is a lovely town, very near to Pisa, but it's not in rolling countryside and, as far as I know, doesn't have any well-known wines. Volterra is another nice Tuscan town, a bit closer to Pisa airport than Montalcino.

If you would consider Umbria rather than Tuscany, Orvieto is a lovely hill town with good train connections to Rome.

Carrara, Italy
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6. Re: Weekend in Tuscany

What about considering the Lucca area? The town itself is a jewel, the historical medieval centre is still surrounded by walls where you could walke or reant a bike!There are also very nice restaurants and shops.

It is located just half an hour by Pisa and on its hills you could find beautiful wineries, ha ve a look at:

http://www.buonamico.it/

or

http://www.fattoriadelteso.it/

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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7. Re: Weekend in Tuscany

Lucca itself is lovely, but it is far from rural, and the countryside around it is not the 'typical' rolling hills. There are some good wines from the area, but those in Chianti and Southern Tuscany are surely superior, in general?

8. Re: Weekend in Tuscany

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