My husband and I are finally returning to Italy in mid April, for 3 weeks. Plane tickets are booked and now the real fun of planning begins. I would be so grateful for any advice, suggestions, or itinerary guidance.
Here is our time frame:
Mid April to Mid May (3 weeks) - Flying into and out of Rome
Here is what I know we want to do:
We'd like to visit Florence and stay for 3 nights. We'd like to stay in a vibrant area that is not too touristy but where we can walk home after dinner from great restaurants. What do you think is the best way to get from Rome to Florence? I was thinking we would fly but others have suggested taking the train which I am not opposed to.
Next, we'd like to tour Tuscany & the hill towns in a luxurious and relaxed fashion. We'd like to experience an agriturismo stay in a country villa that offers friendly & welcoming staff, a beautiful setting, and most importantly, delicious homemade food. Cooking classes, wine tasting/wine cellar, truffle hunting, spa, etc are all a bonus. We do not speak Italian other than some general phrases so English translation should be available. I am also vegetarian so we'd have to stay somewhere accommodating to my diet. I'm thinking 4 or 5 nights in a place such as this where we can relax, take in the scenery, eat well, and tour the local towns & vineyards with ease. Perhaps we'd have a car for this portion of the trip and/or arrange some private tours… we've heard it is fun to drive around. I'm not sure what area we would like to stay in, I figure it might be decided by the place that we choose to stay. Any recommendations would be wonderful.
From there, I have heard that Sienna is glorious and deserves some time to explore. A friend has suggested staying in a hotel right in the town square. Of course visiting Chianti & Montepulciano also sounds delicious. I realize that Tuscany can be pretty touristy and do wish to see the beautiful "don't miss" sights, but also have a "real" experience at the same time. That being said, if there are any areas you can suggest to visit I am all ears.
We also would like to visit Bologna, Parma (cheese caves!) Modena (the foodie area) so I'm not sure how to structure that into our trip - maybe after Florence, maybe after Tuscany? Also not sure how many days to set aside for this area. Also wondering if it be too chilly to tour the lakes region?
I think we'll be happy spending the 3 weeks time in this general vicinity of the country but a part of us was thinking that it could be fun to check out Corsica for a little something different or maybe just something along the coast. Open to suggestions.
Another consideration is that we will be traveling over Easter (4/20). I have heard that Florence can be beautiful at this time with ceremonies and festivals but I am worried that museums may close for Good Friday, Easter, and Easter Monday. If we start our trip there we would be in Florence 4/17 - 4/20. Would you suggest being in a specific area over another for Easter?
Thank you so much, I look forward to your replies!!