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Itinerary Suggestions and Comments Please

Bend, Oregon
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15 posts
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Itinerary Suggestions and Comments Please

My wife and I are planning a trip to Italy. Air travel has been purchased; we arrive in Florence midday Friday, February 28, 2014 and depart early the morning of March 20.

We are now trying to plan our travels, staying in the Tuscany and Umbria regions, and will post this in both forums. We were in Florence several years ago, and now want to explore other Tuscan/Umbria areas.

Our thought is to travel via train to Pisa the afternoon we arrive in Florence, and spend two nights. Leaving some luggage in Pisa (we hope. Any suggestions?), take the train to Cinque Terre for three nights. Return to Pisa; retrieve the balance of our luggage and pickup a rental car for the remainder of our trip. We would return the car to Pisa on March 19; take the train to Florence for our last night before flying home.

We would like to rent apartments or houses in small villages where we would be able to walk to dinner, and then make day trips by car to explore the region. Ideally we would like to limit the number of times we move, spending more time in one spot to get the feel for the town and its people.

A little background:

• We are what is referred to as senior citizens, however do not exhibit any of the problems normally associated with that age group.

• We are from the US, and have traveled extensively in rental cars in Ireland, UK, and France relying heavily on a Garmin GPS.

• We would like to avoid large cities, and limit driving to rural areas, preferring back roads to highways; we are more interested in the travel than hurrying to the destination.

• We will try to avoid driving in any large towns, preferring to walk or if necessary take public transportation.

• Our interests lie in exploring rural farm areas, historical sites, history museums, getting to interact with the locals.

We would appreciate any recommendations you could make, either general about our trip, or specific as to must “see and do” and places to stay.

Thank you for your input.

Destination Expert
for Siena, Montalcino
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3,792 posts
27 reviews
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1. Re: Itinerary Suggestions and Comments Please


This may help slowtrav.com/italy/tuscany/hs_planning.htm

and you do not need to return the car to where you picked it up, see http://www.autoeurope.com/

United Kingdom
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64 posts
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2. Re: Itinerary Suggestions and Comments Please

You should check out Lucca, also the nearby carnival of viareggio. Every Sunday in Feb the town holds a spectacular event.

Montepulciano, Italy
Destination Expert
for Tuscany
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6,765 posts
7 reviews
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3. Re: Itinerary Suggestions and Comments Please

This is a very broad question but I'm just going to pick up on a couple of points. The period you are coming is one in which it is extremely hard to predict the weather - it's possibly the riskiest period of the year - so you must please be prepared for anything mother nature throws at you. It could be 15 / 18 degs C, really spring-like and quite lovely, it could be sub-zero with even snow on the ground. This year March was really miserable and rained virtually every day plus it was cold too. Please bear all this in mind when packing and planning. When it's fine, the countryside in winter is glorious and exploring rural areas very enjoyable but when the weather's bad it can be grim. I personally feel you would be better off concentrating on staying in larger towns (Florence, Lucca, Siena) and if you do venture further out into the countryside base yourself somewhere larger than average such as Montepulciano where there's a bit more going on. It is a good time to get a better feel for Tuscan life as there will be few other tourists around (tourism really doesn't get started down here until April or Easter, whichever comes first). In order to do so it would help enormously if you have even a few words of the language, so if you don't already speak the language perhaps start now with a basic CD.

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
Destination Expert
for Tuscany
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4. Re: Itinerary Suggestions and Comments Please

Lastraniera has already covered the unpredictability of the weather at that time of year. The link below is to an article about driving in Italy, you need to know about the limited traffic zones (ZTLs) operated in most Italian urban settlements (although some of the smaller places will not have one in place at this time of year). You should also pay attention to the snow chain requirements.


Edited: 24 August 2013, 11:12
5. Re: Itinerary Suggestions and Comments Please

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