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Help with a secluded visit of the Tuscany region

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vancouver
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Help with a secluded visit of the Tuscany region

We are on a cruise, and have a full day in Livorno. I want to plan an excursion whether half or full day either with a tour guide or on my own that will take us away from the busy cities of Pisa and Florence. Perhaps on a secluded long drive where we can admire the natural beauty of the Tuscany region. We want to see the lush green fields, and hill tops, perhaps go and roam around the paths never visited. Any recommendations?

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Help with a secluded visit of the Tuscany region

The best wy to do this would be to rent a car and DIY. Public transport is quite poor to get to some of the more popular spots like Siena, San Gim etc. but to get to "undiscovered" spots in Tuscany, public transport is essentially non-existent.

If you have never driven in Italy before, I'd get a rental car with a GPS. You need an International Driving Permit. You can get one at BCAA.

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Help with a secluded visit of the Tuscany region

Hi newalf (neighbor!)(I'm in Seattle)

My favorite drives in Tuscany are through the Val d'Orcia. Also, it seems to be exactly what you describe:

flickr.com/photos/…set-72157629958196858

flickr.com/photos/…

Montepulciano is just an hours drive from Florence, if you're in a hurry, but is a nice day trip through stunningly beautiful countryside. Rent a car, get off the highway as much as you can. Get a good Michelin map of the area and stick to squiggly back roads. The squigglier the better.

Around every turn my wife would yell "STOP THE CAR!" and jump out to take pictures. Me, I was content just to have my breath taken away with each turn.

As DTC says, you want to rent a car.

-K

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Help with a secluded visit of the Tuscany region

Not sure if Karlitos noticed that you are coming from Livorno not Florence. It's about a 2.5 hour drive each way from Livorno to Montepulciano on the autoroute. Not the scenic drive that you are looking for. And 5 hours of your day gone.....

vancouver
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4. Re: Help with a secluded visit of the Tuscany region

Those are amazing photos. I would love to do the drive to Montepulciano. But is there something closer? Like DAT pointed out its quite a bit out of Livorno. Considering i'm on a cruise I would rather stay closer than go so far out on my own.

On another note, I've been checking for cars from Livorno, and since I don't drive stick, an automatic car is almost twice as much as a manual. Is that normal?

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Help with a secluded visit of the Tuscany region

Yes...a substantial increase to rent an automatic is normal. And you are not guaranteed to get what you reserve.

Well over 80% of vehicles in Italy are standard transmissions and rental fleets follow suits.

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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6. Re: Help with a secluded visit of the Tuscany region

How about getting a private driver?

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: Help with a secluded visit of the Tuscany region

Sorry about not registering that you were leaving from Livorno (I just saw the Florence part)...yes the Val d'Orcia would be too far.

The drive to Volterra is nice, and matches your description:

panoramio.com/map/…all

as well as the countryside between San Gimignano and Volterra:

panoramio.com/map/…all

Something like this?

http://goo.gl/maps/nc66O

You can take the larger roads in sections if time is tight. Or drop San Gimignano.

That whole area east of Livorno is quite scenic.

You can search the forums about hiring a driver. I know it comes up now and then. We have always just chosen standard transmission. I would think hiring a driver would not be less expensive than paying extra for automatic transmission.

-Karl

Savannah, GA
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8. Re: Help with a secluded visit of the Tuscany region

While hiring a driver might be a bit more expensive, it would allow you both to be fully free to enjoy the scenic countryside that you seek. We have always been supremely satisfied with the drivers that we're hired and felt they were worth the price.....and more. Look at Tau Touring. They've always been extremely valuable in helping us plan a day that will utilize our time to the fullest.....and there's no worry about getting back to the ship on time.

9. Re: Help with a secluded visit of the Tuscany region

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