I am helping my parents plan a 25th anniversary trip to Italy, Spain and France.
They are looking at spending 9-10 days in Italy. I am on a hunt for a good central location for them to use as their home base for touring around Tuscany. I am leaning towards Montepulciano but would love any other suggestions.
Also, how many nights do you think they should spend at the Cinque Terre? Any other suggestions or comments are appreciated. Thanks so much!!
Trip Plan Details
recommended FlorenceFlorence is fun, especially if you're into art, architecture or Renaissance history. Love the history of science museums. But it can be very crowded in the summer and not in a good way (i.e. not like ... read moreRome). Mixed feelings, but try to visit in the off-season.Recommended for:.Comment.7 months ago. Reportrecommended FlorenceFlorence has many attractions, I loved to visit here and enjoyed every moments. Great arts and cultures, nice people. I'll be here again in the future.Wana Ursiripant
Florence is quite romantic town for a couple. Hope you parent will enjoy there.recommended FlorenceGorgeous, historic city in the heart of Tuscany! This city was integral to the Renaissance, and it shouldn't come as a surprise that the art art and architecture are completely breathtaking.Lauren Baker
While I completely agree that all the suggestions above should be visited, I believe Florence is the best base to see them then all from. It is big enough that you won't run out of things to see in the city but located well enough to use as a starting point for all of Tuscanuy.
recommended LuccaLoved this place! Pretty relaxing town in the daytime. Stroll down the street inside the walled town. Rent a bicycle and ride along the top of the wall which completely surrounds the town. At night ... read morethe shops come alive and there are tons of restaurants to choose from. If you can find it check out Queens. The food is excellent and has a great atmosphere. Queens is a favorite of the locals.Recommended for:
recommended MontescudaioLovely little town with great restaurants and the perfect spot for a morning cappuccino. Tuscany without the throngs of tourists. Try staying at Dolce Toscana, and have dinner at Il Frontaio. Drive ... read morethe Strada del Vino. Bella!
recommended VolterraThis beautiful hill town has great shops (alabaster, jewelry) and restaurants and of course stunning plazas and architecture. You can easily park in one of the ring parking lots and walk into town. ... read moreThis is a popular spot, perhaps best enjoyed off season. However, it's so centrally located, there's no excuse to miss it.recommended VolterraBeautiful city perched romantically on top of a mountain! The history of the city is very interesting and well worth discovering. The city is known for its alabaster, with great souvenirs available in ... read moreall the shops.Lauren Baker
I wouldn't recommend staying here, but it's definitely worth a day visit!
- La Strada del VinoVia Aurelia Sudrecommended La Strada del VinoTake a drive on Via Aurelia Sud and stop in wineries and the small towns on La Strada del Vino (the street of wine.) You'll pass through lovely scenery on the way. Stop for lunch in any of the ... read morecharming story-book towns. Pick up a wine tour map.Barbara Kossy
- Ristorante Il FrantoioVia della Madonna, 11, 56040 Montescudaio Pisa, Italyrecommended Ristorante Il FrantoioI've stayed at lovely Dolce Toscana in Montescudaio, and il Frantoio is the restaurant we returned to over and over. They specialize in local Tuscan specialties, and do it very very well. The pasta ... read morewas delectable and the help attentive. The chefs are active members of the Italian "slow food" movement, and they use the best local seasonal ingredients.Recommended for:Foodies
- Dolce ToscanaPodere Santa Chiara, Via San Giovanni 1, 56040 Montescudaio (PI) Italyrecommended Dolce ToscanaMy friends Sylvia and Charles offer a variety of rooms with kitchenettes, or you can rent the adjacent villa. The villa is gorgeous. Sylvia retired from the art world and her discerning taste is ... read moreevident in all the furnishings. Nearby Montescudaio has some incredible restaurants. Sylvia knows them all and will call in the reservations if you like. She can also arrange wine tours, or really anything you like. Start from the villa to drive to the lovely small towns of the Costa degli Etrusci wine road. Dolce Toscana is convenient to Tuscan wine country, and lovely hill towns such as Volterra.
recommended SienaIf you're in Tuscany definitely visit Siena. The Duomo is one of the most impressive in Italy and it's only half built. The main piazza is concave to allow for the famous Palio (horse race) once a ... read moreyear. And the city center is pedestrian only, allowing for unmolested strolling and shopping.Julia P
Don't let them miss Siena.
recommended PisaPisa was better than expected, but I don't know how you can spend more than half a day there. The doumo, leaning tower, and the main square are the principal attractions. Also the church of San ... read moreStefano (with the pirate banners), but mostly it's a stop-off on the way to Florence.Recommended for:
recommended FiesoleWonderful little town in the outskirts of Florence. Etruscan settlement is breathtaking and it's a convenient place to stay away from the crowds.Recommended for:
recommended San GimignanoUp spiraling hills you climb, in search of views and towers. San Gimignano is drop-dead-gorgeous and perhaps the most popular day trip from Florence or Siena. The historic and walled little city on a ... read morehill is great for an afternoon of exploring. Check online or at the bus station to purchase tickets.Paul @TAKEYATHERE
Everyone must scoot up into the hills and stroll this little, gem-of-a-town. You can visit in less than an afternoon, but visit...you must.
recommended MontalcinoAn incredible hill town in Tuscany, here they pour the world famous red wine brunello di montalcino. Buses leave from Siena and take a little over an hour. Great day trip and a wine tasting mecca. ... read moreVino rosso per-fa-vor-e!Paul @TAKEYATHERE
When picking a home base for a trip to Tuscany think about transportation...if you're going to have a rental car then feel free to stay in the countryside, however if you will be taking tour buses, private shuttles, or public buses to visit small towns and go wine tasting, then staying in a hub like Siena probably makes more sense. Enjoy Italy!
commented on this trip
Ooh, and Montalcino is where the Rosso di Montalcino wine is from - amazing stuff.
recommended UmbriaUmbria is sometimes, well, okay, almost always, overlooked on the Rome-Venice-Florence Italy junket. This central region has the rolling hills of Tuscany, with some great wines, and none of the ... read morecrowds. Medieval towns like Assisi and Spoleto are ridiculously charming, and the food is really amazing, from olive oil, to cured meats (go to Norcia) to zuppa di farro and strozzapreti pasta with wild boar sauce. Just watch out for the unsalted bread.Julia P
Umbria is often overlooked, but if your folks stay in Montepulciano a trip to Perugia or Norcia isn't too far and both are cool places (Norcia is the home of Italian cured meats). I'd definitely recommend including a bit of Umbria in their itinerary.
recommended MontepulcianoI visited here with an Italian friend of mine. It's a gorgeous hill town (while these start to look all alike after a while, Montepulciano is really sweet) and, if you are a drinker, it's of course ... read morethe home of the Montepulciano wine. In my humble opinion, this is a more interesting and dependable grape than the Sangiovese which is the base for Chianti. Even the lower priced bottles are fruity-dry, and very drinkable. Stock up-maybe stopping in to one of the farms along the roads outside for some home-made montepulciano bottled for you right then and there. (look out for signs that say VINO)Julia P
Montepulciano is a good base, yes. Lucca, Siena, and Cortona are also good stops - I second Alanna.
commented on this trip
I work planning luxury trips to Italy, France, Spain. In Tuscany, Montepulciano is a lovely central town, as is Pienza, Montalcino and Cortona. Siena is definitely worth a day trip as well.
As for Cinque Terra, I spent a week there and could have stayed longer -- it's just so pretty and relaxing and the food is excellent. From there they can also do a day trip to Pisa, Lucca or the beaches at Forte dei Marni.