Italy: From Rome to Florence... and Beyond!
September 24, 2012 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Italy travelfilter: The girlfriend and I are headed to Italy for a late in the year vacation and need help! We've done a lot of the major cities before and are looking for something more rural, but that makes planning a challenge, given our complete lack of experience with the Italian countryside. Help greatly appreciated!

I'll be in Rome already for work and she'll be joining me on October 30. We then fly out of Rome on November 8. I plan to rent a car at the airport when she arrives and we'll head out.

First leg: We're thinking it would be fun to spend 4-5 nights at one location somewhere in Tuscany/Umbria and take day trips to towns around the region. We love good food and wine... however, because we love wine, it would also be great if wherever we stayed we could walk to restaurants/bars as well so that we can both drink! Any particular towns leap to mind as good candidates? Particular places in those towns to stay? Apts/villas? Other towns to visit? Vineyards/food festivals/any festivals?

Second leg: We're then thinking of going into Florence and spending a few nights there. Any recommendations welcome, but I feel I'm better at planning an urban stay, plus there are other metafilter Florence threads.

Third leg: We'd then have 3 nights or so left and are open to ideas. We're thinking Cinque Terre or ... anything!

I'd appreciate any and all advice from experts; metafiler has been invaluable to my prior trip planning. The schedule above is by no means set in stone - if you would advise an entirely different trip structure, I'd love to hear it! Thanks in advance.
posted by slide to Travel & Transportation around Italy (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If you haven't been to Perguia yet, I highly recommend it. Orvieto and the surrounding towns are also really nice, and Assisi is always popular, though I think all of these are more touristy than Perugia.
posted by toerinishuman at 12:24 PM on September 24, 2012

For the time you have, I would suggest two instead of three legs. You spend a non-trivial amount of time closing out your stay in one place and getting settled in the next. Two times that I've vacationed in Italy I've found that renting a place in Tuscany is perfect you enjoy the countryside and want to make day trips to wineries. It is relaxing and marvelous in about every way imaginable. I did it in the May/June time so I expect October would be a little colder but still manageable.

We stayed outside of San Gimignano (likely spelling that wrong) in St. Lucia. I might be able to find some contact info for the place we stayed you want to memail me. It was a 2km walk to the town.

One suggestion I make to everyone who goes to the Tuscany region is to look up a charming placed called Badia a Coltibueno. It is an abbey converted into a vineyard and restaurant. For a variety reasons it is one of the most memorable dining experiences I've ever had. Because the roads are challenging at night I suggest going for lunch rather than dinner.
posted by dgran at 12:28 PM on September 24, 2012

Cinque Terre! Yes! My absolute favorite part of Italy, you certainly won't regret spending time there, and the whether should still be fairly good for hiking at the end of October.

That said, if want really excellent food, head into Emilia Romagna - Bologna is a wonderful city (and not a bad home base for day trips to other smaller cities), I have a soft spot for Ferrara (where I lived/studied for a time in college), Modena and Parma have great vinegar and cheese (obviously) and Piacenza are all lovely and under-touristed. Have fun!
posted by hungrybruno at 12:29 PM on September 24, 2012

Base town: Siena! Easy trains to Florence and Rome, big enough to wander around in and taste loads of different things. Keep an eye out for local wines, as well as wild boar (cinghiale) and chestnut dishes. Apparently it's also white truffle festival time. Smaller towns are likely to have their own festivals, too. Orvieto and Perugia are both stunning, though not especially large. If you would like a wine-based side trip from Rome, I'm partial to the story of Montefiascone's Est! Est! Est! Ate here years ago, it was lovely.

Fiesole might be another side option for your Florence leg; there are some cool ruins, a great view, and some good restaurants.

Is there anything you're especially interested in-- smaller towns, quirky sights, Etruscan/Roman remains, sea view, lake view, hiking....? Because it might make more sense to take the train more north from Rome and rent a car on a day-by-day basis, if you wanted to get established in a place first. But if you did want to explore more on the Umbria or Lazio side, than a car might make more sense.
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:14 PM on September 24, 2012

« Older How do I ship my bicycle from the US to Canada...   |   What was going on with this speaker when we were... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.