Planning out a future shoulder season trip. After Florence and Cinque Terre,I`m thinking about renting car for about 4 days. Looking for two destinations for two nights each. Wuld love to hear your thoughts about favorite places and drives in Tuscany, and other central-northern Italian destinations. Thanks as always Mike, DC
Just returned from two weeks in the Garfagnana-between Florence & CT. It was breath-takingly beautiful. We based in B&B in Ghivizzano, 25 minutes N of Lucca. Visited walled cities, amazing forts & castles, old villas[INVALID]and the scenery was constantly spectacular. The drive from Castlenuovo to Carrara was amazing, and heart-stoppping. The drive from between Aulla & Castlenuova was everything that Italy is supposed to be. Barga was another wonderful find, as was Fabbriche di Vallico. After being a tourist for many trips, this time we experienced a different, authentic, and untouched Italy.
Yes Carrara is a good place to visit with a car. Then, I would head for the Tuscan hill towns. You really cannot go wrong. Shoulder season means you can travel w/o reservations so just go. Siena is a must, but all of the touristy hill towns are well-worth a visit. I really like Umbria and you can reach this from Tuscany. Best of all, Umbria is not too accessible any way but by car so take advantage of it. Orvieto and Assisi are the highlights with reason, but Todi or Spoleto are worth visits. happy travels.
I love San Gimignano and after spending only 1 night in Lucca a few years ago I can't wait to return there in May '11; the walk around the walls in the morning was so fun, relaxing and gorgeous. Also planning on Assisi this time, it sounds charming and seems to have lots to offer besides the basilica. If you plan two places to stay I would leave at least one day trip spontaneous since you're bound to get great suggestions from the locals you meet (we did, Pienza!).
Thank you all for taking the time to respond. You are really helping with my planning.
Greve is a great Tuscany town