My girlfriends and I are are beginning the plans for a trip to Italy this time next year. She definitely wants to see Tuscany and I definitely want to see Milan. Any ideas from someone how to coordinate those two cities?
You can arrive via Milan malpensa airport and see the sights of Milan easily 2-3 days is enuf to see highlights of Milan. Then take train from Milan centrale to Florence and a nice bus ride to Siena the best base for Tuscany.You can see many hilltowns by bus from Siena but a car rental is also worthwhile consideration for the towns not easily reached by bus. Driving is simple in Tuscany and Umbria as it is country type driving. hope this helps get you started.
Thank you so much for your advice. I appreciate you taking the time to answer. There is such a wealth of information on the internet but to me, getting advice from someone who has been there or lives there is so much more helpful!
Thank you once again
Tusany is a region, not a city. Which areas of Tuscany is your friend most interested in seeing? Some of the most popular destinations are of course Florence and Siena. You might also consider Umbria, as it is quite similar to Tuscany. I really enjoyed my stay in Orvieto (Umbria) and side trip to one of Rick's favourite spots, Civita di Bagnoregio.
Also, what are you most interested in seeing in Milan? If you're interested in side trips, you might consider Lago di Como as it's only about an hour from Milan. The town of Varenna is wonderful, and of course easy to take a day trip to Bellagio.
You might find it helpful to pick up a copy of Rick's "Italy" Guidebook (I think the 2008 version has now been released). This will give you lots of information on places to see and how to travel efficiently in that area.
I'd suggest getting a map of Italy, or better yet, a regional map of Tuscany, this way you can get a guide book and find the towns on the map so you can better plan your trip.
a good map will cost about $10-12 and a guide book $15-20. Money well spent. you have a year to plan, so keep doing your research on the internet.
I'm glad you have been told that Tuscany is a region, not a city...it's the hilltop towns in Tuscany that are wonderful to visit, not just Florence and Siena. you can find many small towns with almost nothing in them but the people - and really experience Italy!
Milan is worth 2 days, one night at most for the city. There is not much there. If you are into shopping, you can visit department stores, and fashion designers, but it's expensive! Fly into Milan, and plan to fly out from someplace else...perhaps Rome, or Venice. But, decide on northern or southern Italy and keep your plans simple, don't try to do too much!
Rhonda, in addition to the excellent advice in previous posts, I'd recommend that you make your mind up soon and make hotel reservations as soon as possible. Some of the best hotels book up early. How much you can see depends on how much time you'll have, but I agree that spending much time in Milan isn't a good idea. I agree that Siena makes a good base for exploring Tuscany. However, if you have enough time, staying in an agriturismo (farm B&B) in Tuscany & using a rental car to explore hill towns is a great way to see Tuscany. FYI most agriturismos book Saturday to Sat., one week minimum stay, but it's really worth it. Look on the graffiti board for suggestions as to which agriturismo to book.
I am excited in seeing Milan for the shopping but honestly I know shopping there will be way over my budget. I would like to find some designer outlets if there are any. I have so much to learn and yes I know I have a year but I am hoping that will give me enough time to design a trip that will "suit" us.
I would like for the visit to the Tuscany region to be full of beautiful scenery and lots of relaxation.
As I am sure you can tell, I have only begun to realize what Italy has in store for me. Are there any tour groups that someone could recommend? I am thinking it will probably be a 8-10 day vacation with travel to and fro included.
"Are there any tour groups that someone could recommend?"
Have you looked at the Rick Steves tours? On the surface the might appear to be a bit pricey, but considering these include of things that are "extra" on other tours, the value is good (IMHO). One of the Italy or Village Italy tours might be perfect! They're all small groups and somewhat of a "family" atmosphere.
If you're interested, go to the "Tours" section of this website and order the brochure and tour DVD.