Milan to Tuscany itinerary

We will be flying into Milan in May. Our plan is to rent a car and drive to Genoa, visit Portofino. We also want to visit Cinque Terre, Pienza, Volterra, Montepulciano,Montalcino, Chianti, San Marino and then drive back to the Lakes area before flying back to NY from Milan. Possibly even a visit to Lugano Switz, if time allows. We will have 12 full days. We are confused on where to start and where to base ourselves in order to visit as many of these places as possible.
Our thoughts are 2 or 3 nights in Portofino area then 4 nights in Tuscany and 4 nights in the Lakes area.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Paula, That seems like a LOT of places to visit in a 12-day time frame, considering the distance you'll be covering. Having a car will be of little use in the Cinque Terre, so you might want to consider parking in La Spezia and using the local trains or boats. Keep in mind that EACH driver will require the compulsory International Driver's Permit, which is used in conjunction with your home D.L. You'll also have to be vigilant to avoid the dreaded ZTL areas, as hefty fines will result. I'd have to spend some time working out an Itinerary for that many locations, but hopefully one of the others will have some good suggestions. Happy travels!

Posted by Paula
West Islip, ny, usa
5 posts

Thanks for your reply. Yes, we know about the IDP'S and already have them.
We are working with a travel agent but wanted to do a little research myself. This is our 2nd trip to Italy. The first time was two years ago and we had a taste of Tuscany but wanted to spend more time instead of being rushed by tour groups. We saw San Gimingaino, Siena and Pisa. Portofino and Cinque Terra are on the top of our list as is Lake Como.

Posted by Robert
Tampa, FL, USA
271 posts

Based on your cities to visit what about 3 Nights in the Lakes and 5 in Tuscany? If it was me I would start in the Lakes and relax. Varenna, Bellagio and others. You can take the train from Milan to the Varenna (Ricks great homebase). Stay couple days then take the train back to Milan, and take the high speed train to Florence. You can pickup a car in florence and drive all around Tuscany. Head over to the Cinque Terra and keep the car in la spezia before going up to Portofino. This could be useful if you are driving around Tuscany. http://www.michelintravel.com/guides/wine-trails-of-italy/

Posted by Paula
West Islip, ny, usa
5 posts

Robert,
Thanks. That sounds like a pretty good idea. It's so overwhelming trying to tie this all in. I appreciate the tips.

Posted by Paula
West Islip, ny, usa
5 posts

Robert,
Where should we base ourselves while in Tuscany?