I have a rental car for 7 days while in the area. Monteriggioni is our base. I know its hard to just pick a handful. Would love to see the green rolling hills and definitely some vineyards and of course mom and pop type places to eat. We would like to immerse ourselves in the culture as much as possible. TIA Mike
http://www.borghiditoscana.net/ Pick your favorites. On the left panel of the above website, places are organized by province. There are 10 provinces comprising Tuscany. Click the places which are in the provinces closer to you first. Monteriggioni is in the Province of Siena. The Province of Florence is the next one close by. However also the provinces of Pisa (Volterra in particular), Grosseto and Arezzo aren't far. Congratulations for choosing Monteriggioni. The area between Monteriggioni and Colle Val D'Elsa, near the Florence-Siena freeway, is logistically the best base you can choose for Tuscany. From there you can be anywhere in Tuscany within 90 min by car.
Don't miss Assisi and Gubbio in Umbria. With a car they and other interesting towns are only 2 hours away.
Thank you for the information. Super excited to get there and see the sights!
Don't miss Pienza and Montepulciano. We liked San Quirico d'Orcia.
want to try a real Italian city of about 90,000 that has very few tourists & DOES offer a lot to see? : Pistoia- 15 miles from Florence & on the main rail line.
I haven't come close to visiting everywhere. Of the places I've seen, the only one I wish I'd skipped is Lucca. I prefer the hill towns, Lucca is flat. It has a nice wall turned park, but otherwise is fairly uninspiring. I think Rick recommends Lucca because it's served better by train than most towns. I'd only recommend it for people who have a hard time walking on hills.
Brad, just to show that everyone has different reactions, I found Lucca to be magic. I was there in 1989 and not since, but it remains one of my most memorable travel days. Of course, if you want a hill town, Lucca's not going to cut it. But bicycling on top of the wall was wonderful - to me, anyway.
Love what you're doing -- just driving and experiencing Italy. You can't go wrong with any of the 'famous' towns or the little ones that just appear on your horizon. Consider each one a gem. We love Orvieto, Siena, Volterra, Greve in Chianti--actually, I can't think of any we wouldn't return to and just enjoy. The Chianti Road is also a great drive.
I'm with Harold, I quite enjoyed Lucca. A town doesn't have to be on a hill to have its own charm. He's right about biking the wall. How often will you find an opportunity to do that?? You won't go wrong with most any of the hill towns in Tuscany.
Wow!! Great ideas and advice everyone! Thank you so much.. This is my GF's first trip ANYWHERE! I have done all the touristy stuff over there in the past when I was stationed in Europe. I want her to have the best time EVER!! Thank you!
If you are into wine, definitely Montalcino! It's our favorite hill town. Since it's not easily accessed by public transportation, we felt it was less touristy than other hill towns we'd visited.
I love Lucca also and discovered Lake Orta on the Village Italy trip.
I really love the small towns.
We enjoyed many of the towns that have been suggested but particularly Volterra. We spent half a day there and wish we had spent more time there. It's a neat little town and it offers a variety of things to see/do. The Etruscan Museum there is fascinating and we enjoyed seeing the Roman theater as well. I also agree with Brad about Lucca. Lucca was the one place I wish we hadn't visited. It was okay...just not as interesting as Volterra and many of the other towns that we visited. But, others like it so I suggest looking at pictures of it and deciding for yourself. Have a nice trip.
You ALL are the BEST!! Thank you so much. I have 2 weeks to go and cannot wait to land in Pisa!!! There is so much to see in such a short time frame. Super excited to see the sights!
Thank you all so much for the information. Mike and I are extremely anxious to get there and begin our journey of his homeland. His great grandfather was born in Caserta. We're hoping to get to meet some of his family still living there, too. Mike's making my dreams come true with this trip. I've never been on a real vacation in my life. I dream of living in Italy and growing grapes and hosting retreats in a small bed and breakfast or something. We're going to be scoping properties, too. Hehehe!!
We are so looking forward to this trip! Thank you everyone!