We need a moderately priced place to stay in Tuscany, hopefully in a small town, NOT out in the country. We think Montalcino sounds lovely as a base for day trips...right or wrong? We have 5 nights and 6 days and want to chase the vineyards. Suggestions?
check out www.vrbo.com (vacation rentals by owner)
Go to Italy link. All cities will be listed. There are lots of apartments listed for cities in Tuscany -- various price ranges. Easy to book. Usually you have to rent for at least one week, which seems like you will be doing, though some places will do nightly rentals.
I'vefound good, inexpensive places in both Paris and Cortona using this site.
I've been to Italy 5 times, & montalchino...as a base of operation is bad. Look at a map and size of the roads and proximity to towns OF YOUR DESIRED SIZE. Driving or busing on small roads is very time consuming. The smaller the town, the less frequent the bus schedule or the more difficult the driving. You can't have it both ways.
My wife and I stayed in Cortona by accident. We got lost driving. We loved it. Sent a friend there a couple years later and she stayed for two weeks. Couldn't pull herself away for the rest of her itenerary. It is a walled city on a hill. Reasonably priced, really good food and wine.
We stayed here in 2003 and it was awesome.
You may see some other good choices too on this site. This is one of the only towns you can get to by train, and is a quick trip to Florence. We did not rent a car. Very authentic town, wonderful catacombs, best restaraunt we found in Italy: La Solita Zuppa.
I would suggest Pistoia, a good size (100K) place, but not a normal tourist stop.Still have the old walled inner city feel. It's about 18 miles W of Florence and right on the train line to Pisa and Lucca as well as Florence.
We have stayed in Cortona five times. I guess I don't have to say that we love it. It has many restaurants and shops and is a destination itself. It is also very conveniently located. The last time I went I took day trips from there to Siena, Florence, Montalcino, Montepulciano and Assisi. I also took the train to Venice for a long weekend.
There are many reasonably priced apartments for rent there, and many nice farmhouses for rent right outside of the city walls.
I especially like going to the Camucia market on Thursday morning. It is the newer city at the foot of Cortona. If you go to the market, don't leave without getting a porchetta sandwich.
Google Eurobimbo's Journey to Enlightenment. She and her husband live there and she has a very informative blog about Cortona, the surrounding region, and Italy in general.
I agree with Betty in San Franciso. Check out www. vrbo.com We rented an apartment in Barbarino which is half way between Florence and Sienna. Because of the central lcoation it made day trips to the hill towns easy plus it was nice to come back and relax in the quiet surroundings.