We are going back to Italy next fall. Last spring we went on the RS Venice/Florence/Rome trip and saw Siena on our own. Next fall we are going to Venice, CT and ???? Where would you suggest? I was thinking Lucca or maybe Cortona. We plan to fly into Genoa and out of Venice.
I love Cortona. We have been there many times. The only thing is it isn't that convenient to Venice. I spent a weekend in Venice the last time I was in Cortona and I think the train took 4 1/2 hours from Cortona to Venice. I took a train from Camucia (town below Cortona) to Florence and then the Eurostar to Venice.
How did you get to the train in that town near Cortona? We will be doing this trip solely by train. Thanks very much for your insight.
I would concentrate on something enroute. I could see Verona, detour to Balzano, the Como region, even Milan and Genoa.
Hello Deborah. What is the total number of days you will be in ITALY ? If you fly into Genoa, I guess you will want to go to the Cinque Terre first. You could visit Lucca when you leave the Cinque Terre. Lucca is many person's favorite hill town in ITALY.
And Cortona is a pleasant town to visit, but it may not be at a convenient location for you in that trip. Are you interested in going to Lake Maggiore ?
Verona is at a convenient location, it is on your way to Venice. Verona is some person's favorite town
We had a rental car, but the town is five minutes away and there are buses that run between Cortona and Camucia pretty often. On our last trip, a friend was coming from Berlin and she flew to Rome, took the train to Camucia and a bus to Cortona. She said it was pretty easy.
I can confirm that it is easy to get to Cortona by public transportation. From the Camucia train station, there is a bus that runs up the hill to Cortona. It takes about 20 minutes. Camucia is about 90 minutes from Florence and about 2 hours from Rome by train.
Thanks for all your suggestions. I like the idea of seeing Cortona, even though it will be an challenging trip to reach via train. Does anyone have a suggestion for a B&B in Cortona? RS book is pretty limited in its offerings.
We have stayed in an apartment called Pancrazi. We rented it through classictuscanhomes.com. We liked it enough that we plan on staying there again in 2008. We have friends who stayed at Le Gelosie, I think that was the name and they really liked it. In March of this year we rented La Certosa and some friends who were there at the same time rented an apartment overlooking the Piazza Repubblica. I don't know the agency, but it was a really cute apartment. I can find out the name of the agency if you are interested.
Google Eurobimbo's tuscan adventure, or it's something like that. She is an American who has lived in Cortona for the last year and a half and she and her husband have just bought a house outside of Cortona and they will eventually have an apartment or two for rent. Maybe it will be ready when you get there.
They are very nice. We met them in 2005, and this year when we went back to Cortona they invited us over for supper.
I had a very nice stay in Cortona at Le Gelosie B&B.
I see you mention that you were considering Lucca. Lucca is also a great place to visit.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I checked out Le Gelosie and it looks perfect! I appreciate everyone's insights.
Friends really loved Lucca. I have not been there yet. They hopped a train into Florence, Sienna, CT from their 1 week apartment rental. They also did lots of walking. Their teenage girls loved walking on the old wall every morning. They loved the small old town flavor as opposed to Florence.
Deborah, We got off the train in Camucia to catch the bus up the hill to Cortona. We were expecting to find a tobacco shop or vending machine to sell bus tickets but the entire train station was totally uninhabited and it was the middle of the afternoon. The bus stop was outside the station and when the bus came the driver allowed us to board, telling us to buy tickets at the tobacco shop several stops ahead. He waited for me as I ran to make the purchase! Nice guy! We loved Cortona.
I had supper with my friend who rented the cute apartment when we were in Cortona this past March. I didn't realize it at the time, but she rented the apartment from the Le Gelosie (sp?) people. She loved the apartment, BUT the apartment had almost NO water pressure. They had the streets dug up around the main piazza so I guess they were working on the water lines. You might want to check with them about the water pressure issues my friend had when she stayed there.
If you do stay there, it is very near a very good restaurant called La Grotta. We always eat at least one meal there when we are in Cortona.
if you have time and pref a car(2-3 days min)stay in Siena and see Tuscany. If not and no car go to Santa Margarita Ligure very close to CT. Cortona is nice but other tuscan villages are better to me ie Siena, S Gimignano.. do not rush Tuscany it is to good to rush thru.
If you're flying into Genoa then you s/go to the CT first. From Monterosso you can take a direct train to Milan and stay a couple nights and include a visit to Lake Maggiore or skip Milan and stay on Lake Como instead which is so beautiful. On your way to Venice you may consider lunch in Verona, Vicenza, or Padua along the way. The Tuscan countryside isn't as convenient and the lake district is stunning.
I went to Lucca last year and was disappointed. Cortona is convenient if you're in Florence and would also like to see Assisi so save that for another trip.
I would suggest that you stop in Pisa and visit the Leaning Tower and Duomo. Its a short stop but well worth it.