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Val d’Orcia Day Trip

Mesa, Arizona
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Val d’Orcia Day Trip

I am in the midst of planning a very ambitious day trip through Val d’Orcia from Florence. I realize this area deserves much more than a day, but unfortunately it is all we can spare.

1. It looks like the only rental cars available are from the airport. Is this the most sensible location to rent from (we’re staying near the Uffizi)?

2. Is it reasonable to do the following circuit Florence -> Montalcino via SR2 -> Pienza (lunch) -> Montepulciano area (wine) -> Florence

Is this too far and too much for one day? Is there an alternative itinerary suggested, our goal is to see the beautiful Tuscan countryside, some hill towns, and to pick up some good wine to take back to Florence with us.

We’d be willing to do a tour, but have been unable to find one that doesn’t include stops we’re uninterested in or isn’t outrageously expensive.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Province of Florence, Italy
Montalcino
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Province of Siena, Italy
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14 replies to this topic
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1. Re: Val d’Orcia Day Trip

Following

Eagle River, Alaska
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2. Re: Val d’Orcia Day Trip

Yes it is ambitious. Yes, it is "doable". Yes, it is "too much for one day". Where are you planning to "pick up some good wine" and what exactly are you looking for when you say "good"? What time of year is this trip taking place? Are you renting the car just for the one day? If so you need to take into account the time it will take to pick up the car and then return it (typically one day would be 24 hrs. from time of pick up to time of drop off - in which case you need to figure out the overnight parking). For one day I would suggest pick one place - Montalcino or Montepulciano as they fit your criteria of "hill towns". Enjoy the drive there, research a winery to stop at on the way as well as on the way back, and also a spot to have lunch. La Grotta, which is located at the base of Montepulciano (upscale, elegant and delicious food) is across from a fabulous church - Tempio di San Biagio.

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Province of Siena, Italy
Montepulciano
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Province of Siena, Italy
Montepulciano, Italy
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3. Re: Val d’Orcia Day Trip

You already appreciate it is going to be ambitious, it will certainly be a long day out but, I reckon, it’s do-able. For example, we often do the same in reverse, ie drive up to Florence, spend a morning there and return via the SR 222 (Chiantigiana). It’s a long drive but it’s a beautiful one, helps if there are two of you to share the driving.

You can pick up cars at a couple of places in the centre of Florence, isn’t there a Hertz and an Avis on Borgo Ognissanti? This board is split between those who would never do it even if their life depended on it / others who reckon it’s a piece of cake. I fall somewhere in the middle agreeing it is easier to find your way out of Florence (to the Impruneta roundabout) than it is back into. You’ll need your wits about you but hopefully most of the traffic should be going the other way, ie into the city as you are going out. However, I wouldn’t take the SR2 (Via Cassia) all the way, the quickest route is via the FI / SI expressway form the Impruneta roundabout to Siena sud where you exit and join the Cassia through Buonconvento and up to Montalcino. From then on it’s simple enough per your plan ending your day at Montepulciano and then heading cross country to the Val di Chiana intersection on the A1 and highway home. Traffic can be bad in the evening from Firenze Sud but, even so, you should get back in under 2 hrs. Check what time the car hire place closes. If you wanted to you could come back down via the Chiantigiana (SR222) but allowing for stops (coffee, comfort, photos) this could be nudging a three hour drive to Montalcino.

ps: ensure you drive Montalcino - San Quirico - Pienza - Montepulciano for the best of the scenery from the main road.

Edited: 15 May 2018, 15:27
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Mesa, Arizona
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4. Re: Val d’Orcia Day Trip

Thank you so much for your quick and informative replies!

Bonnie- we’ll be heading out in mid June. By “good” wine, I simply mean something enjoyable and representative to the area, we aren’t connoisseurs by any stretch! Great things to think about with the car rental- from what I’ve gathered late drop offs are okay at the airport. I also greatly appreciate the recommendation of La Gratta, it sounds lovely. Before planing these all important details, I wanted to make sure the trip was feasible.

Lastraniera- your route information was immensely helpful! It both helps me wrap my head around how this trip will look logistically and gives me more confidence it can be done. We know it won’t be relaxed, but neither is our travel style- no rest for the wicked haha. One other question with regard to the car rental, would you say the trip is still doable if we did rent from the airport? I’m not seeing much in the way of rentals in town center, and drop off times are much more limited.

Thanks again!

Montepulciano, Italy
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5. Re: Val d’Orcia Day Trip

Certainly do-able if picking up car from airport, you'll just have to factor in time for taking cab out there. Could be a slight issue in slow moving rush hour traffic as the A1 wends it way around western Florence but it could be argued it's far easier to collect car there than have to negotiate the city centre streets.

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Florence
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Eagle River, Alaska
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6. Re: Val d’Orcia Day Trip

Two suggestions re: wine tasting/buying.

www.carlettipoliziano.com/eng/home.html We love these wines and highly recommend the Asinone if it fits in your budget. :-) This would be a lovely winery to stop and taste at but do make an appointment.

Ask the waiter at La Grotta to recommend a vin nobile to go with the food you ordered and then, if you really like it, ask to buy a bottle direct from them. The wine market is extremely small in Italy, especially when compared to the US. We have bought directly from restaurants before. If not available they will direct you to where you can purchase it.

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Sudbury...
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7. Re: Val d’Orcia Day Trip

We just returned from lovely Val D’Orcia... our third trip to Tuscany. In Val D’Orcia, you will be passing by numerous vineyards, where you can taste wine and ship the wine you liked to the US. My box of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (my favorite), Brunello di Montalcino and Colpertino is arriving on Friday. These are great wines, which cost much more in the US, so it makes sense to pay for shipping.

Enjoy your one day in Val D’Orcia - it is hard to find a place more gorgeous...

Nora

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Mesa, Arizona
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8. Re: Val d’Orcia Day Trip

Thank you all for the great advice. Our itinerary for the day is shaping up nicely, albeit busy, with the above recommendations included.

We’ll be sure to take your advice on the wine and ship some home.

Coto de Caza...
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9. Re: Val d’Orcia Day Trip

There is a tour offered by Ciao Florence www.ciaoflorence.com but I would check on the route to see if it includes the SR2. I wasn't up for the drive last month so I signed us up and paid but we had to cancel at the last minute to head home a day early. :(

If you proceed with the drive yourselves idea be sure to take a look at the indispensable www.viamichelin.com to plan your route including estimated drive times.

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10. Re: Val d’Orcia Day Trip

Quickie point (and I really don't wish to appear pedantic so early in the morning) but the SR2 is the Via Cassia and is different to the road that cuts through the heart of the Chianti, the SR222 commonly referred to (even on signposts) as the Chiantigiana, the one that so many people naturally want to take. The SR2 from Florence is picturesque enough but goes a different route, it runs to the west of the main road (FI / SI) taking you through towns such as Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Barberino, Poggibonsi and then round the back lanes to Siena and on to the south (Buonconvento, San Quirico, into Lazio and onto Rome), it's an old Roman road.

Edited: 16 May 2018, 14:08
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