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Please help with my Tuscany itinerary

Houston
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25 posts
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Please help with my Tuscany itinerary

Hello TA folks,

My family and I (2 parents and 2 adult children) are hoping to visit Tuscany from December 23 – December 30 before we get on a cruise in Civitavecchia on December 30. Our plan is to take out a rental car out from FCO around 830am on December 30 and return it in Civitavecchia on December 30 mid-day; this will be the third time that we’ve done this so we are comfortable with the details regarding this portion of the trip. However, both times we headed south of FCO before returning the rental car in Civitavecchia. So, this will be the first time driving to Tuscany. Though we’ve been to Florence before and a revisit would be nice, we just don’t think it is a good idea to cram it into this trip. I’ve been reading a lot of TA reviews to decide on our Christmas in Tuscany itinerary and am hoping any TA Tuscany experts would be able to provide suggestions to improve it. Thanks in advance.

Sun Dec 23 around 830am – drive from FCO to Siena. Staying at Hotel Athena so will park our rental car there. Ask hotel reception to make dinner reservations for the next 3 nights. Walk around the town and maybe a quick lunch at Pizzicheria de Miccoli. If unable to buy online/via email ahead of time, stop at Duomo di Siena to see if can buy “Opa Si” pass and the tickets to “Gate of Heaven” Tour for tomorrow. Probably will get to bed by 8pm so dinner will somewhere quick and near the hotel – any suggestions?

Mon Dec 24 - Check out Siena by perhaps doing a wine tasting or walking foodie tour with the Tuscan Wine School, provided that they are actually not closed for Christmas! Siena Duomo visit and the “Gate of Heaven” tour and double check mass schedule. Check out Piazza del Duomo. Hopefully, dinner tonight will be at La Taverna di San Giuseppe.

Tue Dec 25 – Just wander the town, checking out Piazza del Campo. Public Holiday Mass 8am, 11am, 1215am (6pm eve of Holiday) at Duomo di Siena (need to double check mass schedule). Hopefully, dinner tonight will be at Ristorante Bagoga.

Wed Dec 26 – Using a local driver/guide, visit Chianti (at this time thinking the towns Greve and Castellina and would like to also visit 2 of these 3 vineyards: Castello Vicchiomaggio, Castello di Verrazzano, and Tenuta Casanova). Any recommendations for lunch in case lunch at any of the vineyard visits isn’t possible. Hopefully, we will travel at least one way via the scenic SR222 Chiantigiana. Dinner at Antica Osteria da Divo back in Siena.

Thu Dec 27 – Check out of Hotel Athena and drive rental car to Montepulciano and check in at Osteria Del Borgo B&B (where to park rental car) and make reservation for dinner tonight. A quick lunch at La Casa di Edel. Maybe visit one of the 4 cellars we are interested in (Cantina del Redi, Cantina de' Ricci, Cantina Ercolani Citta Sotterranea, and Contucci Cantine) this afternoon. Dinner at Osteria Del Borgo - right below the B&B!

Fri Dec 28 - Drive rental car to Montalcino to spend the day and perhaps stop at Podere Le Ripi or Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona and then Sant’Antimo Abbey before reaching Montalcino town. Lunch in town at Re di Macchia. Stroll through town and climb Fortezza di Montalcino and visit enoteca there. Any recommendations for dinner here or should we return for dinner in Montepulciano so we can enjoy wine with our dinner?

Sat Dec 29 – Check out Montepulciano town, visiting Sangallo's Tempio di San Biagio and the other 3 cellars in Montepulciano. Lunch at La Vineria di Montepulciano. Dinner tonight at La Bottega del Nobile.

Sun Dec 30 – Check out of Osteria Del Borgo B&B and drive rental car to Civitavecchia. On the way to Civitavecchia, stop in Civita di Bagnoreggio or Cascate del Mulino Via della Follonata.

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8 replies to this topic
CA
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1. Re: Please help with my Tuscany itinerary

Seems to me you don't need a car until the 27th.

Tennessee
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for Chattanooga, Blowing Rock, North Carolina Mountains
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2. Re: Please help with my Tuscany itinerary

Most places close early afternoon on Christmas Eve. The day after Christmas is Boxing Day, and most will be closed again. I would definitely visit the Christmas Markets before they close. They are awesome and unique. Young and old love them.!

alaska
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for Siena
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1,774 posts
16 reviews
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3. Re: Please help with my Tuscany itinerary

“Probably will get to bed by 8pm so dinner will somewhere quick and near the hotel – any suggestions?”

Most resturants do not open till 7:30 so maybe think about a big lunch. You can get food during apertivo in the Campo. Our favorite is Liberamente.

Before making all theses detailed plans of places to visit I would make sure your choices will even be open at this time of year.

Edited: 28 April 2018, 10:21
Montepulciano, Italy
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for Tuscany
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4. Re: Please help with my Tuscany itinerary

I agree entirely. For example: is there a Gate of Heaven tour in December, especially Christmas Eve? I thought it was very seasonal. Ditto the walking foodie tour. You do realise the period before Christmas is about as out of season as you can get? Things improve after the 26th December when Italian tourists come out en masse but before that it is quiet, very, very quiet. Also, wherever you plan on eating on Christmas Eve (known here as La Vigilia) and, more importantly, Christmas Day, ensure you pre-book at least a couple of weeks beforehand. I would ask your hotel to help you locate somewhere open on Christmas Day, though an increasing number of places are now open for lunch due to growing demand from local families. Few will be open in the evening. Another consideration is the weather. Not sure if you are familiar with central Italy in December but although you may hit lucky with spell of high pressure making it sunny and bright if bitterly cold, it can also be dire (torrential rain, temperatures hovering around zero, possibly light snow). It's a real risk and, of course, the weather plays an important part in what the countryside looks like. Make sure you purchase snow chains with the car (there's usually a set rental fee) as they are required on all the roads in this area from November thru' April, and there are spot checks often.

Edited: 28 April 2018, 18:15
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Houston
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25 posts
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5. Re: Please help with my Tuscany itinerary

Thank you very much for your quick responses and advices. Yes, it seems most (or maybe all) of what I read on TA was not for during the week of Christmas, and I thought to myself that Christmas in Tuscany is probably a crazy idea (haha…we did that in Paris and Belgium before, and we were so cold on some days … no torrential rain or heavy snow though … but still had a great trip). So I’m glad that I’m hearing from TA Tuscany experts now that Christmas in Tuscany is really not a good idea due to weather PLUS many businesses being closed (and if opened, restaurants for Christmas Eve and Day meals require 2-3 weeks rather than 1-2 days in advance). So, do you all agree that if we really still want to spend that week in Tuscany (as we’ve not been before and just not sure when our grown children would be able to travel with us again), then go forward with our plans but these plans need to be flexible (that is, cancellable or changeable) and then wait till October/November to make a go/no go call of the trip based upon weather forecast (or more like weather prediction as October or November would still be quite far in advance)? And if it is a no go, then we would go south like in Rome (though it'd be the 3rd time for all of us, a revisit would be nice) as it would likely be a fun time there and not so unpredictable. Or should we just cut loose now and plan to go south for that week we have before getting on the cruise?

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Paris
Ile-de-France, France
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Lazio, Italy
Montepulciano, Italy
Destination Expert
for Tuscany
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6. Re: Please help with my Tuscany itinerary

Look, I have gone on record many, many times before as saying December is possibly my favourite month of the year in Tuscany. I love Christmas, I love the fact that even the smallest village is all dressed up for the season and looking even more beautiful than ever yet totally devoid of tourists. I love Il Campo in Siena when it's just us and a few other local people enjoying a drink outside on the terrace wrapped up well at lunchtime, as is the case always in the run up to Christmas. When the weather's fine it's a joy to behold. When it snows I'm ecstatic! But ... I have a lovely warm and welcoming home to retreat to at the end of the day with open fires, twinkle light trees, family, friends, it's the best, and then some. But coming here as a tourist staying in an anonymous hotel is an altogether different experience plus you may have expectations (countryside views, weather, etc) that can't be guaranteed let alone met. It's a tough call.

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Il Campo
Il Campo
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Siena, Italy
Siena
Siena
Province of Siena, Italy
Tennessee
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7. Re: Please help with my Tuscany itinerary

Another thought might be to post on the Holiday Travel Forum. There may be additional thoughts from one of those experts.

Houston
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75 reviews
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8. Re: Please help with my Tuscany itinerary

Thank you. It sure is a tough call. And what a great idea to try Holiday Travel Forum - didn't know there was such a forum! Thanks again.

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