Tame Adventures in Tuscany :)

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Huntn, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. Huntn, Apr 12, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012

    Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #1
    [​IMG]

    We left Monday a week ago and flew into Rome out of Atlanta. Arriving at 0800, we rented a car and checked into the Courtyard Rome Airport, a hotel good enough to crash for a day. However as I had gotten a decent amount of sleep on the airplane (Delta Airbus 330), we felt energetic enough to drive down to Naples (2.5 hrs) to visit Pompeii. Good choice, we really enjoyed the drive down A1, mountains and pretty vistas all the way. Most importantly, the traffic cooperated! At Pompeii, I did not realize how large the ruin is. Well worth the side trip.
    The next day we drove up to Florence (Firenza) from Rome (3 hours), staying at the Star Hotel Michelangelo, a decent hotel, and spent the next 5 days reveling in Tuscany. Went to a couple of museums in Florence, the Galeria dell' Academia to see Michelangelo's David (incredible) and the Uffizi Gallery to see a variety of artist's works including Michelangelo, Leoardo da Vinci, and I was especially looking forward to see Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, which all users of Adobe Illustrator should be familiar with. Many of the pieces have been refurbished/restored and although Venus was restored, it just did not look as good as it does on the Illustrator box. ;).
    We also threw in a church, the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower, a big impressive church on the outside, nothing to speak of on the inside, except for the painted dome, way up there. A while back I watched a History Channel special on Italian Technology during the Renaissance and this church was special because at one time it included the largest dome in the world and today is still the largest brick dome. The rest of the Church was underwhelming, just a large unfurnished space.

    From there we spent a day+ visiting Central Tuscany from Sienna up and over to San Gimignano. Walled towns seems to be the norm around there. Another day we drove over to Pisa to see that leaning tower (boy does it lean). They allow groups of 30 people up to the top, but we decided to pass. From there we drove North up into the mountains of Northern Tuscany to Bagni di Luca and San Marcello, eventually circling back to a "Designer Outlet" (at Barberino di Mugello) just like here in the states, about 40 miles North of Florence.
    On Easter Sunday we took it easy considering it was cold and rainy most of the day and most places were shut.
    Monday we drove over to the West Coast by way of Santa Luce. More incredible scenery crossing the hill country to the coast. But once we got to the coast there was not much ocean to see. The roads were close to the water, but houses and berms, and walls of trees seemed to block the view most of the time. We ended up back at the Courtyard about 5 hours later and flew back on Tuesday.

    It was a wonderful trip, although expensive. Gas is $9+ per gallon. Rooms were $200+ per night. Parking was expensive, up to $36 per day using the hotel parking garage we used. Meals at cafe's were not too bad, about $12 a person for basic meals.

    My strongest recommendation is that if you plan on driving, bring a GPS, no if, ands, or buts... Road signs are inadequate to non-existent. They have GPSs for rent, but it's unknown if you will get English or Italian. I spoke with a guy who went there and he ended up with an Italian language unit from his rental car place, not the best if you don't speak Italiano.

    Overall a big thumbs up. I'd like to go back there just to hang out a bit more. :D
     
  2. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #2
    A lovely, interesting post - your trip sounds really fantastic, and you sound as though you had a terrific time.

    Florence is great. Sienna (I'd love to have an opportunity to see the Stellata) and San Gimignano - all those mad towers which tell of the insane ('mine is bigger than yours') sort of petty (and murderous) rivalry of noble families in times past are really incredible to see.
     
  3. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #3
    Thanks for the comment! I'm working on getting some pics up online Scratching my head over a panoramic stitcher called Hugin... I'll report back when I've found my way. :)
     

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