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Tuscany

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1. Posted by nycwriter7 (Budding Member, 10 posts) 10 Jun '03 11:50

nycwriter7 has indicated that this thread is about Italy

Hi,
I will be taking a trip to Tuscany in July. I will be spending a week taking a course in San Quirico d'Orcia and I have about 4 free days to explore Tuscany. I have been to Florence and would prefer to see some smaller and less-touristy places.
Any suggestions???Thanks in advance!
-Jill

2. Posted by tonyjass (Budding Member, 5 posts) 14 Jun '03 10:04

Hi!! :)
I was in Tuscany last summer, Florence was incredibly busy and I didn't get to visit the places I wanted because there was so much people!!
But one place I recommend you to visit is San Gimignano. It is a small village in the middle of nowhere, still there are some tourist but really not as much as in Florence. It is on top of a hill and you can see 4 very tall towers far away, it was so beautiful.. and quiet when you walked along the streets.. i loved it.
Also another city is Lucca, it is not so touristic also. If you have time you can walk all around the circular city. It still has its roman walls all around it.. but remember where you park your car !!! We got lost in the city, ( that was the fun part of it ) so we got to know Lucca very well
We visited Pisa, but honestly, it wasn't worth it so much There is only tower to see, so much tourists in such a little part of a city, no one else around... and thats it.. we stayed an hour.. if i remeber Lucca is not so very far from it.
And also Carrara, in the mountain of marble..( where MichaelAngelo chose its marble to do David ) from far you think it's snow, i bought there a little candle holder made out of marble, i regret not having taking more with me, but somewhere around there you can go very high circulating around the moutain.. by car and see the little city while turning around.. it was wonderful

I hope you have fun over there!! :) I know i did!!
Take care!
Jas

3. Posted by nycwriter7 (Budding Member, 10 posts) 15 Jun '03 06:21

Jas-

Thanks for the suggestions. Although I won't have a car, maybe I can take a bus or train to those cities. I will be spending 4 nights total in Florence. After Tuscany, I am going to Ischia, which is an island off of Naples. I had never heard of it before, as there are certain places that don't seem to be well-known to Americans (which is a good thing!!):)

There's one youth hostel in Ischia. Have you or anyone else been there? Also I am staying one night at the Piccadilly Hotel in London - ever stayed there? It looks like quite the party and it will be my last night, so I hope it's a bit raucous

I imagine you are quite right about the crowds in Florence. So many of the hotels are booked. But I managed to book everything and am really looking forward to my trip.

Thanks again for your great suggestions!

-Jill

4. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin, 5577 posts) 15 Jun '03 12:48

Hey Jill,

There was someone else posting a while back that they had also booked the Picadilly for London. Maybe you can drop them a message if they have already been. Seems like quite a nice place and not a bad location at all! Sure you will be able to have that wild last night....boy, those are the best, can't wait to hit the road again!

Enjoy!

Sam

5. Posted by nycwriter7 (Budding Member, 10 posts) 17 Jul '03 09:50

Just wanted to post a bit about my trip in Italy and London. First, I highly recommend Piccadilly Hotel for London travellers - 11 pounds and one block from the Piccadilly Circus tube stop, nice, clean showers and bathrooms, open 24 hrs.

Hands down, the Ischia YHA hostel was the nicest hostel I've been to. It's overlooking the mountains and the sea, and the rooms have large balconies with tables and lounge chairs.

Florence's Villa Camerata is also quite lovely, and worth the hike.

I also recommend the Anglo American hotel. I booked it through a Utell promotion rate - 89 euros for a king bed and balcony (I like balconies :)) and it's a 4 star hotel with a great location, free 24 hr internet, great front desk staff.

For anyone taking trains in Europe, make sure to make reservations! Also it's really worth it to pay a bit more for first class. If you are travelling in Italy, try to take the Eurostar - it's fabulous.

In London, I ate at Mr. Kong in Chinatown and it was very good.

Also, I really enjoyed my first experience travelling on Virgin. They have movies, music and tv shows on demand and the food was pretty good too.

My favorite airport is Heathrow - chock full of shopping, internet spots, restaurant and smoking lounges. It really sucked not being able to smoke in the Milan airport!

6. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5451 posts) 17 Jul '03 20:29

Thanks for the report Jill! I'll keep this thread in the back of my mind for future
adventures.

Interesting you say that it is worth it for first class. Although this is probably true for
a lot of trains, while we were in Spain recently we found that the high-speed train
from Seville to Madrid is very luxurious even in second class! It was nicer than a lot of
airoplanes actually - we were served nuts, were given headphones to listen to the
radio and such and they even showed a movie (unfortunately in spanish).

On other trips that were second class, the seats were admittedly not as nice - but still
quite comfortable. Then again, the upgrade to first class isn't usually that much as
you say, so it can be worth it!