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Italy/Northern Tuscany: villages and countryside

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Hi Peter!

We are flying in to Pisa, then renting a car to drive around for 5 days.
We are staying in a small farm, 6 km south of San Gimignano.

Mostly, we would love to visit small villages, making the most of
the beautiful landscape and avoiding the towns and tourist crowds
as much as possible.

I easily found a list of most charming villages online, of course, such as
Val d'orcia, Montalcino,Montepulcino,Monteriggioni, Pienza... But so did million of others :)
And we shall make sure to visit some of them.

I've been wondering if you would advise on some
"secret spots", not so readily available online? Where would the locals go?
Also, will be more than happy to take any restaurant tips you care to give :)
How would you plan this kind of trip?

Many thanks in advance for your insight,

Vera

Answer
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Hello Vera,

You don't mention when you will be in Tuscany which obviously has a big bearing on whether or not you will be sharing Tuscany's roads with millions of other tourists and that includes Italians - rule of thumb up here in Tuscany where I live (just outside of Montepulciano) is avoid driving long distances on a Sunday!

During the week Pienza is worth sticking your nose into if for nothing else because of its beautiful location and easy to manage size + it is FLAT. No hills to climb. You could buy some porchetta rolls and cheeses (there's a great deli in the center of Via Rossellino owned and run by Laura - tell her Peter sent you and then stop somewhere in the Val d'Orcia for a picnic.

Bagnon Vignoni is a fun spot and the Hotel Posta is where you can take a thermal swim and eating here is very good at La Bottega Di Cacio - it's really a deli where you select a lot of local produce to enjoy with some bread and wine and sit outside in their garden.

Little Montefollonico is a nice visit and inside the little village is one of the best local trattoria around this area. Read my story and discover why I like it a lot:

http://www.perfectraveller.com/article.asp?cid=17&p=1&aid=161

If you drive past Montalcino on the road for Grossetto you quickly drop down into a magnificent valley filled with vines from a number of Brunello producers which includes Banfi. Now read this story I wrote about a truly wonderful place to eat in this valley and thank me later ;-)

http://www.perfectraveller.com/article.asp?cid=17&p=1&aid=127

If you continue east of Montepulciano you should be able to find little Lake Chiusi (actually old Chiusi is well worth a visit and their archeological museum is well worth seeing. At Lake Chiusi there is a wonderful place to enjoy a fine meal:

http://www.perfectraveller.com/article.asp?cid=17&p=2&aid=43

I hope the above will be of some assistance to you Vera? I hope you take the time to look at www.perfectraveller.com which is me and to download the "free" Perfect Traveller App which is in the iTune App Store (working on the android version now) and if you do, let me know what you think and if you like it please spread the word. I would appreciate that:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/p.t-tours/id848829266?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4  

Now here is something about me:

http://www.perfectraveller.com/article.asp?cid=12&p=5&aid=222

Safe travels,
Peter
www.perfectraveller.com
www.perfectravellerphotos.com

Italy

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Peter Kilby

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Can answer questions on general travel in Italy (in particular in Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Umbria and Venice) with a focus on history, art and museums.

Experience

I have lived in Italy for 25 years and I'm currently living in southern Tuscany. I have worked in tourism in Italy for 20 years and in that time I've created a reputation that is highly regarded in the USA, Australia and NZ. I've also created: www.peterkilby-touradvisor.com and www.perfectraveller.com and I'm currently working on new iPhone apps, beginning with locations in Florence.

Organizations
http://perfectraveller.com/ These days I write exclusively for this website.

Publications
The Hearld Sun and The Age newspapers in Australia. Enzine and GoArticles on the internet. British Heritage magazine out of the UK and the USA.

Education/Credentials
Australian College degrees in Fine Arts (Painting), Journalism and History.

Awards and Honors
1987 - Italian Government Scholarship to study Painting at the Rome Academy.

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I have dedicated the last 2 years of my life in developing and improving: www.perfectraveller.com

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