13 days first time in Italy-help needed


New member
We are travelling to Pisa on 16th September 15 and leave on Tuesday 29th September from Venice Treviso. We have never been to Italy before and really looking forward to it. We have a car for the whole trip and would really appreciate any threads with itineraries and tips on must do`s as well as car parking in Florence and Venice. Is it best to leave car outside of Florence and Venice. We don't want to move hotels to frequently so where is the best place to base ourselves? Our initial thoughts are to go south from Pisa and do southern Tuscany before travelling back north for 3 days in Florence, then move up towards lake Garda and end in Venice. Where is good to stay in Garda and Venice? Interested in the coast and a bit of relaxation in the middle as well. Cant all be churches and museums can it?

Love food so any restaurant recommendations happily received along with accommodation tips.We are not interested in 5 star Hotels, happier in Local farmhouses or small boutique hotels.

Any help gratefully received

Many Thanks


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
I would highly recommend staying in the countryside in a farmhouse and using it as a main base while in Tuscany, doing day trips. If you stay in the area between Florence and Siena, you'll very central but also to the south of Siena is fine. I would suggest 5 days in Tuscany, not counting the days in Florence.

Only thing is you'll have to work around is the places that still require weekly rentals from Saturday to Saturday in Sept. Starting in October, many reduce the minimum to a a few nights.

In any case, take a look at the ones in these two areas:
as they will be the most central to stay at.

These two itineraries suggest the most common places to visit and see:

You don't have to visit all museums and churches, as it is often just very enjoyable to spend time outdoors and roam around the towns. You can walk and roam, or even bike the city walls around Lucca ;) In between, lots of good food and wine - you could also do a cooking class if you want.
Browse through our site, there are lots of suggestions offered throughout!

Also consider some tours - at least for tastings so that you don't have to drive: http://www.partner.viator.com/en/8357/

Do you have a place for Florence yet? Take a look at these, as they offer parking:

You won't need a car in Florence, so park and forget about it - the easiest is to just have it included in your stay.

I am sorry but don't know Lake Garda very well nor Venice in much detail, aside from my own personal visits, with train so don't really know about parking - I think there should be parking lots on the "mainland" of Venice before heading into the lagoon so look into that.

If you'd like to see coastal Tuscany and relax --- I highly recommend taking the ferry and going to Elba! September is also one of the best months to go, when the crowds are reducing. I'd recommend Hotel Ilio - take a look at my review here: http://www.discovertuscany.com/elba/hotel-ilio.html
We've gone and stayed there twice already so really highly recommend it ;-).