Vacation in Italy....thoughts?


Well-known member

I have been working on a trip for my fiancee and I to Italy with most of the time being spent in Tuscany.. I would like it if someone took a look at my itinerary below and told me if it is too busy of a trip for us, keep in mind she would like to relax some. We are staying in a farmhouse in Castellina in Chianti and I will have a rental car. We arrive in Rome on Saturday morning Sept 11th and returning back to Boston on Sept 19th. Keep in mind I am huge photographer and history buff. Thanks in advance,

Drive to farmhouse and check in, planning a drive to Siena in the afternoon or early evening for sightseeing and food.
Florence to go to the Uffizi and the Accademia then doing some general walking about Florence.
Staying near the farmhouse which has a pool or heading to Pisa and then a beach on the coast..Thoughts?
Drive to Florence to take the train to Venice for the this possible or too much travelling for a day trip?
half day cooking class somewhere in Tuscany
9-16 drive through the countryside then on to Rome for Fri, Sat, and Sun AM

Thoughts? Advice?


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao and welcome to our forum!

Just a really quick reply right now, will answer in more detail tomorrow morning.... day trip to Venice really stands out against the rest of the itinerary. Do you really have your heart set on making it there?

Not criticizing, as I've made the trip myself in just one day but it was really tiring. About 2.5-3 hours to get there and the same to get back (by train), I think I was in Venice for maybe a total of 5 hours? Had a meal, got lost, walked around some and that's it, not much time to do any museums or churches, so the time is so limited you mainly just walk around, have lunch there... I think dinner would be out of the question if you want to be back in Tuscany for the night. So depending on how much you really want to see it, maybe I'd cut it out on this trip..

At first glance, everything else seems pretty good, you're not hurrying to get too much in and leave yourself time to do more on each day. As history and photographer buff, you'll love Italy and bring lots of memory, you'll be snapping away and stopping often on your drives out to capture all those incredible landscapes. :) It is likely you'll fall in love with the country and am sure you'll come back again!


New member
Vacation in Italy is an awesome idea.. Sometimes you need to relax and forget those tiring work days for a moment. Italy is such an interesting place to visit, they have a lot of adventure destinations to visit.

Have fun!
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Well-known member
Thanks Lourdes,
This was my thought as well about Venice, I was thinking it would be a lot of travel for one day, any thoughts on a location for a cooking class in Tuscany?


Well-known member
Cooking Classes in Tuscany

Dear JMFell,

I agree with Lourdes and you that a day trip to Venice from Florence is a real tiring challenge. I've done it a couple of times and still I haven't visited most of the museums, because every time I go to Venice I haven't enough time - also because I usually lose a lot of time getting lost ;).

Let me say that Tuscan food is delicious and learning how to cook it is a great experience. Especially when you'll be back home and cook for your friends who'll be amazed from your food. Since there are many schools, as well as restaurants and farms offering cooking classes I'd like to suggest you some of them in different locations around Tuscany.

In Florence you have Vinarium that organizes both private and group cooking lessons. The Italian chef teaches how to prepare traditional dishes, as well as handmade pasta, that you'll be able to enjoy at dinner.
Le Stanze di Santa Croce offers one day cooking classes in Florence. Mariangela tours you through the local market and teaches you how prepare delicious dishes, you'll then eat for lunch.

In Vinci there is Villa Dianella offering both wine tastings and cooking lessons near Florence. The course lasts for about 3 hours. If you go there I suggest you visit Vinci and the famous Museum of Leonardo da Vinci who was born there.

In the Chianti region I can recommend you Fiamma and Ginny cooking classes, that can also come cooking to your accommodation.
In Badia a Passignano the local Osteria di Passignano organizes every Wednesday afternoon cooking courses that include a visit to the wine cellars, wine tastings and dinner.

I hope my suggestions answered your question and helped you in your planning. :D
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Well-known member
OK Now onto restaurants, any hidden gems in the Castellina area as well as Siena? I saw a website for La Taverna di San Giuseppe and it looks like a fascinating place...


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Well not sure about Castellina, the best thing is to ask locals to recommend a good place nearby once you're here! They usually know all about the places that are not publicized, or that don't even know what internet is and that you'll never find online.

In Siena we had a delicious lunch at Osteria Nonna Gina di Lella e Dado - Lella's grandmother was Gina and the waitress is their daughter so truly family run and yummy home cuisine at its best.


Well-known member
Update Itinerary

Good Day,
I am traveling to Tuscany in September, flying into Rome, Tuscany for six days, then back to Rome for three days before returning to Boston. My itinerary is as follows:
Sept 11 - Arrive in Rome at 7:45am, drive to farmhouse in Castillena in Chianti, possibly dinner in Siena
Sept 12 - Greve Wine Festival, back to farmhouse to relax by the pool
Sept 13 - Drive to Pisa then down the coast to the Gulf of Baratti for some beach time (FYI, yes I know it is a lot of driving, lol)
Sept 14 - Florence to go to Uffizi, Accademia Museums, dinner in Florence
Sept 15 - Cooking Class outside of Florence, sightseeing drive back to Chianti
Sept 16 - Head back to Rome with stopover in Siena for sightseeing


Well-known member
A good itinerary

Dear JMFell,

I think you planned a good itinerary ;)

I have just one thing to say: have a nice holiday!!! :D

I hope to read your experience soon


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Agree with Valentina, seems your itinerary has come well together and you get to do a little bit of everything: good fine and wine, main sights in Florence, Pisa and Siena, a bit of beach, a cooking class and a drive through Chianti. The last few days in Rome are perfect amount to finish off your Italian trip :).

I am sure you'll have a great time! Just out of curiosity, where are you staying at in Castellina?