NYC to Tuscany 2014

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by emremind, Aug 31, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. emremind

    emremind Silver Member

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    We are planning a trip to Florence Jun 27 to Jul 7. Please suggest award travel options for a family of 4 adults. Have UA, BA, AA and AMEX miles for premier class.
    Thanks in advance
    MM
     
  2. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    For what it's worth (the AMEX miles might help), Delta has a seasonal non-stop from JFK to Pisa. Pisa functions as an auxiliary airport for Florence and there is frequent, direct, inexpensive train service from the air terminal in Pisa to the central Florence.
     
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  3. emremind

    emremind Silver Member

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    Larry
    Thanks for the idea. I think this will work for us.

    Would also like recommendations for Private Home/stay in/around Florence/Siena
    AirBnB??
     
  4. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I don't particularly like Florence, so I don't have anything to say there (although there are great leather goods, including traveling bags, in the market around the central food market, which itself is worth a visit). I have a friend whose family owns a B&B and organic winery between Florence and Pisa -- I haven't been but could get the information for you. . .

    I can recommend the Hotel Borgo Pretale about 15 miles outside Sienna, but it's only possible if you have car. If you do, highly recommended, especially the restaurant. http://www.borgopretale.it/eng/index.asp. Tuscany is full of restored historic buildings like this.

    Some years ago we did a Farmhouse rental in the hills above Greve in Chianti (about 10 miles south of Florence). Again, only possible if you have a car, but really fantastic. Our rental was farm from deluxe but worked out quite cheaply at the time.
     
  5. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Florence, especially in the summer, has become over commercialized, somewhat tacky, and extremely crowded. The smaller towns of Tuscany are absolutely wonderful. Siena and Lucca are two great places to visit. Or do a tour of the Medici villas- they had villas in a dozen or so towns around Florence. Try Montecatini if you want to pamper yourself at an expensive spa.

    Definitely fly into the Pisa airport. It's an excellent, well equipped, and generally quite efficient airport. The Florence airport is squeezed into a tight gap next to the highway, can only handle little planes (mostly ATR prop jets), and it gets fogged in most mornings. (and most departures are scheduled for that morning slot, so they get delayed and you miss homebound connections).

    As mentioned, DL flies direct JFK-PSA from late spring to early autumn, excellent flight, gets you in at 7 am for a nice start on the day. Most of the connections into Pisa (though FCO, MXP, CDG, FRA, ecc.) arrive around midday. I believe most connections via London require you to change airports- check that out carefully and be sure to avoid if that is the case.
     
  6. brodyf

    brodyf Gold Member

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    My family of 4 did Italy this year. We flew AA to ORD to FCO (Rome), did sights and jet lag there for a few days, then rented a car and drove to Tuscany. Other than the white knuckle experience of driving in Rome this worked out great. AA has JFK to FCO service in summer as well.

    We rented a lovely little house near Montespertoli on airbnb for some ridiculously low price of like $160 per night. We used that as base camp, and did day trips to the beach north of Livorno, Pisa, Florence, Siena, and Lucca. We decided that having a house with separate rooms for the 11 and 14 year olds was way better than all 4 of us in one hotel room.

    Best family vacation ever. PM me if you want more details.
     
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  7. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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    We spent three weeks in Italy last summer. We enjoyed Tuscany but loved Umbria even more, as there were far fewer tourists. We stayed at an agriturismo, a working olive farm owned and run by a multigenerational family. They took us into their lives in a way I have rarely experienced before - we attended a local church fundraiser, went truffle hunting with a count, our kids had play dates together. Restored farmhouse was beautiful but it was their personal touch that really stood out. And it was affordable too. Highly recommend farm stays in these areas. The place we stayed at is called Casali Colle San Paolo.
     
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  8. emremind

    emremind Silver Member

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    Thank you; much appreciated.
     
  9. emremind

    emremind Silver Member

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    Tickets done! Thank you Larry, thank you Milepoint!
     
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  10. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Congratulations!

    If you are planning on training it from Pisa to Florence (central Florence is not a pleasant driving experience, although a car is almost a necessity for the rural Tuscany), be aware that some trains run direct and others require you to change at Pisa Centrale. Ask for the direct train.
     

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