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2023 Spring Northern Italy 5 #304167
07/18/2023 10:34 PM
07/18/2023 10:34 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
B
BEERMAN Offline OP
Traveler
BEERMAN  Offline OP
Traveler
B
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
April 11-25, 2023


This morning I opened the windows to hear the church bells chime, I always like that. The weather was calling for a chance of rain again, but the blue skies looked promising. Last night after dinner we finally booked our next two legs of the trip, first San Vincenzo then on to Rapallo. Not sure why we had trouble deciding on those 2 stops, but we were happy to have that done, now we could focus on the present.

Today would be a wandering day bouncing from beautiful place to beautiful place. First stops were simply along the winding roads through Val d' Orcia, absolutely amazing!



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Next was a quick visit to San Quirico d' Orcia. We really liked the feel of this small town, a few shops and restaurants and a GIN BAR! Their coffee was good too! Highlights...medieval churches and the not to be missed Horti Leonini Renaissance Gardens!


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Next stop would be Montalcino, home of Brunello wine! Did I mention it was my BIRTHDAY?!!

Chose Trattoria I' Angolo for a great lunch, I had lasagna and my wife had a stew of some sort, both were perfect! We ordered the house red and really liked it, then my wife mentioned it was my birthday lunch. I guess the word traveled and a nice gentleman "bartender" came over and said if we liked that wine please try this, and then this and then a few more.....fortunately he was only bringing out tasting portions! Dessert and coffee followed this great lunch without asking, waitress simply said happy birthday from us! Our favorite wine was a 2014 Tassi Brunello Montalcino. After a beautiful lunch and many "free" tastings I asked the bartender for a bottle of our favorite for our travels and he smiles and says "allow me to introduce you to Mr. Tassi!" he just happened to be standing there! I introduced him to my wife and we told him how much we loved his wine and we would patiently wait to enjoy it on Lake Orta! That was a great birthday lunch!


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Montalcino is a small town, we spent about 2 hours walking all over the place including the impressive fortress and Madonna del Soccorso from the early 14th century.


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Soon we were heading to Bagni Vignoni, famous for another thermal hot spring. This town was lovely, but much smaller than I thought it would be. There are a couple of restaurants and shops. We walked the picturesque town in less than an hour and returned to find a parking ticket on the car, ugh. We thought we were in a one hour parking lot, but after asking around we needed to display a "paper parking pass" that has a dial on it to set your time, we didn't have a "paper dial" and didn't know to do that, how/where does a tourist get one of those? Several rental cars had the same ticket. We were told we would have to go BACK to San Quirico d' Orcia to pay the fine ugh ugh! That scam payment will have to wait until tomorrow.


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Oh well, back towards Pienza. Chris at IL Rossellino Ristorante told us if we wanted the best Pecorino cheese, IN THE WORLD, we should go to Cugusi's on the backside of town towards Montepulciano, so we did. They actually have won many recent World Cheese awards, including a couple Super Gold Victories! What a cool and beautiful off the beaten path location. We bought a small wheel for friends and a large wedge of the coveted Gran Reserve for ourselves as well as a second wheel just because!


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Back in Pienza to fare la passeggiata! The peaceful walkways around the cities walls offer a great vantage point for colorful sunsets. I swear there's no better views in the world. We ended this memorable birthday with dinner at Trattoria da Fiorella. Rabbit was recommended and it was delicious with a bottle of Brunello! There was another birthday celebration and we talked with the nice couple from Canada, the woman asked how old and I said 60, she said "you're just a baby!" she made my already perfect day that much better! To be continued....


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Last edited by BEERMAN; 07/18/2023 10:49 PM.
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Re: 2023 Spring Northern Italy 5 [Re: BEERMAN] #304176
07/19/2023 08:19 AM
07/19/2023 08:19 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 417
Greer SC
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bostonbob Offline
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bostonbob  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 417
Greer SC
Always enjoy reading your travels and love your photos. How lucky to meet the man behind the label of your favorite wine. Looking forward to more of your trip.


Lived most of my life in Massachusetts
Re: 2023 Spring Northern Italy 5 [Re: BEERMAN] #304230
07/20/2023 07:02 AM
07/20/2023 07:02 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,423
Bucks County, Pa.
toast Offline
Traveler
toast  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,423
Bucks County, Pa.
Leaving in three weeks for a 7 week tour and your blogs are going to be my road Map!! Love reading your reports and thanks for doing all the leg work for me LOL.


Toast.......to Life; White Bay...heaven on earth.
Diane
Re: 2023 Spring Northern Italy 5 [Re: toast] #304231
07/20/2023 07:37 AM
07/20/2023 07:37 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
B
BEERMAN Offline OP
Traveler
BEERMAN  Offline OP
Traveler
B
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
Thanks for reading bostonbob! Slowly writing them up!

Toast, 7 weeks!!!!! we are jealous! in a couple years my wife wants to spend 6 months there...lots to figure out to make that happen. With 7 weeks you must be planning to cover the whole country since it's smaller than California! Have you been to Italy? My next report has us going to the coast, starting in the marina town of San Vincenzo then to Rapallo. Then a return visit to Guarene and on to Lake Orta. If you have any questions please reach out...7 weeks!!!

Re: 2023 Spring Northern Italy 5 [Re: BEERMAN] #304317
07/21/2023 06:21 AM
07/21/2023 06:21 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,423
Bucks County, Pa.
toast Offline
Traveler
toast  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,423
Bucks County, Pa.
I wanted 6 months , LOL. Hubby squished it down a bit to what we have now. We are mostly up north and this is a trip to slow down to retirement pace if I can so we are about a week or more at most places. Cinque terre to start, then to Como, then Venice, 11 days on a sail around the coast and down through Croatia on the Royal Clipper https://www.starclippercruises.co.uk/ships/royal-clipper Then to Rome, two weeks in Tuscany and finishing in Florence. Your two trips helped to shape my tour to the north to be honest and I am sure we will love it. Doing all AIRBNB with at least two bedrooms and have persuaded two different couples to meet up with us for different parts of the tour. Have had so much fun planning it and know we will just love it. First time to Italy actually and very excited.


Toast.......to Life; White Bay...heaven on earth.
Diane
Re: 2023 Spring Northern Italy 5 [Re: toast] #304321
07/21/2023 07:33 AM
07/21/2023 07:33 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
B
BEERMAN Offline OP
Traveler
BEERMAN  Offline OP
Traveler
B
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
Good morning, I'd have to search TTOL...but we did a report called Swiss-Italia and one other report around 2015-2017? when we visited our daughter who was studying abroad in Lugano. Photobucket screwed up some of my pics, but there's a section with our first trip to Cinque Terre and we actually revisited and hiked Cinque Terre again this trip, great experiences! We searched last minute lodging in Cinque, but opted for Rapallo and trained from there. That report is coming after we get back from our cabin. I think you picked a good time of year to go, August will have some crowds but great summer weather and the number of tourists decline in September, weather is still warm and swimming Lake Como is doable! Your Itinerary sounds great, everything is relatively a short drive/train ride away, 2 hours and you can be anywhere in the north.

One major piece of advice.....check your "debit" card for a chip, ours did not have a chip and could not be used where we tried to get cash (Fortunately we had plenty to stretch out), just received new cards and still no chip? we will be contacting them soon! I learned a lot from TomB, such as keeping banking contact info somewhere handy, he unfortunately bumped into a pickpocket!

Congrats on retirement, excited for you!

Re: 2023 Spring Northern Italy 5 [Re: BEERMAN] #304329
07/21/2023 09:25 AM
07/21/2023 09:25 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
Traveler
TomB  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
Yep, cards without a chip are pretty much worthless in Europe. The bank info you mentioned is your local contact numbers. The 800 number on the card is great if you like pushing buttons and interfacing with a computer in a time of crisis.

The big mistake we made was that our card numbers on a shared account were the same. Hence when I got pick pocketed my wife's card was turned off also. Make sure all cards to an account have a unique number.


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: 2023 Spring Northern Italy 5 [Re: toast] #304372
07/22/2023 03:43 AM
07/22/2023 03:43 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 4,009
U.K. and Spain
Jeannius Offline
Traveler
Jeannius  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 4,009
U.K. and Spain
Might see you in Como or Croatia Diane. Driving to Split, via a few days in Como sometime in September, then on to Spain early October. Only fixed part of the itinerary is two weeks cat charter starting 16th September.

Re: 2023 Spring Northern Italy 5 [Re: BEERMAN] #304376
07/22/2023 07:07 AM
07/22/2023 07:07 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,423
Bucks County, Pa.
toast Offline
Traveler
toast  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,423
Bucks County, Pa.
Wouldn' t that be nice Mike? all the dingy poker run photos came up on my facebook recently, 11 years ago now.


Toast.......to Life; White Bay...heaven on earth.
Diane
Re: 2023 Spring Northern Italy 5 [Re: BEERMAN] #304377
07/22/2023 07:09 AM
07/22/2023 07:09 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,423
Bucks County, Pa.
toast Offline
Traveler
toast  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,423
Bucks County, Pa.
Thanks for the tip on the debit card, mine does have a chip actually. We have some euros ( my work gave them to me as a retirement gift) pretty neat huh, but we do plan on replenishing over there when needed.


Toast.......to Life; White Bay...heaven on earth.
Diane

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