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Report 1905: Firenze, Cinque Terre, and Tuscany Hill Towns

By ktp from California, USA, Spring 2011

Trip Description: April 6-20, 2011, highlights a 10th Anniversary Trip to central Italy, using budget accommodations and focusing on fun activities, good food and beautiful scenery.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Cinque Terre, Florence, Liguria, Tuscany

Categories: Convent; Hotels/B&Bs; Art Trip; Beach; Day Tours; Foodie Trip; Garden Visits; Shopping; Sightseeing; Walking/Hiking; Wine Trip; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 5: Planning - Including Shoe Strategy

My husband and I hadnít really been alone together since our first child was born. It was our 10th anniversary and I had been hoarding air miles in my account since before our marriage. For some reason his mom graciously agreed to fly out to take care of our kids, ages 2 and 6.5, for two weeks. There were a lot of variables in play, much could go wrong, but it was worth a shot.

We wanted art, history, views, active pursuits, food and wine, sun, sand, and charm. Iíd studied in Florence 16 years ago, and had been trying to get back ever since.

I ended up using these resources for my research: Eyewitness Guide: Florence and Tuscany, Rick Steveís Tuscan Hill Towns and Cinque Terre, Slow Travel and Frommerís Forums.

Our itinerary boiled down to two weeks - four nights Florence, three nights Cinque Terre (Vernazza), three nights hill towns of Tuscany (Volterra, Siena, Montepulciano), and three nights back in Florence.

I booked the mileage award tickets nine months out. We booked rooms in Florence and Vernazza (if you want a view room in the CT, book ahead) about three months out via the hotelís own web sites (we were aiming for Ä70-90 places with a bathroom in the room). We decided to wing it with hotels in the hill towns. The other pre-booked items were the car through Autoeurope, Uffizi tickets (crowded even in April), a tour at the Palazzo Vecchio, and a Vespa tour of Chianti.

And shoes? This was my biggest challenge. How could we blend in and look like stylish Italians without killing our feet? I didnít go as far as wearing three inch heels on the cobblestone streets like the locals, but did bring a few items that worked well: Born wedge sandals, Eurostep dark leather walking shoes, and Reebok black Simplytone shoes (felt like walking on pillows). And if you throw a classy belted trench coat over anything, suddenly you look put together. Additionally, Columbiaís wrinkle-free travel dresses came in handy. My husband's black sport coat was used daily.

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