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Report 689: Falling in Love With Tuscany

By Danielle Denis from Québec, Summer 2005

Trip Description: This report describes our first time in Italy - love at first sight June 15 - July 2nd, 2005. Join us as we spend some time in Florence, a week based in Chianti, a few days in Umbria, and a few based in Montalcino.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Florence, Tuscany, Umbria

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Vacation Rentals; Foodie Trip; Garden Visits; Sightseeing; Wine Trip; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 18: Confessions of a Compulsive Traveler

It all started with the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”. Italy had always been on our list of places to see before we die, but when we saw this movie, Tuscany suddenly became our travel destination for 2005.

Being a great planner, I immediately went out and bought a complete set of guide books, along with a map. I had read that the Italian Travel Club map was the best, but we found the Michelin map detailed enough, and much easier to handle.

I also started surfing the Web in search of more information, and the perfect accommodations. That’s when I discovered the Slow Travel site. I was very interested in this travel philosophy, but not sure I could live with it. You see, I tend to be a compulsive traveler. I make reservations at least six months ahead of time. I read all the books. I plan my itinerary day by day. And I must see everything there is to see. Having traveled mostly in Québec and in Canada, where attractions are few and far between, this had almost always been possible. But I soon discovered that Europe would not be that easy... So many sights, so little time! We would have to make choices. I decided to embrace the Slow Travel philosophy, determine a few “must sees”, rent a house and make day trips. And it turned out beautifully...

I sometimes find trip reports a little deceptive, mostly when you don’t share the person’s values, interests and expectations. So, before I get into the details of our wonderful vacation, let me introduce ourselves briefly. I am Danielle, a 47 year old freelance translator. My husband Claude is a 54 year old computer analyst. We are in fairly good shape, we don’t mind walking 4 or 5 hours a day, but we’re not into any extreme sport. We love good food and good wine, but do not define ourselves as “foodies” and we won’t spend our life savings on a bottle of Brunello (although we regret we didn’t splurge on one for our last meal). We enjoy art, but don’t spend much time in museums. We are not looking for luxurious accommodations, we never stay in hotels and much prefer quaint B&Bs. We like experiences off the beaten track, we believe that when in Rome, you should do as the Romans and will try anything once, or almost. One of our favorite travel activities is meeting people and striking up a conversation with friendly strangers.

So if you think you can relate to our expectations, read on... and discover our dream vacation, along with the lessons we learned.

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