6 day Tuscan road trip (itinerary)

Our bags and bodies smelled of sulfur, we ran out of clean clothes (all the hiking and beach-combing and changing 'pool-side'), we refilled our take-along snack bag 4 times (once with a big mixed bag of homemade Italian cookies!) and our gas tank 3 times... we have souvenirs that include sand samples, rocks from hot springs, beach-combed minerals, 4 bottles of Maremma wine, olive oil from San Casciano, 2 tiny ceramic bowls (Volterra and Pitigliano), 1 olive-wood ladle and a rolling pin for making pici pasta (Sorano). Our camera batteries died one by one from overuse (hundreds of photos), and we recharged our GPS 6 nights in a row. Copies of our passports, my International driver's license, affirmation of lodging and round-trip ferry tickets...

All remnants of our 6 day Tuscan road trip (and all these pictures!)
I would have blogged our way through it, but was too busy driving (driving the back/forth and up/down hills and roads of hairpin-turn-trophy-land of Tuscany is not for the faint of heart OR the sensitive stomach) and connectivity was impossible. But no worries. We are home and there is much to share:

The boys' school had a week off during the last week of February, so I nabbed the opportunity to plan a road trip---there is so, so much to see! We decided to aim west and south out of Florence, instead of north or east (next road trip?). It is still winter, and the further north we go the colder it would have been (we had lots of sun, so it turned out to be a fantastic choice). I really wanted to visit at least one [public] hot spring---since they are highly touted and quite common in Tuscany. Here is the original itinerary I planned (and the RED includes all the extras we added along the way, aka our actual itinerary):

Day 1 (mon feb 22)
Lorenzo the Magnificent's Villa, designed by SanGallo: Poggio a Caiano
Leonardo da Vinci's house-of-birth (just outside the city of Vinci)
Volterra (Duomo, Roman ruins, dinner)

Day 2 (tues feb 23)
ferry from Piombino to Portoferraio (from coast of Italy to Elba Island)
Elba---Napoleon's country house
Marina di Campo---sandy beach (south side of island)
Capoliveri---hilltop mining village
Porto Azzurro---port and resort town, we ate dinner/pizza in the piazza

Day 3 (wed feb 24)
Rio Marino---Museum of Minerology (exploring streets, black-sandy beach, docks, bakery, red dirt!)
wicked awesome 'shortcut' drive through Rio nell' Elba (amazing views, one-lane mountain road!)
Portoferraio---Napoleon's city house
Portoferraio---Medici fortress

Day 4 (thurs feb 25)
return ferry from Elba to Italy (drive through Maremma, south to Saturnia, Sorano, Sovana)
stop at wine shop in beautiful hill-top town of Scansano
Saturnia's hot springs
Sovana's Etruscan tombs (including famous Ildebrand Tomb)
special dinner at Agriturismo (Sant' Egle)

Day 5 (fri feb 26)
visit [public] hot springs in San Casciano
visit Pitigliano (famous for Etruscan caves, city built up/on top of rock)
visit Sovana (one-street city, mostly closed but quaint)
special dinner at Agriturismo (Sant' Egle

Day 6 (sat feb 27)
Bagni di Sorano
visit Sorano (walk streets, see caves, grab lunch)
visit Bagni di San Filippo (hot springs)
visit Bagni di Petriolo (hot springs)
visit San Galgano (famous abbey/ruins)
brief stop in Panzano
return car in Florence (whew!)
late night pizza from restaurant downstairs:)

Fond food memories:
1. we started out our trip with a batch of lunch box cookies in our snack bag
2. bag of classic Italian cookies from bakery in San Casciano dei Bagni (la fornarina)
3. meals at our Agriturismo (included starter, primi, secondi, dessert, apertif, vino/coke); highlights were tiramisu, eggplant appetizer, vegetable lasagna, ravioli, milk-braised beef... and walnut digestivo)
4. eating kiwis and blood red oranges while sitting in San Casciano terme (tasted so good!)
5. organic olive oil at Agriturismo
6. fantastic pizza/gnocchi/steak at restaurant in Portoferraio (happenstance)
7. cafe lunch/snack in Pitigliano: wild boar brochettes for Caleb, Ravioli for Anthony, Pecorino & marmalade, regional vino... and chocolate cake. 
8. buying Maremma wines from wine shop in Scansano

Where we stayed:
1 night, Volterra; Agrimonia
2 nights, Elba Island; budget-hotel Hotel Villa Ombrosa (no hidden fees, incl parking, breakfast, good location).
2 nights, Sorano; Sant' Egle

*all places included breakfast, a must. We also ate dinner our last two nights at Sant' Egle---it was divine. We will no doubt return!

**more in-depth road trip posts to come!


    1. Anonymous1.3.10

      Would it be fair to say that I am so jealous (but in a good way!)? What an amazing week you must have had (not to mention all of the other 'weeks' you have had in Euroup)! I look forward to seeing all of your pictures - thank you for sharing this fabulous time in your life with the rest of us - I know I consider myself very fortunate!


    2. Anonymous22.8.11

      I ditto Barn above! Thanks for sharing! Hope I can have a trip like that one day.


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