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Borgo Alle Vigne in Italy

Discussion in 'Hilton Grand Vacations Club / HGVC' started by Ianneyan, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. Ianneyan

    Ianneyan TUG Member

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    I am thinking about planning a trip to Italy in early to mid-June of next year. I have a few questions for those of you who have already been:

    1. What is the likelihood of getting a week there if I book right at nine months out? I am thinking about Spring Break too late, so availability is already sparse.
    2. Would you recommend I make this a couple’s trip or take my 2 girls along (ages 9 and 12 at that point)? We were leaning towards a couple’s trip, but maybe our girls are old enough to appreciate it and not complain about all of the walking! (Probably wishful thinking on the latter!)
    3. I have read on other threads that this location is about halfway between Pisa and Florence. How far is the drive into Pisa/Florence?
    4. Would you recommend we stay elsewhere as well to get a difference experience... in the city perhaps?
    5. Would you recommend we travel to Italy during another time of year instead of early summer - for availability, less tourists and flight deals? I am a teacher on a year round schedule, so I am fortunate enough to have a fall break (late September, early October).
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  2. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I'd stay there if I planned to visit several Tuscan hill-towns (San Gimignano, Siena, Volterra, etc.).
    If I only intended to see Florence/Pisa, I'd stay in Florence and take a train to Pisa for a half a day.

    If your kids are nerds who want to learn about Michelangelo and the Renaissance, take them.
    OTOH, if they're whiners whose feet will tire easily on the cobblestone streets, don't take 'em.
    My father took me to Europe when I was 15, and I didn't want to be there. It was wasted on me.

    I've been there in April & May - very pleasant, on the cool side, and not crowded with tourists.
    Mid-June will be busier but should be okay, as well. It's July & August that would be miserable.
    .


    .
     
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  3. dsmrp

    dsmrp TUG Member

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    I agree on avoiding August. Will be hot, and many Italians take their annual vacations then too. We didn't have a problem finding restaurants open, but the small mom and pop ones weren't.
    Don't try to drive into Pisa or Florence. You will get hefty automated fines for driving in their ZTL (limited traffic zones). San Gminiamo and Siena are okay to drive to and easier to avoid their ZTL. The other smaller hilltop towns aren't too bad to drive to either.
     
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  4. brp

    brp TUG Member

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    Also, if you're into wine, Montalcino and Montepulciano are musts. Colle di Val d'Elsa is beautiful and a great place for blown glass items.

    On the automated ticket thing - not only will you get the ticket, you'll get a fee of around EUR50 or so from your rental car company for the honor of their giving your information to the ticketing authority. You can avoid this by purchasing a permission thing to be able to enter the ZTL. I don't know a whole lot of the details as I clearly did not do this for Parma on our trip to Bologna several years back :(

    Cheers.
     
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  5. CanuckTravlr

    CanuckTravlr TUG Member

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    Italy in May or early June and in September or early October can be lovely. Those are our preferred times. The weather is generally good and there are fewer crowds. We have done trips as early as mid-April and as late as mid-November. The weather then can be a bit cooler, even colder, and less predictable, but still generally quite pleasant.

    If you are touring by car, I recommend you stay in a hotel just outside the ZTL area that either offers parking or has arrangements with a parking garage. That is what we did the last time we visited Florence. We just hopped on the bus outside the hotel (they even sold tickets at the reception desk) for a 10-minute ride to the central train station and could then walk anywhere in central Florence from there. We did take the car to Pisa for a day trip, because we were visiting with someone on the way back that day. I would normally just recommend hopping on the train for the day.

    I am very used to driving in Italy and have driven on the outskirts of the ZTL in Rome, Florence and Pisa and many smaller towns. It is not that different from avoiding the congestion zone in London, which I have also done. I also read and speak enough Italian to understand the signs and what to look for and I do my homework before entering a new town. So I am comfortable with it, but it is a lot of hassle for a casual one-time visit.

    As others have pointed out, the fines vary by city but are always hefty, on average around 65 to 100 Euros, with an administrative surcharge from your rental company if you are in a rental car. You cannot "purchase" a "temporary" permit or pass. They are only for permanent residents who live within the ZTL, and even they must go through an extensive procedure to get a permit.

    If you are staying at a hotel within a ZTL you MAY be able to arrange permission to go to the hotel, unload, and then exit the ZTL within 30 minutes, but it is not guaranteed. Some hotels within a ZTL that have arrangements with a parking garage nearby that is also in the ZTL, may be able to have the garage arrange a temporary exemption; but only to park there and enter and exit the ZTL while you are staying at the hotel, not for driving around inside the ZTL.

    In short, if you are not used to driving in the centre of Italian cities, I do not recommend it. Either stay outside the ZTL if you want to use a car, or travel by train if you want to stay in city centres. Or just rent a car for the day, if you wish to spend some time touring the Tuscan countryside.
     
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  6. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    What we did:
    Upon arrival in Florence, rented a car to tour Tuscany (where HGVC is useful).
    Returned the car (dropping the luggage first), and stayed at a hotel in Florence.

    During our time in Florence, we did a half-day excursion to Pisa (by train).
    ... aside from the tower, it's not all that...
    .
     
  7. jehb2

    jehb2 TUG Member

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    Definitely take you kids. They will love it. And people in Italy really love kids. Our kids always got bigger scoops of gelato did we did where ever we went. At one point my husband said he was going to send my daughter into the shop by herself to buy a gelato for him.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  8. CalGalTraveler

    CalGalTraveler TUG Member

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    We traveled to Venice, Rome and Borgo in July 2015.

    I would avoid July/ August because it is too hot. Climbing up campanile towers and walking in the heat is not fun. Also crawling with tourists..Venice and Pisa felt overrun like Disneyland and somewhat fake

    I'm with @Talent312. Not much to Pisa beyond the tower. Lucca was a pleasant surprise. Rent bikes and ride on the wall around this charming medieval city.

    Also Cinque Terre, a world heritage site should not be missed. Great hike between seaside towns but go early because there are significant elevation gains and avoid heat. This was one of our favorites. Long day trip by rail from Borgo or spend night there.

    I would love to go back to Borgo some day.
     
  9. brp

    brp TUG Member

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    Yes and No about Pisa. Maybe 15 years or so ago a friend and I spent about 10 days in Italy. We got a good fare flying into/out of Pisa. So we stayed a short time. We arrived in the evening and, as often happens, one doesn't sleep well the first few days.

    So, we went for a wander around 11PM or midnight. What a great time to visit these ancient cities!

    We went to the area with the tower can cathedral. No one there but us. The lighting was brilliant - the light colors seem matched to toe stone, so thing look natural, but eerie. Enough light for fabulous photos from a stable surface. It was very magical, and not a "tourist" thing from the feel.

    We did the same in Florence and that was equally breathtaking to walk around the plaza in the dark solitude.

    Cheers.
     
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  10. rdw95

    rdw95 Guest

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    We lived in Italy for 3 years in Gaeta (half way between Naples and Rome) and are pretty familiar with the country. We try to go back every year or so - last year we were in southern Italy for 2 weeks, and are going to Borgo for 2+ weeks this coming September and can't wait. I too would suggest taking the kids. We LOVE central and southern Italy. In general, Italians love kids. Another thing - most of life is not in a hurry. We have our favorite restaurant near the Duomo in Florence - many times we just sit, have a glass of wine or capuchino, and watch the tourists. We have probably been to Florence over 10 times, and it is one of our favorite cities. We are flying into Rome, and renting a car to drive up. Good Luck!
     
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  11. taterhed

    taterhed TUG Member

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    @rdw95 has some good points.

    If you want to order morning/afternoon coffee, know what to order (and what lingo) before you go....
    You need to adjust your expectations of time and service a bit. Also, what is/isn't expected for women and men at coffee or bars or restaurants...
    (I'm not a misogynist, just got surprised with this one more than once.)
    You need to think about clothing before departing and before going into town for dinner..nothing screams tourist like denim shorts after 3pm
    Make sure the kids expect to 'unplug' in public. You leave them alone in the room.....but they leave the electronics alone in town...

    I love Italy, but prior planning/thought is a must. IMHO
     

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