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Pre: Ultimate Italy: Tuscany, Florence & Siena

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Hi,

 

Has anyone taken the Pre or Post: Ultimate Italy: Tuscany, Florence & Siena extension that Viking is selling? My sister and myself are thinking about adding this to our Mediterranean Odyssey cruise departing August 23rd on the Viking Sea.

 

If so did you enjoy the experience? How large of a group traveled with you? Any feedback I would appreciate.

 

Thanks

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Hello,

We are scheduled on the Ultimate Italy: Tuscany, Florence, Sienna later this month. When are you going?

Rhonda from Philadelphia

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Hi Rhonda,

 

We booked the pre-trip on August 20-23rd before our Viking Sea trip out of Venice on the 23rd. Would love to hear your feedback once you have completed the trip.

 

Especially curious what winery they are visiting as I work in the wine business. I guess I could always just ask Viking but would love any insights you have to offer. Have a great trip!!

 

Jeffrey from Rochester NY.

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The Villa we'll be staying at for 3 nights on the Pre extension before we board the Sea in Venice.

 

69-50026 San Casciano

Val Di Pesa ( Firenze )

 

http://www.villailpoggiale.it/

 

Hope to see you at the Florence airport for the ride to our Villa. :)

 

Bob & Margie

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We stayed in Villa Il Poggiale in March. It was a gorgeous 13th century villa. Each room was different. The food was amazing!

 

Rhonda

image.jpg.91e54056d9c518c40e5f71798a9de715.jpg

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Hope this helps. Understand 2017 may not be the same. :)

Looks like a great way to relax before returning to a busy bustling Venice.

Buon viaggio!

Bob & Margie

Pre Tuscany 2016.docx

Edited by bcorre2
additional information

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Our Villa is centrally located for day trips to Florence on Sun (1 1/2 hr) North and Siena/San Gimignano on Mon (1 1/2 hr) South

 

Tue ride to board the Sea in Venice is 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hrs depending on route through Bologna.

 

Does appear to be busy except for free time in Florence after walking tour and before trip to Tuscan Winery. :)

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We went on this excursion in March 2016, and the itinerary was almost the same as what Bob & Margie posted. There were only 4 people on our stay. We rode a mini-van and had a private driver and tour guide the whole time. We did not drive through Chianti or eat at a farmhouse the first day. Lunch and dinner the first day were both at the villa. Food was excellent. Three or four courses, with wine included.

 

There's not much free time: only the day you arrive and 2 or 3 hours in Florence where you can visit a museum or go shopping. Be ready for lots of walking on hilly cobblestone streets, with amazing sights and views.

Rhonda

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We went on this excursion in March 2016, and the itinerary was almost the same as what Bob & Margie posted. There were only 4 people on our stay. We rode a mini-van and had a private driver and tour guide the whole time. We did not drive through Chianti or eat at a farmhouse the first day. Lunch and dinner the first day were both at the villa. Food was excellent. Three or four courses, with wine included.

 

There's not much free time: only the day you arrive and 2 or 3 hours in Florence where you can visit a museum or go shopping. Be ready for lots of walking on hilly cobblestone streets, with amazing sights and views.

Rhonda

Hi Rhonda, thanks for this information on your experience in March with this 3 night Pre Tuscany. Looks like we are 3 couples at this point.

Working on wishlist for shore excursions as we're now 11 days out and 95 to sailing.

Any recommendations that you enjoyed?

We've started our evening/weekend walk routines to get ready for the hilly cobblestone streets.

 

Bob & Margie

Edited by bcorre2
added info

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Hi Bob & Margie,

The best day was Dubrovnik! We took the included city walking tour in the afternoon. In the morning we walked the walls of Dubrovnik with 2 other couples. Viking provided a shuttle into Dubrovnik throughout the day. The sites from the walls were awesome! not be missed! Rick Steves has a great tv show on this. Google "Dubrovnik walls" to find their opening hours. We went in March, so the walls closed at three. They're open later in August. but the temperatures will be hot in the afternoon.

 

The included walking tour was only offered in the morning online, so we signed up for one. The earlier the better. We switched to the afternoon at the tour desk on the ship.

 

The walking tour ends right at the entrance to the walls. So you could eat lunch in Dubrovnik and walk the walls right after the included tour.

 

Be sure to wear a hat and bring your camera.

Rhonda

Shopssnoopy@gmail.com

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Hi Rhonda,

 

Thanks for your response. I was going to add "except for Dubrovnik" just before I sent this as we did visit last year aboard the Star Venice to Istanbul. It also was our favorite stop and are looking forward to returning this year. We did the Cable Car with Old Town Excursion. This trip, we'll also use the handy shuttle into Old Town, walk the wall and tour the Old Town on our own.

I was more interested in the Western end and any recommendations for Naples, Rome, Monte Carlo or Toulon.

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Dubrovnik is quite wonderful, but be sure and add lots of stairs to your evening walks. There are a lot. We did a private Game of Thrones Tour that took us up the fortress outside the walls, along with walking the Wall. We had a fantastic lunch, I think it was Moskar on Prijecko. Best oysters, amazing risotto. If you like wine, ask about the Pinot Noir that is only made in Croatia, I think it is called Mali?

 

Are you going to Corfu? We simply walked around on our own, and had lunch at Salto Wine Bar. Another outstanding lunch and very pleasant day. There are a couple of very old forts to explore, plenty of shopping and scenery along the coast.

 

We missed Naples because we were sick. But we were going to take the Sorrento/Pompeii tour and heard from someone that so much time was spent in Sorrento, they had to practically jog through Pompeii.

 

Rome we did the Fountains & Monuments tour. Enjoyed the tour mostly, but I wrote a thread about it. Bottom line, avoid any tours with included lunch. You will do much better on your own.

 

Monte Carlo we did Eze, Nice, MC tour. Eze is lovely, we got very little time in Nice and were supposed to eat. Actually took the tour to get an equal time at all three, but most was spent in MC. Again, lots of stairs.

 

Toulon we did the tour to Cassis with the boat ride. This was very nice. Cassis is very charming, and we had a nice tasting. Found a little cafeteria just around the corner from the wine bar to have a snack. They spoke no English, but it all worked out.

 

We considered the pre tour, but did four nights/three days on our own in Florence instead. Took the train to and from Venice. Was our favorite part of the trip!

Edited by dancermom09

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Diana, Thanks for your insights and leads on wine and lunch.

Yes, we will be in Corfu with a morning excursion to Paleokastritsa Monastery and later to Kanoni with a short Corfu tour. Departure is 10:30 PM so we'll spend some time on our own exploring and shopping. :)

Sorry you missed Naples, we'll be visiting Sorrento with some free time and stop in Amalfi.

We're on the Highlights of Rome and visiting Lucca & Pisa in Tuscany as we don't see these on our 3 day pre in Florence/Siena and San Gimignano visits.

Also on the Nice, Eze & MC with free time walking the stairs.

Taking it easy in Toulon with included tour as we have 3 full days in Barcelona with a daytrip train ride to Girona for lunch. I really enjoy the trains!

Bob & Margie

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Sharyn, Viator has GoT tours in both Dubrovnik and Split. We booked both. In Split, they take you out of the city to the old Fortress, which is used a lot for Mereen in the show. Then back to Split to walk around the Palace (also Mereen scenes), some of the same areas you would see on the included walking tour. However, on the included tour they do not tell you which are GoT sites! But you will see the room that Dany chained the dragons in, which is pretty neat.

 

Our guide in Split was excellent, but perhaps a bit of a lecturer. We listened to a lot of Split history, standing for long periods on concrete. I think she must have been a history teacher.

 

In Dubrovnik (King's Landing sites), our guide was a younger man and he was quite a bit more fun. Though he kept a faster pace. We covered a lot of ground on our 3 1/2 hour tour!

Edited by dancermom09

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Thanks dancermom09.

I didn't realize that they filmed in Split as well.

I have had a look at the Dubrovnik Viator tour and will book this one.

Thanks again for the info

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Taking it easy in Toulon with included tour as we have 3 full days in Barcelona with a daytrip train ride to Girona for lunch. I really enjoy the trains!

Bob & Margie

 

I am sure you have it planned, but hope you are going to Sagrada Familia. It is an astounding thing to see.

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I am sure you have it planned, but hope you are going to Sagrada Familia. It is an astounding thing to see.

 

Certainly not one to miss while in Barcelona for 3 days as was Der Kolner Dom in 2013. 600 years newer. Lots of introspective thoughts in these places.

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Back on thread subject.

 

FYI for the rest on this Pre extension:

 

Thanks for the heads-up on the Pre Tuscony Villa stay. Our TA hasn't heard anything on this and says sometimes they just split you up?

As long as they're comparable Villas, it won't bother us.

 

ChristineW wrote: We got our travel documents today and they indicate We will be staying at Borgo Di Cortefreda. It looks nice too and has good reviews on Trip Advisor but I am disappointed to not be staying in an old villa. Maybe it isn't big enough - not sure of the reason for this change.

Edited by bcorre2

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