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TruJeffie

Pre: Ultimate Italy: Tuscany, Florence & Siena

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ChristineW - Penny with Viking CS shows we are still booked with Villa il Poggiale. Not that it won't change.

 

I'll assume TruJeffie is still with us unless we hear differently.

 

Anyone else booked for this 3 day Pre extension for the Aug 23rd Mediterranean Odyssey Venice to Barcelona VIKING SEA?

 

Hotel Borogo di Cortefreda Realais is 25 min South of our location.

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ChristineW: Just received our update: Hotel Borgo di Cortefreda Relais

 

We'll see you there or likely on the bus from Firenze / Peretola Airport?

 

We're excited

 

Bob & Margie

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We're excited to start this adventure and look forward to meeting TruJeffie, ChristineW and others that may be on the Pre 3 nights in Tuscany.

We'll meet you in Florence Airport on the 20th.

We look forward to boarding the Sea and meeting others in Venice on the 23rd and at the CC M&M

 

Safe travels and good health to all

 

Bob & Margie

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For those that may want to know the itinerary for our Viking Pre 3 night extension.

 

EXPLORING TUSCANY, FLORENCE & SIENA

 

SAT Aug 20

When you arrive at the airport in Florence, clear customs and immigration and collect your luggage. After exiting through the Arrivals Hall, you will be greeted by your Viking representative who will escort you to a coach for your drive to Tuscany. After lunch at a farmhouse, you will drive through the scenic countryside of the Chianti region, before arriving at your hotel, a charming Tuscan villa.

ACCOMMODATIONS Hotel Borgo di Cortefreda Relais Via Roma 191 Tavarnelle Val Di Pesa, 50028 Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:00 PM Tue Aug 23, 2016

Daily breakfast included and enjoy dinner at the villa.

SUN Aug 21

Gear for the day’s activities with breakfast at the hotel. You’ll drive by coach to Florence, where you’ll take an unforgettable walking tour of the city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will see the Florence Cathedral, or Duomo, with its Giotto’s Bell Tower, Baptistery and beautiful doors that Michelangelo called the Gates of Paradise. You’ll also visit the Piazza Della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio and the Santa Croce Basilica. After a three-course lunch, you’ll have free time to sample gelato or espresso, shop or explore the birthplace of the Renaissance on your own. Then you’ll travel by coach to a Tuscan winery, where you can tour the wine cellar and taste local wines before enjoying a typical Tuscan dinner. After dinner, the coach will take you back to your villa.

MON Aug 22

After breakfast at the hotel, a coach will transport you to the mystical walled city of Siena, located in the heart of the Chianti wine region. On your walking tour, you’ll see the exterior of the exquisite marble cathedral, the beautiful Mangia Tower, the Town Hall, the Piazza del Campo and other historic sites that provide a glimpse into the city’s medieval past. Next you’ll drive to San Gimignano, a charming medieval village, and have lunch at a typical farm. Following lunch, you will walk back in time, exploring the village’s ancient squares, narrow streets and an elegant fountain built in 1273. You’ll return by coach to your villa, where you will have dinner.

TUE Aug 23

After checking out of your villa, you’ll be transported by coach to the port of Venice, where your Viking ship awaits. Lunch will be served aboard the ship. 2hr 45 min bus ride through Florence, Bologna, Rovigo and on to the Viking Sea.

 

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Hi Bob & Margie,

We were on this pre-cruise extension in March and did stay at Villa il Poggiale. There were only 4 of us on this extension, so we had wonderful private tours for 3 days. The advance itinerary we got was just like the one you posted. But, we had lunch at the villa we were staying at, instead of a farm, upon arrival. That afternoon, we were driven to a local small village for some free time and walking around.

 

The food was amazing on this pre-cruise! Typical Italian breakfasts, lunches and dinners, with multiple courses and lots of wine. Dinner at the Tuscan winery was great. Lunch in San Gimigliano was in a farm that was also a winery.

 

Be prepared for early morning departures, with breakfast at 7 or 7:30 every day. The sights are amazing! Have fun!

Rhonda from Philadelphia

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Hi Bob & Margie,

We were on this pre-cruise extension in March and did stay at Villa il Poggiale. There were only 4 of us on this extension, so we had wonderful private tours for 3 days.

The sights are amazing! Have fun!

Rhonda from Philadelphia

 

Thanks once again for your good information and insights - Ms Philadelphia :)

Looking forward to relaxing by the pool after our Tuscan dinner and watching the sunset/moon rise over these Tuscany vineyards.

Safe travels and good health to you and yours

Bob & Margie

2016-08-16_15-40-34.jpg.d1548427227d2dad4bbefb78c6b6863c.jpg

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I'd love to hear some feedback from Bob & Margie or anyone who did the Pre tour in Tuscany in August or later this Fall. We are booked for April 2017. How was the new hotel? Did you have time in Florence to go inside any of the museums (see the David, etc) or did you just see the outside of the buildings? All tips are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

 

Carol

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I'd love to hear some feedback from Bob & Margie or anyone who did the Pre tour in Tuscany in August or later this Fall. We are booked for April 2017. How was the new hotel? Did you have time in Florence to go inside any of the museums (see the David, etc) or did you just see the outside of the buildings? All tips are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

 

Carol

 

Hi Tom & Carol,

This 3 day pre-cruise extension was well done by Viking and fully met our expectations. If anything was on the downside, we thought they overfed us with three course meals the first day but that improved with our dinner at the winery.

We went directly from Florence airport to our Hotel. Had time to cool off with a swim and a walk after dinner to a small town just down the road. Wonderful sunset views of the Tuscany countryside.

We had early starts each morning after buffet breakfast at the hotel Borogo dio Cortefreda.

We did walk past the Academia Gallery (David 1504) on Sunday as we went into Florence for our tour. It seems like you could schedule a visit with pre-purchased tickets and viewing during one of the breaks.

Otherwise you’d see lines when it’s open without tickets.

We saw many statues in Piazza della Signoria (David Copy 1910) and a wonderful collection of others.

As noted earlier in this thread, they moved this pre-extension from the Villa to the Hotel as our group grew from 8 to 20.

We enjoyed the Hotel and the food. We returned to our hotel after our Sunday in Florence with the winery tour and a wonderful pasta dinner with wine. Monday was a full day in Siena and San Gimignano with a great buffet dinner back at the hotel. Good weather and wonderful company with this small group (10) couples for 3 days.

There was too much we wanted to see in this Tuscany area to limit it to 1 day. When we revisited this area from the cruise ship we spent our time in a different area with a full day excursion in Luca & Pizza.

We enjoyed this trip on the Sea as much as the Star in 2015. Although the 3 day post-extension from Istanbul to Canakkale Hotel with day trips to Gallipoli battle fields and Troy will be hard to beat for me.

We crossed the Dardanelles 4 times on ferries seeing these locations and returning to Istanbul before flying home. Hard to believe Viking could improve on the Star but they’ve tweaked a few things and we found the Sea even more enjoyable.

We’ve booked two Viking Cruises for 2018 on the Sea. The West Indies and Eastern Seaboard cruises. We'll be taking a cruise break in 2017 and doing 3 weeks in AUS/NZ with Tauck and some relaxing weeks back on Maui.

Safe Travels with your Viking Cruise in April next year.

Bob & Margie

Edited by bcorre2
spelling

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Bumping this old thread. Any other insights on this pre extension? I have it booked for an upcoming cruise in December. Looks great. Any negatives?

 

We took this extension as a post on our Mediterranean cruise last winter. We LOVED it! We had a wonderful tour escort who took very good care of us from beginning until she hugged us at the security stand at the Florence airport before we headed for home.

 

The Villa was wonderful and the rooms spectacular! We spent some time the first night visiting the rooms of our "tour mates" as they were all different! The hospitality was wonderful and the food was amazing.

 

There were really no negatives but it is a demanding itinerary. Florence was very busy and it was not much more than a "Whirlwind" tour but we have spent time there in the past so we didn't feel pressure to push ourselves. We spent our free time after lunch (delicious!) visiting Santa Croce which was quieter and more accessible than some of the options closer to the Duomo.

 

The best day was the trip to Siena and San Gimignano. The two cities are charming and a bit quieter than Florence and the lunch in between was one of the most wonderful meals I have ever had! We visited a farm/inn where most of what was served was grown on site. The food had a wonderful, comforting home-made quality that we so often miss when we travel. It was almost as good as "Grandma's kitchen"!

 

I will say part of what made our experience so great was; in addition to the wonderful tour escort, but the group we were travelling with. Unlike some other extensions we have experienced this group was friendly, patient, and respectful of time ... no late stragglers to the bus ... not once!

 

I hope you enjoy your trip as much as we did ours. We felt it was worth every penny!

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Oh Molymoo! We are going post cruise in October and you just made me even more excited! Thanks for the review!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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We are considering this add on for our cruise in July of 2019.

 

Two people in out group are plus size. How large are the seats in the bus? Would they be comfortable?

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molymoo, did you stay at the villa il pogiale?

Where you able to walk into the town that was 15/20 mins away in evenings after dinner

or was the day so much you wanted to relax at the villa?

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We are considering this add on for our cruise in July of 2019.

 

Two people in out group are plus size. How large are the seats in the bus? Would they be comfortable?

 

There were some plus sized individuals in our group and no one seemed to have any complaints about the seats on the bus ... additionally there were lots of extra seats and some (plus size or not) chose to sit by themselves in two seats ... again plenty of extra room!

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molymoo, did you stay at the villa il pogiale?

Where you able to walk into the town that was 15/20 mins away in evenings after dinner

or was the day so much you wanted to relax at the villa?

 

Yes we did stay at Villa il Pogiale! Can't really answer your question though ... we were there in the winter and really didn't see the villa in daylight ... you might be able to take an evening walk in the summer months but I wouldn't in the winter ... it is dark early and we had a lot of chilly and damp weather.

 

The schedule is pretty full anyway ... the first night we got to the villa after dark and then had dinner. It was "European late" and we were all pretty "done in" by the time we were done. The second night we had dinner at a winery so it was quite late when we got "home". Night three was dinner at the Villa but again it was later and we had to get packed for an early morning departure.

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We too were wonderfully busy for full days in Florence & Siena - San Gimignano. Relaxing after a long day was in order. I do recall we were able to walk into town one evening in the beautiful Tuscany sunset. Aug 2016. Highly recommend this three night extension in Tuscany. The buses were plush with lots of room. Smaller group with extra seats to spread out.

Villa Il Poggiale

Via Empolese

69-50026 San Casciano

Val Di Pesa ( Firenze

 

 

did you stay at the villa il pogiale?

Where you able to walk into the town that was 15/20 mins away in evenings after dinner

or was the day so much you wanted to relax at the villa?

Edited by bcorre2
format

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Following this thread. We are booked on this pre-cruise excursion to Tuscany in April 2019. Our first visit to Italy and our first ocean cruise after 5 river cruises. We can hardly wait!

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I added on this pre cruise stay today for our cruise departing on July 30, 2019.

 

When booking, I was offered a choice of either Villa il Poggiale or Villa Veronica for the same price.

 

Because everything I have read on this forum was about il Poggiale and I also did independent research for il Poggiale, I went with il Poggiale.

 

Because I was curious about Villa Veronica, I tried finding information about it.

 

The Villa's website caused the red warning screen to pop up that the site was judge to be very risky so I didn't continue on.

 

The few reviews that I found on other sites were less than glowing. To be fair, the reviews were more than three years old. The one review within the last month was favorable.

 

Has anyone stayed at the Villa Veronica on this Viking pre cruise add on? Any comments?

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We are scheduled to stay at Villa la Veronica in October at the end of our Med Odyssey cruise. I am finding their website works well and have no problem accessing it. Maybe try again? The reviews I have found look good to me as well. Being a planner, I have been checking around a lot. I am actually very excited about the place because I am thinking it has to be great for Viking to trust with their guests. I am guessing either villa would be excellent!

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I was pulling up Villa Veronica in Siena, obviously a different establishment than Villa La Veronica.

 

Yes, La Veronica looks very nice.

 

It is interesting that I was given a choice between the two.

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Yes, it is nice to get a choice! We didn't get one, but that is OK. Hard to choose when you don't know a heck of a lot about them, right?!

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When I was originally researching Villa il Poggiale, I think I came across information that they are open seasonally (closed around November - March- ???? - don't remember).

 

That could explain the addition of La Veronica for the tours when il Poggiale might be closing.

 

I am traveling at peak season (traveling with two school teachers, so summer it is). Maybe it was necessary to add a second lodging to the tour because of its popularity.

 

In any case, La Veronica looks lovely. I haven't been able to find a history of the building, but from the photos, it looks like it might be several centuries newer than il Poggiale.

 

I would be happy at either place now that I could research La Veronica.

 

Perhaps you could add your thoughts on La Veronica to this thread when you return for anyone else considering this tour.

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