Italy has changed so much in the past ten years. The internet and twenty years of change has made a huge difference is how we travel. For years I traveled with only first and last night hotel reservations. In my travel classes everyone seems obsessed with advanced bookings.
Before 2000, from Assisi to Rome on the train station platforms I was often met by Pension owners “fishing” for clients. After a short chat and a stroll, you arrived at the pension, often just a spare room for rent, nothing fancy. The pension owners decided that was too much work in the late 1990s, and there are so many tourists meeting each one was a waste of their time. So they worked with the Government to create “booking centers” and owners at the train station disappeared (for that experience go out to the Greek Islands and Turkey).
|The towers of SG|
So in the cold rain that Saturday night I used a room finding service in Siena and made a stunning discovery of an entire row of old fashioned “Camare, Zimmer Pensione” in San Gimignano, about a thirty minute drive from Siena, and about thirty minute drive from Florence. We rushed up to S.G. to find the perfect lodgings, a small four room hotel with a charming, friendly family that helped us park our car and find the best place for dinner.
After an incredible dinner we went for a moonlight stroll under the lighted towers of S.G. My friend and I fell in love with S.G, it is so much more fun and cuddly than Siena, incredible beautiful and romantic at night, and so easy to use a home base in the Tuscan valley.
Here is our jewel of a find, not in any guidebook.
|Eat Like a local|
The daughter of the house speaks good English; the parents speak very simple English! Keep conversations on the phone simple!
I hope you have as much fun in the Tuscany Valley as we did.
For more information on several nice local places to stay, visit my website www.justinetravel.com.