Where should I fly to?
The nearest airports are Perugia San Francesco d’Assisi (85 km), Florence Peretola (125 km), Pisa Galileo Galilei (192 km), Rome Fiumicino (232 km), Rome Ciampino (214 km). If you are flying from the UK, Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) flies from London Stansted to Perugia; various airlines fly to Florence from London Heathrow and London City. All the regional and other London airports have flights to Pisa or Rome. Flying from elsewhere please check www.skyscanner.net or I shall be happy to help.
How do I get from the airport to Montisi? How long does it take?
Taxi fares vary but as a guide, a taxi for up to 4 people will cost around:
- €150 from Perugia – 1hr 10 mins
- €200 from Florence – 1hr 30 mins
- €280 from Pisa – 2hr 15 mins
- €310 from Rome Fiumicino or Rome Ciampino – 2hrs 30 mins
The journey time may be less depending upon the traffic.
Larger taxis for up to 8 people are available at a slightly higher cost.
I will always try and organise for our guests to share transport from the airport in the most economical way.
All the airports have a number of rental car companies either on site or a shuttle bus ride away. Prices vary depending upon the size and type of car and it is cheaper to book online in advance. However it is possible to rent a small car for a week for as little as £110 through one of the car rental comparison websites. Please remember to check that all appropriate insurance is included.
I will be able to advise on this and also the best route to take if you are driving. There is plenty of free parking in the village.
Tuscany is not particularly well served by public transport but it is possible to reach the village this way. The nearest railway station to Montisi is Sinalunga, which is 14 km (20 mins) away. There are no taxis at the station but we can arrange one for you at a cost of about €25. Train travel itself is inexpensive and generally reliable but will take quite a bit longer than travelling by road. The website for the Italian train service is www.trenitalia.it. It does translate into English but it only shows journeys up to 3 or 4 months in advance. Finally don’t forget to check if you are travelling by train that you can get a train back to the airport in time to catch your flight!
From Perugia – Guests can take a bus from the airport to the city of Perugia which only 12 km away and from there take a train to Sinalunga, which is the station closest to Montisi. However it is cumbersome involving at least one change and the journey from the centre of Perugia to Sinalunga will generally take over 2 hrs.
From Pisa – there is a train station at Pisa airport and you can take a train to Sinalunga. It will involve at least 2 changes usually in Florence, and in Siena or Arezzo and will take upwards of 3 hours. The changes can be awkward particularly on the way back to Pisa as sometimes it can be a bit of a rush across the platforms. If you would like to use this route please make sure you allow enough time on the way back.
From Rome Fiumicino - there is a train station at Fiumicino airport and you can take a train to Sinalunga. This will involve 2 changes at Rome Termini and Chiusi-Chianciano Terme and will take at least 3hrs 20 mins depending upon which train you take. Another option is to take the train to Chiusi-Chianciano Terme and for me to arrange a taxi from there. Its only about 2hrs 20 mins on the train from the airport to Chiusi-Chianciano Terme and a taxi from Chiusi-Chianciano Terme to Montisi would cost about 80 euros and take about 45 mins. If you want to take public transport, in my experience this is the better option.
From Rome Ciampino – there is an airport bus, which will take you to Rome Termini (the main railway station in Rome). It can take up to an hour depending upon traffic but there are departures every 20 mins and it costs 4 euros. Trains to Sinalunga will take from 2hrs 30 mins and involve a change at Chiusi-Chianciano Terme. Another option is to take the train to Chiusi-Chianciano Terme and for me to arrange a taxi from there. Its only about 1hr 40 mins on the train from the airport to Chiusi-Chianciano Terme and a taxi from Chiusi-Chianciano Terme to Montisi would cost 80 euros and take about 45 mins. If you want to take public transport, in my experience this is the better option.
Where do I get travel information? Are there any travel hints/ tips to watch out for?
I will be happy to help guide you with your travel plans and advise on flights and transfers to Montisi although you will need to book your own flights. If you are hiring a car I can explain what to look out for in terms of insurance and the best road routes to take. It is mainly motorway from Pisa/Florence/Rome to Montisi and the roads are good although there are usually only two lanes. There are tolls to pay on the motorways but there seem to be fewer hold ups than in the UK and the service stations are much better!
If you are taking the train I can help you with recommending the best route. One thing to watch out for is that you can’t always buy a through ticket and you must remember to validate your ticket at the little machine near the platform before getting on the train or you may be fined! But don’t worry, I can advise on this. The trains are generally comfortable and on time.
Is hiring a car a good idea?
Hiring a car is a good idea as it does generally work out overall easier and quicker. Although you won’t need a car during your stay in Montisi to take part in the activities as I provide all the necessary transport, there is no public transport from the village apart from a bus once a day to Siena and the nearest taxi service is in Sinalunga, which is 14 km (20 mins) away. If you have your own car you will be able to go and explore some more of the surrounding area in your free time. If not, I will always take my guests out in their free time if I am available.
How expensive is fuel?
Fuel prices are in litres and are currently about €1.83 per litre for unleaded petrol and €1.77 per litre for diesel.
What are the options for accommodation during the Montisi Magica week?
There are a various different types of accommodation in the village for you to choose where you would like to stay.
La Romita is a small hotel with some self-catering apartments and a swimming pool.
La Grancia is a very old and grand agriturismo with self-catering apartments, beautiful large grounds and a swimming pool with spectacular views.
Locanda di Montisi is a very pretty and comfortable B&B in the main piazza
Santa Caterina is a modern B&B near the bakery, with a swimming pool and stunning views.
Casa Parva is a newly converted one-bed apartment, very chic, carved from the raw stone of the mountain with a real ‘cook’s’ kitchen.
I also have access to some other private apartments if you prefer. All of the accommodation is, of course, subject to availability.
(For the w/c 14th September the accommodation will be at the beautiful Villa Maddalena (www.settledintuscany.com) located in the centre of the village. The Villa sleeps 16 but I am restricting the group size that week to a maximum of 12)
How does the cost of living (food, drink) compare with England?
Generally for the sort of things you will be spending your money on, everything will be cheaper! A cup of coffee in the village will taste far better than in the UK and will cost €1.20, a glass of wine €2.00 and a glass of prosecco €2.50. A pizza will be around €6.00 and lunch consisting of an antipasto and a pasta with a glass of wine will cost around €15.00. The price of dinner will vary depending upon the type of restaurant you go to but main courses will be usually under €15.00. In other towns the prices may be slightly higher.
Is there a swimming pool?
There is a lovely public outdoor swimming pool in Trequanda which is 10 minutes from Montisi by car with a kiosk serving drinks and there are plenty of deckchairs and umbrellas. Admission is €6 per person and it is open every day during the summer months.
What is the weather like?
The spring climate arrives relatively early in Tuscany. The months of March and April are a lovely time of year to visit, and the scenery is particularly lovely. Temperatures are fairly mild although it can be wet during April and early May with quite chilly evenings.
It starts to warm up during May with average temperatures of 70°F increasing to 78°F in June. July and August are by far the warmest and sunniest months of the year. Summer temperatures can reach the mid 80’s° F. It can sometimes seem stiflingly hot and humid to those with a busy sightseeing itinerary but the evenings are lovely and warm and perfect for al fresco dining.
The early autumn climate offers a great time to visit and is ideal for those who want to avoid the heat. In October and November, temperatures often still feel pleasantly warm, and there are plenty of blue skies to enjoy.
For more detailed information visit http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/ITTO1716
What clothes should I bring?
Dress is casual everywhere. Do remember to bring some flattish shoes for walking around, as the streets in some of the Tuscan towns can be uneven and sometimes pebbled.
Whilst it is perfectly fine to walk around in shorts and T-shirts, in churches you will need to cover up out of respect so I always carry a light shawl or wide scarf in my handbag.
How far away is the nearest town?
The nearest town is Sinalunga which is 14 km (20 mins) away. There is a wonderful outdoor ‘foodie’ market there on a Tuesday morning as well as a number of independent shops, large supermarkets and a Mall.
Not too far away is the Valdichiana Outlet Village http://www.valdichianaoutlet.it/ which houses 140 stores selling all kinds of clothing and housewares at bargain prices.
If I want to take presents back are there any particular local specialities / artefacts I should look out for?
There are many different things you may want to take home and most of my guests have been spoilt for choice. If you are into food there are wonderful wines, olive oils, cheeses and honey as well as locally made jams and chutneys. Alternatively look out for the ceramics and olive wood as well as jewellery – and of course don’t forget the leathers – shoes, handbags and much more!