Italy in November
Hello, we are going to be spending 2 weeks in italy in november: one week outside of san giminano (SP?) 3 days in rome and 4 days in ??? Wondering if there are any suggestions of A. great places to eat in rome and tuscany, B great places to learn about food/wineries/farms in particular we shouldn't miss and C. a recommendation of where to spend the last 4 days? We were thinking about Sardegna. I know this is vague, but we are only in the beginning of planning and any help is much appreciated///
If you have never been to the Piedmont region (Piemonte) of Italy, I would highly encourage you to go, especially during November. That is when the white truffles become available and they are a "once in a lifetime" experience that should not be missed.
I would recommend visiting towns in the Langhe area (Alba, Bra, Cherasco, La Mora, Monforte, etc.), where wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, Dogliani, etc. are produced. Turin (Torino) is certainly worth at least day's touring as well.
For this area and for Tuscany & Rome, be to search this post for prior posts. You will find dozens and dozens of helpful suggestions & recommendations already here for you to review.
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San Gimignano is an area known for saffron growning, and you might have a wonderful time exploring that side of life in Tuscany. You can do google searches for "saffron agriturismo san gimignano" and learn a lot. Here is one farm (with a restaurant) producing DOP zafferano:
In addition, there is excellent white wine made around San Gimignano. Here is a winery you might enjoy visiting. E-mail them to find out when is the best time to do it
Here is another, that also produces olive oil and has its own olive mill near San Gimignano:
As to where you might best "fill in the blank" for the latter part of your trip, in addition to Piemonte (where you would probably need a car), the great food towns of the Emilia-Romagna are wonderful and easily reached by train from a base in Bologna, and Umbria has a great deal to offer in terms of food and wine, either by car or train in November, as does Napoli.
If you are flying out of Malpensa, then Piedmont in November is a great time to be in one of Italy's best food and wine regions, the tourists have gone and the best truffles are popping out of the woods, the wineries are relaxed after the crushing and fermentation and more relaxed about visitors, everyone is winding down the year and enjoying the flavours of fall, several festivals each weekend.
November is a fantastic time to be in Italy. You will have had a rural experience in Tuscany (sounds like) and a city experience in Rome. If you are flying out of Rome you may not want to head all the way north.
If you will have a car, consider a stay in a town in Umbria (Orvieto, Spello, Bevagna etc) for your 4 days and go out on day trips to find the most interesting sagres (food festivals). Lots of truffle and mushroom fairs in the area, wild boar, preserves etc. If you go this route you might want to read this first: http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/umbria/...