France or Italy

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#1
Would like to retire in a year and want to plan a two week vacation in September 2020 and need to decide between Southern France- Provence, Vaucluse- or Italy in Tuscany or Umbria. Would like to stay in just one house and travel from there all around. Hope to get a big enough house for married brothers and sisters to join (4 couples).
Any opinions between these choices? Is it better to be close enough to a neat town/village, or is out in countryside better? Is air-conditioning needed? We’ll have cars to get around. Any tips? Should I forget the family joining and just have fun with spouse?
 
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8893

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#2
Spannocchia in Italy is exactly what you’re looking for.
 
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#3
Italy. I lived there three years not too long ago and spent an awful lot of time in France while there. France has gotten better but you will get a much better reception in Italy. The folks there are very helpful even if you can't speak each other's language. The food and wine are better as well. France would probably be more convenient for getting around the rest of Europe, however.
 
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#4
Would like to retire in a year and want to plan a two week vacation in September 2020 and need to decide between Southern France- Provence, Vaucluse- or Italy in Tuscany or Umbria. Would like to stay in just one house and travel from there all around. Hope to get a big enough house for married brothers and sisters to join (4 couples).
Any opinions between these choices? Is it better to be close enough to a neat town/village, or is out in countryside better? Is air-conditioning needed? We’ll have cars to get around. Any tips? Should I forget the family joining and just have fun with spouse?
Can’t go wrong with Italy! Beautiful country with inviting people. Get the big house and be with the whole family...may be the last time you’ll ever all be together in such an environment ( one you’ll all share remembering!). Be alert driving , however, Italian drivers are wacko and love to speed!
 

ColchVEGAS

Still buckin like five, deuce, four, trey.
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#7
Be alert driving , however, Italian drivers are wacko and love to speed!
I think that is a European thing. I go to Portugal every other year and they love to tailgate and drive fast. I will say they are very good at moving over to the proper driving lane rather than camping in the passing lane.
 
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#8
I found French people to be very nice, not sure what the other guy is talking about or what he means by "gotten better" (it's a developed first world country with a better quality of life than the states), and they were generally speaking very inviting. Just make an effort to speak the language and learn it, the same would go for Italy or anywhere else for that matter. I went to France five times for a total of seven months. All that time, except for maybe ten days in Paris, was in the northwest in the Brittany region. The weather in Brittany is mild year round. Anywhere from 50 to 75 degrees rarely dipping below 50. Very green, fresh air, lovely historical small towns. I loved France and of course food is world class and not as expensive as your typical over rated french restaurant state side would have you believe. Plus France has the best bread i have seen, fresh and well under a euro.

Italy is also cool but less experience there... spent two weeks or so in Tuscany, lots of great little towns. Of course the food is also world class too. I won't agrue what country has better wine as both are good imo but I am not much of a wine guy. Found Italians to be nice but again, attempt to use even just rudimentary Italian, you'll be amazed how far it gets you and how much more of the culture you can understand by knowing some of the language. I felt there were a lot more mark ups in touristy areas than other parts of Europe...wanna sit outside? 5 euros? Etc.

...any way people from Tuscany region, friendly enough but found folks from Brittany, though stubborn and straight forward, were a little more friendly.

I know you have South of France in mind but don't overlook northwest france, after seven months I can say it is incredibly under rated.

Look into Germany and Denmark too. If cost isn't an issue Denmark is incredibly over looked. Berlin is a modern, progressive, international city that is surprisingly affordable for a western European capital city.
 
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#9
Last summer I did Nice - Antibes - Cannes - Eze - Monte Carlo - Portofino. Why limit yourself to either or country when you can do both? Plenty of day trips too from the coast up into the mts.
 

storrsroars

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#10
I'd do Italy as it's very laid back, with one exception, and that's if you'll be in Paris on the day of the summer solstice, as that is one big street party (which I had no idea about until I was there). Not sure if the rest of France celebrates that day, but it was pretty wild and fun.

Been to Italy 2x (Rome, Verona, Bolognia, Firenze), France once, and only Paris.
 

storrsroars

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#11
I found French people to be very nice, not sure what the other guy is talking about or what he means by "gotten better" (it's a developed first world country with a better quality of life than the states), and they were generally speaking very inviting. Just make an effort to speak the language and learn it, the same would go for Italy or anywhere else for that matter.
I understand comments that French folk (at least in Paris) can be very rude and condescending. Experienced it myself several times. And that was with making an attempt to speak the language. No such issues in Italy.
 
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#12
I'd do Italy as it's very laid back, with one exception, and that's if you'll be in Paris on the day of the summer solstice, as that is one big street party (which I had no idea about until I was there). Not sure if the rest of France celebrates that day, but it was pretty wild and fun.

Been to Italy 2x (Rome, Verona, Bolognia, Firenze), France once, and only Paris.
First day of summer, yes all throughout France various cities have one huge street party full of music, wine, beer, mixed drinks, dancing and general craziness. I experienced this in Quimper, France, tons of fun, they call it " music day".

Also the rest of France is so different from Paris for better or worse that Paris is almost like its own country.

I understand comments that French folk (at least in Paris) can be very rude and condescending. Experienced it myself several times. And that was with making an attempt to speak the language. No such issues in Italy.
The rest of France is so different from Paris. Just like the rest of the states is so different from NYC.

I mean, just like NYC is the heart and soul of the states, ppl tend to be quite cold in NYC or Boston, but if you get to know a few ppl you can have solid friendships ...just like Paris. In both cases the major cities don't define the country as a whole ....I had no issue in Paris but I guess there are some jerks.
 
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huskypantz

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#13
I have family in Brescia (northern Italy). 6 years ago I spent a week in Italy with Brescia as our home base, 3 days in Paris and 4 in London. Italy locations were Venice, Verona, Pisa, Milan and Florence. Loved Italy but I’m Italian and biased. Especially loved Florence. My limited experience- I’d go back to Italy in a heartbeat.
 
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#14
I understand comments that French folk (at least in Paris) can be very rude and condescending. Experienced it myself several times. And that was with making an attempt to speak the language. No such issues in Italy.
This is what I was talking about Travelman. It's quite a common occurrence for most if not all foreigners in France so I'm a bit confused by your apparent dismay. But, like I said, I have seen it get better over the years (my comment had nothing to do with the quality of life or whether or not France is a first world country). Paris is certainly the worst, but I managed a team near Rouen and there was still some of the rudeness there. I was there and Italy etc... not as a tourist but experiencing more the day-to-day living issues. This is why, between the two, I recommend Italy. A reasonable person can disagree I suppose.
 

Hankster

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#16
Italy. I spent 6 years in Europe. I had no desire to visit France. "Shock Le Blue" or something like that. lol
 

Hankster

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#17
Can’t go wrong with Italy! Beautiful country with inviting people. Get the big house and be with the whole family...may be the last time you’ll ever all be together in such an environment ( one you’ll all share remembering!). Be alert driving , however, Italian drivers are wacko and love to speed!
LOL my son spent 3 months in Italy. He said in Naples you need to be careful, they will divert their motor scooters from the road to the sidewalks in a hurry.
 
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#18
I lived in Europe for almost 10 years - 3 in Rome, 5 in Lisbon, 6 months in Paris, 6 months in Prague, 6 months in Madrid. I've traveled much of those countries - and the rest of the continent as well but moreso in metro areas.

I've done much more small town travel by car in Italy and Portugal than I have in France - I lived in Italy as a teen and we used to take weekend road trips on the reg. It's fantastic and scenic - you can just get in the car and drive and be sure to find something amazing without even trying. I didn't find that same experience in France or really anywhere else. (and I just returned from a four week driving holiday in Southeastern Europe - which I also recommend for other reasons).
 
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#21
Would like to retire in a year and want to plan a two week vacation in September 2020 and need to decide between Southern France- Provence, Vaucluse- or Italy in Tuscany or Umbria. Would like to stay in just one house and travel from there all around. Hope to get a big enough house for married brothers and sisters to join (4 couples).
Any opinions between these choices? Is it better to be close enough to a neat town/village, or is out in countryside better? Is air-conditioning needed? We’ll have cars to get around. Any tips? Should I forget the family joining and just have fun with spouse?
I did a three week trip to Italy. Picked up a car in Rome and drove up the amalfi, back down the adriatic and back to Roma spending time in a bunch of cities and towns in between. Rome, Florence, Venice, Bologna, Livorno, Padua, Perugia, Verona, Siena, Rimini, Napoli etc. Tuscany is beautiful countryside. I saw a ton of Italy and some of my favorite places were in Tuscany. Siena and Monterregioni are great as is Grosetto, and Pitigliano is one of my all-time favorite towns and one of the most beautiful towns I've ever seen. It was unbelievably hot when I was there but that's incredibly rare and they don't really know how AC works.

Roma is awesome, some of the best times is just sitting in the Piazzas drinking wine, eating good food and people watching. Napoli is also awesome and I loved the short trip to Pompeii and Herculaneum, hiking to the top of Vesuvio. Bologna is also a favorite, probably the best food. People seem to love Firenze but I thought it was a bit overrated, don't go to the top of the Duomo if you have any sort of claustraphobia. Also convinced the hotel I stayed in was haunted....Rimini, skip it. It's a bit like some of the Jersey shore towns with kitsch. Unwittingly ended up in a gay bar there which got really creepy, same night I got kicked out of a foam party at some huge club.

A lot of the beauty of Italy is stumbling upon random little towns and having a nice lunch and just vegging out. Glad I saw everything and when I travel I like to see as much as possible but I don't think you would be disappointed making Tuscany your home base and it would be really cool to experience it with family I would imagine.
 
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#22
I did a three week trip to Italy. Picked up a car in Rome and drove up the amalfi, back down the adriatic and back to Roma spending time in a bunch of cities and towns in between. Rome, Florence, Venice, Bologna, Livorno, Padua, Perugia, Verona, Siena, Rimini, Napoli etc. Tuscany is beautiful countryside. I saw a ton of Italy and some of my favorite places were in Tuscany. Siena and Monterregioni are great as is Grosetto, and Pitigliano is one of my all-time favorite towns and one of the most beautiful towns I've ever seen. It was unbelievably hot when I was there but that's incredibly rare and they don't really know how AC works.

Roma is awesome, some of the best times is just sitting in the Piazzas drinking wine, eating good food and people watching. Napoli is also awesome and I loved the short trip to Pompeii and Herculaneum, hiking to the top of Vesuvio. Bologna is also a favorite, probably the best food. People seem to love Firenze but I thought it was a bit overrated, don't go to the top of the Duomo if you have any sort of claustraphobia. Also convinced the hotel I stayed in was haunted....Rimini, skip it. It's a bit like some of the Jersey shore towns with kitsch. Unwittingly ended up in a gay bar there which got really creepy, same night I got kicked out of a foam party at some huge club.

A lot of the beauty of Italy is stumbling upon random little towns and having a nice lunch and just vegging out. Glad I saw everything and when I travel I like to see as much as possible but I don't think you would be disappointed making Tuscany your home base and it would be really cool to experience it with family I would imagine.
That's an amazing trip - I'd love to do that...

It's for stuff like that that I'm pushing for a posting in Florence or Rome after this one in Bangkok. Fingers crossed!
 
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#23
That’s a helluva parenthetical; would be the trip of a lifetime for most.
Yeah it was a great trip. I was amazed that it went off without a hitch.

Several years ago (2011) I detailed a similar trip on the cesspool that I took in the same area and beyond which took me 3 months. That was epic.
 
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#24
Would like to retire in a year and want to plan a two week vacation in September 2020 and need to decide between Southern France- Provence, Vaucluse- or Italy in Tuscany or Umbria. Would like to stay in just one house and travel from there all around. Hope to get a big enough house for married brothers and sisters to join (4 couples).
Any opinions between these choices? Is it better to be close enough to a neat town/village, or is out in countryside better? Is air-conditioning needed? We’ll have cars to get around. Any tips? Should I forget the family joining and just have fun with spouse?
Both great. Been to both about 6 times each, but my overall fav is Italy. But unless your dining south of Rome, food in France wins hands down IMO.
 

nwhoopfan

hopeless West Coast homer
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#25
I mean, just like NYC is the heart and soul of the states
It is? I think the US is way too big, with too many distinct regional differences, to call NYC the heart and soul of the country. Maybe people living close to NYC think that. The rest of us, nope.
 

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