September 20, 2009, 04:57 PM
Visiting Tuscany next October
My husband and I together with our son of two years will be visiting Tuscany next month for 7 days. We will be staying in one hotel in Pisa.
The places we wish to visit are Chianti, Florence, San Giminano, Siena, Volterra, Certaldo. Are we asking too much for 7 days? We have hired a car for the whole 7 days of our stay. Kindly also indicate any other places which you deem would be worth visiting.
How do you think should we plan our holiday, ie which place to visit first, etc.
Would appreciate if you can highlight any places of interest for our son, like parks, zoos, etc.
Thanks for your kind assistance.
September 21, 2009, 08:37 PM
I don't think you have too much planned for your 7 days. Chianti is an area between Florence and Siena so of course you can spend a whole day there. San Gimignano and Volterra can likely be combined into one day. Since you're going to be in Pisa, and driving back at the end of each night, you just have to map which roads to take each day out to maximize what you see.
You should definitely see Pisa as well, so don't just leave it for just evenings. Climbing the Leaning Tower is an incredible experience I highly recommend and that is only possible during the set opening hours.
It is hard to recommend in what order you should see things, but if you go ahead and map each of the locations you should be able to figure out which ones to see together... for example, see Certaldo on the same day you go to San Gimignano, from there go to Volterra then head back toward Pisa through the more direct road - doing a sort of ring in the end. You get to drive pretty scenic roads this way, see various sides of Tuscany.
Spend a day in Florence, another in Siena. You could try to fit in a half day in Lucca as it is closer to Pisa on one day, to limit the driving you are doing every day out. This is the day you can do half Pisa, half Lucca.
You'll find gardens and parks with children's play areas in all of the cities - as you arrive in each place, head toward the "tourism offices" for free maps and while there ask them to mark on the map the play areas so that you can know where to head when your son needs some time to just run and play and where you both can sit down and relax. If the weather is still pretty good, you can also plan on buying some panini or cooked pasta dishes or grilled chicken at a local supermarket that are perfect for an impromptu picnic, you'll see whether that is possible once you are here. A favorite for children is the Pinocchio Park in Collodi near Pistoia as well as the wild animal zoo in Pistoia.
I recommend you plan a tentative schedule for your 7 days but stay flexible on mixing up the order of the days. There is no one, "best" way to arrange your days while here. Tuscany, and Italy for that matter, is best enjoyed slowly and calmly. I hope your whole family will enjoy your time here .
October 2, 2009, 02:42 PM
Toll Road Fees
Thank you very much for the information you provided us. We found it very very useful for our planning.
We have yet another question please Can you please indicate from where can we get the fees for the toll/partial toll roads in tuscany?
We greatly appreciate your tips.
October 5, 2009, 11:04 PM
The toll roads are managed by Autostrade - if you go to their site and map out your journey and your journey happens to go on toll roads, they'll tell you the cost.
For example, from Florence to Lucca you travel on the toll road A11 and the cost is €3,70.
There aren't that many toll roads in Tuscany per se - you have the A1 that crosses north-south and joins Florence to Rome and to Bologna, then the A11 that goes from east-west from Florence to Lucca and joins the A12 which goes north-south along the coast and ends a bit south of Livorno.
Two other major roads from Florence are the Firenze-Siena roadway, which is free, as is the FI-PI-LI motorway that takes you to Pisa and on to Livorno (runs to the south parallel to the A11). So most roads in Tuscany are not toll roads.
Hope these tips are useful!