November 26, 2014, 01:21 PM
Self Guided Trip to Siena & Chianti
My friend and I are spending 3 months is Florence (crazy, I know) and would love to plan a trip to Chianti & Siena. We are open to spending a couple/few nights in the area to completing see what the region has to offer and to not rush in any way. We really want to soak in the sites. We are open to renting a car so we can see the areas at our leisure, and sounds like a fun adventure. I have read many of your posts in regards to going to: Greve, Monteriggioni, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Chianti, etc.
Can you please give me suggestions are how you think we should best plan our journey and where you suggest we stay the night. All your posts are very informative and I look forward to your suggestions.
November 28, 2014, 10:29 AM
3 months is not crazy at all, have you already been to Florence before? Lots of people stay longer and do some type of studying, like Italian language or art related, like painting, printing or sculpture... or fashion related ;-). There is lots to do, if you have the time to stay longer.
Since you'll have the time, I definitely do recommend renting a car and spending at least 3-5 days in Chianti and Siena, maybe doing 3 nights in Chianti and 2 in Siena. The car will be necessary for Chianti, as buses are limited and train tracks don't cross through it.
If you want to include Montepulciano, which is to the south of Siena in the Val d'Orcia area, then I'd suggest spending at least another 3 days in that area..... consider you could also split these trips up during the 3 months, maybe doing a long weekend in each place rather than doing it all together.
So maybe 3 nights in Chianti when you could see Greve, Panzano, Castellina, San Gimignano, with a quick stop in Monteriggioni and Colle Val d'Elsa.
Siena is easily reachable by bus from Florence so if you do it on another weekend you don't need to rent a car at all! Mmmm, you didn't say what period of the year you're coming... so depending on what time, it could mean coming when the city is more or less busy. It still retains its small town atmosphere, and is very charming. I really like Siena as well.
I'd recommend then giving another 3-4 nights to the Val d'Orcia and exploring that area - Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino - there are a lot of other small towns in the area that merit a short visit as well. Montichiello, San Quirico d'Orcia, Bagno Vignoni (thermal springs - with external, free area to go in) are just a few of these other small towns you could stop by! You will need a car for this area too.
As to where to stay the night, if you do divide the small trips you should stay in a central area to each - I'd say either San Gimignano or Castellina in Chianti for the first, in Siena town for sure if you go to just spend time in Siena (there is a lot to see) and San Quiricio d'Orcia for the Val d'Orcia. You can start browsing for places to stay at here: www.tuscanyaccommodation.com!
If you have more questions as you continue planning, feel free to post and we hope we can be of help!
November 28, 2014, 04:23 PM
This is very helpful! We will definitely split up the trip and start with the 3 nights in Chianti. I did not clarify, we are here now . We will plan our Chianti trip for next week. Then we will plan a trip to Siena, and possibly add a trip to Val d' Orchia!
Is there a place we can easily map our drive to Greve, Panzano, Castellina, San Gimignano, with a quick stop in Monteriggioni and Colle Val d'Elsa? Or, should we just use our own maps and resources?
Thank you!!! Xo
November 29, 2014, 05:42 PM
HAHA! You didn't specify and I just assumed - most of our readers post months ahead of time so that was just my assumption ;-)!
If you don't have a GPS to guide you in your travels, I'd plan everything with Google Maps, it has up to date maps and generally suggests the best routes.
For Chianti, the best one would be sort of circular but if you stay centrally, then you can head in one direction each day... do Greve, Panzano and Castellina on one day, Monteriggioni and Colle on another, and San Gimignano on another. Of course stop along the way at other places if you have the time or inclination because a place looks interesting... smaller villages you chance upon will depend on where you end up staying and the roads you take to get to these places. From Florence, you can also head down the Chiantigiana (SS222) to head to Greve directly already on your way down ;-).