March 21, 2011, 06:37 AM
7 days in Tuscany
Going to Tuscany in September for 7 full days with my friend (really excited!!) Looking for help with itinerary. We are flying in and out of Rome and would love to see Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Sienna and maybe some beautiful countryside of Chianti region. Is it too ambitios for 7 days? Can you recommend what places better (if so and for how long to stay) to use as a "central" point to stay to explore to save some time on changing accomodations too often? not opposed to renting a car or taking a public transportation - whatever is better... Really looking forward to spend some time to explore little towns to enjoy local food and wine, maybe cycling around the area...any suggestions? Would really appreciate any useful tips or ideas thx!
March 21, 2011, 05:50 PM
7 days in Tuscany (reply)
Since you're flying in and out Rome I assume you're spending at least a couple of days in that wonderful city, aren't you?
As to Tuscany, seven days allow you to see many places but, as you can understand, not everything.
I really recommend to choose Florence as your base. Why? Well, first of all because it is one of the most famous and beautiful Italian cities. Its monuments and its ancient mood will astonish you while walking in the city center. So, first of all, I'd spend the first 2-3 days in Florence.
Moreover if you choose Florence as the "central" point to stay, day trips will be feasable if you want to visit the cities you listed in your post.
As for visiting other cities, train fits your needs perfectly. You won't need the car to visit the most important cities. From Florence railway station, for example, you can reach Pisa and Siena in about 1 hour and Lucca in just one hour and a half.
Moreover, being Lucca and Pisa pretty near each other, you may also visit both on the same day (even if I really suggest to dedicate to Lucca a full day, being more interesting and with more things to see than Pisa).
If you can reach the most important cities by train, to get to smaller tows (especially in the countryside) you'll need a car or rely on tour operators. So just think about how much is it worth renting a car (depending on how short your time is before leaving) and make up your mind consequently.
As regards food you will find plenty of restaurants, wine bars, gelato store and food shops in all these cities (the smaller the better).
Don't hesitate to reply back if you need more help
Kind regards, ciao
Last edited by Fabrizio; March 21, 2011 at 05:52 PM.
March 21, 2011, 09:54 PM
Thank you for such a quick response Fabrizio! its really helpful.
We are not planning on spending any time in Rome this time as we have been there several times on on our previous visits to Italy. Got a very good deal on flights thats why flying in and out of Rome.
This time we really want to explore a beautiful Tuscany.
Great suggestions to spend 2 -3 day in Florence - will definetely do it.
Also wanted to spend some time in a Tuscany countryside. We were thinking to land in Rome and take a train (car?) to some small town (open to suggestions here) to spend 4 days just exploring the little villages, maybe cycling from village to village to have lunch, explore some wineries.Can you recommend what would be the best town or village to stay? Are we better stay in Siena or Cortona rather than a small village? Is it worth to rent a car to drive around or better just take local buses?
After that we plan relocate toFlorence and spend 3 days in there with one side trip to Piza and Lucca.
What do you think? too ambitious?
March 23, 2011, 10:25 AM
7 days in Tuscany (2nd reply)
I'm glad you found my response useful!
From what you wrote, I understand you plan to move to Florence on the last days of your stay.
So, as for the first part of your vacation and if you really want to explore the countryside and the small towns...well, then you will almost necessarily need a car!
Public transportation to reach small villages isn't always the perfect choice when you don't know the territory. I recommend to rent a car because you will enjoy landscapes and views the way you want and also because driving in Tuscan countryside is pretty relaxing.
And as regards the countryside...coming from Rome you can basically choose two areas: Val d'Orcia (south of Siena) and Chianti (between Siena and Florence). I would recommend the latter, being more typical for its hills, towns and.......red wine!
You ask if you'd better stay in Siena or in Cortona....I'd say Cortona isn't exactly near the countryside we're talking about (Tuscany is a big region and Cortona is in Arezzo province, more than 80 kilometers from Siena).
So if you're looking for the typical Tuscan landscape I'd choose Chianti.
And Siena as your (first) base is the best option instead of small towns. From Siena you can explore the countryside by car. Some suggestions: San Gimignano (beautiful!), Monteriggioni (a nearby old castle on top of a hill), Castellina, Greve, Gaiole, the three famous for the red wine.
When you relocate in Florence, enjoy the city center and its monuments first (3 days are better than 2 if you want also to visit Lucca and Pisa).
So my last recommendation is to make a plan of what you want to visit before getting to Tuscany, in order for you to "streamline" your week.
Last edited by Fabrizio; March 25, 2011 at 11:20 AM.
March 23, 2011, 04:43 PM
7 days are fine for exploring Tuscany
A 7 day itinerary of Tuscany is actually very often the exact amount of days most people have in visiting the region - we've actually outlined a suggested 7 day itinerary in Tuscany since so many people request such recommendations. You should look at it although it seems you already have the same destinations in mind.
If you rent a car, you won't have problems with moving around. Aside from avoiding entering the limited traffic areas in Florence and Siena, other towns don't have these limits and parking is easier to find. A good base for you would be the pretty large area between Florence, Siena and San Gimignano, for the most part it is the Chianti area. Consider this B&B near San Gimignano or this B&B in Chianti as good starting points to contact for availability. You can find more ideas here on accommodation in the San Gimignano area to continue your search. If you leave Florence to the end of your trip, return your car as soon as you arrive in Florence so you don't have to worry about parking or driving while in Florence and get back to Rome to the airport by train.
And definitely look into these cycling tours in Tuscany for those days you'd like to be out and about, they offer many options depending on your physical condition and how many hours you want to be out throughout all of Tuscany!
March 25, 2011, 02:36 AM
Thank you SO much for your great suggestions! we decided to stay in San Gimignano while exploring Tuscany countryside. Working on the detailed itinerary and looking B&B to stay in both Florence and San Gimignano now.
Will post the final itinenary once finalized.
many thanks for all your help. you site is awesome!!!
March 26, 2011, 04:58 AM
any suggestion with hotel in Sienna
We finally decided on our trip itinerary and now looking for best (location/price) to stay during our travels.
- 3 days / 4 nights in Sienna with 2 day trips driving to explore the countryside and wine country
- 3 Days in Florence with 1 day trip to Pisa and Lucca
- 1day/1 night night in Rome (to relax and wonder around the big city before a long flight home
Can anyone suggest a nice place to stay in Siena (ideally with a free parking), not far from the city centre so we can enjoy beautiful Siena at night without having to drive to a hotel or walk for long? really want to experience real Tuscan accmodation with beautiful view and real homey feeling... open to any suggestions