3 days in Tuscany by car
Hi, my husband and I plan to travel to Italy later next week and we plan to spend 3 days in Tuscany area. We will arrive by train from Luzerne to one of the Tuscany region but we are not sure which city we should begin to explore Tuscany.
I would love to spend 1 day to go to Cinque Terre (by train) and I will rent a car for the rest of two days.
We can fly out from Pisa or Rome to Palermo, depending where is the last stop of our Tuscany trip and the route too. Now, I am not sure if I should begin from South to North and go to Cinque Terre at the last day and fly out from Pisa to Palermo on the fourth day OR go from Cinque Terre first, followed with two days driving tour around Tuscany.
Do you have any suggestion about the route and places we should visit? We love to visit some Tuscan winery too. I probably will spend just a couple hour at Florence since I've been there before.
Cinque Terre first, then head southeast...
Ciao foodtravelblog and welcome to our forum! (mmm, will you be blogging about where you eat in Tuscany? let me know, i'd love to read about your experiences!)
If you will be arriving by train from Lucerne, maybe it makes more sense to go to Cinque Terre first. Getting there by train is the best way anyways.
From Cinque Terre I suggest you also take the train down to Pisa airport and rent a car there, thus starting your itinerary from north to south.
From Pisa you should head towards Chianti, the wine region to the south of Florence and north of Siena. There are a lot of wineries off the "Chiantigiana" road, the SS222 around Greve in Chianti -- check out this other thread that had suggestions for wineries, many with set days and hours for wine tasting, otherwise contact them ahead of time: Wineries - by ourselves with a rented car
That day I'd focus on visiting the Chianti area, maybe visit San Gimignano towards the second half of the day and stay somewhere in the area, maybe to the south of San Gimignano.
The following day you can then head down south of Siena, go to Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano. As you drive there, you will get a chance to see the beautiful landscapes of the Crete Senesi and the Valdorcia -- landscapes you normally see on postcards or calendars from Tuscany.
From here you can then keep on heading south towards Rome to catch your plane to Palermo the following day -- a 2 1/2 hour drive. The drive to Pisa is almost the same amount of time, but by heading south you continue seeing different views of Italy.
Hope you have a wonderful trip through Tuscany!
Recommendation place to stay
Thank you so much for your reply...
Do you have any suggestion for a budget place to stay for one day at cinque terre and one day around Montalcino area? I probably will take your suggestion to go to CT first and rent a car at pisa then heading south to Rome. My other question is, if I would like to visit Florence for couple hours is it possible driving in Florence? Because I read that some area in Florence is restricted for driving.
Note: Sure I would love to blog about Tuscany at my blog later
Last edited by foodtravelblog; May 7, 2009 at 08:40 AM.
For Cinque Terre, I can only suggest the bed and breakfast where we stayed at when we went a few weeks ago.
It was in Manarola and called da Baranin (http://www.baranin.com/) - one night was 90 euro in a small room for two. The room was small, clean and looked very new - the breakfast was very good and hearty and offered a variety of savory and sweet choices.
There might be other places that cost less --- we saw lots of homes advertising rooms just on small signs on windows or doors. These are hard to find on the web since they don't have sites. The best way would be to use the form on http://www.cinqueterre.it/ and ask for them to find an available room - you just need to decide where you want to spend the night. We really liked Vernazza, Manarola and Rio Maggiore.
I found this other one with lower rates in Riomaggiore: http://www.ilvigneto5terre.com
For Florence it is definitely possible for you to drive into the city but look at a map of the city before you get here --- you will notice that there is a large circular boulevard around the city. This is called the "viale di circonvalazione" and basically it surrounds Florence's historical center. This is the part you want to avoid entering with your car. Access is restricted because of course this is the old part of the city and not really made for cars. Parking is hard to find and costly, and you need a special pass to get in, if you enter without one, you get fined heavily. It is full of one way, narrow streets as well, hard to navigate too so avoid at all costs taking a wrong turn and getting into this area on car.
If you're coming from Pisa or from Chianti, you'll enter the city and traffic naturally takes you to this "viale"... there are several parking lots along this boulevard so I recommend parking at one of these and walking the less than 10-15 minutes it takes to see all of the sights in the city. Or take a bus or taxi if you don't feel like walking - Florence's center is quite small so you'll find it isn't far.
Some of the parking lots I recommend along the viali - Piazza della Liberta', Beccaria or San Ambrogio.
Hope this extra info will be useful! Let me know if something isn't clear... and let me know where I can find your blog
Thank you so much for your detailed explanation.
How about budget Siena accommodation which I can stay during my trip to Rome, do you have anything in mind?
I probably will park my car when I arrived at Florence and do a quick city walk and continue my trip to Siena for the rest of the day.
Here is the link of my blog if you want to read some of my stories
http://www.foodtravelblog.com/blog/ feel free to leave a feedback.
For Siena, my suggestion would be to stay outside of the historical center but close enough to it so that you can enjoy it that whole afternoon and evening. Since you'll have a car, you'll have to be careful about where you can enter with it and where you park just as in Florence.
Budget in Siena is not that easy to come by... but since so many lodgings in Florence have brought prices down recently, that might be the case in Siena as well so contact these and see what prices they offer (some have prices on their sites that have not been updated in a while).
http://www.fontedeitufi.com/ - just outside the walls, with private parking included and walking distance from the center.
http://www.casamastacchi.com/ - within the center but with good rates.. to see whether public parking cost during the night won't raise total cost to the same as the others
http://www.anticaresidenzacicogna.it/ - within the center
http://www.hotelarcobaleno.com/ - another one outside the walls, a little bit further away though
http://www.almercatobb.it/ - the b&b is really central, right behind piazza del campo so if you want to stay in the heart of the city this could work out well
If you want to see a more complete list of what is available, do a search on the official Siena tourism board website: http://www.terresiena.it/
I took a quick look at your blog, it looks great! you've been to so many places, lucky you! I will read it more completely as soon as I get a chance. I also look forward to reading what you post about your trip to Italy .
Hope you have a great time!
Possibly changing itinerary
I might consider to get a rail pass for this trip, if I can get one I will need to change itinerary.
The first day: Arrived at Cinque Terre and spend a whole day at CT
The second day: Leaving CT in the morning going to Pisa and Florence by train and in the afternoon continue going to southern Tuscany (chianti and siena area).
The third day: Rent a car/ scooter for a day to go to Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano. After dinner, take a train to Rome (to avoid rental car drop fee if we return at different place from where we rent)
Is it possible to go around chianti area by train or public transportation to visit winery?
Are there public transportation going from Siena to Monticchiello?
I know it will not be convenient going around Tuscany without a car, please do let me know if you still think I need to rent a car for two days during my stay at Tuscany. I will still consider about that option too!
Sorry for asking you so many question. I really appreciate it.
Last edited by foodtravelblog; May 9, 2009 at 09:54 AM.
Depending on how much you plan to be in Italy and travel, a rail pass might not be necessary (or more convenient economically-speaking).
Check out the train schedules on www.trenitalia.com and check each section of your trip (Cinque Terre to Florence, Florence-Siena, Siena-Rome, etc.). You'll see time tables as well as costs and this way you can compare and decide whether a rail pass would be more convenient or not.
If you decide to buy tickets for each of the trips you make, you don't really need to buy them online ahead of time either. You can get them once you are here - if you travel second-class on regional trains, there is no assigned seating and the tickets are not for a specific train or day between your departing city and arrival destination - they are valid for up to 3 months after you buy them, just remember to validate them in the yellow boxes in the train station before you hop on the train.
Chianti by train - not possible; by bus on your limited time - not recommended
You will do fine moving by train from Cinque Terre to Pisa, Florence and Siena. But Chianti is not possible on train and bus service does exist but seeing as your time is limited I wouldn't recommend on counting on it.
Renting a car for just 1 day (your 3rd day) sounds like the best option to see Pienza, Montepulciano and Montalcino. You can then visit wineries in that area - both Montalcino and Montepulciano are famous for their wines. Pienza is more famous for its pecorino cheese (made from sheep's milk).
There doesn't seem to be public transport to Monticchiello from Siena. It is 6km from Pienza and there is a bus (#112) from Siena to Pienza. You can map bus service from Siena using this online tool: http://www.busfox.com/timetable/
Are you planning to stay in Monticchiello? Since accommodation there might be in the countryside, you might need a car to get there.
Don't worry about asking! I try to help as much as I can with what I know so that you and others can plan your trip the way you envision it.
We all have different ideas of what we want to do in Tuscany, how we want to experience it so I just hope my suggestions prove to be useful as you plan your trip!
May 12, 2009, 07:26 PM
Thank you :)
I originally wanted to buy eurail select pass 3 country that has a promotion for $125 only. Unfortunately it sells out quickly and I couldn't get one. So, I am back with my first itinerary which I will rent a car for two days. Started from Pisa and drop off the car at Rome.
I will stay at Monticchiello one night. Do you have any winery recommendation that I should visit around chianti area? Do I need to make reservation ahead?
Any must-visit restaurant for having dinner around Monticchiello area?
Note: I found the link about Chianti winery thanks
Last edited by foodtravelblog; May 13, 2009 at 10:16 AM.
May 13, 2009, 06:49 PM
oh no! that did sound like a good deal for the eurail pass!!
For Monticchiello - you'll be right in the area between Pienza and Montepulciano so I am sure you can't really go wrong wherever you choose to it.
I just got a book I am browsing about places to eat in Florence and it has a few in Tuscany - I will definitely start trying out some of these suggestions to be able to add some reviews to the site.
In the meantime, here are some recommendations for fine dining in the area:
near Montalcino: Fattoria dei Barbi - a full service winery with restaurant, wine cellars and wine tour, wine shop. www.fattoriadeibarbi.it
near Pienza: La Romita - http://www.laromita.it/ - has both a restaurant and osteria, it is also an agriturismo
near Montepulciano, in Cetona - La Frateria di Padre Eligio, for real gourmets, a monastery converted into a fine restaurant, cost is around 80 euros per person - http://www.lafrateria.it/ - many of the dishes use ingredients grown and raised by the community. The review says the whole meal is an experience and cannot be compared to eating at a fancy eatery in the city center.
If you try any of these out, let us know how it goes!!