November 15, 2011, 08:25 AM
My family is thinking of driving to Siena from Rome. Are there places that we can pass by on our way to Siena? Also we will be in Siena on Dec 29-31 and will go & stay in Florence from Dec 31-Jan 3. We wish to stay in place with a panoramic view of the Tuscany. Also will it be safe to go & stay in Siena during this time as it is winter season? We will be renting a car. Will the roads be slippery? Can you also recommend a place where we can stay on Siena with excellent views? We will be travelling with our 20months old son. What can we do in Siena?
Thamk you very much and more power!
November 22, 2011, 03:31 PM
Driving from Rome to Siena (and then on to Florence) at the end of the year should not be a problem in terms of safety. You do drive through the Apennines and should make sure your rental car has snow tires or chains in case you were to run into some snow on the drive up, but aside from that part of your drive, you are unlikely to find any snow in Tuscany.
It only snows in the higher elevations along the Apennines (above Arezzo and to the east of the Casentino valley, just to try to place the area), but since you're heading to Siena and then on to Florence, you will not be in areas where it snows. There have been unusual occurrences of snow the last 2 years, but they have been really exceptional and they were a matter of 1-2 days of snow and that was it for the winter.
As for your drive to Siena: are you planning to take it slow and want to make several stops along the way? Traveling with a small child you likely don't want to make the drive too long but I understand a stop halfway might be the best to break the drive. On this drive, I often recommend stopping in Orvieto which is in Umbria, about halfway between Rome and Siena. It is a very charming small hilltop town built on an outcropping of tuff stone. Many of the buildings in town are made with this rock and there are extraordinary views of the town and the surrounding countryside. The cathedral is beautiful and it could be perfect for a break and lunch.
Siena is built on several hills so if you stay in the town you'll likely have good views all around.
We personally stayed at Locanda di San Martino when we went about 2 years ago and our room was on the top floor from which we had beautiful views over all of Siena. It was also pretty close to the walls so that we were able to park outside the ZTL and then walk to the hotel (avoiding fines since the center is a ZTL, limited traffic area for residents only). You can of course also head directly to a parking lot - the Porta Romana lot for example is the closest to the Locanda San Martino. Look at the map of all parking lots in Siena.
Take a look at other hotels in Siena and B&Bs.
Siena is a beautiful town - I highly recommend making the climb up the Torre del Mangia, the tower of the city hall building from which you'll be able to see all over Siena and down into the Piazza del Campo. Go to the Duomo and enjoy the mosaic paintings on the ground - stunning!! The same goes for the Piccolomini Library. We recommend getting the entire Siena Pass so that you can also visit the crypt and the baptistery, truly worth seeing. The Pinanoteca or picture gallery is also very nice, but you can see how it goes with your toddler if he has the patience to endure all this time indoors
December 10, 2011, 06:13 AM
Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions. I have some more questions if you don't mind : )
We will be in Siena from Dec 29 - 31st...and then go to Florence on Dec 31st-Jan 3. And since Jan 1st is a New Year, I am assuming all stores, museums etc are closed, is this right? Are there attractions that will be open on Jan 1st? Do you recommend that we stay 3nights in Siena and 2 nights in Florence instead? I think its better to relax in the Tuscany Hills on Jan 1st if all museums and shops are closed than in the city right? What can you suggest? Is Siena better than Chianti or are there any other city that you recommend we stay other than Siena and Chianti? If we stay in Siena where can you suggest that we go for sight seeing?
Thanks so much and best to you, Lourdes!
December 10, 2011, 08:06 PM
Ciao again! You're right, museums and stores will be closed on the 1st of January.... what many people do on the 1st after eating and drinking all night is sleep in and then go out for walks downtown among the monuments. Since you'll already have spent 2 full days in Siena, I think it would be a good idea to move on to Florence on the 31st and that way also be able to attend the new year's eve celebrations that will be held in several of Florence squares. Not sure of the details yet, but there will likely be classical music in one, pop/rock in another, gospel in another...... will be posting soon details as soon as we learn them. They are sponsored by the city and they are pretty bad about communicating well in advance what is planned. We just know so far that Italian rap-funk singer Caparezza will be performing in Piazza Santa Maria Novella for the 31st... he is pretty big so expect big crowds (including us if we can make it!)
In any case, since you'll just have arrived into Florence on the 31st, you won't have seen much and can definitely enjoy spending the 1st outdoors - Florence IS an open air museum, you don't need to go inside to see works of art and architecture since they are all over the place as statues on palaces, churches and in squares. Restaurants and bars will be open so you shouldn't have problems finding places to eat, which is most important Everything will be open on the 2nd.
December 14, 2011, 10:32 PM
Accomodations in/near Siena
Hi again Lourdes : ))
Thanks for the very detailed information. I can't wait to visit Siena soon and we only have a couple of days left before our much awaited trip. Having said this, we still dont have a place to stay to in Siena. There are just so many places to choose from and I couldn't make up my mind on where to stay. Well actually there's this one place that I saw from your website's "Home" when I first chanced upon your site and I was trying to look for it for days now and I couldn't find it anymore until I found the photo of the place. I think it was this one:
Would you know the name of this place? Also do know any more places where we can stay in or near Siena aside from Podere Cunina? We wanted a similar place with amazing view like the Podere Cunina? Thanks in advance : ))
December 14, 2011, 10:35 PM
December 14, 2011, 10:49 PM
I can't seem to attach the picture... anyways, its like on a hill and on the picture it says A Farmhouse in Valdorcia : (
December 14, 2011, 10:53 PM
OMG my mistake....the picture actually was Podere Cunina : ) so sorry for the confusion...anyways do you know any more places like Podere Cunina with amazing view? Thanks so much
December 15, 2011, 10:00 AM
Ciao Rassell - don't worry, I hadn't realized it was so hard to link to the slideshow either but it seems it is because it is a slideshow that it works like that. Podere Cunina has amazing views of what is called the Crete Senesi, another one in the same are and also close to Siena is San Giovanni in Poggio. These are both to the south of Siena, halfway between Siena and the Valdorcia so they'd be really convenient for visiting the area and as you come up from Rome. You can view more options for accommodations in the Crete Senesi here.