July 21, 2009, 03:02 AM
Tuscany, Florence, Siena, Cinque Terre.. in 4 days?
My fiance and I are going to Italy at the very end of August for 9 days. We were going to spend about 3 to 4 days in Tuscany / Florence.. but we're not sure how to best plan out our limited time there. Can we base ourselves in Florence and cover everything that we want to do?
Of course we want to spend at least one full day exploring Florence and all the musuems etc.
We also want to spend some time visiting wineries and doing wine tastings. Are there any must see wineries that anyone can recommend? We weren't going to rent a car, so are there any organized tours we can take? or buses / trains that will take us there? Should we allocate a whole day for this?
Many friends have also recommended spending some time exploring Cinque Terre - is this possible in a day? and whats the best way to go about this?
Siena is also recommended - how far is it from Florence, and what must see sites / activities are there to see / do?
Any advice is much appreciated! We know its ambitous, but we don't know when we'll be back in Italy and want to make the most of our time! After Florence / Tuscany we will be heading to Venice for 2 days.
July 24, 2009, 06:06 PM
Hi DC Girl and welcome to our DT forum!
I think your trip plan is a bit intensive but I know Italy offers so many things to see!
Florence would be a good base for your 4 days in Tuscany and Cinque Terre.
One day for visiting Florence is not a lot, I suggest you take a look at our guide Visit Florence to decide which museums and sites you definitely can't miss.
The Cinque Terre are really beautiful but quite far from Florence. You can reach the area in about 2 hour and half by train (certainly the best way to go there). Riomaggiore is the first of the Cinque Terre (literally Five Lands) you'll reach by train.
The climate at the end of August is probably too hot for hiking, however I think you' ll find some useful advice in our post about a weekend at the Cinque Terre.
Siena is the second largest city in Tuscany and really is a lovely medieval gem.
You can easily reach Siena from Florence catching a SITA bus (the departures are close to Santa Maria Novella train station). It takes about 1 hour and half. Here you can find the timetable http://www.sitabus.it/sita-toscana/F...0-%20Siena.pdf.
Don't miss to visit the beautiful gothic Cathedral (for more info, read our article about the Duomo in Siena).
Concerning the wine tours I suggest you to contact Vinarium which offers different interesting guided tours.
I hope this information turns out useful, let us know whether you have any other doubts or questions!
July 26, 2009, 02:17 PM
Intense but doable
Ciao DC Girl,
Cristina already offered some great pointers above.
Just want to add that 3-4 days to do all the things you mention might be a very ambitious plan but doable - you won't get much rest but you'll do all you want to do.
1 day in Florence
1 day in Siena - highly recommend visiting the Duomo with the OPA Si Pass - for just 10 euro, you see the cathedral, baptistery, crypt and museum from which you can enjoy a great view over all of Siena!
1 day wine tasting/ tour in Chianti or nearby - definitely go through something planned so you don't have to drive and you get to drink wine and relax
1 day in Cinque Terre
Since you're heading up north after your few days in Tuscany then I recommend putting Cinque Terre at the end so that you can head towards Venice from there instead of going back to Florence. Spend the night in the area in one of the 5 towns or in Levanto, Portovenere or La Spezia -- check train schedules so that you can see which is the best from which to leave for Venice early the morning after.
August will be hot so for Cinque Terre buy the park pass that includes unlimited train travel and hop on the train between each of the 5 towns. The part of the path between Riomaggiore and Manarola is called the "path of love" and is flat so do that one on foot for sure with your fiance