August 1, 2009, 09:03 PM
6 nights in Tuscany - One home base vs multiple cities
This is a great site, with very informative forums for discussion!
My partner and I are traveling to Italy in September, and are planning to stay in Tuscany September 8-14. We have already visited Florence on a previous trip, so we would like to visit other areas of Tuscany. We plan to travel using trains rather than by car, as train travel appears to be efficient throughout the region.
My question is this: Should we stay in one centralized location for all six nights, or change hotels mid-way? We considered staying three nights in Lucca and three nights in Siena so we could see two distinct areas of the region. We would like to see Viareggio, Pisa, the area around Garfagnana, and possibly even La Spezia (all near Lucca), and San Gimignano and Monteriggioni (near Siena). We're certainly open to other cities and towns as well. Is there a good central city or town to call home for the entire time? We like staying at least three nights in a hotel so we're not constantly packing and unpacking.
Any advice you all could provide would be fantastic!
Thanks so much in advance,
August 8, 2009, 01:01 AM
Ciao Ric and welcome to our forum!
Your plan of staying in two cities sounds better than finding one central one. You want to reduce the time it takes to move around from place to place and this will make trip times shorter.
Lucca is a great city from which to visit the western area of the region, from Pisa and Viareggio to Cinque Terre. You can take the train to Barga and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to visit the valley in the Apuan Alps.
Problem will be for the area around Siena. While you can reach Siena by train, there is only one set of tracks through the area that go from Empoli through Castelfiorentino, Certaldo, Poggibonsi and on to Siena. To be central to go places you'd have to stay in Poggibonsi as it is the one through which both trains and buses go through the most that way you'll have more choices. Just be aware that the city is not high on charm since it has developed industrially. Make sure to stay close to the train station and historical center, not on the outskirts where all you see are warehouses.
From here you can very easily reach San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Colle Val d'Elsa, Volterra, Certaldo and Siena by bus. You can also head towards into Chianti by bus - make sure to get bus timetables as soon as you get in so that you can plan your days accordingly.
August 11, 2009, 01:56 PM
Thanks for the advice! We've decided to stay in Lucca for three days and then rent a car for the other three days, and we're staying just outside San Gimignano.
August 11, 2009, 10:49 PM
Your plan sounds great. I think renting a car while in the central area of Tuscany is the best way to see the area. San Gimignano and the area nearby is beautiful, I am sure you'll have a great time.
Hope you have a great time in Tuscany, and if you can, we'd love if you come back and share your experience, thoughts and impressions with the rest of us.
August 15, 2009, 10:56 PM
other ideas for your visit
For your days in San Gimigiano with a car, a drive through Chianti to Badia a Coltibuono (they have a website) for lunch would make for a wonderful day. It is very high in the hills, great vistas, great food.
The routine that we have found best for visiting the smaller towns with a car is to set out in the morning, see some sites, then find a nice spot for a long lunch since many places you might want to visit close for a few hours at midday. Then, walk a bit more, see some more sites, return to home base for a bit of a break, then out for the evening.
Hope you love Tuscany as much as we do.