August 15, 2009, 02:59 PM
September 2010 Tuscany visit
My partner & I are planning a trip to Italy in Sept. 2010 and have a week to spend in Tuscany & Rome before we head out on a cruise. We'd like to spend 6 days in Tuscany and then 2 in Rome before we head out.
After reading some of the posts it seems the best choice for us is to rent a car and stay somewhere outside the main cities as we'd like to visit the coast, Pisa, Siena, San Gimigiano and Florence....other suggestions welcome.
Where should we make our base so we can explore the area best.
Also if some of this is doable without a car please advise.
August 18, 2009, 12:30 AM
where to stay for 6 days
If you want the flavour of the Tuscan landscape with the occasional hit of city life and museums, an agriturismo would be a good choice. Usually they rent Sat. to Sat., but, I've found them to be a little more flexible this year for the Fall. If you'd rather be "within the walls," go for a hotel or b&b in two different towns, maybe Lucca or Pisa and Florence.
Around Lucca is a nice area and easy to reach from Florence and Pisa. San Gimigiano is a bit further, though, so another option would be somewhere between Pisa and Florence. One thing to look for if you go the agriturismo route is proximity to a major road so you won't feel like you've driven all day just to get to the start of your route.
You said you "have to" stay in Tuscany for a week. It shouldn't be a hardship!
August 18, 2009, 11:08 AM
doable without a car but depends on where you stay
An agriturismo in the countryside would definitely be a good idea since you'd like to see Florence and Siena but also other Tuscan towns such as Pisa, San Gimignano and the coast. You can enjoy the quiet of the countryside and drivie on scenic roads while doing day trips into the cities. The "agriturismo", or farm holidays as they are often called, generally want 7 day stays during high season but are flexible in other periods of the year.
To get to all these places quicker, you should stay close to the FI-PI-LI roadway that joins Florence to Pisa and then to Livorno. I'd recommend the area between San Miniato and Castelfiorentino and Certaldo as a good base.
If you stay within the towns of Empoli, Castelfiorentino or Certaldo your trip might be doable without a car as they are all along the train line that connects at Empoli on the Pisa-Florence train line and that then goes south to Poggibonsi and on to Siena.
For example, if you stay in Castelfiorentino you can take the train north to Empoli. From Empoli, you can either head east toward Pisa and the coast (Viareggio for example) or west to Florence.
Or you can head south toward Poggibonsi and from here catch the short bus ride into San Gimignano.... or stay on the train and continue on to Siena. From Siena, on your last day, you can continue south by train to Rome.
So your itinerary could be entirely doable without a car BUT you'll have to very carefully choose where you stay at (check precise locations of lodgings as many agriturismo ARE indeed out in the countryside and not within walking distance into the nearest town - although they might be willing to drop you off at the local train station if they aren't that far out of town).
Hope you enjoy planning your trip!
August 18, 2009, 03:45 PM
Thanks for the advice. I'll look into the towns you mentioned and we probably will stay in a more accessible location then a farm that may be out of the way.