August 16, 2009, 10:09 PM
Two Weeks in Tuscany
Ciao là, ché grande tribuna!
We're heading to Tuscany on the 5th September for two weeks, staying at a farm 7km south of San Miniato, half way between Pisa and Florence. It's our first time in Tuscany, and we chose San Miniato as it's pretty central. Just a couple of questions for those who know - how long does it really take to drive from Pisa airport to San Miniato on a Saturday morning? The GPS reckons about an hour which sounds about right... And for city visits, Florence, Lucca and Pisa, would it be easier to take the train rather than drive?
We're planning on trying to see a good bit of the region, including Arezzo, Monteriggioni, Montepulciano and Maremma, hopefully Siena as well.
Totally excited and canny wait to go
Rory & Julie
August 17, 2009, 05:30 PM
Rory & Julie....
My Husband & I just recently visited Tuscany and had a blast! We had the same reservations when we first planned our trip. We weren't sure how driving would be and well would we even understand the signs etc. We started out originally in Paris and made our way down through Italy. We absolutely loved Tuscany and it was extremely easy to drive through. I wouldn't worry about the time.... Everyone drives rather fast there ;-)
It's also a very easy place to drive....There are tons of rest stops and my favorite, the "AutoGrill".... For a stop off, the food is great and the people are always so friendly!
I hope you drive & have a blast....We had so much fun we're going back next summer for another 2 weeks!
August 18, 2009, 12:11 AM
driving to Pisa and Lucca
We've driven from Lucca via Pisa to San Miniato in one day and had time to see the major sites in Pisa. I've also stayed there a week and not been bored. Both Lucca and Pisa have good parking within easy walking distance of the main sites, so driving is fine. Also, it gives you a chance to take the smaller roads - less congested, more scenic and fun to drive on.
In Pisa a couple of lesser known museums that are more than worth a visit if their subject matter interests you are:
for medieval art: Museo Nazionale di San Matteo (National Museum of St. Matthew) - Lungarno Mediceo, Piazza San Matteo 1, Pisa, Italy
Tel: +39 (0)50 565 047
for seafarers: Le Navi Antiche di Pisa (Lungarno Simonelli Museum) - Medici Arsenale, Ponte della Cittadella Pisa, Italy
The boat ride on the river is a good outing too.
I've driven in Florence, but wouldn't recommend it. The train is very central if there's a connection from San Miniato. Most small Itallian towns that have a train service also have parking at the station, so there's no hassle leaving your car for the day.
Hope you have a great trip.
August 18, 2009, 10:43 AM
take train to Florence, drive everywhere else
Ciao Rory and welcome to our Forum!
We recently drove from Florence to the Pisa airport and the drive was about an hour and 20 minutes. San Miniato is closer so I reckon it is less than an hour's drive - Google Maps estimates about 45 min (http://maps.google.it/maps?f=d&sourc...1&ie=UTF8&z=11) - plus any eventual traffic.
Like the others have mentioned above (thank you Barbara and Scrittore!), driving anywhere in Italy takes a little getting used to. Signs are also a bit different but once you get used to how they are used, you won't find driving too difficult.
You can easily drive to and not have problems finding parking in Pisa and Lucca and most towns in Tuscany including Siena. Florence is another matter since traffic just gets crazy during certain hours of the day and figuring out where to go to park can get complicated. So for all places in Tuscany you want to visit, use your car but for Florence take the train from San Miniato.
The Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence is very central and walking distance to all of the main sights. San Miniato is divided into San Miniato Alto (on a hill) and San Miniato Basso (where you'll find the train station) and there are connections to Florence throughout the day. The ride takes about 40 min and costs 3,60 euro each way. You can see timetables on www.ferroviedellostato.it
Have a great trip!