August 25, 2009, 02:56 PM
5 nights in Toscana?
We are planning 5 or 6 nights in Tuscany in October, before staying final 3 nights a Firenze.
Do you have suggestions on itinerary when visiting Tuscany?
Would you recommend that we stay 2 days in one area, then another 2 or 3 days in another,etc? What would you recommend?
Not clear on where to locate for all 5-6 nights, whether we should stay in one town or two or three towns.
I had found a nice place near Greve and also near San Gimignano. Not sure if it makes sense geographically.
August 25, 2009, 04:41 PM
maybe 2 places in Tuscany is more convenient...
Whether you want to stay in 1 or 2 places while in Tuscany depends on whether you feel more comfortable getting to know one area and sort of "settling in" into one place or if moving between the two places is fine with you.
If you found two places you like where you can divide up your stay, the main advantage would be that you can cut down on driving times between places you want to see. So if you don't mind moving between one and other, go ahead and stay in both.
If you stay near San Gimignano, you can visit San Gimignano, Volterra, Certaldo and Colle Val'Elsa which are the main ones in that area.
Once you stay in Greve, visit all the small villages in Chianti (Castellina, Greve, Radda, Panzano, Gaiole - they are small so quick to visit) and Siena. If you have time, take a day trip to the area south of Siena into the Crete Senesi and Valdorcia (both are areas). Visit Montalcino and Montepulciano just to drive the roads in between which are very scenic (these are in the Valdorcia).
If you stay in two places, you'll enjoy driving through the Tuscan countryside but not spend too long in the car to get places. If you were to stay just in one place for the 5 nights, it would still be okay but driving time would get longer. Distances are short but the smaller roads are mostly 2 lanes where max speed is 50-70 kph (30-45 mph). The Firenze-Siena roadway allows for speeds up to 90 kph (56mph) that you can sometimes take if you want to get someplace faster, depends on your day's itinerary, but the view isn't as nice.
Once you are in Florence, return the car first thing since you don't really need it once you are in town. If you want to make it out to Pisa to see and climb the Leaning Tower, you can take the train from Florence and spend at least half day there. It is about an hour train ride. Spend the rest of the time enjoying Florence and all its sights.
Hope my suggestions are helpful!
August 26, 2009, 04:07 AM
If we are to spend 6 total nights, would you recommend 2 near San Gimignano, 2 near Greve and 2 near Lucca? Is it worth spending more than a day visiting areas near Lucca/Pisa? Is the true joy of Toscana in the Southern and Central parts? We are trying to figure out how best to spend 6 nights. Perhaps we should go to Bologna or other cities?
In the past, we have spent significant time a Roma, a Firenze, and in Campania. We've also already visited Cinque Terre.
Now Trying to figure out how to best spend 6 nights, a wonderful problem to have.
August 26, 2009, 11:55 AM
Yes, indeed, a wonderful problem to have .
Tuscany is very varied, typically the central and southern areas of the region are the most photographed and thus promoted outside of the region. When people come to visit, most have to visit those areas in order to have their expectations satisfied of what Tuscany is like. But Tuscany is also mountains, valleys, islands and seaside in addition to rolling hills covered with grain or vineyards or olive groves.
It all depends on what you want to do in those days - if you're interested in visiting the villages, their churches and museums, then spending 2 days near Lucca would also be good since it would give you a look into another area of Tuscany, a different town to see. Lucca is beautiful with its walls still intact, today they are a park with benches and sidewalks and you can actually rent a bike and cycle all around the town on the walls. If you do things like this, it is easy to spend an entire day in Lucca. The same goes for Pisa, if you walk around and visit the historical center in addition to just the Piazza dei Miracoli, you can easily spend an entire relaxing day in the city. If you have the time and inclination, drive up from Lucca into the Garfagnana valley and visit Barga and stop at the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil's bridge) along the way. Here are some pictures of what that looks like: Ponte del Diavolo. You'll be close to the Apuan Alps and can enjoy a different side of Tuscany. You can see a lot of pictures of the various parts of the region on the site linked before.
Throughout your 6 days you can also choose to go outside of all of the cities you visit. You don't say exactly when you'll be coming so I am not sure whether it is appropriate or not in that season but most areas in Tuscany are covered with trails - you can rent mountain bikes and cycle or just walk, short trails or long, in the countryside that surrounds the town. You can also visit wine shops in Montalcino and Montepulciano and Chianti and San Gimignano and do tastings. In Volterra watch some of the artisans as they shape alabaster stone into works of art. Colle Val d'Elsa is Italy's capital for crystal production, you'll be hard pressed to not buy something.
I've personally found that when making plans I want to see lots and lots of things, but once we are there, we prefer to take it slow and see things. Maybe we won't see everything I wanted but the things we do see and do remain in my mind for a long while. So stay flexible and once you are in each place, you'll see you have lots of options of what to see and do.
September 7, 2009, 02:15 AM
WOuld you have recommendations of agriturismo or places to stay for this 5 night trip through Toscana? We agree it makes sense to stay in multiple places to make it easier on our driving. grazie!
September 18, 2009, 10:49 AM
In Greve, you could stay at an apartment in the main square of Greve, the Residenza Verrazzano, so that you are centrally located and can visit all of Chianti.
In San Gimignano, you could stay at Casolare di Libbiano, a bed and breakfast in a farmhouse not too far from the town. Would give you a taste of the Tuscan countryside while the first one is inside a small town.
If you end up going to Garfagnana north of Lucca, we stayed at the Eliseo B&B and it was great for going to the Wind Cave nearby as well as hiking in the area.
The first two might be the best for your itinerary in central Tuscany as staying at these two would cover a wider area and make it easier for your 5 days.
October 1, 2009, 04:36 PM
We stayed at Castello di Querceto which is about halfway in between Greve and the highway.
Beautifull place and it was quite cheap to (450 euro for 7 days)