March 10, 2014, 09:30 PM
We are fortunate to be in Tuscany for 5 nights. We would have just left Rome on the 19th of June and we will be in Venice from the 24th onwards. We have therefore 5 nights in Tuscany. Currently were leaning to do 2 nights in Siena and 3 nights in Lucca. The must sees are: some of the hill towns around Siena and Siena itself as well as Pisa and the Statue of David. We are NOT art lovers and hence we are not staying over in Florence. We are more about eating, and experiencing the lifestyle. The town of Barga intrigues us and the old town of Lucca also seems nice. The beautiful towns of Cinque Terre is especially a must for my wife, even if it is just to visit for a day. I would appreciate any help and would especially appreciate honest even brutal criticism. We are first timers to Italy and would probably not return only because the world is so big and we have started touring only now. We will not be renting cars but I can rent for one or two days if it would make sense. I'm not even averse to the idea of doing less of Tuscany and rather adding two days in the lake areas. Anything goes, we are not really sophisticated tourists. Lastly, we are interested in any festivals or the like in this time, but it seems quiet. Please let me know if that is not the case. I will really appreciate any comments as this is the last part of the trip not accounted for. Hennie and Michelle, South Africa.
March 11, 2014, 04:12 PM
Ciao Hennie & Michelle!
Glad to hear you have decided to discover this corner of the world this year!
June is a wondeful month to tour Italy, full of local food festivals and celebrations.
If you are planning to stay in Siena and in Lucca you will surely be able to appreciate the medieval alleys of Siena and maybe a day in the sorrounding countryside of the Chianti or the Montalcino wine making area south of Siena. If you decide to go on a wine tour, I would honestly suggest to contact a local English speaking driver because drink & drive is not allowed and it would risk to compromise your experience.
Driving in Tuscany can be tiring along the panoramic but curvy roads but with an expert and reliable professinist you can enjoy a perfect and smooth winery tour and stops in quaint little villages like Pienza or Montepulciano or wine making estates inside antic castles.
(I am enclosing the direct contact of a Sienese driver based in the countryside who is one of the most knowledgeable and full licensed drivers and sommeliers of Siena: Emanuele De Bellis http://www.justintuscany.com)
When you are staying in Lucca the town offers sheltered ramparts to be enjoyed on foot, by bike or even by horse and carriage: you will love the 4km of town walls and the charming little squares of Lucca. They are perfect in a summer sunny day to read a book under the old oak trees.
From Lucca you can easily reach PISA for a day tour by train, without big distances to be covered on foot.
In Pisa you can visit the "Lungarni" (boulevards along the Arno River , The square of the "School Normale", which is one of the most prestigious universities in Florence where GALILEO GALILEI used to teach and of course, the worldwide famous Fields of Miracles with the Leaning Tower.
From Lucca you can also reach the CINQUE TERRE and explore the little villages by ferry boat or by train.
If you are heading to Venice on June 24th I would suggest you the following plan:
FLORENCE: SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST DAY! SAINT PATRON DAY OF FLORENCE!!
MUST SEE EVENT WITH A PARADE IN COSTUME ALONG THE STREETS OF FLORENCE!!
Departure from Lucca in the morning by Train
Dropp the luggage in Florence Train station
Visit the highlights with an advanced reservatoon to the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo's David
Main focus: Florence for food lovers and curious independent travelers.
If you're interested in having a personal guide to maximize your experience in town, exploring only the highlights and off the beaten track for amateurs, you can contact me through PM as I am a licensed guide here in Florence.
Stop for lunch in town, maybe for a tasty "bistecca" beef steak and then departure to Venice by fast train. It takes only a couple of hours.
It is a pity you will depart before the fabulous fireworks on June 24th which start at 11pm above the Arno River!
I remain at your disposal should you need any further suggestion,
Last edited by Elena - Florence Guide; March 23, 2014 at 12:37 PM.
March 11, 2014, 05:58 PM
I agree with everything posted by Elena, and would also suggest you spend the 24th of June in Florence and get to see the parade, the Calcio Storico and the fireworks at night, it is a big thing!
Also, the statue of David is in Florence so you HAVE to pass by Florence - there are 3 in the city, two are copies and the original is at the Accademia Gallery.
Read more about the Calcio Storico game here: http://www.visitflorence.com/florenc...iorentino.html
You will find local events once you're here both in Siena and Lucca, June is a summer month and there are lots of things in the evening, from outdoor music to "sagre", food festivals organized by small towns.
March 11, 2014, 08:25 PM
Thanks. More than I could have asked for. Very valuable information and I will probably do exactly as you suggested. Life is beautiful...
March 12, 2014, 10:36 AM
Glad to be of help! If you have any other questions, let us know