October 29, 2014, 05:25 AM
TUSCANY for six days in May 2015
Hi my wife and l will be alighting from a cruise, thence 2 nights in Venice, and have 6 nights before we return to Australia from Milan. We have been to Florence, Venice and Pisa previously. I guess we are looking to travel by Regional train, and hope to spend all the time there from where we can do a day trip to Florence and rail back to Milan for departure.
Sorry to be so basic, but we are looking for something with the Tuscany feel. I guess we need a location (village/town) for us to begin our planning.
October 29, 2014, 02:21 PM
OK, not a problem about being so basic, but I do need to know a little more to get a better idea of what you have figured out for now.
- All 6 nights in one spot in Tuscany or Milan? I am not sure I understood that part....
- Would you be open to driving while in Tuscany? or do you want to depend on trains/buses for the entire time?
You divide up the time between Tuscany, spending the last 2 nights or night in Florence so that you're here in town and close to catching the train to Milan on your way back.
Waiting for your answers so I know better what to propose ;-)
October 30, 2014, 04:40 AM
Our thought was maybe to catch a fast train from Venice to Florence for two nights, that leaves us four nights to spend in a more rural area. We would prefer to be near rail, it just saves the bother of short term rentals.
I guess our last night would need to be in Milan as we fly out at 10.15am to Hong Kong.
We would love a petite 3 star type hotel, primarily just to embrace the atmosphere. Not to bothered where in either Florence or Milan.
October 30, 2014, 04:55 PM
Thanks for the additional info ;-)
Yes, I'll second spending the last night in Milan so you're already there... although if you've never been to Milan before, you could spend the whole entire last day there and go visit the Duomo, Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, the Castello Sforzesco (has lots of exhibits) and wander around Via Napoleone. I particularly really liked the Pinacoteca di Brera, if you're feeling like more art.
For Florence, as long as you stay anywhere within the ring around the historical center, you are within walking distance to all of the sights: take a look at http:www.florenceaccommodation.com.
And as for the country feel without needing to rent a car - there are several towns along the main train lines but which are not generally very touristic or charming, with some exceptions of course. I'd recommend Certaldo, along the train line between Empoli and Siena, San Gimignano (you would need to catch train to Poggibonsi (or bus there from Florence) and then bus to San Gimignano. SG tends to be quite overrun throughout the day, as many tourist buses stop for an hour or so with groups. But it tends to get much quieter by dinner and after that. In May we should have nice weather to spend time outdoors... there are several B&Bs in farmhouses right outside the town within walking distance, so you can stay out of the town and just walk in to catch a bus to other places and then spend evenings there. Take a look at the recommendations found on this page:
In particular, the Niccolai places toward the end of the list are within walking distance to town (like less than 5 minutes outside of the town).
My special recommendation for a lovely town to stay in and not worry about car rental: SIENA. While it is a larger town, and it is spread out (the modern part), if you stay in the center, you will definitely not feel like you are in a large town but more like in a village. It just tends to be quiet and in May (not around the Palio), it should be really nice. We've stayed there for 3-4 nights on two separate occasions and it was really enjoyable.
Take a look of some of the offerings here: http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/siena-city/
We stayed at the Chiostro del Carmine and Locanda di San Martino and I enjoyed this second one a lot, especially the views.
October 31, 2014, 05:40 AM
We loved your ideas.
We are coming at the end of a 7 week pretty much RTW trip.
I think we will spend one night in Venice as we have been there before, thence direct (via Florence) to Siena for 4 nights, then Florence for 2 nights, 1 night Milan and home via Hong Kong.
I would assume we catch a fast train to Florence, then ???? to Siena. Could you suggest pls.
We are having a look at Hotel options tonight.
October 31, 2014, 11:40 AM
The itinerary in Italy is definitely taking shape, awesome you're ending the 7 week trek in Italy
So fast train from Venice to Florence, but from Florence I suggest you leave the train station exiting on the right side, cross the street and get on the SITA/Busitalia bus that goes to Siena. The station is right behind the Bar Deanna you see as you exit on your left. Just head toward that and around the corner, you'll see the ticket office and entrance into the bus depot right away.
Bus is much faster than the train in the end, since the regional one has you change trains in Empoli. It also has the advantage that the bus station is closer to the center and sights than the train station - so take the bus to and from Siena!! ;-)
October 31, 2014, 02:01 PM
Thankyou. Still pondering over accom, but our route and transport is now planned.