August 7, 2010, 04:57 AM
3 nights in one place
Hi there. I'll be traveling around Italy for a month with companions but have 4 days and 3 nights on my own. Besides the larger cities (Florence, Pisa) I have not traveled in Tuscany at all.
I would like to stay in one village/town for the entire time to really get the feel for it and take it all in. Which place should I go to? Lucca? Siena? San Gimignano? A smaller village? I would be interested in biking, exploring, and just sitting at a cafe to watch it all. Perhaps if not too expensive, I'd love to take a cooking class. Of course wine and food are very important too. I will not have a car but am happy to take buses/trains to get to the place that is best.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
August 9, 2010, 05:38 PM
3 nights in Tuscany
I suggest you stay in Siena which is an extremely beautiful medieval city.
It is one of the most famous destinations in Tuscany, but still it preserves the original taste of a small town. In fact the city center of Siena is enclosed in big defensive walls that preserved its original medieval look. The atmosphere is completely different from Florence:it's much more relaxed and cozy.
In addition Siena surroundings are splendid: going North you have the Chianti region while going South you have the Valdorcia. Both regions are world renowned for the stunning landscapes, excellent wines and good Tuscan food. Siena is also a good starting point for biking in Tuscany. You can also think about biking tours in Tuscany. I BikeTuscany is a good company that organizes different kind of tours and offers nice Chianti bike tours with wine tasting included.
Then from Siena moving around Tuscany by public transports is much easier than from other smaller locations. There are both train and bus stations connecting Siena to other destinations in Tuscany. Florence is within 1 hour by bus distance.
Regarding cooking classes I suggest you the following schools in Siena:
- Scuola di Cucina Lella - in Siena center offers several courses;
- Art and Cooking - The Dante Alighieri School in Siena center offers single sessions courses, professional courses and amateur courses.
If you then want to stay in a smaller town I suggest staying in Greve in Chianti.
It is a very nice town located in Chianti, 20 km far from Florence. It has a a particularly shaped piazza with portico. From Greve you can move around by bus or by bike or even renting a scooter. Of course moving around would be a little more difficult than if you are staying in Siena. If you are going to stay in Greve I then suggest you the following cooking courses in Florence:
-Le Stanze di Santa Croce - Mariangela organizes good cooking classes in Florence that include a visit to the typical local market of St. Ambrogio.
- Vinarium - it organizes both private and group cooking lessons in Florence
I also suggest you read this article about moving around Chianti, and this thread about moving in Tuscany by public transports.
I hope my suggestions helped you planning your stay in Tuscany. Don't hesitate to come back with any other question