January 8, 2011, 04:58 AM
January 9, 2011, 12:17 PM
I have a friend who has some very nice apartments (and cheap) right next to the Val di Chiana Outlet called Agriturismo il Gorgo. You'd be right there!
I hope this is helpful. Have a nice trip. Roberta
January 10, 2011, 01:06 PM
you can do outlet shopping in Tuscany using Florence as a base
We have an article completely on the outlets in Tuscany, including the ones in Barberino and Valdichiana so make sure to read and print it out for your use once in Tuscany.
You can definitely fit shopping in with your sightseeing, the important thing to keep in mind and consider right now as you're looking at where to stay is whether you want to drive while here or not. Consider that if you stay out in the countryside near one of the outlets, you definitely will need a car to move around the whole time you'll be here. On the other hand, if you base your stay or most of it in Florence, you don't need a car to visit Florence or most of the main cities in the region. Keep in mind also some of the outlets closest to Florence are easily reachable with special shuttles/buses that depart from Florence.
For example, you could stay 3-4 days in Florence and during this time you sightsee in Florence, take the train to visit Pisa and the Leaning Tower and the bus to visit medieval Siena -- all are must-sees in the region. These are perfect day trips without the need to worry about driving or parking in Florence.
From Florence, there are daily buses run by SITA (stop next to the SMN train station, at Via Santa Caterina da Siena 17) that go to The Mall direct. The hours are from Florence (current as of today)
from Florence to the Mall:
Direct from The Mall to Florence:
then there are additional buses at 14.23 and 15.23 (Monday-Saturday) and 16.58 (Monday-Friday) which are not direct to Florence.
You can also go to the Barberino outlet from Florence. There is a shuttle organized by the outlets themselves (12 euros) that leaves twice a day from Florence, at 10 and 14.30, from the Fortezza da Basso making a stop 5 minutes later at the SMN train station, like the Sita above. The bus returns to Florence at 14.10 and 18.40 so it gives you anywhere from 3 to 7 hours of shopping .
So overall you could manage to do a good amount of shopping at the outlets staying in Florence the whole time with no need for a car at all -- or you could spend a day or two outside of Florence, if you want to stay in the countryside, but then you should consider renting a car to move around or at least back into Florence.
Hope this information is useful, I'll be adding the info about the times on the article as well seeing as it isn't on there.
January 10, 2011, 05:10 PM
for Barberino outlets...
To get to Barberino outlet village, I found out that SITA also offers buses to the outlet village in in addition to the shuttle I mentioned above.
But as the schedule I found has 2006 as the date - see the pdf file here - I am not sure the hours are correct. In any case, this is a valid alternative that lets you consider staying in Florence and moving around on bus without the need to rent a car. So once you're here and planning your days, I'd recommend you stop by the SITA bus station next to the Santa Marina Novella train station and ask for the current time schedule.
January 10, 2011, 05:39 PM
Many thanks I will talk to my friends what we should organize. However, we heard that many outlets are closed on Monday, right? we don't drive so it's better to move around with public transport. as your advise, i think staying in florence is probably the right choic, anywhere to suggest, feel florence deco with balcony/terrace? I will try to find more info, but seem small time since i have to work on preparation for training in rome, hope i will get recommendation from here
January 10, 2011, 05:40 PM
thanks roberta but without driving I don't think this place is suitable, right?
January 12, 2011, 02:55 PM
The Mall is open on Mondays, the Barberino outlets are not
Yes, the place Roberta recommended would require that you have a car to move around as it is in the countryside.
You're right about Mondays - most shops though only close in the mornings on Monday and are then open in the afternoon. Also keep in mind some museums are open on Sunday and closed on Monday, while some are closed on Sunday and will be open on Monday. That will be the case in Florence and anywhere else in Italy you visit so make sure to note closing days when planning your days.
As for the outlets, since shopping is their reason for being, I checked and The Mall is actually open all week, including Monday, from 10am to 7pm.
The Barberino outlets, on the other hand, are closed on Mondays in February (some months it is open on Mondays as well) from 10am-8pm from Tuesday through Friday and from 10am to 9pm on the weekends.
Hope this is useful!!
January 13, 2011, 01:05 AM
Big thanks Lourdes! As you mentioned to take the train to visit Pisa and the Leaning Tower and the bus to visit medieval Siena, can you please explain which train and the bus to visit these places and whether 1 full day is enough for these places. What about other beautiful places in tuscany to visit another whole day? Or it's better to buy a day trip? What about the Mall and Barberino outlet, which one you recommend me for shopping, I think I don't have enough time for 1 day to go 2 places, isn't it?
Can you also suggest me the accommodation to stay within Florence wiht cost around euro 120/night for 3 person, I just want a room with small terrace/balcony and safe area. It would be better if close to few coffee shop, local restaurant
January 13, 2011, 12:45 PM
day trips and shopping :)
You're very welcome sweetie!
Since you have 5 days for your time in Florence and Tuscany, I suggest something like this:
1 - Florence
2 - Pisa / Lucca
3 - Siena
4 - shopping at the Barberino outlets / Florence
5 - shopping at The Mall / Florence
Both Florence and Siena merit full days, as you'll be staying in Florence you'll have the evenings to stroll and eat out and get to know it better. Pisa is a half day trip and you can combine the rest of the day by going to Lucca which is about a 30 min train ride away and from Lucca return to Florence.
You can fit two days of shopping on two separate days in the mornings until you feel like it, then come back to enjoy Florence some more the rest of the day! See, it is possible!
I suppose you'll be coming up from Rome to Florence by train - you'll arrive in the Santa Maria Novella (SMN) train station and since both trains and SITA buses leave from here, you'll get to know the station really well over your week.
For trains: If you go to the Ferrovie dello Stato website and enter "Firenze" as your departure city and "Pisa" as your arrival, and then from "Pisa" to "Lucca" and then from "Lucca" to "Firenze", you'll get all the timetables for the trains. All are regional trains so you can buy your tickets at the SMN train station the day before your day trip or even on that morning - they are tickets that are valid for 2 months and are not for any particular train. The regional trains have no assigned seating, you get on and look for free seats. You have the freedom of taking whatever train you wish, so I think it is a great system when you're out sightseeing, no need to worry about catching one particular train!
Just look at the big "PARTENZE/DEPARTURES" leaderboard and see what track the next departing train to your destination is leaving from. And make sure you stamp the ticket in the yellow boxes (found at the beginning of each track) before you get on the train to show the time you got on.
For buses: the SITA bus station is right next to the SMN train station so you're also departing from here to go to Siena, to the Mall and to the Barberino outlets. I'd make it a point to stop there on your first or second day and pick up all the current timetables for your destinations. I already told you the ones to The Mall above and linked the 2007 pdf I found to the Barberino outlets which I am not sure are still current. The Florence-Siena times are here from this past year (you want to take the "rapide" which are direct). Where you get off at your destination is where you catch the bus back to Florence. In any case, if you stop at the bus station you can make sure you have the most current timetables.
As for places to stay in Florence, if you want 2 rooms you might want to look into an apartment. This has the advantage of offering a small kitchen area as well so you can easily arrange for your own breakfast and choose to eat in some meals. Here are some suggestions all within the historical center in Florence to make moving around easy for you during your week:
- this Florence apartment would be perfect for the 3 of you ladies with the double bedroom and single bed second room - it also fits perfectly with your budget
- This apartment near Ponte Vecchio is slightly more expensive than your budget but it has that terrace with a view you were looking for
- this apartment near SMN train station is just 1 block away and has only 1 double bedroom, the third person would have to sleep on the sofa bed. Many apartments are organized in this way with sofa beds to provide 1-2 extra sleeping spots. This apartment near Piazza Santa Croce is in a lovely neighborhood, on the same site. Check out the website for more options and contact them directly to get availability and precise cost for the week for all of the apartments you might be interested in, you should find one that will be perfect for the 3 of you.
Hope you're enjoying the planning!! Helping you out with suggestions almost seems like I'm planning my own trip out in Tuscany which is fun so I hope these suggestions are useful and everything turns out well I fully expect you to come back on here after your vacation and tell us how everything went, if things were as expected and if you found the train/bus system easy or confusing. Feedback helps everyone else on the forum out, there are a lot of first time visitors to Tuscany on here that just read and don't post
January 14, 2011, 03:10 PM
Hi Lourdes, Millions thanks for your kind suggestion all helpful informaiton!!!!
Our plan has been changed a little bit since I will be there on 7 Feb from Rome and we will take the first train from Rome (we need to check which one we have to take). As you mentioned that Both Florence and Siena merit full days, is it possible to make it within 1 day on Monday since I don't know the arrival time yet.
The second day, Tuesday we will go to Pisa / Lucca as you suggested
The third day, Wednesday will shopping at the Barberino outlets / Florence
The fourth day, Thursday, will shopping at The Mall / Florence
The fifth day, Friday, we will leave very early since my flight to Paris is at 10:00 am. Do you know how to go to florence airport (just only me and how much it cost?) since 2 of my friends will go to Venice instead.