March 1, 2011, 02:57 PM
Easter in Tuscany
I am planning a trip in Tuscany for the week of Easter (Fri/Sat 22/23rd April to 29th/30th)
I have read a good few of the forum posts to get a better idea of the area and suggested itineraries.
I will be flying into Pisa and it looks like departing from Pisa also. I had suggested flying out of Bologna in order to fit in another town but the general theme of the threads is not to spread myself too thin, so this might be trying to fit in too much.
I visited Pisa, Florence and Rimini last year so I will not be doubling up on these areas this year.
As I am flying into Pisa, I think I should spend a day/night in Lucca at the start or beginning of my trip.
The other piece of advise I have taken from the threads is to rent a car. Which I will pick up in Pisa (Airport?)
The next step is the hardest. I have two main options (I think they're mutually exclusive). Do I head north and spend some time in Cinque Terre (I love the sea!) or do I head South and visit Chianti/Siena/Valdorcia/Arezzo.
The other question is, do I set up a base, or do I move from town to town? My gut tells me I should fly into Pisa, visit Lucca, then head down through San Gimignano to Siena and base myself there. I can then go north to Chianti or south to Valdorcia. (See also A Week in Tuscany with car )
Should I stay in the main city or the countryside?
Being Irish, I understand Religious holidays can make towns come to a standstill. Should I be aware of this at Easter?
Can I really afford to miss Cinque Terre? Should I substitute somewhere else in order to spend 2 days in this part of Tuscany?
Many thanks in advance for all your help
March 2, 2011, 12:31 AM
After further research, I'm actually thinking the easiest travel option would be to fly into Pisa, then rent a car and head straight to Siena to stay for 4/5 nights. Then drive back to Pisa, quick visit to Lucca, return the car in Pisa and get the train up to Cinque Terre for 2 nights. Get the train back to Pisa and fly home!
March 2, 2011, 01:55 PM
and welcome to our forum!
You're being clever about planning your travel ahead of time, congratulations!
Actually flying into Pisa is a very good starting point to experience other important Tuscan cities you missed last year.
If I were you, instead of heading directly to Siena on the first day, I'd first visit Pisa (it is very small, you'll just need a couple of hours to see everything) and then I'd head to Lucca for a day trip.
Then you can go back to Pisa, sleep there and move to Siena the day after at your leisure. This way you'll kill two birds with one stone!
Lucca is worth a visit: it is near Pisa and it is wonderful! Pisa has less views to offer but its city center deserves a (quick) visit: the biggest city square (called "Piazza dei Miracoli") with its baptisty, the beautiful cathedral and the Leaning Tower will certainly amaze you!
You won't need a car yet. As to Lucca, once in Pisa, you can take a train: it only takes 30 minutes to get there and tickets are very cheap (about 3 euros).
The next step (as you wrote) is the hardest.
To be honest I agree with you when you say you feel heading through San Gimignano to Siena is the best decision. Don't get me wrong, the Cinque Terre are fabulous! The problem is the weather. Even if Easter time is pretty warm in Italy, weather can be tricky on that part of the northern coast. In my opinion the best period to visit Cinque Terre would be in late May – beginning of June.
Basing yourself in Siena to explore the surrounding area sounds great! Siena is fantastic, and so is the nearby small city of San Gimignano. You will love that part of Tuscany! Those cities are quieter than Florence, not so polluted or "choked" by cars, and being smaller you can feel at home more easily. And history, art, wonderful views, good food and delicious gelato are all around!
As for your last doubts, well...I'd stay in the main city instead of the countryside. The main city allows you to not feel the sensation of being in a "standstill" because of Easter. Moreover, the countryside is a few steps from the city and you can enjoy it during the day and go back to the city in the evening.
So...yes, you can miss Cinque Terre this time. You'll have plenty of things to see and you won't feel like you missed something.
You can visit Cinque Terre next year!
I really hope these suggestions help you. Please do not hesitate to reply if you need to clarify something else.
Last edited by Fabrizio; March 2, 2011 at 01:59 PM.
March 3, 2011, 12:45 AM
Agree with the suggestions provided by Fabrizio. We went to the Cinque Terre once the first week of April. While we were lucky and had warm weather half of a day, all of a sudden the sky got dark and storm clouds blew in. We were on the trail and got soaked! By the time we got to the next village, we were almost dry, the sun had come back out again but we were pretty miserable for that part.
The Cinque Terre are beautiful and if you have your set on making it out there, then I agree with your idea of doing them at the start of your trip before you rent a car. You don't want to drive up there. So as soon as you arrive, you can drive up there, leaving both Pisa and Lucca to the end of your trip. Stay around or in Siena, visit the Val d'Orcia, Chianti, and Arezzo. Go to Monteriggioni and San Galgano Abbey and Colle Val d'Elsa to the west of Siena.
By the end of your week, just be flexible as you head back to Pisa - if Lucca and Pisa fit in, wonderful but if not, just plan on making it back again next year! Most of all, have fun and enjoy Tuscany!
March 3, 2011, 10:10 AM
Fabrizio , Lourdes
Thank you very much for the information, it is very helpful. We have decided to fly into Pisa and get the bus from the airport to Siena (I understand there is only one a day http://busweb.it)
We have rented a small apartment in Siena for the week which allows us to be flexible in how and when we visit Val d'Orcia, Chianti, Arezzo, Monteriggioni, San Galgano Abbey and Colle Val d'Elsa!! We should be able to chose from renting a car/guided tours/public bus/train.
Any place I miss on the trip at Easter I will come back and visit in the Summer!