June 28, 2012, 05:13 PM
Travelling with elderly parents
I will be travelling with my elderly parents for a week in the Tuscany region with a rented car in October. They are still very mobile and alert, but because of their age, the pace has to be realistic. We're looking at doing some cultural visits to two or three places during the week and some travelling around in the countryside, hopefully ending up at some vineyard which will serve lunch etc. I'd appreciate advice on nice accommodation (preferably hotel with breakfast) in one or two areas, car rentals, restaurants and best airport to fly in to. I'd also welcome suggestions on what would be worth seeing and doing, taking our circumstances into consideration.
July 5, 2012, 07:38 PM
Recommend Florence and Chianti as your two bases
I think the best way to start is from a flexible itinerary you'd like to follow for your week, that way you can decide what the best areas to stay in are and from which to do your day trips and then the rest comes after that.
Is this your first time in Tuscany? If so, I'd suggest staying a few days in Florence (at least 2 nights), a definite must-see! That allows you to see the main sights in the city without having to drive back and forth from wherever you are..... and then move on to somewhere in the Tuscan countryside from which you can then focus on day trips near to where you are staying.
In Florence, I'd recommend you stay in the historical center. This way you and your parents are in the heart of the city, walking distance to all of the main sights in addition to having a place nearby to head back to if they (and you too of course! ) need a bit of a rest before continuing sightseeing or heading out to dinner.
Rent a car only once you're done with Florence to head out to the countryside. You don't need a car at all in Florence, everything is walking distance and for anything a little further away, you can catch a bus.
Use the search box on this page to see various rates across main car rental companies.
With the car, you can enjoy staying in the countryside and driving to destinations nearby. I'd recommend you stay in Chianti so that you can both enjoy the countryside as well as have shorter drives to Siena, San Gimignano and the driving around the Chianti wine region. As you drive through the area, you'll find small towns along the way you'll end up stopping at - such as Monteriggioni or Colle Val d'Elsa, or Castellina in Chianti or Greve in Chianti. Just know they are there and be flexible with your schedule, so you can see day to day as you go whether to stop or not. For places to stay at in Chianti, there are a few specific places I'd recommend you look at, but let me know if they're not what you're looking for and I can suggest different ones.
Here are a few you should consider:
Casolare di Libbiano is a B&B near San Gimignano: http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/...-libbiano.html
Palazzo Malaspina, a B&B in San Donato in Poggio, near the Firenze-Siena highway:
Tenuta Quadrifoglio has both rooms as well as apartments and breakfast is available for all, even if you're in the apartments: http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/...drifoglio.html
As far as the best airport to fly into, that will depend on where you're coming from - there are two in Tuscany, one in Florence and one in Pisa which is just about an hour train ride from Florence. Both are convenient to fly into but of course if you do Florence as the first part of your stay it might be more convenient overall to fly into that one.
Check both when you're checking airfares!
Since this is getting really long, I'd better just post!!
July 9, 2012, 01:23 PM
Re: Travelling with elderly parents
Thank you so much Lourdes! Plenty of information hear to get going on. As it happens, we are now postponing the trip to next spring, so I have more time to research the areas and plan the trip in more detail. I hope to get in touch with you again nearer the time if I have any further questions
July 10, 2012, 01:00 PM
Re: Travelling with elderly parents
You're very welcome! you'll certainly have more time to search and plan, feel free to post whenever you have questions if it would help at all in clear up any doubts
September 15, 2012, 04:49 PM
Re: Travelling with elderly parents
I'll be coming to Tuscany with my parents (72 and 75) at the end of September. We will stay next to St Giminiano and plan to visit Florence for 1 day. We will have a car.
My parents cannot walk far, I'm concerned about distances and walking uphill - have few questions.
We plan to leave the car at Santa Maria Novella car park and first go to the Uffizzi. Google says it's 1.2km only but it's a distance for my parents taking into consideration we will walk in the museum and in the town later.
1. Is it a good idea to take a taxi from Santa Maria Novella? Will it take us close enough to the Uffizzi? What would be the approx. cost?
2. Leaving Florenze, we would like to stop at the Piazzale Michelangelo - is it realistic to park next to it? And relatively easy to get from Santa Maria Novella?
We will have satnav but not sure how it'll deal with the restricted traffic zone?
September 16, 2012, 08:36 PM
various options for parking in Florence
Florence is completely flat, as far as the historical center goes, so that is already one plus for your visit to the city. The car park under the SMN train station is closest but also the most expensive as far as per hour cost goes. I would recommend you take a taxi, that way you limit walking for your parents. Not sure of the cost from there to the Uffizi but likely around 8-10 euros.
You can get to the SMN car park without going into the restricted traffic zone but it is very easy to also take a wrong turn and end up entering the ZTL area.... because you also want to go to Piazzale Michelangelo after, I'd offer another suggestion: park at the Piazza Beccaria car park since it gets you to the other side of the historical center, closer to the way up to the Piazzale and completely avoiding the risk of entering the ZTL area.
In Piazza Beccaria (on the western side of the round square), catch the small C3 bus (not the C2) which passes right in front of the Uffizi with the stop a few meters away from it and Ponte Vecchio. Get bus tickets at the "bar" next to the cinema near the bus stop or at the newspaper kiosk in front of the Unicredit bank and stap then when you get on. Here's the bus route:
and the timetable
(choose "from Beccaria" since that is your starting point)
You can definitely stop and park at Piazzale Michelangelo - although the parking there gets quite full there, there is high turnover. You can also go along the street you took to get there and park along the street, you'll see cars parked there as well.
Another option to consider: head to Piazzale Michelangelo from the very start, park there and then take a taxi down to the Uffizi, there is a stand nearby. The taxi will take you right in front of the Uffizi, since they are allowed to enter into the ZTL area and pedestrian zones.
View the map with all of the parking areas in Florence to see their relative positions: http://www.visitflorence.com/florenc...-florence.html
September 17, 2012, 08:58 PM
Re: various options for parking in Florence
Thank you, Lourdes, for the advice