April 1, 2014, 03:10 PM
Train vs. bus travel from Florence to Lucca & Pisa?
Hello again (from North Carolina)!
We are planning a day-and-a-half trip from our base in Florence to Lucca and Pisa while we are there in May, and have read some opinions which said that the busses were actually a nicer way to get there than the train. Any opinions on this?
Also, any recommendations on a particular hotel (preferably with free breakfast!) in Lucca for our overnite before we head down to Pisa for the next day?
Thanks so much, you folks are great!
April 3, 2014, 01:36 AM
Booked a B&B in Lucca....
Just a quick update - we booked a room at La Romeo B&B for our night's stay in Lucca after reading some great reviews on it, but am still curious as to the travel from Florence to Lucca and from Pisa back to Florence the next evening...
April 3, 2014, 11:34 AM
What's nice about the bus is that once you get on, you have your luggage underneath and you don't have to walk around the station along the long rail tracks nor find available seats among the coaches (all regional trains are first-come, first-served seating). Some do make stops along the way, some are direct. In terms of cost, they are very similar to the train.
The big drawback with buses is generally their limited schedule - you can see the timetable for the buses between Florence and Lucca here: http://www.vaibus.com/pdf/orari/EXTRAURB_001.pdf
(start on page 44 for the hours valid between September and June - the Q01I line)
You'll see there are 6 buses in the mornings before 12:30 from Florence - so if you want, you can take one of those. Bus stop is on Via Fiume, the street parallel to the train station (behind the large McDonald's).
Otherwise, the train (http://www.trenitalia.com/) is also very convenient. There is more space and you can stand and walk around ;-). There generally are more choices as far as trains go - there are many that are direct but you can always take others with stops/changes as well.
Both generally drop you off very centrally. The train station is right by the walls, so all you need to do is cross the street and go under the bulwarks to be in the center. The main bus stop in Lucca is Piazzale Verdi, so also very central.
Most B&Bs and hotels offer breakfast as part of their rate, only self-catering apartments don't. In terms of La Romea B&B, it seems equidistant to both bus and train stations so it is all up to you to decide what you take!
The same goes for Lucca to Pisa and then from Pisa to Florence. I personally go for trains most of the time just because I have found them more convenient at the time.
April 3, 2014, 01:15 PM
Thanks for the response and the links to the schedules (and for correcting the name of the B&B!). It is, indeed, La Romea. I'll take a look at the schedules to see what works best for us.
Anything specific in Lucca that you feel is a "must see" while we're there?
April 3, 2014, 05:39 PM
Definitely take a look at the places suggested here:
If weather is perfect, I suggest renting bikes for an hour or two and going on the walls and circling all around the historical center - great views! and generally a good way to work off some of the delicious meals we enjoy when we are out ourselves.... always trying new dishes and we somehow always end up with antipasto, prima, secondo and dessert! ;-)
We enjoyed the view from the Torre Guinigi ourselves and a close up view of the trees up there... and a visit the the Roman and medieval archaeological remains found under the church of Saints Giovanni e Reparata, which used to be the original cathedral for Lucca in the past.
And for your day in Pisa - I do recommend spending the entire day there - take a look at this itinerary:
Pisa is a quiet college town and there are other places to visit, making it very similar to Lucca in terms of the leisurely feel of the town compared to Florence. Most everyone just sees the church and leaning tower and leaves - but you'll enjoy spending time by the lungarno, the tiny Gothic church right along the river called Santa Maria della Spina - take a look: http://www.tuscanypictures.com/pisa/...spina2.jpg.php
April 6, 2014, 11:22 PM
Thank you so much, Lourdes, for the insight! The church ruins sound really interesting, and I have not seen that mentioned anywhere else in the course of my research, we will definitely have to see that!
I am hoping that the weather will be nice, as a bike ride on the wall is something that I'm truly looking forward to.
I think that we'll take the morning train out of Florence to Lucca and spend the night there, then the bus to Pisa the next day, then the train back to Florence (from Pisa) that evening. That way, we get to experience a little of both!