July 21, 2010, 12:08 PM
I am going to Italy the week after. Very excited and terrified at the same time.
It is my first time to go to Italy, cannot speak a word of Italian except Grazie and I am going on my own so I am quite scared
Anyway I will fly to Pisa Airport and be staying 3 nights at Pisa.
I want to go to Florence, Siena, Chianti and Arezzo.
I booked flights & hotels via Easyjet, at that time I didn't realise it is better to stay at different areas
Now it is diffuclt to cancel the hotel so I have travel to Florence, Siena and other places and get back to Pisa every night to stay.
So I will have to use train quite a lot. (I don't drive)
My question is, do I need to book train tickets in advance?
Or can I just pop in the station and purchase tickets?
Is there any advice you could give?
Please help me out!
July 21, 2010, 06:29 PM
Moving around by train from Pisa
You don't need to buy train tickets in advance because you are going to take regional trains. So you can just pop in the train station and buy the ticket.
From Pisa to Siena I suggest you stop in Empoli and take a train from there. In Empoli you can take a train for Poggibonsi or Castelfiorentino to visit Chianti. I suggest you read this article about moving around Chianti.
Regarding Florence there are several trains back and forth and the journey is about 1 hour.
For Arezzo I don't know if you'll have time. You have to consider at least two hours by train because you have to go from Pisa to Florence and then from Florence to Arezzo.
I strongly suggest you look in advance at trains' schedules so that you can plan your daily trips, avoiding spending time waiting for the next train
About Italian I don't think you would have problems, since most of Italians speak English, especially in tourist areas. Other good words are
buon giorno = good morning
buona sera = good evening
non parlo italiano, parli inglese? = I don't speak Italian, do you speak English?
I think you don't have to be scared for traveling alone. I'm sure you'll have a great experience
Don't hesitate to come back with any other question!
July 21, 2010, 11:29 PM
you'll be fine... lots of gestures help too!
Don't worry about train travel - it is very easy to manage to buy tickets and to find the right tracks even if you don't know a word of Italian.... but you already do!
I second Valentina's recommendation about checking the Trenitalia website now ahead of time. Jot down times in a notebook so you know when you can ride out as well as come back. You don't want to return too late to Pisa because trains from Florence do run often (every half hour during the day) but only up until around 11pm.
If a ticket vendor doesn't speak English, as long as you give the destination they'll understand... you might want to get round trip tickets each day to make it easy to jump on a train on the way back without the need to spend time in line to buy again. To ask for a round trip ticket as well, say "andata e ritorno" (going and returning). You'll get two separate tickets.
Regional tickets don't require for you to indicate a specific time or train, so just make sure to stick your ticket into the yellow boxes you find along the walls before heading to the track - the time stamp "obliterates" the ticket and shows you're using it for travel around the time you're supposed to get on.
3 days is a nice short vacation in Tuscany but not enough to see everything - you can always come back and spend more time in the countryside on another trip. I suggest you spend a morning visiting the main sights in Pisa at the Piazza dei Miracoli, the Square of Miracles. Then you should take a train to Lucca, just about 20 minutes away, and spend the rest of the day there. It is a very charming walled town. I'd then spend an entire day in Florence and another entire day in Siena so your 3 days are gone! You can do them in a different order, such as Florence, Pisa and then Siena..... in any case you come back to Pisa in the late afternoon or early evening and can have dinner there so you'll see the Leaning Tower a lot but at a different time than most other visitors.
I think the wine tasting would be nice but it would require some planning...... so maybe you can do that on a future trip! There are many wine bars in Florence and Siena where you can try different wines on this trip and as long as you stay away from the really touristy restaurants in Pisa right near the tower and in Florence, then you'll have a chance to also taste good Tuscan food.
Traveling solo is not easy but it is an adventure! I am sure you'll end up having a wonderful time. If you have any other questions, we'll try to help as much as we can!