August 20, 2010, 05:36 PM
5 days: Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Sienna and San Gimignano?
I've been trying to avoid squishing too many things into short amounts of time for my Europe trip but I fear I have been undone by what Tuscany has to offer! (Having not yet been I think I will definitely be back!)
Anyway, it will be my first trip to Italy and I have 5 full days to work with for Tuscany (+ 2 half days) -not enough! I was thinking 2 days Florence, 1 day Lucca and Pisa, 1 day Sienna and San Gimignano. Hows does that look so far? Am I trying to do too much?
I can't decide where to base myself. I think I would enjoy staying in a smaller town but not sure it makes sense. Have been considering northern Chianti but then it could really limit all my day trips. Should I consider cutting something out?
I am interested in seeing the countryside, castles, art and food! I will be travelling solo and on a backpacker budget. I like the idea of cycling round the countryside or horse riding. I don't want to hire a car which I realise restricts me a bit.
Any suggestions for where I could base myself? I will be coming from Rome via train (no tickets book yet) and then leaving to Venice. With the rail network would it be possible/east enough to the following:
Oct 13: Rome to Sienna (1/2 day to see Sienna)
14: Sienna (Day trip to San Gimignano)
15: Sienna to Florence (spend most of the day in Sienna)
16: Florence (Daytrip to Pisa and Lucca)
Oct 19: Florence to Venice
Or is there somewhere I could stay just out of Florence that has a more country feel but is reasonably accessible? I probably would rather just having once base. Am I asking for the impossible?! I also consider staying in Lucca but felt like it cut Sienna off too much.
I know the obvious choice is Florence right?
Sorry for the rambling post.. as you can see I can't decide what to do!
Last edited by kat; August 20, 2010 at 05:39 PM.
August 21, 2010, 06:48 AM
Okay so I have come up with this now as it fits better with Florence accomodation:
13th Oct Rome to Florence in morning
15 Florence (Day trip to Lucca/Pisa)
16 Florence to Sienna in afternoon
17 Sienna (Day trip to SG)
19 Sienna to Venice
Would really appreciate any feedback anyone has on it
August 23, 2010, 12:33 AM
Siena and Florence are perfect bases for your stay in Tuscany
Sounds like a wonderful itinerary, don't think you're trying to fit too much in. Five full days plus 2 half days will give you a chance to see a good amount of Florence and Tuscany just remember to remain flexible, take things slowly and that in the end, less is more .
Given your needs - traveling solo, budget, no car rental - I think you should stay in the main cities, Siena and Florence, and from there do day trips on either bus or train. It is really easy to use the train in Italy, you can buy your tickets once you're here at the train station. Most trains don't have reserved seating (regional trains within Tuscany) so tickets are sold "generic" with no date or specific time stamped on them. You "stamp" the date and time on the ticket yourself when you're about to get on the train and then show that to the controller. You'll be able to enjoy seeing the countryside from the bus or train and not worry about driving.
I think I like your first plan better so that you're heading north from Rome to Venice passing through Tuscany and don't need to backtrack. It is easier to get to Florence straight from Rome, but Siena is further south and closer to Rome so head there first. You can reach Siena from Rome by changing trains once in Chiusi/Chianciano Terme or in Grosseto. Check Trenitalia for train schedules - remember, Siena has just 1 "n", which is important for all your searches online.
Some comments on your itinerary:
Oct 13: Rome to Siena (1/2 day to see Siena) - take train to Siena from Rome
14: Siena (Day trip to San Gimignano) - it is easy to get to S. Gimignano by bus from Siena or by train to Poggibonsi and then from there take the local bus.
15: Siena to Florence (spend most of the day in Siena) - take the SITA bus from Siena to Florence, faster than by train
16: Florence (Daytrip to Pisa and Lucca) - take the train to Pisa and then from there to Lucca, come back to Florence from Lucca
17-18: Florence - read our suggestions for two days in Florence
Oct 19: Florence to Venice - catch a fast train to Venice from SMN, Florence's main train station
I highly recommend staying in the center of Siena because it is a really small historical center and it doesn't have the feel of a city. Once you're there, you'll appreciate how everything is just steps away.
For example, the Camollia B&B is right at the Camollia gate on the city walls that leads into the center and close to the train station as well, making it perfect for being in Siena and for your day trips.
In Florence, there are many hotels and B&Bs in the historical center which is a bit larger than in Siena but which is still not overly large and very walkable.
But if you want to stay further away from the center, to experience a "country feel" stay, you can consider catching a bus and heading to La Paggeria B&B for example. It is about a 25 min ride by bus to the north of the city and right off the main road, with views onto Fiesole and Florence.
On this page you can check out this and several other b&bs in Florence, the descriptions are clear to show which ones are inside or outside the city center.
Let us know if you have any other questions we can help you with .
August 24, 2010, 04:08 PM
Ciao Lourdes! Thank you very much for all your helpful advice. I am glad I am not trying to fit too much in...yet!
Yes, it does make more sense to go to Siena first. I changed it because of accommodation not being available in Florence for the last nights of my time in Tuscany. However I think I will just change accomodation as it does seem silly!
Thank you for your advice about when to take bus and train and where to stay. I think I will stay in the centre of Florence and Siena. Perhaps on my next trip to Tuscany I can stay in the country somewhere. Would love any tips for hostels in Siena if you have any. Though from my research so far I am thinking that hostels in Siena are few and far between!
October 1, 2010, 06:23 AM
Originally Posted by kat
Thanks you for the post.
Last edited by Valentina; October 14, 2010 at 09:52 AM.