January 24, 2011, 07:02 AM
3-4 days in Tuscany
Hi, I would like to ask for your advice. We plan to visit Tuscany this April 21- 24, 2011. We will most probably be flying from Madrid or Barcelona. Is there a local airline from Madrid/ Barcelona to Florence? I checked Ryan Air, it seems to only fly to Pisa from Barcelona.
I guess the best place to stay in is at Florence?
We are 3 adults traveling with a 10month old baby. Is an apartment/ bed and breakfast cheaper than hotel?
If we stay in Florence, I've read we can do Pisa, and Lucca which is charming, I heard. What else do you suggest we do on the 3rd day? Sienna? How far is that from Florence, and how do we get there by train?
We just want a relaxing trip, so we plan to skip Museums also because of baby.
Can you give us an idea how much budget meals will cost per head?
Any detailed reply as to how we can plan our stay will be appreciated.
January 26, 2011, 04:23 PM
lots to see and do in 3-4 days: Florence, Pisa, Siena...
I believe that Meridiana flies into Florence from both Madrid and Barcelona. All Ryanair flights arrive into Pisa, not into Florence.
You'll have to look into the cost of flights into both cities - Pisa Airport has train connections to the main train station in Pisa (Pisa Centrale) and from there trains come into Florence every half hour during the day. The ride takes about an hour and costs less than 10 euros. There is also a Terravision bus from Pisa to Florence from the airport that drops you off at the main train station in Florence (SMN).
If this is the first time you come to Tuscany, then I'd definitely recommend you see Pisa and the Leaning Tower. If you were to arrive into Pisa, it would make sense to stop there at least for 1 night and visit Pisa first. You could then head to Florence and then use Florence as your base. You need at least a full day to just walk around and experience Florence, even if you don't go into any museums. The city is an open air museum and you'll see that you can easily spend the time walking around - do go into the churches, all have artistic masterpieces still inside.
You can more easily get to Siena by bus from Florence than by train. To one side of the SMN train station, you'll find the SITA bus station. Pick up the "diretto" from there to Siena for a day trip there. Depending on when your flights arrive/depart and where you arrive, if you have time another day trip from Florence could be either to San Gimignano (by train/bus) or to Lucca (train).
Meals can vary very much - a pizza can cost from 7-12 euro depending on toppings and really fill you up (a whole pizza is generally per person). You could also eat panini or pizza by the slice and spend less than 10 euros per person with drinks included. A meal at a trattoria with an antipasto + first dish of pasta/risotto + drinks can cost more like 25-30 euro per person.
As for hotels vs. b&bs: in terms of cost, I don't think you'd actually save money on B&Bs since those can vary very much in terms of quality and service and as does price.
I highly recommend you take a look at both the hotels and B&Bs on Florence Accommodation.com and see for yourself what you might find. There are hotels and B&Bs that have triple rooms which might be better than having two separate rooms; on the other hand, an apartment with maybe a double bed + sofa bed might work out for your family and have the added plus of having a kitchen, thus permitting you to buy your own breakfast and cook your own lunch or dinner at least once to save. Not knowing what your budget is like, you're the one that has to search and see what you like best.
Hope these suggestions are useful in your planning, do let us know if you still have any other doubts!
February 5, 2011, 03:41 PM
Hi from Chile
My doughter and I are visiting Tuscany on February the 12th.
I would rather visit small towns and villages rather than Florence or Pisa.
in a 3 day visit( no car) in that region would you recommend us Positano? Cortona? or are they to empty at this time of the year?
Which would be the best places to go.
We will arrive at Milan airport spend one night there. We would also like visit Venice, lake Garda, and hopefully Liguria region.
Wich direction should we head first?
Thanks for your time
February 8, 2011, 02:31 PM
3 days in Tuscany
I am assuming since you're arriving this Saturday you already have most of your vacation planned. If this is the first time you're coming to Tuscany and you only have 3 days to dedicate to the region, I think you should definitely dedicate at least a whole day to Florence. It is a magnificent city and the historical center which is the one you want to visit is small and walkable. It is a beautiful city, with its Renaissance architecture and artistic masterpieces, all of the center speaks of history. The Palazzo Vecchio is a fantastic sight, whether you just admire it from the outside or go inside.
Then catch a bus and visit Siena, another small city who has conserved its medieval architecture. Siena definitely feels more like a village than Florence, sitting on several hills and immediately surrounded by green hills. You could do a half day there and heading back by bus head to San Gimignano, a small gem within the Tuscan medieval villages.
Cortona is a nice village but further away - you can get there by train and then by bus. It is easier to get there with a card.
I'd actually highly recommend you spend your third day in Arezzo, not a village but definitely not as visited by many tourists and therefore still maintaining its small town feel. There are beautiful frescoes in the San Francesco church by Piero della Francesca - visit the cathedral and Piazza Grande as well as the church on the square.
Positano is not in Tuscany, actually it is closer to Naples which is to the south of Rome. If you got the idea from watching "Under the Tuscan Sun", well all I can say is they glossed over how long it took to get there, even from Rome ;-).
Even if it is February, don't plan on the main towns being empty - they are definitely nice to visit with less visitors than at other periods of the year, but only places tied to the sea and summer holidays will be on their off-season.
Hope I've helped offer you some ideas of what to see and do on your 3 days in Tuscany - for more specific details, you could check this 3 day itinerary in Tuscany.
Of course, if you fall in love with Florence you might actually just stay in Florence all 3 days It does merit the time dedicated to it.
February 8, 2011, 03:37 PM
Tuscan villages without a car
Hi Marcela and welcome to our Forum!
Is it your first time to Italy?
Tuscany offers many villages and small towns to visit, but they are not always easily reachable without a car.
Positano, as Lourdes wrote, is a coastal village outside of Tuscany, in southern Italy, situated in the Campania region, quite close to Naples.
About visiting Tuscany's smaller cities without a car, I suggest you to consider Lucca, San Gimignano, Siena, Arezzo and also Cortona. You can use trains to reach both Lucca and Arezzo, instead you'll need to catch a bus to visit San Gimignano and Siena (buses leave for example from Florence's historical center). Cortona is a very nice village to visit also in winter. To reach it you' ll need to catch a train until the "Terontola" or "Camucia" train stations and then a bus to the historical center.
Visit Milan, Garda Lake, Venice and then going a little south to the Liguria region and Tuscany seems to make sense as an itinerary, but it also depends on how many days you are considering spending in Italy overall.