May 15, 2012, 08:33 AM
3 Days in Tuscany
I will be arriving in Pisa and am considering where I should stay. I am travelling alone and am looking for accommodation through airbnb.com. I am torn between two places. One is in Massa and the other is in Scansano. I have no car, and am wondering which location would be more ideal.
I will only be in Tuscany for three days in total. I'm thinking of spending a full day in Florence for the second day. At the same time, I also want to experience the country side of Tuscany. Should I stay in Massa or Scansano if I want take a quick visit to other cities as well such as Sienna or San Gimignano? My goal is to find a location that would give me a taste of the country side in Tuscany, but is also ideal for travelling to other cities as well. That, and a beachy location would be bonus.
May 16, 2012, 10:50 AM
neither location is ideal without a car and to see the main towns in Tuscany
Massa is closer to the sea and you can take a bus to get to the beach. Depending on the property where you stay at, though, I wouldn't consider it countryside as it is a town.
It is well connected by train so you can get to Florence for sure - but it is a good 1.5-2 hour train ride away.
Scansano is in Maremma and definitely countryside - but unless the person that hosts you offers you transportation, it will be hard to get to and out of Scansano on public transportation. There is no train stop there, you'd have to catch a local bus from Grosseto or Capalbio. It is also a good 3-4 hour train ride from Florence.
With 3 days only and no car, I'd have to say neither of these two locations is ideal, particularly since you want to visit Florence, Siena or San Gimignano. All these are AWAY from the beach - so it will be hard to be near the beach without your own means of transport and see the other places.... I think you'll have to choose one or the other.
If this is the first time you're in Tuscany, I suggest you skip the beach.
Once you arrive in Pisa, head to Florence and use that as a base for your first two nights.
For places to stay in Florence, you can also take a look at Florence Accommodation.com.
On the second day, take a tour into Chianti and to San Gimignano. No driving, but you get to see the countryside, enjoy some wine tastings in Chianti and get to see San Gimignano.
Then head to Siena for your last day - you can get there either by train or with the SITA bus that leaves from SMN train station. Siena is very different from Florence - one is Renaissance, one is Medieval. Siena is the second largest city in Tuscany yet it is very different, feels like a small town.
In this way, you'll see the main important sights in Tuscany with the use of public transportation. Three days will fly by, you'll fall in love with the area and definitely come back for a longer stay!!
May 16, 2012, 09:49 PM
Re: neither location is ideal without a car and to see the main towns in Tuscany
Thank-you so much for taking the time to write me back. I will certainly be taking your advice and will base myself out of Florence, which actually makes more sense then living in Maremma since I only have three days and I can save time on the travelling.
I have three other questions you. Where in Florence would be most ideal for me to stay? Secondly, I know it takes about 1.25 hours to get from Florence to Sienna. Should I just catch a bus to Sienna from Florence on the second night to save time and so that I can spend the entire morning in Sienna? I have to be in Pisa by 2pm to catch my flight for 4pm on the third day. How quickly can i get from Sienna to Pisa? Third, when do museums and shops typically close? I will reach Pisa around 1pm on my first day in Italy, so I probably won't arrive to Florence until 4pm or so and I am concerned everything would be closed by then.
Last edited by cindy727; May 16, 2012 at 10:00 PM.
May 17, 2012, 12:12 AM
Florence is the perfect base for a few days in Tuscany
Ciao again - you're very welcome! Definitely Florence will be a better base - you'll save time in moving around but also lots of buses/trains leave from here. The train from Pisa takes about an hour and to get to Siena you can take the train or bus. Bus is likely better just because it is more direct - it takes you closer to the center than the train station.
The SITA bus has the express buses that don't make stops but still take 1.25 hours like you've already noted - you can see the schedule here: SITA Florence-Siena bus schedule.
You could just take the 7.45am bus or like you've said, leave the evening before to have the whole morning in Siena. There is a bus at 7.10pm and 8.15pm from Florence (just note that it is a Tra.In bus and not a Sita one) to Siena in the evening you could take.
From Siena, there is a bus that takes you directly to the Pisa airport - only thing is that it only runs one time every day at 7.10 am arriving in Pisa at 9am. (You can see the schedule here:
So your best alternative is the train - there is one that leaves Siena at 11.41am and stops in Empoli. Here you catch the train to Pisa Centrale, where you change again to reach Pisa Airport at 13.43... given this is not ideal (also makes you waste a lot of time), I'd suggest rearranging your plan as follows:
day 1 - Pisa then on to Florence, spend rest of the day there
day 2 - do a day trip to Siena and San Gimignano - I found one offered by Albatravel that also takes you to Monteriggioni and to do some wine tastings - haven't tried it so cannot vouch for it personally but it seems like a good way to see several things in one day and not worry about transportation yourself.
day 3 - spend all morning in Florence until you leave to Pisa airport - there is a train at 1pm that gets you to the Pisa airport at 2pm (the previous train leaves at 12.28pm but requires changing at Pisa Centrale - you get to the airport at 1.43pm - check schedules directly on trenitalia.com).
In Florence you should base yourself pretty centrally - the center is small, so you can stay anywhere from the area around the train station to the Duomo (still less than 10 minutes from the train station walking) and still feel minutes away from everything.
Are you interested in a very nice B&B or hotel? Take a look at this page: Florence B&Bs
Both the Antica Dimora Firenze and Johanna I are very nice and central, as is Johlea. Depending on your budget, you could also stay right in front of Palazzo Vecchio at Casa del Garbo.
Let me know if you're looking for something different.... I'll try to give you more ideas of which ones might work best Hope you're having fun planning your trip!
May 17, 2012, 06:53 AM
Re: Florence is the perfect base for a few days in Tuscany
Thank-you again! You have been extremely helpful!! Are there any other bed and breakfast places that you can recommend for a cheaper price? I'm travelling alone and not sure if I can afford the accommodations you have recommended. At the same time, I do not want to stay at a hostel. If there is any other cheaper place you can recommend, that would be great!
May 18, 2012, 04:48 PM
budget hotels in Florence for solo travelers
Ciao Cindy, since you're traveling solo, you should be able to find several hotels that are much cheaper and still quite nice - I recommend you start by looking at this full list of budget hotels in Florence and look at the map to see how central they are. For example, I'd recommend Hotel Maxim which is on Via Calzaiuoli, very very central to all of the sights!! You'd still be less than 10 minutes walking distance from the SMN train station.
April 8, 2013, 11:05 AM
Re: 3 Days in Tuscany
As per the my view 3 days in Tuscany is very short time for the travel. This is such a wonderful place and you must be need the lots of time to visit there. I stay there 5 days and realized that i must be stay some more time there.