March 14, 2014, 05:20 PM
Best plan for day visit to Siena (out of Florence)
I have copied below suggestions (from another thread) about a nice driving route from Florence to Siena and returning to Florence in the same day. This tour sounds wonderful, but I wanted to follow up with another question:
The routing described below was given in response to a visitor who desired to see a lot of things, including Siena.
I'd like to follow up by asking for suggestions for a nice way to balance our desire for ample time in Siena with our desire to see some interesting and/or beautiful sights between Florence and Siena. Our plans in Siena thus far include:
1:30pm: Cathedral visit, including 90-minute "Gate of Heaven" Tour of the Cathedral
Civic Museum visit
Torre del Mangia climb
plus we would like time to absorb the Piazza del Campo...
plus we would like time to wander into the medieval-ish districts...
Given our interest in Siena, we had pretty much planned to drive straight to Siena on the "fast" road, spend the day in Siena, and then return to Florence.
But perhaps we should be considering alternate routes that would provide nice views of the countryside and hilltop villages. Or perhaps we should even be considering some stops to visit some of the places mentioned below (Chianti, Greve, Panzano, Castellina, Monteriggioni, San Gimignano, etc.).
I would be so appreciative to hear suggestions about how to balance our day between our desire to see Siena well and our interest in taking some scenic routes and perhaps visiting a special place or two along the way.
I suggest you consider driving through CHIANTI instead, as it is the area between Florence and Siena and is along your route. You can head down into Chianti through the Via Chiantigiana (SS222) to Greve, stop there, head on and make stops in Panzano and Castellina.
End up in Siena after lunch, spend the afternoon there and by 7pm make your way to San Gimignano (maybe a quick stop in Monteriggioni, a beautiful walled castle along the road from Siena to Poggibonsi). You will still see beautiful countryside, charming hilltop villages and get to see Siena and San Gimignano. Take the roads I'm indicating, not the "fast" Firenze-Siena road way so that you can stop at the small towns if you feel like it. Colle Val d'Elsa and Staggia are also charming, but depending on time, which I don't think you'll have much of, you can see where to stop or not.
March 14, 2014, 05:31 PM
One more thing about my last post:
Our trip is next week, so we will not benefit from long summer hours of daylight. We'll leave Florence at 8am and I'm assuming it will be dark by around 6:30pm.
March 14, 2014, 05:55 PM
The suggested itinerary in blue above was for someone who had no time and who will basically be seeing most just from the car and a quick stop. If you really want to enjoy Siena, I'd encourage you to visit the Civic museum, the tower AND the cathedral, aside from spending some time in Piazza del Campo and walking around its streets. So you could take the SS222 to drive through Chianti on your way to Siena, but I wouldn't stop along the way, as you won't have much time to see Siena then.
And yes, you're right, it still gets dark pretty early (mmm, not sure when daylight savings comes on here in Italy... but don't think it's this weekend) but you could still do the drive back in the slower roads... many of the main towns have lots of lights to see the monuments. You could stop in Monteriggioni for a short visit and then continue on to San Gimignano before heading back to Florence (for a very late return).
March 14, 2014, 07:03 PM
Wonderful! Thank you, Lourdes.
Tell me, please: Should we take the SS222 all the way from Florence (for example, SS67 to Via Marco Polo to SS222)? Or should we take a faster road some of the distance toward Greve, and then cut over to SS222?
March 14, 2014, 07:07 PM
Sorry, one more thought. I guess what I meant to ask is this: Is there a way to minimize travel time to Siena, but still catch some of the most scenic roads?
March 14, 2014, 10:57 PM
Take the ss67, marco polo and then SS222 chiantigiana all the way - you'll see a variety of Chianti along the way, vineyards, olive groves, hills and hilltop towns.
March 14, 2014, 11:59 PM
Great! Thanks for the directions, Lourdes!