1 Day in Tuscany--Where Would You Go?

Sep 23rd, 2005, 04:23 AM
  #1  
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1 Day in Tuscany--Where Would You Go?

My husband and I and our three boys, ages 8, 14, and 16 will be in Italy in late June of next year. We are planning to spend 1 day/2 nights in Tuscany before heading to Florence for 2 days. I am going nuts trying to figure out where to go. All the guide books say Siena and San Gimignano are fabulous but very crowded. I have wondered about staying outside San Gimignano and visiting it and Siena in the evening and morning when they aren't so busy. Other posters say not to miss Southern Tuscany, but is that too far for 1 day? Since we will be in Florence, would it be nice to see the countryside rather than Siena? Help!
Digbydog is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 05:30 AM
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Go to www.villacicolina.it Villa Cicolina is just outside of Montepulciano. It's less than 2 hours from your trip to Florence. There is an infinity pool their with breathtaking views of Tuscany. Your kids will love it...your husband will love it. Maybe it's your day to just relax and take it all in.
ourjetboat is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 10:25 AM
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>>All the guide books say Siena and San Gimignano are fabulous but very crowded.<<

Yes, it's true they're crowded - but for good reason - they're exciting places to visit. Not only that, the crowds are not bunched up in specific areas (as in Florence) and should not affect your enjoyment - in fact they contribute to it, IMO.
TuckH is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 01:30 PM
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Ourjetboat-- the Villa Cicolina looks fanatastic. I have e-mailed them for prices, as their website doesn't give any. I am wondering whether it is very expensive.

TuckH--I know Siena and San Gimignano are crowded for good reason. I just hate crowds. Streets spilling over with tour groups give me a rash!
Digbydog is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 01:46 PM
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Montepulciano, Pienza and for that matter all of Tuscany has much to offer, so staying somewhere in the countryside like Villa Cicolina (I bookmarked their website two weeks ago when I came across it!) would be ideal.

Siena is beautiful but with only one day, I'd sightsee a little in the immediate area and then relax, swim and sun before seeing Florence with children the age of yours. It will be busy enough in Florence without spending your one free day feeling stressed in crowds.

If the prices aren't compatible with your budget at Villa Cicolina then use www.tuscany.net and fill in the request area for pool, child friendly etc. and perhaps something else will appeal to you.

We liked Borgo San Luigi (borgosanluigi.it)
which has a pool, as well as activities for families. It's only 30 minutes from Siena but if you want to avoid crowds, from there I'd suggest visiting Volterra, another walled city, which is beautiful but more remote. Volterra has an interesting Etruscan museum but the streets are wonderful to wander, and the views amazing.

Again, that would still give you time to relax in the afternoon.
TobieT is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 03:19 PM
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Digbydog - >>Streets spilling over with tour groups give me a rash!<<

That's the point I was trying to make - you won't find the tour groups in Siena and San G. that one does in Florence. Our visit to the latter two weeks ago was marred by the mobs of groups.

I'd like to mention another thing that was very important to us - unlike Florence, Siena and San G. are vehicle-free. The noise and commotion was missing and therefore made our visit that much more enjoyable.
TuckH is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 03:56 PM
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TobieT--Thanks for the recommendation of Borgo San Luigi. I will look into it.
TuckH--even if those towns don't have big tour groups, aren't they easily overwhelmed by tourists? I do like the idea of traffic-free. You are making me nervous about Florence, but I want my kids to see it. Is it possible to see the major sites in a day? It's been a long time since I've been there. Thanks!
Digbydog is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 04:14 AM
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IMO, Siena and San G. were NOT 'overwhelmed by tourists' like Florence was. BTW, although we did hear a bit of spoken English when there, I'd say that most of the 'tourists' we saw were Italian-speaking.

re: Florence - Having recently read "Brunelleschi's Dome", I was anxious to visit the Duomo to climb to the top but did not do so because of the long line to get in. Instead, we retreated to the more tranquil sites of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce - a smart move I think.

Also, FYI, we stayed for a week in a villa/apartment near Montalcino (>>Other posters say not to miss Southern Tuscany, but is that too far for 1 day?<<); it took us almost two hours to reach the Piazzale Michelangelo, where we left our car.
TuckH is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 10:31 AM
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Any other suggestions for Tuscany in 1 day??? Thanks.
Digbydog is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 10:34 AM
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Arezzo
elaine is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 12:17 PM
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Siena, Siena, Siena. San G very nice, Arezzo very nice, but nothing will give you a Tuscan experience in a single day and night the way Siena will. The Piazza del Campo and the Duomo will be swimming with tourists by day, but Siena is a large enough town to escape the hordes midday and find the sights, smells, and vistas that I always associate with the term "Tuscany". Have a wonderful time.
tomkinc is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 04:03 PM
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Lucca.

It's quiet, it has a huge wall system for walking on, it's 20 minutes from Pisa to see the Leaning Tower, and if any of your sons are into classical music or opera, there's the Puccini museum.
tdyls is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 04:33 PM
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DigbyDog...stay in a restored farmhouse, surrounded by its own vineyards, 3 miles from San Gimignano (I call it San Jimmy). Very reasonable rates, large swimming pool, beautiful views of San Jimmy's towers on the horizon....walking trails all over the vineyards....then go into San Jimmy after the last tour busses leave at 4:00...stay two nights if you can

Hotel Pescille: http://www.tuscany.net/pescille/

Stu
tower is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 05:18 PM
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Hello digbydog, just read your question. There are so many beautiful places in Tuscany so sure understand your confusion as to making a choice.

I wanted to refer you to the International Herald Tribune beautiful article on Siena. Website is www.iht.com. Then just click on Travel (top of the screen). I think you will enjoy this article and photos. Best wishes to you.
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 03:10 AM
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Thanks so much to all of you for your wonderful suggestions. Tower: I have looked at Hotel Pescille, and it looks great and is within our budget. Would it be possible to stay there and see Siena and San Gimignano during the day? Or is that just too rushed? Any idea how far it is from Siena? I am torn between staying there and staying in Siena. I keep reading, "Don't miss Siena!" So many places, so little time!!!
Digbydog is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 03:17 AM
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Pienza was our absolute favorite Tuscan town. Not so over-crowded, GORGEOUS scenery, quaint little shops and eateries. We stayed in Tuscany a week (Montepulciano) and visited Pienza three times. LOVED it.
srice_53098 is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 11:11 AM
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After reading all these posts, I have rearranged our trip so that we will have 3 days in Tuscany. There is just too much I want to see. Here's what I am thinking:

Day 1: Take train from Rome to Umbria and rent car. My initial plan was to rent in Orvieto, but I understand that is not possible. If we can't find a place to rent in Umbria, should we drive from Rome? Is it very difficult to get out of that city? Take quick look at Orvieto and see Todi and Civita di Bagnoregio. Then drive to San Quirico d'Orcia and stay at Palazzo del Capitano.

Day 2: Explore Montepulciano, Pienza, and Montalcino. Stay at Palazzo del Capitano.

Day 3: Stay at Hotel Pescille. See Siena during the day and San Gimignano in the late afternoon/evening. I am wondering whether it would be better to stay in Siena, but we are doing the big 3 cities in Italy, and I thought it would be nice to be in the countryside.

Then drive on to Florence. Or is Florence hard to get into. In which case, would it be better to leave car in Siena and take bus in?

Is this too ambitious? Remember I am travelling with 3 boys who will not enjoy lingering over a glass of wine or shopping.


3
Digbydog is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 12:07 PM
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I found that reaching Florence by car by parking at Piazzale Michelangelo (for free) was relatively easy - come in off the Autostrada spur east of town. The walk down to the Piazza della Signoria should take about 45 minutes.

On Day 1 you won't have time for Todi - Orvieto and Civita deserve more than 'quick looks', i.e. several hours each IMO...
TuckH is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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TuckH:We are getting rid of the car in Florence, so I assume we will need to come into town to the train station to drop it off. Is that very difficult?
Digbydog is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 04:31 PM
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I haven't done that but I don't think you'll have a problem if you approach from the west - Autostrada 11. Do not enter the central section whatever you do.

One trick part will be the transition from the Si-Fi highway at its terminus to the A1. There's not an easy transition from one highway (the non-payment one) to the other (toll one).

BTW from the train station, you'll be close to everything you'll want to see starting with S Maria Novella, S Lorenzo, etc...
TuckH is offline  

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