Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Apartment/B&B in Tuscany with access to public transportation

Apartment/B&B in Tuscany with access to public transportation

Aug 25th, 2013, 07:05 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 22
Apartment/B&B in Tuscany with access to public transportation

We are a family group of 6 (family of 4 with two teenagers, traveling with grandparents) looking for an apartment/B&B in Tuscany for 4 nights in July 2014. At this point we do not plan to rent a car so we need access to public transportation. I would like to stay in a smaller town and plan to do days trips to Florence and surrounding towns/villages. I am having trouble finding a location with access to public transportation. Any suggestions?
Europe_Newbie is offline  
Aug 25th, 2013, 08:22 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,578
Tuscany is a very big area and better served by bus than train. There is no one location that would let you "see" Tuscany. What do you want to see or do (other than Florence)?

What amenities do you need in an apartment/B&B? What is your budget?
kybourbon is online now  
Aug 25th, 2013, 08:24 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,578
Is Siena too big of town for you?
kybourbon is online now  
Aug 25th, 2013, 09:08 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 22
kybourbon I was looking at the area between Florence, Sienna and Pisa (or that area of Tuscany). We want to visit Florence, Sienna and some hills towns in the area. Sienna is not too big and I would prefer it over Florence but I was trying to see if I could find a smaller town with good public transportation access.

For an apartment (which we would prefer) we are looking for 2 to 3 bedrooms around $250 - $350 per night. We would prefer a location which is close to restaurants/grocery stores.

We may have to rent a van to really enjoy this area and give us the most flexibility but I wanted to try to see if I could find a place without the need for a van if possible.

Thanks for any help you can provide. We are in the early stages of planning so I am open to ideas/suggestions.
Europe_Newbie is offline  
Aug 25th, 2013, 09:54 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
the smaller the town the less the public transportation.

since you only have a few days i would either select a town with better transit (siena?) - or rent a van. We stayed in firenze and did car trips to a number of towns in tuscany and the edge of umbria - since we were able to see much more starting early and making our own hours versus being stuck waiting for a train.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 25th, 2013, 10:22 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,578
One of the problems you will run into with apartment rental in high season is many require a weekly rental.

>>>Sienna is not too big and I would prefer it over Florence but I was trying to see if I could find a smaller town with good public transportation access.<<<

The triangle between Siena, Pisa, Florence does not really have a small town with good transport. While the train goes to a few places, many are only served by bus. Many buses don't run on Sunday or might not have convenient timing depending one exactly which towns you want to visit. You really need to look at map and make a list of the towns you must see. Then see if transport can be worked out.

The Sita bus between Florence and Siena runs 7 days a week and takes about 75 minutes for the rapid bus (under 10€ one way). Here's a bus map for some of the area.

http://www.sienamobilita.it/mappe/Mappa_EXT.pdf

A car is best for Tuscany, but with 6 people and luggage you would need a 9 seater which isn't good for narrow roads in Tuscan hilltowns.
kybourbon is online now  
Aug 25th, 2013, 10:30 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,931
you will miss so much if you don't rent a van.... Tuscany is all about the small towns, most of which only have complicated bus connections.

in the bigger towns you can walk primarily... some like Florence allow no cars in the center.
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 25th, 2013, 11:49 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 22
Thank you all for your responses. I may start to look into renting a van. We will only have a carry on size luggage piece per person plus a small backpack so hopefully a 7 seat van will work. I do not want to be waiting around for a bus or train when we could be exploring. With a van this would give us flexibility on where to stay. I would love to stay in a hill town that would be within driving distance to Florence and Pisa. It does not have to be in the triangle between Florence, Pisa and Sienna. Any favorites out there? What about experience with apartments or agriturismo?
Europe_Newbie is offline  
Aug 25th, 2013, 06:52 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,578
>>>We will only have a carry on size luggage piece per person plus a small backpack so hopefully a 7 seat van will work.<<<

I don't usually see 7 seat vans for rent in Italy. Minivans are often 5 seats and then the big 9 seat vans.
kybourbon is online now  
Aug 25th, 2013, 07:32 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 54
A few years ago we stayed for 4 days in a lovely agriturismo about 10 miles outside of Siena and visited Montepulciano, Montalcino, Cortona, the Chianti area and multiple small villages on day trips in a 9 seat van and had no trouble manuevering anywhere. There are parking lots on the edges of all those towns and the roads were perfectly fine in a large van. The agriturismo was Il Canto del Sole in Monteroni d'Arbia. Wouldn't work without a car but it was so peaceful, lots of animals, great pool, the food was beyond fabulous and the hosts were extremely helpful in all ways. I wouldn't hesitate to rent a car. I've been to Italy multiple times and used trains and buses but never felt that I saw the true Italy until we had the freedom of a car.
cjtrav is offline  
Aug 25th, 2013, 11:10 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,962
Depending on age/comfort level of grandparents...might be cheaper and easier to rent two smaller cars, which would also allow for greater flexibility -- should you decide to go the driving route.

Driving in the area you are talking about with a van is not fun and at times impossible in the tiny alleyways of towns, also present a bigger (literally) challenge in those tiny parking lots.

Siena is quite large, with steep cobblestoned streets that presented a challenge to my husband. Are your parents in decent shape? If not, find a place close to the train station and use the city's bus service to get to the centro storico--researching in advance will pay big dividends on time saved and frazzled nerves.

We stayed at a fantastic winery/agriturismo that has an apartment for six, just outside of Siena. I did not see inside the little outbuildings that they were in,as we stayed in the actual Villa but we dined with families staying in them and they were very pleased: Azienda Agriturismo Castel Di Pugna. The A/C, swimming pool and view of Siena as well as being able to tour their modern winery and the 12th century wine cellar in the castle base was dreamy...but you'd need a car I believe. Even if there is city bus service, it wouldn't be very practical for day trips; no problem with a car. We drove over to Montalcino and had a great time Sunday morning there when the market was taking splace.

www.castelpugna.com
klondike is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 01:29 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,523
Lucca?

charming, flat for walking and cycling, good train connections, close to the coast for trips to the beach etc.
annhig is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 05:10 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 81
If your main spot is Florence I suggest you should stay in the countryside near the city.
Cities linked by train are not so good and Siena is quite far.
What about Impruneta? From the central train station of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, you can take a direct bus to Impruneta that stops very close to Relais Villa L'Olmo http://www.relaisvillalolmo.com/location.
It takes about half hour to reach Impruneta but please remember that the last bus from Florence to Impruneta runs at 8.30 pm.
Maltesec is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 08:22 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,962
Yes, Annhig, I had thought of Lucca too which has easy access to Cinque Terre, Pisa, and Florence but I didn't mention it because it is not close to Siena (would have to go through Florence) or the surrounding hilltowns. And the op sounded like they wanted Siena & hilltowns.

But I agree with you--It would make an ideal location for a group.
klondike is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 09:40 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,523
And the op sounded like they wanted Siena & hill towns.>>

klondike - I don't mean to sound patronising to the OP but many people [and I include myself in this] have very little idea WHAT they want the first time they visit a new country or continent especially. it looks as if the OP has done some research [much more than many] and has a vision of Tuscany in her head which is lovely, but with a group not wanting to drive, probably not achievable.

but they could STILL have a lovely trip if they stick to what is practical for their group. How are the grandparents going to like those hill towns? all the crowds in Siena? being stuck in a large van all day? much better to pick somewhere as a base where everyone can feel comfortable and with trains to get about.

a tour provider like Hills and Roads [which I hasten to add I have not used but many here have and speak very highly of] could provide a day trip [or 2] which everyone could enjoy.
annhig is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 01:13 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 22
Thank you all for the suggestions and comments. I did discuss with my parents (the grandparents) traveling with us and they agree we need to rent the van to get the most out of being in Tuscany. You all made me realize it is worth paying extra for the mobility and freedom vs scheduling your day around train and bus schedules. My parents are in good health and very mobile so not too worried about them keeping up. They will enjoy driving around stopping at the different towns. I was able to find several quotes for 7 passenger minivans in Italy so I think that is the route we will go.

Klondike I did think about 2 cars but my parents would rather be passengers than drivers

annhig you are correct that although I have done some research I am still developing what exactly we will be doing and what we want to do. This is our first time to Italy.

I will check out all the suggestions of places to stay. I prefer to look into places others recommend and will continue to check posts on Fodors to help guide me in planning this special trip. It is the first time my parents and two daughters have been to Europe.

Is there any negative to renting a car in Florence area and returning it in Rome?? We are heading that direction after Tuscany. What about dropping the van off in a smaller city with good train service to Rome and then taking the train to Rome vs. trying to drive in Rome.

Thanks again for all the advice. Foder's is a great resource and it helped me in our first trip to Europe.
Europe_Newbie is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 04:45 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,206
"Klondike I did think about 2 cars but my parents would rather be passengers than drivers."

The two adults in your family could be the drivers...


Both Orvieto and Chiuso are good car drop-off points before Rome. You need to know the open/closed hours of the offices in either town.

If you choose Orvieto, I suggest you keep the car(s) to hold the luggage while you take the funicular up to the center of town, explore a little, perhaps have lunch, before turning in the cars and catching the train to Rome.
Jean is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 06:04 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 22
Thanks Jean! I will look into those places as possible drop offs.
Europe_Newbie is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 10:03 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,962


A valid point, but make sure if you are leaving luggage in a van that it is covered (we carry a cheap plastic tablecloth-like the kind you buy for parties for such use)and covered BEFORE arriving at your destination. Don't think a thief won't stop at breaking a window...been down that road; and it wasn't fun!
klondike is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 06:37 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3
I really suggest you to drop the van off in a smaller town (Orvieto will be perfect), Rome is really crowded and not an easy place to drive! From Orvieto you can take a train to Rome main station, you can find time tables and prices on Trenitalia website (Italian railway company): in about an hour you'll be in Rome. Tuscany is really one of my wonderful Italian regions, I've been there so many times and there is always something new to discover. As an Italian I really love Siena (small town and wonderful countryside), but also Volterra and San Giminiano are really two must-see places.
If you are planning to rent a van, you can also reach some smaller villages, not well served by public transport, but absolutely wonderful. Some of them are not very popular with tourists, and for this reason they are even more typical and charming; if you have the chance, don't miss Suvereto and Bolgheri, two of the most magic places in Italy!
As for apartments/b&b, have you already started to look at any website?
Here are some tips, trusted websites I've already booked from:
- as for b&b: http://www.bed-and-breakfast-in-italy.com/
- as for apartments I advise to check http://www.homelidays.co.uk/ and http://www.rentxpress.com
On the official website of tourism in Tuscany (English version: http://www.turismo.intoscana.it/into...t/TurismoRTen/) you will find lots of useful travel tips!
sara86 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:01 AM.