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Florence day trip to Siena, San Gimi, etc...?

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Sep 7th, 2012, 05:14 AM
  #1
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Florence day trip to Siena, San Gimi, etc...?

Greetings Fellow Fodorites;
I will be in Florence the first week of October and would like to arrange a daytrip to one or more of the Tuscan hill towns. I am looking for a reasonable touring company that offers me the time to explore the areas of interest. Places on my list to visit would be San Gimignano, Volterra, and Montalcino. (Note; I have been to Siena and Lucca) The other consideration would be a leisure tour to Chinque Terre. This excursion would need to be without the strenuous hiking and rigid time schedule. Your input is very much appreciated. Thank you.
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Sep 7th, 2012, 05:38 AM
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Hi Steve,

My wife and I recently returned from an 8-week trip to Europe with the main focus on Italy. We did a lot of sightseeing independently, but for the few organised day trips we went on we used Viator ( http://www.viator.com/Florence/d519-ttd ) to hook us up. They were very good - especially in Florence/Tuscany.

If you enjoy drinking wine, I can highly recommend the Chianti "wine-tasting" tour. I have quoted the tasting because it is closer to drinking half a bottle than a taste. I am now a big fan of Chianti due to that trip.

Also, San Gimignano is a superb stop. Lovely architecture, history and some of the best alley-type shopping you could wish for. Also they have one of the best Gelato shops in Italy (even their shop-front sign purports they have a gelato world-title under their belt).

We also spent 4 days in Cinque Terre - could have stayed longer. It is absolutely the Italian Riveria. We also did the hiking but didn't find it strenuous as long as you limit yourself to one of the walks per day.

We stayed in the fifth town - Monterosso del Mare - but any of the towns are colourful and wonderful to visit and just soak up their unique atmosphere.
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Sep 7th, 2012, 05:57 AM
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Steve,

Thank you for sharing the above information. What a great trip.
I am considering Viator as one of the touring companies, but I have read some dissappointing reviews.
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Sep 7th, 2012, 07:14 AM
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I may be naive but didn't realise until we got to Europe that Viator is simply a mediator for various local tour companies within a given town/city.

So, yes, I can see that you may have read a few ordinary reviews because we were not impressed with one we did in Rome to Villa d’este (Tivoli) and Hadrian’s Villa. But again, I can assure you we did several half day tours in Florence/Tuscany "via Viator" but actually through the local contact: CAF Tour and Travel Phone: +39 055 283 200.

And they were excellent!
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Sep 7th, 2012, 09:46 AM
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Steve,
Again, thank you for the information and feedback.
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Sep 7th, 2012, 10:10 AM
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my 100% reccomendation http://takemeoutintuscany.com/en/1001/home.htm

Paola and Stefano are VERY professional! this is private tour.

you will not be disappointed. enjoy some vino and don't worry about the driving !!!!
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Sep 7th, 2012, 01:22 PM
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San Gimignano is fairly easy by local bus. Some are direct, some need a change at Poggibonsi.
See http://www.sitabus.it/sita-toscana/F...0-%20Siena.pdf
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Sep 7th, 2012, 05:51 PM
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The Florence Tourist office has a list of tours. CAF seems to be less expensive than most.

http://www.caftours.com/excursions-and-day-trips.html

Montalcino is quite a distance for a day trip. It's better as a day trip from Siena.

If you want time on your own, most group tours won't offer much of that. You can either book a private tour, hire a driver or take public transport.
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Sep 7th, 2012, 06:05 PM
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Best of Tuscany tour was a great 1 day tour - Sienna - vineyard for lunch - San Gimignano - Pisa - all in one day - great tour. left from Train Station.
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Sep 7th, 2012, 06:07 PM
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This company used to do the Chianti tour (no longer offered) sponsored by the Florence Tourist Board.

http://www.bestoftastetours.com/
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Sep 10th, 2012, 10:06 AM
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Does anyone know of a day trip including San Gimignano where one gets enough time in San Gimignano? I see many for Siena/San Gimignano but many say they don't have enough time to see San Gimignano; maybe an hour or so. Is San Gimgnano enough of a day trip in and of itself? I've heard it's more of a half day trip. We love Florence and have been there many times so we'd like to spend a good day elsewhere. Thank you in advance.
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Sep 10th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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IMO you could do it in a half day but that depends a lot on what you are interested in seeing in the town itself I suppose.

Last I was there (it was in August) the place was mobbed with visitors (lots of Europeans obviously) and the parking situation wasn't the most ideal. The views of the countryside are wonderful, of course, and the "towers" were interesting although they are kinda similar to one another.

I'm glad we went and am sure you will enjoy it.
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Sep 10th, 2012, 08:08 PM
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Can any one comment on the CAF Tour of Siena and San Gimignano? Was there enough time allowed to explore S.G.?
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Sep 11th, 2012, 10:13 AM
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I think any tour company is ging to hae stringent time requirement s- esp if you going to try to see more than one town in a day.

The options are:

1)organize it yourself and then make your own schedule
2) hire a private driver/guide that will work with your schedule

We just did day trips ourselves - but we had a car so no scheduling problems.
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