Florence Day Trip Tp Siena/tour guide

Old Jan 29th, 2011, 10:09 AM
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Florence Day Trip Tp Siena/tour guide

My wife, daughter and myself are going to be in Italy this March. We'll be in Rome, Florence and Venice. In Florence, I wanted to take a day trip out to the countryside.

My wife found a tour guide on line. She proposes to take us with four other people to the "southern part of the region towards Montalcino for 150 euros each. I must say she gets rave reviews as a tour guide by looking at the comments on line. But I don't know this area and it seems like a lot for a day trip. But I don't know; maybe it's the going rate.

It includes lunch and entrance to two or three wineries.

What does anyone think? Good deal or bad?
Chimp10 is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2011, 10:44 AM
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Hi Chimp, I think that price is in the ball park for an escorted tour. My cousin and I spent four days in Siena in 2005. Although we had a car, we found getting around difficult. Another couple at the Hotel Ravizza where we stayed had taken a tour with Country Tours of Siena. We did the same the next day and were totally satisfied. No hassles and a very engaging and knowledgeable guide.
If I recall, the price back then was similar. To us it was worth it. You will love the Tuscan countryside.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2011, 10:53 AM
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It's a 2-hour drive each way between Florence and Montalcino. Only you can decide if you want to spend that much time in the car seeing passing scenery rather than being in a town (or towns). I'd rather not be sitting in a car, and I'm too cheap to spend 450 euros. But some people like this kind of personal service, and it is an easy way to visit multiple wineries.

You can easily take a bus between Florence and Siena for a few euros per person, follow a self-directed walking tour or use a guide book to direct you to the top sights, and have a nice lunch and/or dinner before returning to Florence. You can also join a day tour out of Florence that will take you to Siena and perhaps also San Gimignano and perhaps include a guided walking tour of Siena. We've done this both ways. The bus tour was booked through American Express at their office near the Duomo, but I don't know if that office exists anymore.
Jean is online now  
Old Jan 29th, 2011, 10:59 AM
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Too much ! You did mean 450E for you 3, correct?
You can get a private driver for less for all day.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2011, 11:03 AM
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The bus from Florence to Siena takes barely an hour and is a cheap, easy and scenic way of getting to Siena. We just used our guide book when we got to Siena, along with some pages I'd printed off the internet, but there are Tourist Information offices there, the main one I recall being in the main Campo. We used the map we were given and saw all the main sights and had plenty of time for a leisurely lunch and wander around before getting the bus back to Florence. We could have stayed longer if we'd got a later bus back.

BTW, we bought our tickets for the Duomo at the Crypt low down on the hill. This means you don't have to queue to buy your tickets when you get to the Duomo, you can just walk in. And the crypt is actually quite interesting - though don't think too much about what is above you LOL, it becomes apparent later when you've walked above!

Also, Pisa makes a nice day trip from Florence. About an hour by train, it is easy and cheap to get to.
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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 01:02 PM
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Luca Garappa of hillsandroads.com charges by the hour for your group depending on the size of group. For your group of three, he would charge 38 euro per hour. Since he is located near Siena, he charges 25 euro to come and get you, or you can meet him in Siena. So for 367 euro (342+25), you could have 9 hours with Luca. We loved our day with Luca--personable knowledgable, safe driver.

ellenem is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2011, 02:46 PM
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Thanks to everyone for their prompt and insightful replies.
Chimp10 is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2011, 09:19 PM
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Another vote for Luca Garrapa. Take the bus to Siena and have him pick you up there. We loved our day with Luca (private, just me and my daughter) and the price was about E32/hour. We went to Montalcino, Pienza, the Abbey of Mount Oliveto Maggiori. Wonderful day. Terrific guide.

I'd go with Luca Garappa at the link above!

sarge56 is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2011, 11:50 PM
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Yet another glowing recommendation for Luca Garrapa. He will take you on a private tour, just the three of you, he can tailor the trip to your likings, desires and abilities. And he is very professional, courteous, humorous and intelligent. He knows several languages beside Italian, and very well too. He is a very safe driver and it was a true pleasure to spend the day with him. On the first of two trips we took with him to the Tuscan countryside, I fell in love with Montalcino in particular, but all of the countryside in general, and I have not stopped going back since!!!
Flame123 is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2011, 03:44 AM
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I 3rd the Luca recommendation.
k9korps is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2011, 05:07 AM
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We have enjoyed a half dozen days with Luca - well worth the cost and customized to your preferences.
kfusto is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2011, 06:50 AM
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There are multiple bus tour companies listed by the Florence Tourist Board that operate tours out of Florence if you don't want to pay for a private guide.





If you just want to visit a few hilltowns, you can take a local bus (make sure the return bus is when you need it). If you want to visit wineries, you need some type of tour or rent a car.

Bus map for area:
kybourbon is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2011, 10:23 AM
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Again, thanks to everyone for heir comments. I've written to Luca and I am waiting to hear back.
Chimp10 is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2011, 02:19 PM
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After reading all of the praise for Luca on this forum my DH and I have contacted him for a day tour from Florence in September to focus primarily on good photography. We are very excited!
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