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Florence/Siena 9 days assistance

Old Nov 26th, 2008, 07:29 AM
  #1  
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Florence/Siena 9 days assistance

We are planning a trip to Italy which we are really trying to focus on the Tuscany Region. As of right now we have 9 days planned in this region (3 previous days in Venice and 4 days after in Rome, which is our 16 day italy trip).

I have been to italy before and did a 6 day stay in the area and it was WONDERFUL. My friends are first timers to europe (all 4 of us are in our late 20s). We like a little bit of everything, from the history, to art, to wine, to seeing the rolling hills, so we are up for pretty much anything in tuscany.

my question what would be the best way to break up these 9 days. we will NOT have a car and plan on using public transportation as much as possible. also we would like to limit our stay to only two hotels (one in florence and one in siena as our bases) but we are very much up to having day trips from these two bases.

as of right now, in early brainstorming, i have thought for the 9 days we would do:

While staying in Florence:
--------------------------
2 full days in Florence
1 day-trip Lucca/Pisa (from Florence)


While staying in Siena:
--------------------------
2 full days in Siena
1 day-trip to San Gimignano
1 day-trip to Montalcino/Montapuluciano

Not that these are set in stone, but that leaves two free days of which im not sure how to use.

i would LOVE any advice on these two free days or in fact any possible alterations of what i had in mind. we really would like to stay in florence and siena though.

thank you so much for you help. you guys are the best and i can always look to you for help !!!!
Greekgazoo is offline  
Old Nov 26th, 2008, 08:00 AM
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A day trip to both Montepulciano and Montalcino without a car would be almost impossible.

When in Siena in April, I could not work out a way of getting to and from Montepulciano easily (my only option seemed to come back via Chiusi).

The bus timetables from Siena can be found at:
http://www.trainspa.it/2009/extraurbano.pdf

San Gimignao could be done from either Siena or Florence. I would also suggest Fiesole (a good afternoon trip from Florence) and/or Arezzo (60-90 minutes by train from Florence - also doable by bus from Siena).
willit is offline  
Old Nov 26th, 2008, 08:12 AM
  #3  
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From siena, could we not take a bus to Montalcino/Montapuluciano and then another bus to the other city, then back to siena? or is that too much ?
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Old Nov 26th, 2008, 08:52 AM
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You will want to hire a driver or tour group from Siena at least one day. Look at Tours by Roberto or Luca Garapa at Hill and Roads. It is tough to see the wine towns without a car.
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Old Nov 26th, 2008, 09:00 AM
  #5  
sac
 
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Hi Greek, I think you're really, really wise to spend your holiday in one region and just two centres! You'll have time to begin to know Tuscany and not be constantly packing and unpacking, etc.

Siena is so wonderful to stay in at night, when most of the crowds have left and it takes on a fantastic medieval feel.

But Siena doesn't have the best transportation links -- for example, the train station is a ways out of town and that makes it hard to use.

So you may want to consider staying in Siena for a few days and really just stay in Siena during that time.

Then, by adding more days to your Florence base, you can very easily reach from there San Gimignano, Arezzo, Lucca, perhaps Cortona (a great town.)

Florence is such a transportation hub that there is a steady stream of trains and buses coming and going from everywhere. Further, both the main train station and bus station are smack in the middle of Florence's historic centre, so they're easy to reach for your day trips.

When I'm relying on public transit -- which I love to do in Italy -- I like to have lots of choices on an extensive timetable, so I'm not always worried that I'll miss the one bus back to where I'm staying (which can happen when you're in smaller centre with fewer choices.)

Good luck planning!
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Old Nov 26th, 2008, 09:19 AM
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I have some experience with public transportation in Tuscany while staying in
Siena-

There are very few buses from Siena to Montepulciano/Montalcino. I took a train from Siena to Chuisi, then a bus (leaves from the train station) to Montepulciano, then another bus from there back to Siena. I could not go from Montepulciano to Montalcino.
There is a bus from Siena to Montalcino and back and I did do this on another day.

The buses leave Siena very early (they are scheduled for the working people, not tourists) and usually from the train station, not the bus station. It is best to ask to confirm the times and departure location. Make sure you ask (don't rely on postings) about departure times in Montepulciano- the posted times were wrong and I almost got stranded.

Visiting San Gimigano from Siena is easy. The buses leave from the bus station area (it's not a station- just a plaza with underground ticket windows).

There are also buses going into the Chianti area.

While day trips from Siena are possible using public transportation, it is not very convenient. My bus trip to Montepulciano opened my eyes to the Val d'Orcia area of southern Tuscany, where I have returned 4 times (1-2 week trips, using a car) and plan on more trips. I highly suggest you rent a car while in Tuscany.

With 9 days, I suggest-

4 days Florence with day trips to Lucca/Pisa (train) and San Gimignano (bus).

And...

5 days southern Tuscany. Stay at an agriturismo with a pool and kitchen. Explore this region and relax. It will be a nice break from the cities. Visit Siena as a day trip.

You can train from Florence to Chiusi and pick up the car there. After your 5 days in southern Tuscany, return the car in Chiusi and train to Rome.

Driving in southern Tuscany is very, very easy and well worth every Euro spent on a rental car.

Recommended-

http://www.fontebertusi.it/

http://www.autoeurope.com/

Enjoy your trip!

zoecat is online now  
Old Nov 26th, 2008, 09:42 AM
  #7  
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zoecat,

I love your idea of 4 days staying in florence. we can spend 2 full days in florence, one day to lucca and pisa (evening spent in florence) then go to san g. and spend one day and back to spend the evening in florence once again. that gives us 4 wonderful evenings in florence.

as for the car rental. your suggestion is the take the train to chiusi and pick up a car there (b/c this is less hassle than renting the car from florence?) then we have the car in for our 5 days of tuscany.

is it easy to find parking in each of these cities? if we would travel by car? should we only stay in florence 3 nights as opposed to 4 nights and go to san g. with our car?

i guess i have alot of questions, but it definitely seems like we are going in the right direction.

also, with all the buses and public transportation we would require during our tuscany trip, it might make sense to rent a car instead.

thanks
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Old Nov 26th, 2008, 01:28 PM
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Yes, I suggested picking up the car in Chiusi because it would be easier. Driving in Florence can be difficult, but not impossible. Many do it.

You could certainly rent the car in Florence and stop in San G on your way to southern Tuscany. Not a bad idea.

I forgot to mention that the car rental offices in Chiusi close for lunch for a few hours, so keep that in mind when making your reservation and determining a pick-up time. Auto Europe is very helpful with reservations.

Parking is easy in the Southern Tuscany towns. It is not always easy in San G and Siena. Get to Siena early.

I hope this helps!

zoecat is online now  
Old Nov 26th, 2008, 01:34 PM
  #9  
 
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hi gg,

<<Driving in Florence can be difficult, but not impossible. Many do it.>>

LOL - yep that's the problem in a nutshell - so many people driving in Florence. the advice to pick up your car elsewhere is excellent.

siena is lvoely in the evening when the tourists have gone home, ditto San gim, so I gather. if you have a car you could stay on or even time your entire visit for these times, even if you a renot staying there.

with a group and a car, I'd tend towards 4 nights in florence, 5 nights in an agritourismo.

regards, ann
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Old Nov 26th, 2008, 02:50 PM
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Ok, i think im sold on the renting of a car. now since im new to the whole agritourismo world. where would be ideal to rent one for seeing the entire tuscany area? i have been told chiusi is a great area. do i want to go southeast of siena. or should i stay btwn florence and siena. it doesnt seem like anything is that far by car in tuscany. everything that we would want to see should be within an hour drive. which is not a problem at all. this should cut our cost of hotels for four people as well. in addition the car will give us flexibility and should give us another view of tuscany.

are there any agritourismo that you would strongly recommend at a reasonable price for four?
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Old Nov 27th, 2008, 06:51 AM
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IMO, to see "All" Tuscany, after Florence, stay in or around Siena so you are hour by car to Chiusi/Montalcino, hour to Chianti area, hour to Arrezzo, and hour to Grosseto. You do not have to do these trips by car - maybe consider car for just 1 day or 2.

If you want to see "all Tuscany" consider day trip from Florence to Pietrasanta as well as Lucca and Pisa.

Although Florence is not even close to my favorite place in Italy, for your itinerary I would do 5 nights in Florence and 4 nights in Siena.

This way you have more time to see Tuscan coast from Florence and plenty of time to drive hill towns. And since you all enjoy art, I think your friends will want to see Florence museums, which could take minimum 2 days, and shopping is one day at least, without even seeing real Florence.

From Siena don't miss Volterra. San Gimi go in the evening if it is weekend or day during week is fine. Vecchia Mura is great ristorante in San Gimi.

4 young adults staying in Montalcino or even agritourismo around Siena may not provide enough night time activities.

You may also return car in Orvieto on way to Rome, driving through Chiusi.

If you are traveling to destinations by car remember to pack light - 4 people in a car plus luggage...

Whatever you do, do not drink and drive in Italy.

Buon Viaggio!
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Old Nov 27th, 2008, 08:05 AM
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My friends and i have discussed several options that we have read from the chat rooms. It seems like the group is talking about staying 4 nights in florence and 5 nights in siena. It looks like the hotels are going to be the way everyone seems to want to go, b/c of the night life in each of the cities. We do not want to have to worry about drinking or anything like that, then one of us driving back (b/c the one not drinking would be missing out on most of the fun). so now it appears better served to stay in hotels, so that all we have to do is walk everywhere florence and siena.

as far as our current ever changing itinerary...

Florence staying 4 nights. with one day trip to lucca and pisa.

Siena staying 5 nights. we are planning on renting a car for 3 or 4 days while in siena, b/c we wont need on the day we are sightseeing siena. so with the car we are going to try to do 4 day trips with the late evenings spent in siena. so now it looks like we are back to the drawing board to decide what towns to see on these 4 day trips. 1) san gimignano 2) montalcino 3) montapuluciano those for sure. now we are trying to decide on other towns. i have heard great things about chiusi. so if we stay in siena and rent a car, we can go to any of these towns by day, and be back for a late evening in siena. any other tuscan town advice ?
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Old Nov 27th, 2008, 09:17 AM
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I am going to Italy on March 30 and I would like to stay in Siena 3 nights before training on to Santa Margherita then Nice. I am traveling solo, therefore I won't be renting a car. I know that I can take a bus to San Gim, but I thought I would also like to visit Volterra. Is it possible to do on a bus?
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Old Nov 27th, 2008, 09:40 AM
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For your day trips you could combine Volterra with San Gimignano and Montalcino with Montepulciano.

If you rent a car in Florence be sure to use a rental agency near the edge of town. Then you could drive down the 222 through Chianti and see Greve, Castellina, etc. There are several vinyards along the way. Contact the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico for a free map of the region.

Another day might be Orvieto and Civita-Bagnoregio. Sooo many choices. Buon Viaggio.
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