Florence to Val d'Orcia day trip

Old Jul 14th, 2018, 04:10 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 10
Florence to Val d'Orcia day trip

Me and my wife are planning to a day trip from Florence to Val d'orcia in September. We are in awe of the pictures of the Tuscan countryside, and want to club it with a visit to a winery in that region, something we haven't done ever before.

The first option we have is to take a bus tour from Florence which takes around 11-12 hours for an entire day trip to Pienza, Montalcino and Montepulciano, including couple of wineries. However, i'm not too keen on a group tour with 25-30 people in a bus, as past experience of such tours was bit of a let down for me, feels like doing window shopping in a mall! Private tours/ drivers are not an option for me either, for they are just too expensive.

The only other option i could think of is self driving, since i firmly believe that is the best way of experiencing the beauty of the region. However, i do not want to start the drive from Florence, for various issues such ZTL and the long drive till the O'rcia valley. So after some research on the internet, we are planning to take a morning train from Florence to a town which is close enough to the places we want to visit - Pienza and Montepulciano, and if possible the La Foce. After the train journey, we plan to hire a vehicle and then drive around to these places, and return by late evening by train to Florence. I am a bit confused about the following:

1. At which place should we get off the train from Florence to visit these places? Chuisi seems like an option, although i also read on these forums that the train service there is unreliable or untimely. We want the train journey to not take more than 2 hours one way, given that this is a day trip we're planning with return to Florence same day.

2. My first preference is to rent a motorcycle or a vespa. Is it a good idea? Are there any restrictions on riding these two wheelers on the highways that i'll have to cross to visit the above places? Renting a car is the second option which i'll be happy to avoid due to the right hand driving in Italy (which i'm not used to) and the requirement for an international driving permit. However, if push comes to shove i am fine with renting a car as plan B.

3. Any recommendations for rental companies from where we can pick up the vehicle as per the above plan?

4. I can imagine that it would be more organised to do a winery visit with a tour guide, but how easy or difficult is it to arrange a winery visit on your own (given this is our first time)? What is the process - do we need to pre-book such a visit or can we just show up at the winery for a tour?

Any inputs would be highly appreciated! Many thanks!
oftravelsandtales is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2018, 06:21 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Take train Florence to Chiusi - near Montepulciano - pick up cars from major rental companies opposite station. Those are regional trains so just buy tickets at station - no benefit to buying online - for lots on trains check www.trenitalia.com; www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2018, 08:21 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,160
Our introduction to the southern Tuscany countryside was a bus from Chiusi to Siena. It was a magic carpet ride through the beautiful Tuscan hills. So you might look into busses instead of cars or vespas or trains.
Mimar is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2018, 09:44 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,298
Will you be anywhere before and after Florence? If so, it might make more sense to travel through southern Tuscany along the way.

Although renting a car and driving yourself provides the opportunity to cover as much of the area as possible, having a car also brings issues that involve time, money and logistics. Are you sure a private driver is more expensive than renting, insuring and fueling a car for a single day? And if you do rent a car, can you fit all of your sightseeing plans within the hours that the car rental office is open? The rental offices in Chiusi, for example, likely open at 9:00a and close at 6:30p. You would have to catch a train from Florence at 6:40a to be there by 9:00a. It takes some time to rent the car (especially if there is a line), and the drive Chiusi-Montepulciano-Pienza-Chiusi would take upwards of 3 hours. In the remaining 6 hours, you want to explore 2 towns, presumably have lunch, perhaps detour to other sights like a winery and La Foce. Every town stop also includes a search for parking and a short walk into and out of the town center. You may travel differently, but this feels rushed to me.

I don't know where you'd rent a motorcycle for a day, but I suspect it wouldn't be possible in a small town like Chiusi. You'd have to research that. Personally, I wouldn't rent a Vespa in this plan.
Jean is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2018, 12:28 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 10
Originally Posted by Jean View Post
Will you be anywhere before and after Florence? If so, it might make more sense to travel through southern Tuscany along the way.

Although renting a car and driving yourself provides the opportunity to cover as much of the area as possible, having a car also brings issues that involve time, money and logistics. Are you sure a private driver is more expensive than renting, insuring and fueling a car for a single day? And if you do rent a car, can you fit all of your sightseeing plans within the hours that the car rental office is open? The rental offices in Chiusi, for example, likely open at 9:00a and close at 6:30p. You would have to catch a train from Florence at 6:40a to be there by 9:00a. It takes some time to rent the car (especially if there is a line), and the drive Chiusi-Montepulciano-Pienza-Chiusi would take upwards of 3 hours. In the remaining 6 hours, you want to explore 2 towns, presumably have lunch, perhaps detour to other sights like a winery and La Foce. Every town stop also includes a search for parking and a short walk into and out of the town center. You may travel differently, but this feels rushed to me.

I don't know where you'd rent a motorcycle for a day, but I suspect it wouldn't be possible in a small town like Chiusi. You'd have to research that. Personally, I wouldn't rent a Vespa in this plan.
Thank you all for the guidance. Jean, do you have any references of private drivers who would do this trip from chuisi or Montepulcino?
oftravelsandtales is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2018, 01:26 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Buses go all the time from Chiusi train station to Montepulciano - just a short drive - what can be easier and probably save $100 bucks or more?
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2018, 06:45 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,298
Bus service in Tuscany is (very generally speaking) timed to convenience students and commuting workers, not tourists. A quick look at the timetables for the bus service between the Chiusi train station and Montepulciano confirms the bus isn't an option for the OP. The earliest direct bus to Montepulciano that doesn't involve a long connection somewhere leaves Chiusi at 12:30p and takes more than an hour. The last direct bus back to Chiusi is at 1:45p. Substituting Siena for Chiusi doesn't improve the timing enough to make it worth considering.

Tiemme SpA

oftravelsandtales, contact Luca at Hills and Roads. Here's a link:

index
Jean is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2018, 06:54 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,298
The cost of full-day Val d'Orcia tours seem very reasonable to me.... Do check reviews....

https://www.ciaoflorence.it/en/tour-detail/112

https://italyxp.com/en/tuscany/excur...enza-val-orcia

https://happytovisit.com/Florence/Va...our-t4582-c205
Jean is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2018, 01:11 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 10
Thanks everybody for your responses. Based on your advise, i am changing my plans - will take a bus from Florence to Siena and hire a car from Siena to drive down till Pienza and Montepulciano. Back to Florence from Siena on a bus same day. I hope that is more do-able.
oftravelsandtales is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2018, 04:42 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 504
"the places we want to visit - Pienza and Montepulciano, and if possible the La Foce."

I am glad that you are not giving up on your idea to visit Val d'Orcia. I spent 6 nights in a agriturismo next to Pienza. It was lovely and we hope to repeat it one day. Have you read "War in Val d'Orcia" from Iris Origo? She lived in La Foce with her husband. During the Second World War, she consistently sheltered refugee children and assisted many escaped Allied prisoners of war and partisans, in defiance of Italy's fascist regime and Nazi occupation forces.

Any chance you can remodified your itinerary to include one night in Pienza or Monetpulciano?

Last edited by ToujoursVoyager; Jul 15th, 2018 at 04:44 AM.
ToujoursVoyager is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Mel
Europe
20
Mar 21st, 2015 07:26 PM
scissorwizard
Europe
14
Jun 18th, 2014 08:34 AM
mhohol
Europe
7
Jan 31st, 2010 04:02 PM
sltx
Europe
5
Jul 2nd, 2009 02:04 PM
aaa999
Europe
10
May 4th, 2009 05:54 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO