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Florence, Tuscany & Bologna

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Aug 18th, 2013, 03:40 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Jun 2013
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Florence, Tuscany & Bologna

Hi everyone,

We have a trip planned in early October to Italy to the above locations.

Florence 2 nights
Tuscany 4 nights
Bologna 2 nights

I am just trying to figure out the Tuscany side of our trip & need some help. We are wanting to hire a car for the duration of our stay in Tuscany, my thoughts were to pick it up in Lucca (first stop) and then drive to Bologna and drop off there, first of all - what is the most scenic route to Bologna and is it worth the drive or would drop the car in Tuscany and train up?

Secondly - we have 4 days in Tuscany, a little bit of planning is required but really we just want to jump in the car each day and see where we end up, and this means booking the accom each night as we go...good idea or bad idea? should we just choose a base and pre-book? if so where is a nice spot to base ourselves.
The main towns/cities we want to see are:
Lucca
Pisa
Chianti region
Siena
and all the smaller towns in between.......once we are there I guess we will decide on how long we spend there, a day or overnight etc, or move on to the next spot.

My concern is we may find ourselves wasting time searching for accom if we don't book in advance? Also is it easy enough to park in the main towns?

Thanks in advance, any advice would be appreciated. Travelling with fiance, both mid 30's.
Mascelle is offline  
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Aug 18th, 2013, 05:12 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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In Lucca you park outside the walls and walk in, in Pisa we found parking on the street near the leaning tower, in Siena you need to leave your car on the outskirts, we parked at the train station and took a short taxi ride to the centre.
The smaller towns in Chianti, well it just depends, in Greve in Chianti for example, we always found parking on the street or in small parking lots, not a problem.

I can't help you decide on booking hotels in advance as I am a "book in advance" person. I don't want to waste my holiday time trying to find a hotel and also don't want to be stressed about where I'm going to stay. Not sure about the smaller places in October, but I was in Florence in early October last year and it was still wall to wall tourists, so I would advise at least having a hotel booked for Florence. Oh, and get rid of the car before Florence.

I think you may have too many places on your Tuscany wish list for 4 nights which is really just 3 days, and 2 nights in Florence and again in Bologna is just one full day in each.

Is Pisa just to see the Tower? That could be a short jaunt from Lucca. I loved Lucca, we rode bikes around the top of the wall and it was really fun.
We based ourselves in Greve in Chianti for a week and drove to Lucca, Pisa, Forte dei Marmi, Siena, San Gimignano, the American WW2 cemetery (we kind of stumbled upon it), and a few small villages in between all of those. (just to give you an idea) The longest drives were probably to Lucca, Pisa and Forte dei Marmi.
raincitygirl is offline  
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Aug 18th, 2013, 05:15 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Stay in Luca and visit Pisa from there. Stay in either Siena or smaller town in Chianti region and visit the other.
We have stayed in Chianti three times-Castellina in Chainti and Panzano in Chianti, both lovely places. Siena is wonderful too.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
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Aug 18th, 2013, 05:43 PM
  #4
 
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Is this a segment of a larger trip?

At first glance, I'd say your time in Florence is awfully short, especially if this is your arrival city after an overnight flight. If it were my trip, I'd probably spend 4 nights in Florence and day-trip by train to Bologna. For that matter, Lucca and Pisa are also very easy to see as a day-trip by train from Florence.

I don't like to travel without reservations because I don't want to spend any time searching for acceptable lodging. But if you're not picky and have a flexible budget, you shouldn't have trouble finding accommodations.

Are you familiar with the no traffic zones that most towns have instituted? If not, Google a bit on the subject (Zona a Traffico Limitato (aka ZTL) + city name) and learn what the restriction signs look like. Since it sounds like you'll have your luggage with you some days, you need to rent a car that can hold all of your bags in a way that NONE of it is visible.
Jean is offline  
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Aug 18th, 2013, 06:16 PM
  #5
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Hi again,

Jean yes this is our Italy part of our European holiday which is 35 days all up, I have changed the time in places so many times trying not to be too rushed etc its SO hard know whats enough but also fitting in the wish list. Good point about the luggage, I have pre-booked everything pretty much so I think I will take all your advice and book a base for Tuscany also.

Raincitygirl, I love your comment about the bike ride that sounds great will def be doing that.

Thanks for your comments very helpful.
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