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four days in tuscany .. skip pisa?

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Apr 13th, 2012, 12:16 PM
  #1
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four days in tuscany .. skip pisa?

Hi all,
Just finishing up the plans for our italy trip in July and all we have left is figuring out the tuscany portion.
We will be in florence for a week (we have a wedding there) and will leave on the sunday july 8th. I have a room booked in siena at palazzo ravizza for the 10th and 12th but not sure what to do about the 8th and 9th.
Is this an ok idea.. train to pisa on the 8th, stay over night. Get up and rent a car and drive to san gimignano (tour it and volterra) spend the night, get up and drive to siena (one day there and then one day likely doing a wine tour around montalcino) then continue our drive down to sorrento on the 12th.
Am I missing anything. I know right away most of you will say we should stay in one place so i guess the other option would be to train from florence to siena right away and stay there all four nights?
oh decisions.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 12:33 PM
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with a week in Florence, won't you have time to do a day trip from there? get the train and you'll be there in about an hour, give or take 10 mins, depending on which train you get.

otherwise your plan is fine, bearing in mind that you will have had a nice long stay in Florence.

BTW, don't miss Fiesole, while you are in Florence. a great 1/2 day excursion.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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I agree---day trip to Pisa from Florence and stay in Siena for 4 nites---having a car for 3 of those days.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 01:36 PM
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z - have you been at PalenQs paint stripper?

griffy, I have no idea whether you are "deeply interested" in beautiful architecture or the renaissance, but please don't be put off going to Pisa, even if you don't fall into either of the above categories. There is a lot of tat around the campo dei miracoli, but it isn't called that [the field of miracles] for nothing - the buildings transcend the surrounding rubbish and with a wander round the rest of Pisa are well worth a 3/4 day trip.

don't be put off by others silly comments.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 02:15 PM
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Zeppole - I just have to ask - why in the world would it bother you if someone takes a photo "holding up" the tower in Pisa. At least they are traveling and not sitting at home and bad mouthing another country.

You have many good suggestions but they lose their importance when you make such comments.

Griffey - go to Pisa and take all the photos you want, silly or otherwise.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 02:27 PM
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I would include Lucca, actually I would stay in Lucca insted of Pisa. We spent four days there and enjoyed it..Then to VOlterra, San Gimi, Siena.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 02:47 PM
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I am somewhat interested in architecture,(so maybe I fall into z's first category) and also interested in photography )so maybe that puts me into the second category) but the day my sister, brother-in-law and I spent in Pisa was wonderful, even thought it was bucketing rain part of the day and drizzling the rest.

When we got off the train, it was pouring, so we took a taxi to the cathedral area. On the way we asked the driver for a good restaurant off the tourist track. He wrote out an adddress. After we had explored the cathedral, baptistry, tower and nearby museum, we took another taxi. The driver took us down a zigzag of streets and then said it was as far as he could go and pointed us down a warren of alleys and promised us a good lunch.

Found the restaurant. It was full of local people. The wait staff was friendly and helpful with our ordering. This was also the placewhere my sister set off the emergency alarm in the ladies' room. While searching for the light switch in the dark, she pulled a string which was the "Help me!" alarm that set off all sorts of sirens, flashing lights and running staff.

After lunch, which was delicious, we lost ourselves in more little streets and finally arrived at the river and the walk back to the station. It was an enchanting afternoon,maybe not everryone's cup of tea, but one we thoroughly enjoyed. If that puts us in the a--h---- category, so be it.

I am glad to have seen one of the iconic tourist sites of Italy and don't regret a minute that we spent there.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 03:02 PM
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we did something similar, irishface, though not with the help of any taxis. I really liked Pisa, much to my surprise, and it's not just the Tower and tourists.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 04:30 PM
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Griffy,
Go if you feel you want to. We went and were quite disappointed by the throngs of sellers surrounding the Tower. I had some idealistic expectation that we would be the ONLY ones at the tower I guess. It is lovely though and there is nothing like it in the world. There are many here who loved their stay in Pisa. Just prepare yourself mentally for it before you go and just push on through. We loved Lucca, Volterra and San Gimignano, especially in the evening and early morning before those pesky tourists arrived.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 05:39 PM
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I stopped in Pisa on my way to Liguria. Was there very early in the AM, left bags at Left Luggage and walked to the Leaning Tower. I loved the stroll and it was so early in the AM that I was practically alone at the Tower. I loved it but I can imagine it becomes a mob scene later in the day.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 07:06 PM
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There's a lot more to the Piazze dei Miracoli site than the tower!! I would go to Pisa in a heartbeat if only to see the huge frescoes in the Campo Santo that show the coming of the plague and the battle of the demons and the angels over the souls of the dead. It's only a short train ride from Florence so you could easily do it as a day trip. Enjoy every moment of it!
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Apr 13th, 2012, 07:37 PM
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I like HappyTrvlr's advice. I would also stay at Lucca, in a nice agriturismo, and use it as base to drive to the wonderful towns in Tuscany.
I liked other towns better than Pisa: Siena, Lucca, San Gimignano... however, it depends on your interests.
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Apr 14th, 2012, 05:14 AM
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a good way to see the tower and the other buildings on the "campo dei miracoli" [ie field of miracles] is to stay overnight, when all the hawkers and vast majority of other tourists will have gone home. the buildings are all lit up, and it's very pretty.

if that appeals, an overnight stay is a good idea.
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Apr 14th, 2012, 08:16 AM
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zepp, you are too intelligent to be a such a name caller. Just want to let you know that I'm going to complain about the above comment so you'll know who it is.

Griffy, my late husband and I thoroughly enjoyed Pisa. We stayed there for 2 nights and then again for 5 as a very agreeable base for train and bus travel.

If you can get a tour of the Duomo, you find out scads of wonderful things about the power that was Pisa and the artistry in the church. We needed to make an appointment to climb the tower and enjoyed it as well. The views and considering how Galileo made it to the top with 2 canonballs!

We stayed at the Royal Victoria Hotel and I've recommended often. Shabby? Yes. Old world charm and wonderful staff? By the bucketsfull!

Enjoy.
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Apr 14th, 2012, 09:50 AM
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We don't really like Pisa but I think that is because we drove in circles and we tend to get a little irritated when DH is driving and I'm navigating. I would take the train from Florence for the day.

I personally think that Siena is a far better Tuscan base, but a car can be a problem if you are staying "in" Siena. There are wonderful agriturismo's around Siena and then you can be there for your whole 5 days in Tuscany stay. You will then have access to Siena and all of the small wonderful towns. Montelcino is only and hour south of Siena and of course there are amazing restaurants and wineries in the area. Volterra is only an hour away.... just head out a different direction each day.
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Apr 14th, 2012, 10:55 AM
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We stayed at the Royal Victoria Hotel and I've recommended often. Shabby? Yes. Old world charm and wonderful staff? By the bucketsfull!>>

TDudette - DH and i stayed there when we did a driving tour of northern Italy an eon or so ago, and loved it - the bathroom was bigger than our bedroom at home, and the room itself was HUGE. we stayed there again a few years ago on the last night of a trip we did with our kids and it was dire - tiny rooms [the originals looked as if they had been divided in 3] tinier bathrooms, and no charm at all.

Never go back!
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Apr 14th, 2012, 11:52 AM
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Sorry to hear that, annhig. The original family was operating it when we were there--hope that hasn't changed with the bad world-conomy. Anyone else have recent reveiws?
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Apr 14th, 2012, 12:20 PM
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We stayed at the Villa La Principessa just outside Lucca, ( GREAT food, lovely old world accommodations, beautiful garden/grounds ) then drove to Pisa.

I think seeing the Tower in person rather than in a history book and viewing the gorgeous vistas from the top, make it worth a visit. Try to get there soon after it opens,especially if you go in the summer months, since parking and lines can be nightmarish.

That being said, I'm not sure which category I fall into. We definitely took pictures "holding up" the Tower, but I also got a kick out of zeppole's comments.
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Apr 14th, 2012, 04:11 PM
  #19
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We will really only have one day to day trip out of florence b/c the tuesday will be a write off from travelling, wed we will tour around florence, thursday we are day tripping out to castello di verazzano (sp?) for a full day wine tour and then i will be busy with 'bridesmaid' duties the friday and saturday. Departing on sunday.
I dont really think I fall into either of those two categories, however I think I would regret not making the day trip to see pisa and lucca.
Thank you for all your comments and advice!
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Apr 14th, 2012, 06:04 PM
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Please report back and have an excellent time!
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