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Gettin' out of Dodge (Florence, actually)!

Gettin' out of Dodge (Florence, actually)!

Sep 28th, 2004, 11:57 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 42
Gettin' out of Dodge (Florence, actually)!

I'm going to Italy in January and will have only ONE free day to get outside of Florence and see the countryside. I don't have a map of Italy here with me so don't laugh if this appears to be a really stupid question. Would it be possible to drive from Florence and see Pisa and Siena in one combined day trip, if done by car?? I have been to Europe too many times to count but I have to admit, I have NEVER, EVER driven a car over there. I'm a little intimidated to say the least, but I think it would be wonderful to see the countryside up close and personal. Something that can't really be done from a train or bus. Am I totally off the wall here? If not, can you tell me approximate cost, how tough is it to get outside of the city, and what would my travel times be?
Thanks for all your help!!
skikat9 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2004, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Go to http://www.maporama.com/share/

in the middle of the page where it says "itineraries" put in the country and city where you're starting and ending (like mapquest.com for the US) and it'll show the fastest way, the distance and approximate time. I'd also invest in a good map.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Sep 28th, 2004, 12:52 PM
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Pisa is about an hour west of Florence and Siena is about an hour south. To go to both would be stressful, but not impossible--the biggest problem would be straight highway driving between Florence and Pisa that wouldn't show you any of the countryside at all. The route to Siena, if on the Chianti road, is beautiful, would allow for more country stops and Siena is far more interesting than Pisa. I'd vote to stick with one and skip the other for a really nice day in the country.
DonnaD44 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2004, 01:40 PM
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For one day only, I probably would head into the heart of Tuscany, maybe the Chianti highway, or maybe down towards Pienza, rather than over towards Pisa. (Why Pisa?)

Car rentals for one day will be fairly expensive... another option you could do is to get into a small tour group once in Florence. I don't have any names, but have seen many mentioned. There is, for example, a woman who does a tour of the chianti wineries for a small group in her minivan. I'm sure there are lots of options like that.

If you've been to Europe "too many times to count" you'll probably realize it'll be virtually impossible with one day to really see the countryside up close and personal. It if were me I'd want to get out, walk around. I'd hate to spend the day driving, you'll spend an hour just getting out of Florence if you leave during the daily morning commute. But if you have to do it maybe pick a destination, meander there, then find your way back to the A1 highway and jet back to Florence. In the evening, you're only about 1-1.5 hours away on the major highways. After a day and evening of sightseeing, you could zip back to florence in time to drop off the car.

skatterfly is offline  
Sep 28th, 2004, 03:25 PM
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Hi ski,

Take the SITA bus to Siena and skip Pisa.
ira is offline  
Sep 28th, 2004, 04:16 PM
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If you look on a map, you will see Pisa is really far west. That is why we decided to skip it. Instead, we rented a car in Florence for one day and drove to the towns of San Gimignano and Siena. That was a whole day in itself and they are both in the same general direction. It wasn't hard at all. It was a pretty easy drive, a highway with great countryside views. There are signs everywhere pointing you in the right direction too.
purplefreak is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 10:12 AM
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Thanks all for the info. I did take sandi_travelnut's suggestion and plotted out the route on the Italian map. (BTW Sandi-that's a great website!) I agree with everyone-it's way too much traveling to combine Pisa and Siena. Believe me, it's not my idea to go to Pisa. I've heard over and over again, especially on these threads, that Pisa just is NOT worth the trouble. Unfortunately I'm traveling with my "touristy" friends who "just can't imagine a trip to Italy without seeing the Leaning Tower!!" What must I be thinking to want to skip it??? It's practically sacriligious! Anyway, I plan to print out all your thoughts (minus this one or I won't have any friends to travel with!) and let them know what the knowledgable masses say. Thanks again !
skikat9 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 10:47 AM
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Before deciding to drive in Italy, I suggest you check out the information here:


Infotrack is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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Why don't the friends who want to see Pisa take the train there, and you can take the bus to Siena, if that is where you would prefer to go? Also, I was thrilled when I visited Pisa. I thought the Leaning Tower and the other buildings located on the Piazza of Miracles were stunning. Obviously, it is "touristy" but , in my humble opinion, it did not disappoint. Also, I loved Siena, and the bus ride makes it a snap to visit.
italyss is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 12:35 PM
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I agree with everyone as well. Try VERY hard to get your friends to skip Pisa. I did stop there on the way from the coast on my way to the Tuscany countryside but it is not worth it. It takes as long to drive through the maze they send you on to get to "the tower" than it does just to view it and the other buildings on the grounds. The countryside in the Chianti region is beautiful and very worth seeing. Small wonderful hilltowns with rolling hills covered in grape vines. But I will warn you that the roads are very curvy, which can be fun but also something to note if one of your friends normally gets carsick. Good luck and have a wonderful trip. The people are so gracious, and the food is outstanding.

Now if you think you are a little intimitated about driving dont even think about attempting to drive in Florence, Sienna is not as bad. I have driven in a few countries and Italy by far is the craziest (which I actually loved because it fitted my style of driving, but drove my wife nuts). So I would recommend about seeing if you can rent a car just outside of Florence and take a taxi to the rental place or see if they will come pick you up in a shuttle.
c_wooten is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 420
With the one free day from Firenze would do as Ira suggests, skip Pisa and go to Siena either by rail or bus.
If want a short side trip leave rail at
Poggibonsi and spend a bit of time in
San G. then return to Siena in time for lunch. Can do the same trip via
the escorted sightseeing tours out of
Florence. Biggest problem with driving in Florence is that you need a
navigator, a very good one as in all ITY cities, street signs are located
between 1st and 2nd floor and are difficult to read from a moving vehicle. Check with mapquest or via-michelin for route guides from Florence.Richard of LaGrange Park, Il.
dickv2 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I'm curious if people went to Rome just to see the Colliseum and then go, if others would tell them to avoid going to Rome at all? I understand if someone only goes to Pisa to see the tower and then leave why it wouldn't be worth it. But to those of us who have actually stayed in Pisa a night or two and explored, it's a very interesting and nice (non-touristy, except for the tower area) city!
Patrick is offline  

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