Help with Italy route

Old May 10th, 2021, 04:23 PM
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Help with Italy route

Hello- looking for some help planning a route in Italy. This is our 2nd trip and we donít want to do Florence or Rome again. We really want to see Lake Como, Siena and the Chianti region of Tuscany. All this via train or private driver. Looking for help with how to put this together, where to fly in/out. And also suggestions for the stay in Chianti. Our trip will be around 14 to 16 days next spring including our travel. Thank you!
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Old May 10th, 2021, 06:50 PM
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Exploring Lake Como is easy without a car. Connecting it with the rest of your itinerary is not so easy without a car.

From the Malpensa Airport (Milan), you can train to either Varenna-Esino (via Milan) or the town of Como (via Saronno) and taxi or ferry to your Lake Como hotel. You could also hire a driver to take you from Malpensa directly to your hotel.

Siena has a train station, so you can get there by train. But taking a train from Lake Como to Siena involves 5-6+ hours and multiple connections. If you're not staying in either Varenna or Como, the entire journey will take closer to 6-7 hours because you'd have to get to one of those towns as the first step. If you hired a driver to take you from Lake Como to the Milan train station, you would eliminate a couple of the train connections, but the overall journey will still be close to 5 hours. There is also Flix Bus service between Milan and Siena, but I have no experience with it or know anything about frequency, duration, etc. Or you could have the driver take you from Lake Como to your Chianti hotel. Still about 5 hours.

Siena is a bus service hub for the immediate area, but schedules are structured to serve mostly commuting/working locals and not particularly tourists. You can do a little sightseeing from Siena by bus, but you'd have to research what possible day trips you could make at the time of year of your trip. Because of Covid, I doubt the current schedules would be much help in planning. Chianti has no train station and spotty bus service. You'd have to research the cost of a private driver for multiple days. Many here have used Luca at Hills and Roads. I hope his company survives the pandemic.

Hills and Roads | Tours and Trasfers in Tuscany

There is bus service between Siena and both the Pisa and Florence airports, but the schedules may not work well with your flight(s).
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Old May 10th, 2021, 10:27 PM
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Are you sure you want to stay in Chianti?

It's very green with steep hills and the views are obscured in many places. The area to the South is the Crete Senesi and Val D'Orcia with wheat fields, huge vistas and Cypress trees. The wine is also better in Montalcino.
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Old May 11th, 2021, 05:40 AM
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Como is 1 1/2 hrs by train from Milano Malpensa airport and 2 3/4 hrs by train from Zurich airport.
There are hydrofoils from Como to Menaggio, Bellagio or Varenna (about 1 hr ride).
The regional train ride from Siena to Rome Fiumicino airport lasts 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hrs, up to Pisa airport it's only 2 hrs
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Old May 11th, 2021, 06:26 AM
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Hi jenn65 and welcome.

Have you considered Umbria? Here's my report from our Puglia based trip: Perugia and Rome by train and bus

Another trip included Lake Como (Bellagio): Turin, Spoleto, Bologna and Bellagio TR

Hope these give you ideas and that you will report about your trip.

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Old May 11th, 2021, 06:50 AM
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Is it okay if I ask you why no driving? Knowing if that is 100% ruled out will help. I know the lakes are not problem without a car, nor is Siena, but for rural Tuscany... you already know.
First, I would compare round trip Milan versus into Milan and out of Pisa or Florence (or vice versa). The distance is not so much that either would be overwhelmingly preferred, just see how the price and schedule difference works out first.
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Old May 11th, 2021, 07:10 AM
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Thank you for the replies. We are choosing not to drive simply to not have that stress on anyone in our party of 5. 5 people would need a large vehicle. We would be happy to use private drivers for routes that donít have train stations. If we can locate a good spot to stay a couple of nights in Tuscany Iím sure we can find a tour or two for some wineries or hill towns.
I think my biggest issues are where to stay in the Tuscan countryside - and getting from Siena to Milan for our stay at Lake Como.
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Old May 11th, 2021, 07:21 AM
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Okay, thanks! Makes sense--I have found that sometimes people just need reassurance, and others just don't drive (like me--but I have a driving partner), hence the question. No way around that long travel day of Milan - Siena. I'd look at Lago di Bolsena in Lazio instead, but if you have your dream locations set, then look at Trenitalia to get the schedule details and see how to make it minimally painful.
Enjoy the research, such fun. When I am looking for accommodations, I often just do random google searches. Travel blogs are a great resource, plus there are some pages devoted to small b&bs and agriturismi. Of course, I have gotten some stellar recommendations from Fodorites, so maybe that will pan out.
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Old May 11th, 2021, 09:37 AM
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DH and I almost always used some combo of trains, busses, and cabs. We did learn that if there was no train, there were local busses that were used by students and commuters more than tourists.

Our hotel in Perugia found Stefan who drove us in Umbria to Montepulciano, Montalcino from Perugia: Driver: http://stefanomogini.com/
Not sure if info is still current.

Last edited by TDudette; May 11th, 2021 at 09:40 AM.
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Old May 11th, 2021, 09:53 AM
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Necker's suggested hydrofoil idea would allow for a two-fer, ie double your group's pleasure: a transfer that is a highlight in itself, a la Venice.
I am done. the waters
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Old May 12th, 2021, 08:20 AM
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"my biggest issues are ...... getting from Siena to Milan for our stay at Lake Como"
Trains between Siena and Milan run every 30 - 60 minutes from 5am until 7pm. Change at Florence. Journey time 4 hrs..
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