Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Is Lucca a viable base for touring Tuscany and Cinque Terre?
Notices

Is Lucca a viable base for touring Tuscany and Cinque Terre?

Reply

Feb 17th, 2013, 05:32 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 28
Is Lucca a viable base for touring Tuscany and Cinque Terre?

I enjoy reading all the comments by the knowledgeable posters on this forum. I hope you can advise me on whether or not I need one base or two in order to comfortably explore areas of Tuscany and the Cinque Terre.

We are a family of four (a couple with two young adult daughters) planning our first trip to Italy in August, 2013. We will fly into Pisa and out of Rome.

We would like to see a mix of city, small village, and seaside sites. I am considering renting a place in Lucca for a week and making day trips using a combination of rental car and train/bus. We want to see Florence and Siena and take scenic drives through the Val D'Orcia region and the coast around the Cinque Terre. (After our week is up, we will ditch the rental car, then travel by train to Venice and Rome where we will spend three nights each.)

I picked Lucca for a number of reasons: 1) it looks like an interesting destination in it’s own right 2) from consulting a map it seems like the places I listed are feasible as day trips (albeit long ones), and 3) it’s a short drive from Pisa airport and avoiding a long drive through an unfamiliar country while jetlagged seems like a good idea.

Do you think using Lucca as a base is a viable plan or do I need two bases for the week?
ethylene is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 17th, 2013, 05:47 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,071
No, I would not recommend Lucca as a base, especially for an entire week, to visit the Cinque Terre, Florence, Siena. Well, Florence would work, but personally I'd rather stay in Florence (even though Lucca is a very nice little city). For example, best case scenario, per google maps, it's a two hour drive each way to Siena. Add in time spent parking and getting and from the car, and you've spent most of your day (at the warmest time of year) travelling between destinations, instead of being AT the destinations.

The Cinque Terre is a little closer, but still, let's say an 1 1/2 hour each way; maybe it would be faster by train.

But bottom line, it depends on how each of your family members wants to spend your always-precious vacation time.
Lexma90 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 17th, 2013, 07:39 PM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 28
Thank you for the suggestion to base in Florence. My only concern would involve the rental car. I’ve read about the terrifying ZMT and the traffic around the city. Is there an area of Florence, perhaps on the outskirts, where we could have the best of both worlds – convenience to Florence’s tourist sites and also safe parking with easy access to the roads leading out of the city?

I will also review the number of nights I was thinking of allocating to Rome and Venice. I haven't booked anything yet.
ethylene is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 17th, 2013, 08:21 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,721
Please don't cut any time from Venice. I bet your daughters will love it.

If I were going to cut to add to Rome, it would be one day/night fewer in Tuscany.

Have you already booked tickets? If not, do multi-city ticket: fly into Venice, train to Florence, train to Rome, and flyout of Rome.

Saves backtracking from Florence to Venice and down to Rome. The slightly extra cost for multi-city will probably be no more than the extra cost would have been for train.
Sassafrass is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 17th, 2013, 11:53 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,213
I think Tuscany is bigger than you are assuming. It will be near on impossible to find a location to base where you can do val d'orcia and Siena and cinque terre as day trips. I would pick one area to explore or two bases.
jamikins is online now  
Reply With Quote
Feb 18th, 2013, 04:05 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 186
My solution to a Tuscany location, without spending many hours just driving, is to spend 4 nights at an apartment in Montepulciano and then another 4 nights in Lucca with a day trip to Cinque Terre on a 'good weather' day to do some hiking.

carolsc
carolsc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 18th, 2013, 09:13 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,071
You are correct about not wanting a rental car while staying IN Florence.

Here's another direction to consider - fly into Venice, then train to Florence and spent several nights there. Upon leaving Florence, pick up your rental car for several nights in rural Tuscany. Drop off your rental car as you enter Rome. You wouldn't be able to fit in the Cinque Terre with this plan, but you would have time for everything else. (IMHO, there's never enough time for everything I want to do and see on vacation.)
Lexma90 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 18th, 2013, 09:49 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,101
Tuscany is a very large area and Lucca is on the far western edge. I love Lucca but not as a base for Tuscany. Stay in Lucca, it's wonderful, but not as a base for Tuscany. Look near Siena for a hotel with parking for your car. Do a day trip to Florence, park at the train station there and you'll be fine or in one of the lots outside of downtown.Book tickets for Florence museums before you leave.
Stay in the CT, Monterosso has a lage parking lot. Or stay nearby in beautiful Santa Margherita Ligure and take train to the CT.
Don't drop Venice.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 18th, 2013, 01:16 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 28
Thank you all for your replies. I am going to assume we need two bases for our stay in Tuscany. We haven't booked a thing yet, so it's easy to change the plan. No doubt I will have many more questions before I make any reservations!
ethylene is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 18th, 2013, 02:08 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,083
The Cinque Terre are best seen by train or boat or on foot. The towns are so well preserved because there is no road connecting them. The road is inland. Parking is usually at some distant point up a steep hill and costs money. So you should save the car for the Tuscany part of your trip.
Mimar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 18th, 2013, 02:15 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 14
We stayed in a farmhouse near Poggibonsi and found it very central for Sienna and Florence and other hill towns.The countryside location was a great way to get away from the cities or even the small size town such as Poggibonsi.
We stayed in La Spezia for the Cinque Terre.It is only a short train ride to either end of the walk.While La Spezia does not have a lot going for it staying a little way out is worthwhile as long as you have a car to get to the station.
Whiskers007 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 19th, 2013, 06:59 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 28
Thank you for the suggestions. Back to the drawing board!
ethylene is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
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



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:48 AM.