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Oct 11th, 2014, 06:37 PM
  #1
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Italy

My husband and I plan to travel to Italy (for the first time) in July 2015. We plan to stay about 3 weeks. We want to visit the Cinque Terre, some villages in the hills of Tuscany, Florence, Bologna, Pisa, and Rome. We would like for as much travel as possible to be done via train. We don't want to see and do everything in Florence and Rome, just a few specifics. We really look forward to spending some time in smaller villages. Any suggestions? Thanks!
NonnaKay is offline  
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Oct 11th, 2014, 07:21 PM
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CT, Florence, Bologna, Pisa and Rome are all on train lines. For Tuscany, some towns can be reached by bus, a few by train, but a lot of them require a car. Just depends which towns you want to visit.
kybourbon is online now  
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Oct 12th, 2014, 01:07 AM
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Hi NonnaKay,

You could try Vecchiano. It's an approximately 10km drive from Pisa and you can easily access the beach too. At any rate, you could try hopping over from town to town, as there are a lot of them and they are all lovely. Or, try settling somewhere and doing day-trips from there. You can definitely pull off either one of the options during your three weeks stay.

Hope this helps, have a safe trip!
donotmisslist is offline  
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Oct 12th, 2014, 05:18 AM
  #4
 
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There are a few towns in Chianti that can be visited easily by bus from Florence. Here is a bus schedule:

http://www.acvbus.it/orari/365.pdf

The first 8 pages show buses returning to Florence, while the rest show buses going into Florence. Lun-Ven, at the top of a column, means "Monday to Friday" while "Lun-Sab" means "Monday to Saturday". "Festivo" means "Sundays and holidays", and "Feriale" means "Monday to Saturday, except holidays". The footnotes can be clarified by pasting them into translate.google.com , remembering that in Europe the dates are written day-month, not month-day.

From Siena, there are a few charming towns that can be visited by bus, including Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano. These routes have less frequent buses and it's a bit more complicated:

Siena to Pienza and Montepulciano:

http://www.tiemmespa.it/var/ezdemo_s...bb72712d6a.pdf

Montepulciano and Pienza to Siena:

http://www.tiemmespa.it/var/ezdemo_s...bb72712d6a.pdf

You will see that there are no early buses from Siena to Montepulciano and no late buses in the other direction, but you can put something together by changing in Buonconvento.

Siena to Montalcino (stopping in Buonconvento):

http://www.tiemmespa.it/var/ezdemo_s...8fed8ca357.pdf

Montalcino to Siena (stopping in Buonconvento)

http://www.tiemmespa.it/var/ezdemo_s...a5cce93a11.pdf

You probably couldn't visit more than one town in a day, although, since Pienza is very small, you might be able to combine that with a trip to Montalcino, which has more frequent service.

Only Montalcino has service on Sundays and holidays. It's on page 3 of the schedules, labeled "Festivo". The schedules should be checked again closer to the date, because the summer schedules will be different.

Lucca is a very nice small city in Tuscany, easily reached from Florence by regional train. It can be combined with a day trip to Pisa, which is also easily reached by train from Florence. You can get between Pisa and Lucca by bus or train.

All of the other places you mention can be reached by train. You can see schedules at www.trenitalia.com . Click on the UK flag to get schedules in English. You have to use the Italian names of the cities, e.g., "Firenze" instead of "Florence".

The advantage of a car is being able to stop on a whim in the countryside. You might consider renting a car for at least a day or two while you're in Tuscany.
bvlenci is offline  
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Oct 12th, 2014, 06:47 AM
  #5
 
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Here's a bus map for part of Tuscany if you decide not to rent a car.

http://www.sienamobilita.it/images/m...xtraurbano.jpg

>>>since Pienza is very small, you might be able to combine that with a trip to Montalcino, which has more frequent service.<<<<

I haven't found good connections between Montalcino and Pienza. It would require changing in either Torrenieri or S. Quirico (only one per day). Pienza is a bit better connected to Montepulciano.
kybourbon is online now  
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Oct 12th, 2014, 07:34 AM
  #6
 
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NonnaKay,

If at all possible I would recommend renting a car for visiting the hilltowns. Driving in the countryside is very easy and a real pleasure. It gives you the opportunity to stop when and where ever you feel like it for exploring and photo ops, both of which are endless!

There are smaller towns where you can pick up / drop off the rental car so you don't even have to bother with city traffic and regulations at all.

Happy planning!
Dayle is offline  
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Oct 12th, 2014, 08:20 AM
  #7
 
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You can't go to Italy for the 1st time, stay 3 weeks and not go to Venice. And, I agree with Dayle about renting a car to see the hilltowns. I would suggest staying in Tuscany for a week and exploring the area by car. We even spent time in Florence by driving from a nearby villa.
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