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Itinerary Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Southern Tuscany (Siena?)

Itinerary Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Southern Tuscany (Siena?)

Mar 18th, 2016, 05:40 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 5
Itinerary Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Southern Tuscany (Siena?)

We fly in and out of Rome. So I want to figure out what makes sense. Not going back and forth and wasting time on a train every few days..

After our time in Rome we plan on heading towards Tuscany with a 4 and 8 year old. We have 8 days at this point to do whatever we want.

I am trying to figure out what is best... Train from Rome to Florence (stay in florence for how long?)
then just one day trip to Pisa? (I heard not much to do there)

Train to Lucca from Florence for the day only or spend a few nights there? Does Lucca have trains to Siena or the southern part of Tuscany?

Would we need a car in Lucca? I heard we can rent bikes (which sounds wonderful)
We want to get to the countryside of Tuscany. The place we want to stay at suggest we have a car in their area.....so maybe this could be our ending point before we head back to Rome.

Suggestions for a main base or up to two main bases with the ability to take a few day trips.
Any advice, thoughts, suggestion would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
the4Tses is offline  
Mar 18th, 2016, 07:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I presume your return flight to U.S. is early enough requiring overnight in Rome at the end?

Then the first thing that would make sense is not to stay in Rome twice. You are already going back and forth by starting with Rome and ending in Rome. If you can aggregate all you stay in Rome at the end, you will free up a half day or more at less cost. Think about this. If you can eliminate one full travel to accommodation in Rome/check-in/unpack/pack/check-out cycle, how much time and hassles you can free up?

Looks like you are coming from ORD? Then I presume you are arriving on 7:30am Alitalia, 9:05 AA, or 10:30am UA? Either case, if you head to your accommodation, there is a chance you cannot check-in. You could just as well use that time to by-pass Rome city and go straight to Florence from FCO by train. There are couple trains a day that you get on at FCO and get off at Florence. Others require a change in Rome.

Amount of time in Pisa depends on how much time you care to spend. If your visit is just a few things at the Field of Miracles, and a day trip to Lucca, you can make a simple day loop: Florence-Pisa-Lucca-Florence or the other way.

You look at train connections from anywhere in Italy at www.trenitalia.com. Just use the same day next week. Southern Tuscany is not well connected by rail except for Siena. You would rely on school schedule centric buses except for main line connecting large cities. Lucca is too far to be a good base for Val d'Orcia.

Car IN Lucca? What are you going to do with it? You are not allowed to drive inside Lucca. You are not allowed to drive inside most of the historic towns and cities in Tuscany due to ZTL. You can drive to parking lots usually located just outside medieval walls and walk from there or take a city bus into the core.

"The place we want to stay" may or may not be a good base wherever that is.
greg is offline  
Mar 19th, 2016, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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I agree about about putting all of your Rome stay at the end. You could head to Florence upon arrival or to Siena. There is a bus that operates from FCO to Siena. Spend a few days there, rent a car and tour around southern Tuscany and drop your car in Florence (although Florence is an easy day trip from Siena by bus - 75 minutes).


I'm not a fan of Lucca (did anything particularly interest you about it other than riding a bike?) and it's not as easy to reach other places by train from there. You can easily visit Pisa and Lucca by train from Florence. Lucca and Pisa are about 25 minutes apart by train and they are about one hour from Florence.

There's a bus between Siena and Pisa airport (a few minutes from central Pisa), but it's only once daily.
kybourbon is online now  
Mar 19th, 2016, 09:36 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
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I agree with leaving your time for Rome at the end. I have some suggestions which might work for you.

We went to Lucca with our kids and enjoyed it. Assuming you want to go there, maybe take the train from Rome to Lucca, spend a day riding the bikes around the top of the walls (we went there with our kids partially for that reason too), then rent a car or take a tour to Pisa the next day. Lucca would be a good place to recover from jet-lag. We rented a car and drove to Pisa, then parked our car in one of the lots just outside Lucca's city wall for the night. There was no problem doing that. The next day, it was an easy drive to Florence (only to the viewpoint overlooking the city - don't drive into Florence) and on to Tuscany where we spent 4 or 5 nights. If you are in the countryside of Tuscany, you definitely want a car. Where are you thinking of staying? If it's the summer, I recommend a place with a pool. Agriturismos are really good for families with kids.

After Tuscany, drive to Orvieto, drop off the car, take the funicular (the kids will like that) up to the town to see the church and possibly take a tour of the caves, go back down and take the train into Rome and stay there until your departure.
kwren is offline  
Mar 19th, 2016, 10:05 AM
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Regarding Pisa... Assuming your primary reason for going is the Leaning Tower, your younger child would not be allowed in the tower, so one kid gets to do something 'special' and the other doesn't. The adults can tag-team and climb the tower separately, but you'd need two different timed reservations. If you were thinking of visiting/entering the other monuments on the Campo, you should buy tickets in advance to save time. The museum of the Duomo is currently closed with no re-opening date posted yet.


FWIW, I'm also not a big fan of Lucca. A half-day at most would be enough for me, but with two small children, the logistics and effort for half a day might not be worth it. (Does the 4 y.o. still need a little down time in the afternoon?)

Besides Florence, Pisa and Lucca, IMO you need to have an idea of what parts of Tuscany you want to explore before you can decide where to base. Siena is central to many of the popular towns, drives and destinations, but it's now a fairly big city with heavy morning and afternoon traffic. I'd rather stay in a small town with easy ingress/egress.
Jean is offline  
Mar 19th, 2016, 10:09 AM
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"After Tuscany, drive to Orvieto, drop off the car, take the funicular (the kids will like that) up to the town to see the church and possibly take a tour of the caves, go back down and take the train into Rome and stay there until your departure."

If you follow this suggestion, don't turn in the car until after you've explored Orvieto. It's the best/easiest place to store your luggage until you board the train to Rome.
Jean is offline  
Mar 19th, 2016, 10:41 AM
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I would have to disagree about Lucca being not well connected by train. You can get to Pisa by both train and bus from Lucca. Also, you can reach Montecatini Terme (kind of interesting for its Art Nouveau architecture) and Pistoia (nice medieval center), two other Tuscan towns. I also took a day trip by public transit to Cinque Terre. Barga is another option, although more easily done by car. I enjoyed Lucca very much, particularly strolling the walls every evening.

But I am not saying that Lucca is right for you, especially if you are more interested in the area of Southern Tuscany near Siena. I also found the food in Lucca to be a heavier style and perhaps not quite as tasty (personal view) as in other parts of Italy.
mama_mia is online now  
Mar 19th, 2016, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Storing the luggage in the car is a good idea, but be sure you know the hours of operation of the rental office, especially if it's a Saturday. If you don't have the option of storing the luggage in the car, there is also a hotel near the train station and funicular which stores luggage for a minimal fee, but there's a small incline. We drove to the hotel, dropped the luggage off and then returned the car down by the funicular. Later we walked up, got our luggage and walked back down, then caught the train. We had 2 kids with us but they weren't 4 years old.

If you decide to do that, I have the name of the hotel in my trip report which I can scroll around to find.
kwren is offline  
Mar 21st, 2016, 10:51 AM
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Thank you so much for your replies. We arrive in Rome at 11:00pm. Going from Chicago to London and that is why our Rome arrival is so late. I agree Rome the last part of the trip but our air bnb is already received for Rome for the first 4 days but I also thought about Rome 2 more nights at the end of the trip or Pompeii since we don't leave Rome until 5pm on our finally late. I wouldn't feel so rushed.

I have no other reservations for airbnb or hotels. We arrive April 17th so I know I need to get this done...this was so last minute and seems like low season so a benefit to us.

Any other suggestions of towns to visit would be wonderful. I do love the idea of the green grass and freedom that my children can have in the countryside which we don't get living in a big city ourselves. Thank you again!
the4Tses is offline  
Mar 21st, 2016, 11:02 AM
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I don't see anything negative in returning to Rome for 2 nights, but I'd save Pompeii for another trip when you'll visit the Amalfi Coast, Naples, Capri and perhaps other parts of southern Italy. The kids probably wouldn't understand Pompeii, and you may not want to tell them the whole story anyway. After your initial days in Rome, you'll know what you didn't get to and what you'd still like to see/do.
Jean is offline  
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