One week for round trip from Pisa

Old Jan 13th, 2014, 01:16 PM
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One week for round trip from Pisa

Have 7 days to visit this area. We are flying into and out of Pisa and want to visit Florence and Lucca. Any ideas on how we should split our time , days at each stop and is there any other place we could fit in. We don't have a car but do you think hiring one is good idea.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 01:22 PM
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Pisa, Florence and Lucca and a few hill towns like Siena or Assisi or Cortona or any - they are all easy to do by public transportation - buses provide frequent services everywhere - I have taken buses to many hill towns - Montepulciano being one of the nicest - Viterbo, etc.

You may want to base in Florence and Sienna. If you have not been to Florence before spend three days or so there and a car is useless in that town where private vehicles are banned from the touristic center.

the Cinque Terre, depending on the time of year, is also a short train ride from Pisa - you can get direct trains from Pisa Airport to Florence or with one change to Lucca. Lucca has good train service to Florence as well.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 02:25 PM
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It also depends on the time of year. Mid-summer, Florence, and even Siena, are becoming over-run. But it is not just that it is busy, it is also the style, quality, and look of mass tourism today. People dress worse now than they did 10 years ago - - uniformly so. And when you have thousands of them filing past, it's pretty ugly. Pisa it doesn't matter - - most everyone spends a couple hours at the Tower then leaves. Cinque Terre matters less too, because the environs are just too stunning and amazing. But Florence with mass tourists is ghastly. Lucca has it along a very narrow belt from the bus park to the major sights, but is still great, and the more you focus on smaller towns like that the more charm you'll encounter.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 04:34 PM
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If high-season summer, I'd do something like this:

Day 1. Arrive Pisa. Train to Lucca. Explore Lucca.
Day 2. Explore Lucca. Rent a car and head to a smaller Tuscan town to base for a few nights.
Day 3. Explore Tuscany.
Day 4. Explore Tuscany.
Day 5. Return car (location depends on where you're exploring) and bus or train to Florence.
Day 6. Explore Florence.
Day 7. Train to Pisa. Explore Pisa.
Day 8. Fly home.

Spending such a short amount of time in Florence can be problematic if your visit falls on a Sunday and/or Monday when many museums are closed. Even if you're not interested much in museums, tourists will be displaced to other attractions, making them more crowded. You can research open days and hours here:

http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/en/musei/tutti.php

FWIW, I wouldn't even attempt to drive to Siena in high-season summer. I'd drive somewhere else and catch a train or bus into the city.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 10:25 PM
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Thanks for that. We are planning to go in May. Is that a good time.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 05:02 AM
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I think May is often just about perfect.

You don't need a car, but it would increase your options. Driving in Tuscany outside of the cities is not particularly stressful, and parts of the countryside are stunningly beautiful. That said, the cities themselves are very difficult , parking is expensive and the dreaded ZTL (no taffic except locals) are common and can be very expensive if you stray into them.

Florence would be the obvious base merely because it is central, has excellent transport links, and is possibly worth a week on its own. From Florence it is possible to do trips to many places including Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa, Lucca, Arezzo, Bologna or even Rome.

Lucca is a good base- a lovely atmospheric city if slightly lacking the Wow factors of Florece/Siena. FLorence is 75 minutes by train, Pisa around 25. If you have a car you can head north to the Garfagnana region.

Siena is the other obvious base - 2 hours from Pisa by train.

My personal belief is that Pisa itself gets a bit of a raw deal, and is wrth far more time than just the obligatory photo opportunity at the tower.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 05:15 AM
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I'm not a fan of Lucca, but it's easy to reach from Pisa by public transport (about 25 minutes by train). There is also a bus you can take from the airport.

http://www.pisa-airport.com/aeroporto_di_pisa_197.html

If you wanted to start in Siena, there is a bus once daily from Pisa airport or you could take the train (involves changes).

http://www.sienamobilita.it/sienapisa.html
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 10:43 AM
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https://www.google.com/search?q=coll...=1600&bih=1074

If into Pinnochio the village he was brought to life in is perhced in the hills just a few miles above Lucca.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 11:35 AM
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We stayed in Lucca for 6 nights and loved it! You can see our pics here

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pug_gir...7634571813869/

It felt like a real town, yes there were tourist, but it was also somewhere that people lived.

You may be interested in our trip report - http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rche-lucca.cfm
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 01:07 PM
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Lucca is one of my favorite of zillions of Italian towns I have been too - really exceptional - don't miss it and can be a good base as well. Many prefer hill towns over flat Lucca but Lucca IME is a totally unique place.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 01:20 PM
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We loved Lucca too as first time travellers to Italy and found it quiet and charming due to lack of cars in the old city. No car "forces" you to get boots on the ground and really enjoy a walkable place, with time to look into shops an find places for a drink, see churches and linger through squares. We spent two days there before going on to Florence. A tip: if you want to skip lines to see inside the Duomo and you are up for walking steep stairs, do the climb to the top. Purchase tickets across the street in the office. It was an amazing sight- not for the claustrophobic though because its a small, steep stairwell.
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Old Jan 15th, 2014, 05:54 AM
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Thanks for great advice. Should we book a hotel in Florence now or do you think you will get better deals nearer to May.
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Old Jan 15th, 2014, 01:20 PM
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It will depend on hotels. Some give discounts for booking ahead, prepaid.http://www.mgallery.com/gb/hotel-153...on/index.shtml

We stayed here and its one block from the Duomo and walkable to all the action. including the Ponte Vecchio and Uffizi. We were thrilled with it.
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Old Jun 5th, 2014, 04:02 AM
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The OP has by now been on their trip, this looks like an ad. Triangled.
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