Pisa/Lucca Day Trip

Oct 20th, 2014, 08:18 AM
  #1  
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Pisa/Lucca Day Trip

We are staying in Florence for 3 nights. This is our second time there so we are planning a day trip to Pisa. We are also considering including Lucca. We were wondering the best way to do this. Would a train to Pisa followed by bus to Lucca be a good way. We would also consider other alternatives to Lucca for the day. Is a full day too much time for Pisa?
ColoradoCharles is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 08:36 AM
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I don't care for Lucca, but I would go there first (bus or train). Visit in the morning as Lucca seems to shut down quite a bit in the afternoon. The crowds at Pisa seem to be less later in the day also. If Pisa is a must, then Lucca is an easier combo than most other towns.

If you visit Lucca first, you can take the train on to Pisa (about 25 minutes). Get off at the Pisa S. Rossore stop as it's a few minutes walk to the tower and you reach this station in Pisa before the main station. Heading back to Florence, you would take the shuttle bus from the tower to Pisa Centrale train station. If you are visiting Pisa first, you would get off at Centrale and take the shuttle bus as going on to S. Rossore would require a train change. S. Rossore does not have a staffed ticket office, only a ticket machine which you doesn't always work. If you depart there for Lucca, but a ticket in a nearby shop that has the Trenitalia logo. These are all regional trains and you need to validate your ticket before you board.
kybourbon is online now  
Oct 20th, 2014, 08:48 AM
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I wouldn't bother with a bus. Train to Lucca, back on for Pisa.

I like Lucca very much, have stayed there twice. I generally like smaller places better but it's all very subjective.
MmePerdu is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 08:52 AM
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Many, many people are just the opposite, but I'm not much of a fan of Lucca, and I find Pisa really quite interesting -- especially the entire set of buildings that comprise the area of the Leaning Tower, inside and out, and also several other walks and sights in town (markets, museums, palazzi), so my bias would be for going to Pisa in the morning, and staying until I had completely satisfied my curiosity, and then going to Lucca. 85 percent of everything interesting about Lucca is outdoors and seen while strolling about. Streets come to life about 5pm, so going later in the afternoon doesn't risk any chance of "missing" anything.
sandralist is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 11:19 AM
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Thanks for the tips. We will be headed by car to Santa Margherita and then 2 days in Turin. Any advice on any car trips or unheralded gems in those areas?
ColoradoCharles is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 03:19 PM
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There are actually so many, it is really hard to know what to say, especially since you have given no clue as to what time of year you are going, and what your interests are.

Very generally speaking, if you are going in nice weather months, the important thing about a visit to Santa Margherita Ligure and that area is not to load yourself up with a checklist of things to do -- since the real point of the experience is to enjoy the sea air and lively and lovely colors. If the weather is nice, take a boat trip. Portofino is the mega-tourist destination, but a boat from there to the cove of San Fruttuoso, and then on to Camogli is a summertime treat.

If the weather is lousy, visit Chiavari. You can do some google searches to see what this off-the-radar town is about. Be sure to go at a time when the shops are open. (There is a long lunch break in the afternoon).

Again, at certain times of year, stopping for truffles in Piemonte on the way to Torino, or hazelnut cake, might be just the ticket. At other times of year, those things are out of season. For some people, tracking down lunch in Piemonte would be the order of the day, or a visit to a winery, sparkling or red. For others, there are interesting sites of Jewish history in Piemonte, or the bicycle museum in Novi Ligure, or a Roman spa or a medieval abbey or castle.

Your car is generally going to be a useless hassle no matter what time of year you go the Italian Riviera. It is better to park it and use the trains and boats, or your feet, if you want to leave town. About the only fun thing to do with a car is to drive the road between Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino.

In Piemonte, it is a different story, and using the car to take an interesting route to Torino can be a highlight, but very slow going because the hill roads are INCREDIBLY winding. And the definition of an "interesting route" really depends on your personal interests. No two people would necessarily visit the same towns to visit.
sandralist is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 03:23 PM
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I should regarding driving the road between Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino, it is only fun at times when the traffic is very light. That rules out summertime weekends. You also might not enjoy the drive in the slightest if it is rainy, because the road is very winding at at some points it narrows to a single track road, and it gets nerve-wracking without good traction. Never take the road if there is coastal fog.
sandralist is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 04:07 PM
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>>>I wouldn't bother with a bus. Train to Lucca<<<

The bus (departs across the street from the Florence train station) can be more comfortable as this route is regional trains. I find the AC (if there is any) often doesn't work on the trains and does on the buses, but if it's not hot when you are traveling that wouldn't matter. The actual travel time is about the same (bus - 1:15, train 1:19).

If you are renting a car anyway, you could easily stop in Lucca on the way (easier parking in the area) and maybe take the train to Pisa for a few hours, then pick up your car in Lucca to head on up the coast.
kybourbon is online now  
Oct 20th, 2014, 04:24 PM
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I don't know about the bus in Florence, but I do know where the bus station is in Lucca as I accompanied a friend there. My comment was only based on the fact that the train station is in a nice location from which to enter through the walled into Lucca, while the bus station is less good. Just a personal opinion, kybourbon, regarding logistics, nothing against the bus, although I do like trains better.
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