Pisa or Siena?

Sep 12th, 2014, 09:43 PM
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Siena. It is a bigger city with more to see, more to do, better ambiance and better restaurants. It is easier to get to from Florence. Il Campo and the Old Town are not as touristy as the Field of Miracles. The only thing Pisa has that Siena does not have is a leaning tower. If you do choose Pisa, you will see an impressive sight and would enjoy combining your visit with a visit to Lucca which is a short drive away.
letsgeaux is offline  
Sep 13th, 2014, 02:29 AM
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I actually agree with everything Sandralist said, and I don't think I'm a contrarian. It's very good advice not to allow yourself to be conditioned by the opinions of other people who don't even know you. Would you allow a perfect stranger, who had never even seen you, to choose your clothes? To buy you a car? A vacation is a major expenditure, and you should do your best to tailor it to your own tastes and interests.

To start with, you should make your questions more specific than "Which is best?" And you should add some information about your interests and requirements. Let's take the car analogy. If you ask someone, "Which car should I buy?", you won't get any useful information. If you say, "I have three children and a dog, and need a car for daily carpooling and driving kids to their activities, with occasional family camping trips.", you'll get much more useful advice.

I asked advice in the Fodors forums about a recent trip to Scotland and northern England. I mentioned that we weren't much interested in castles, that I'd like to see one of the islands, that we weren't sure we wanted to drive, and that we wanted to visit friends and relatives in specific places. For the northern England part, I mentioned my specific interest in Anglo-Saxon history and culture, and my desire to see the Roman wall. The advice I got was invaluable. If I had just asked "Where should we go?", everyone would have told me to go to Edinburgh, Stirling castle, and York.

I wouldn't even weigh in on whether to visit Siena or Pisa, because I don't know a single thing about the person asking the question, and because I haven't seen enough of either city to be able to give an informed opinion, although I've been to Siena twice and to Pisa once.
bvlenci is offline  
Sep 13th, 2014, 06:41 AM
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The OP asked for opinions. That's a big chunk of what the travel boards are about.

I've been to both more than once, but much prefer Siena and stayed there multiple times. Still have things I would like to do there.

It's probably possible to visit both, but would depend on how full your schedule is for Florence. Pisa is not difficult to reach from Florence. You could spend much of your day in Florence and take a late afternoon train ride to Pisa. There are less crowds later in the day. The last train back without a change is 10:30 so you could have dinner there. Use the full day you planned for a day trip and visit Siena.

It's also likely you can get a tour from Florence that combines both.
kybourbon is offline  
Sep 14th, 2014, 04:02 AM
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Thanks for all of the opinions! I know that "what's better" is subject to ones personal perspective and that's why I asked the "why" part. I was leaning towards Sciena already and this confirmed my leanings.

We'll probably use a tour guide/service, and there will be four of us. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

This was very helpful! Thanks again!

Mikenmass is offline  
Sep 14th, 2014, 04:43 AM
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Siena is easy to visit on your own. Take the rapid Sita bus which drops you at the edge of the historic center. If you do, you might want to buy the Opa Si pass.


If you want a tour, do you want a tour in Siena or one from Florence? Private or group?
kybourbon is offline  
Sep 15th, 2014, 04:55 AM
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Thanks kybourbon! The pass seems like an excellent value. I'm already wishing I had more time to spend.
Mikenmass is offline  
Sep 15th, 2014, 06:26 PM
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This is interesting in the Church of St. Francis in Siena:


Didn't see very many people at all while I visited so I guess not many tourists know about it.

Loved Siena! Spent 2 nights and wished I had more!
joannyc is online now  
Sep 15th, 2014, 07:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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On the "Rick Steves factor".... Let's not give him too much credit/blame.

The tourists clogging Italian cities are Western Europeans. Italians account for the greatest number of overnight hotel stays in the country which isn't surprising. But according to the World Tourism Organization, of non-Italian tourists to Italy in 2011, 18M were from Western European countries (overwhelmingly Germany), 4M were from USA, 2.5M were from UK, 1.5M were from Japan.
Jean is offline  
Sep 16th, 2014, 03:00 AM
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We just returned from our trip to Rome, Tuscany and Sorrento.
We, a family of 6 adults, visited Siena, Pisa, Lucca and Florence and lots of small towns in between.

My husband and I had been to Siena years ago and did not particularly like it then. We didn't this year either (not sure why - just didn't think it met our expectations) and neither did the rest of the family. We all enjoyed seeing the Leaning Tower though. The Tower and the Duomo were beautiful. We loved Lucca,Florence and the area hill towns.

Is it possible to do both?

Enjoy your trip!
Marianna is offline  
Sep 16th, 2014, 05:53 PM
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I wish we could do both, but we'll be catching the train back to Rome later that day.

Time is always my enemy when I travel...
Mikenmass is offline  
Sep 16th, 2014, 06:48 PM
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>>>Thanks kybourbon! The pass seems like an excellent value.<<<

Only a value if you want to go in most of the things on the pass. Often people only want to go in the Duomo and you can buy just that ticket. If you decide to climb the panorama, allow a bit of time as the stairs are narrow and they only allow a certain number of people up at a time.

>>>The tourists clogging Italian cities are Western Europeans.<<<

If I hear English, it's usually not Americans.

>>>Is it possible to do both?<<<

It's hard to do both in the same day by public transport as there aren't good connections between Pisa and Siena (2-3 hours travel between them). There are some day tours that visit both, but you don't really go in anything which may be fine with some people.

kybourbon is offline  
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