Siena and San Gimignano in one day?

Mar 22nd, 2005, 08:28 AM
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Siena and San Gimignano in one day?

My husband and I are going to Italy in May, staying in Florence for four nights and Cinque Terre for three (with a quick stop in Pisa along the way), then our last night in Florence before catching an early flight the next day (maybe a stop in Lucca on the way back). I thought I wanted to take a day trip to Siena, but I saw a beautiful show on PBS last night about Tuscany and it seems bigger than I thought it was. San Gimignano looked much more attractive to me. Having reviewed some of the advice on here, though, it sounds like there isn't enough to do there to keep us busy for a whole day, everyone raves about Siena, and we'll be seeing small villages in CT anyway. Is there a way to do both in one day by bus? I've been to the torture museum in Rothenberg, so that's not a priority in SG

Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom!
MerryTravel is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 08:51 AM
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MT - There are direct services between Florence & Siena, and between Siena & San Gimignano.

You can find timetables here:


From San Gimignano you would return to Florence via Poggibonsi (- usually changing buses there).

Hope this helps ...


Steve_James is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 08:54 AM
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I understand you will have to come from Florence, right? In that case I would just do Siena. It's such a beautiful city with a lot of things to see - much more than in San Gim. Siena is a university city and absolutely not a "tourists only" place like (IMO) San Gim.
MyriamC is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 08:56 AM
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San Gimignano will take much less than 1 day to visit. It gets quite crowded mid-day, so I would get there ASAP in the morning, or in the early evening - around 5 or so. It is perhaps a 2-3 hr visit at most, unless you want to stop in every single souvenir shop. San Gimignano is nothing like the towns on the Cinque Terra. BTW - if you have not already committed, I would bag the Cinque Terra & spend that time in Tuscany. I have had lots of people tell me that 3 nights in the CT is about 1 night too many, and weeks in Tuscany is not enough.

Siena is probably my favorite medium sized city in Europe. It can easily be visited on 2/3rds of a day. Remember the lunch closing, however, when most shops will be closed for 2-3 hrs. That's a good time to have lunch on the Campo.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 09:19 AM
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Both San Gimignano and Siena are wonderful in their ways and both are more worth seeing than Cinque Terre, IMHO. I would consider eliminating CT or at least reducing your time there and spending more time in Tuscany.

It would be hard to do justice to both SG and Siena in one day so, unless you increase your time in Florence, I would visit only one. Siena merits a full day while you can see San Gimignano in a half day.
mamc is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 09:28 AM
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I agree -- we were in both in November, and while San Gimignano is lovely, I just loved Siena and you can easily spend a day there!
KT_Tomlinson is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 09:36 AM
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Thank you for the advice so far--I think I'm leaning back to Siena only.

Just to clarify, we'll only be spending two full days in CT--our first "day" there is spent traveling from Florence with a stop in Pisa--and my husband and I love to hike and spend time on the beach (we used to live in Hawaii) so I think we'll get plenty out of our time there. We're planning on returning to Italy many times in the future (we're still in our 20s), so this isn't a now or never sort of trip. All you Tuscany fans should try to catch the special I saw on PBS--all ariel views of northern Italy. Simply breathtaking!
MerryTravel is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 09:40 AM
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If the bus schedule permits (and the hotel options are good), you could try to get yourself to San Gimignano in the late afternoon (e.g. spending the morning in Florence), so that you can enjoy the town after the tourists have left. Have a nice dinner and stay in a pretty hotel, then leave for Sienna around mid-morning.
Kate_W is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 10:36 AM
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I have to disagree with mamc. It's impossible to compare two totally different areas. We found both the Cinque Terre and Tuscany lovely, each in their own way.
MerryTravel's plans are a nice combination of culture, nature and local scenery.
MyriamC is offline  
Apr 21st, 2005, 10:39 PM
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My vote, also, for keeping plans for the Cinque Terre. Growing up on the East coast, and now living in the Midwest, I understand how you miss the ocean and want to experience it when you get a chance.

We had a few very pleasant days in Cinque Terre hiking and beaching, doing a few shops. It was also pleasant to tango in an outdoor square as a duo played a violin and accordian. While CT is increasingly touristed (thanks, Rick!!!) it will feel more laid back and less congested than Siena and Florence -- a nice change. It was also nice just to hang out on the pebbly beach in Monterosso.

'Must recommend the Porto Rocca for a hotel in Monterosso. It is parked on a cliff at the edge of town, with a nice terrace. Half board required in season, but the food is very good, and the staff very freindly and accomodating. It also has its own concession of chairs, etc. on the small beach.
madameX is offline  
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