Siena Hotels for Non-Drivers?

Feb 6th, 2011, 09:28 AM
  #1  
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Siena Hotels for Non-Drivers?

There appears to be much good, if understandably conflicting, advice (a hotel is in the eye of the lodger) re Siena hotels, but it seems tilted strongly in favor of the driving tourist. My wife and I will be spending three to four days in Siena in September, seeing the local sights and likely visiting Montalcino and/or Moltepulciano for a bit of wine-tasting. We will not be driving, and of course would like to be within the walls, and perhaps close to Piazza del Campo.

Given that, we'd appreciate some hotel recommendations before we fall back fully on Rick Steves.
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Feb 6th, 2011, 09:50 AM
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Mo:

Just outside the south gate, Porta Romano, is the Santa Caterina...it is a beautiful establishment with inspiring views over the valley below. Breakfast outdoors is exceptionally pleasant. The walk (all level) to the Campo is about 15 minutes at slow pace, about 10 at faster. Nice section of town, many stores and street scenes. Highly recommend..our fellow Fodorite, Bob the Navigator, is also keen on the Santa Caterina. What more of an endorsement can you get?

stu
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Feb 6th, 2011, 10:35 AM
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mohun,
The Cannon d'Oro is a nice budget hotel with a great location, a couple minutes to the campo and a couple minutes to the bus station.
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Feb 6th, 2011, 11:06 AM
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We stayed at the Hotel Duomo and were happy with it. This was several years ago, but the room was clean (and ours happened to be quite spacious), the hotel was quiet and the staff was kind.
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Feb 6th, 2011, 11:19 AM
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We too stayed at he hotel Santa Catarina, we took a local taxi to near the the Campo and Duomo. It was very easy.
The gardens and view are just lovely.
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Feb 6th, 2011, 11:24 AM
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I do love the Santa Caterina, but not if I was taking busses to Tuscan villages. Look at Villa Liberty and Hotel Chiusarelli as better located for the bus station at Pizza Gramsci.
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Feb 6th, 2011, 03:16 PM
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We had the impression that the highly recommended here Santa Caterina would be outside the walls and not particularly convenient for walking around the sights in Siena itself. I think we'll lodge five nights and allocate probably two days within Siena and an additional two days for bus trips to Montalcino and Moltepulciano, so handiness to the bus station would be of some benefit. We've focused a bit on Palazzo Ravizza and Hotel Duomo so far, but we're quite open to suggestions that fit well our general touring plan.
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Feb 6th, 2011, 04:11 PM
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We're planning on Pensione Palazzo Ravizza but can't quite figure out what the walk into town will be like.
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Feb 6th, 2011, 04:45 PM
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Not all of your buses will leave from Piazza Gramsci. There's really no bus station (more like bus lot with electronic signs) although there is a tourist office down under the bus area. Look for a ramp to go underground to the office.

You will have to catch some buses at the train station. To get there, you would take the local bus from Piazza Gramsci (there are other stops that may be closer to the hotel you choose). The bus area at the train station is not very organized. This is the map for the local Siena buses.
http://www.sienamobilita.it/mappe/Mappa_URB.pdf

The Cannon D'oro is very central, inside the walls.

>>>We're planning on Pensione Palazzo Ravizza but can't quite figure out what the walk into town will be like.<<<

Hilly. Siena is up and down even if you stay in the very center.
kybourbon is online now  
Feb 6th, 2011, 05:16 PM
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elnap29, we stayed at the Ravizza which has been higly recommended on this board. We loved the view of the Tuscan countryside from our rear facing rooms. If I recall, the walk to the Campo was less than ten minutes. Siena proper is not that big. Enjoy!
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Feb 6th, 2011, 09:57 PM
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We were very happy at the Palazzo Ravizza and easily walked to the major sites in Sienna from this location. I have also heard good things about the Santa Caterina.
KTtravel is offline  
Feb 7th, 2011, 08:23 AM
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Thank you for the confirmations on Palazzo Ravizza. Looking forward to being there!
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Feb 7th, 2011, 06:07 PM
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We've pretty much narrowed it down to Santa Caterina, Palazzo Ravizza and Hotel Duomo.

Santa Caterina has emailed us the coment that "...The main square of Piazza del Campo is at about half mile and it takes about 15 minutes walking or 5 minutes by mini-bus..." We note that joethekay, above, took a taxi to Piazza del Campo, so we wonder if the Santa Caterina owners might be a bit optimistic about the distance. What's a "mini-bus?"

We definitely want to take bus trips to Montalcino and Montepulciano (is it Montepulciano or Moltepulciano or are these two separate towns?), to do a bit of wine-tasting and dining. Would this involve riding buses down the hill to the train station and boarding new buses to those wine towns? It must be me, but I can't seem to make much sense of the bus web site link kybourbon has helpfully provided (I can't find Siena, Montalcino or Montepulciano on the bus map).
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Feb 7th, 2011, 08:46 PM
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mohun,
Try this map http://www.trainspa.it/mappe/Mappa_EXT.pdf
Henry is offline  
Feb 7th, 2011, 09:21 PM
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Sienamobilita site mentioned is the correct site for buses.

I looked into going to Montalcino or Montepulciano from Siena by bus last year but decided to drop the idea after realizing that the bus schedule was very inconvenient to do Siena->Montalcino or Siena->Montepulciano as day trip. I think the schedules are set to favor morning commute to Siena and evening return out of Siena. What you are doing the against the bus traffic and the bus schedule is not symmetrical.
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Feb 7th, 2011, 10:16 PM
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I just picked up our 2011 Rick Steves Italy book today (the 2000 edition in our home seems substantially long in the tooth), and RS writes that half-day wine tours are available from Siena to both Montalcino and Montepulciano for about 38€ a person. It's a bit pricey, but might be the best bet for our needs.
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Feb 8th, 2011, 04:45 AM
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Here's some information for guided tours.

http://www.guidesiena.it/en/index.html

The tourist board seems to offer a guided tour to San G for 11€ on weekends.
http://www.guidesiena.it/en/Centro_Guide_Turistiche.pdf
kybourbon is online now  
Feb 8th, 2011, 09:29 AM
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Going back to Rick Steve's 2001 Italy book, I found this web site: http://www.enocuriosi.com/

This site appears to offer guided tours at 38€ by bus and 60€ by van (maximum 8 persons). According to the web site the more costly tour would pick up at one's accomodations. The destinations are Montepulciano, Montalcino, San Gimignano and Volterra, and Chianti country. RS describes these as four five-hour tours.

Has anyone here taken these tours?
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Feb 8th, 2011, 09:49 AM
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If you read the details, the tours are only available on certain days (Montalcino on Saturday, etc.). If the days work for you, then is sounds like a good deal, but have a back up plan as many tour companies tend to cancel if they aren't full.
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Feb 8th, 2011, 05:06 PM
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kybourbon,

We'll try to think through a backup plan. Guidesiena's half-day tours at $135/person are beyond our budget. I suspect that if we do some research, we may be able to assemble at least one tour for ourselves, part of which may have to be by taxi.

The Montalcino tours are available Monday through Friday, some on the 38€ version, some at 60€ . Montepulciano is the Saturday tour. If we were to settle for one tour, it would be the former, and, at 60€, is a bit less than half the cost of the Guidesiena. Of course, there may be a quality difference beween the two but we'd appreciate hearing from any who've experienced these tours.
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