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Siena or Chianciano

Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 05:41 AM
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Siena or Chianciano

Taking a tour of about 20 adults next June and have 2 days in Tuscany. We have a choice between Siena(Jolly Hotel) and Chianciano(Grand Hotel Terme). Want to especially explore the Pienza area and realize Chianciano is closer, but don't mind the drive from Siena. After reading many posts, I'd still like to hear preferences on either of these locations. Thanks!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 07:02 AM
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I should add that it doesn't matter if you're not familiar with either of the hotels that I mentioned- would just like to hear opinions on the 2 areas. Thanks...
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 07:04 AM
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Siena as a medieval hill town is of greater intrinsic interest than Chianciano Terme, which is basically a spa town.

You could spend a day in Siena and do a day tour of two or three of the following: Montalcino, Abbey of Sant'Antimo (near Montalcino), Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore (on the way, more or less, to Montalcino) and Pienza.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 07:12 AM
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Thanks Eloise. We will be leaving from Rome in early morning and heading north. Thinking of stopping in Pienza on the way, maybe taking the walk from Pienza to Montichello, and then exploring Montepulciano and/or Montalcino. Suggestions welcome! Thanks..
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 08:03 AM
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Siena is easily my choice. Good luck !
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 08:27 AM
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Thanks Bob, having never been to either, do you have a main reason why Siena would be an easy choice?
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 08:33 AM
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My opinion is, once you've seen the Piazza del Campo and the Duomo, and a couple of the palazzos, you've pretty much seen all there is to see in Siena-no one of my friends (those of us who have studied in Florence) thinks Siena is a place to spend any real time-certainly not overnight-it's really quite provincial-some people like that, others don't.

I'd go for Chianciano-I've only been there once, a long time ago, but it's far more interesting to me than Siena. If you want medieval, Chianciano has that in spades-the temple of Madonna of Rose, Church of the Immaculate Conception, it's got a Bell Tower, museums, in addition to being a famous spa town. It's also a better base for where you're going, so I'd think in terms of overnighting it, you'd be much more pleased with Chianciano-as you'd want to take advantage of those beautiful, and ancient, spas while there.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 09:38 AM
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"My opinion is, once you've seen the Piazza del Campo and the Duomo, and a couple of the palazzos, you've pretty much seen all there is to see in Siena-no one of my friends (those of us who have studied in Florence) thinks Siena is a place to spend any real time..."

This made me laugh so hard even tho I respectfully disagree: words spoken like a true Guelph, indeed!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:14 AM
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I agree with girlspytravel. I wouldn't spend a lot of time in Sienna (and I've never been to Guelph). Obviously, some disagree.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:25 AM
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Girlspytravel - I love your opinions, and I disagree with nearly all of them (I admit to exagerating a little).

I spent two weeks in Siena, and never tired of it. Your comparison is like saying "Florence - well you've done the Accadaemia and Uffizi the Duoma and Piazzale Michaelangelo and you've done it all".

The joy of Siena (like Florence) is wandering away from the Camp and Duomo, and exploring the contrade. To seek out the local churches, fountains and contrada museums.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:51 AM
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No, Coco-like Dante, I'm firmly on the side of the Ghibelline! (which is why Dante was never allowed to return to Florence, btw!)
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:54 AM
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and Willit, uh, no, that's not exactly my style of travel...it's just that Siena is known, even in Florence, has VERY provincial; there's nothing to do there...wandering around from one wide space to another, doesn't impress me much, when we're talking Italy.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 01:35 PM
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I wish I had more than 2 days! Even if I want to spend most of my time in the Pienza area, would Siena still be a better choice.(I don't mind the drive) Thanks so much for the suggestions, though I'm still undecided!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:58 PM
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Girlspytravel - it would be interesting to know quite how you define "Things to do". We obviously have different tastes and travel styles.

After dismissing Verona, you now say there is nothing to do in Siena. This I find interesting, as among the attractions of Chianciano, you list bell towers, museums, medieval architecture and churches. This would describe any number of towns, and certainly Siena has all of this in abundance.

You appear to be following the "Not as interesting as Venice" guidelines again, only using "Not as interesting as Florence".
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Old Aug 4th, 2006, 12:00 AM
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Beatle - If you have only two days, and most of those will be spent away from your base, then I am not sure it matters. In my opinion, Siena is a great city to visit. I have no experience of Chianciano so cannot compare.
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Old Aug 4th, 2006, 01:29 AM
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Willit-while many people like Siena and Verona, I'm not one of them-I think them provincial towns (and I'm obviously not alone in that, particularly with other Italians) where, after you walk around and look at a couple of piazzas, then what? There's very little else to do, particularly at night-the atmosphere or the people, or just the town itself fails to captivate-it's all rather blah and boring. That's Siena and Verona for me.

As to Verona, as I explained in another post, (which you apparently failed to remember because it did not comport with your particular point of view), there are MANY towns in the Venetian Arc that I find FAR more interesting than Verona, just to name a few: Udine, (a mini-Venice), Conegliano, Bassano del Grappa (my post on Bassano is in the Fodor's 2006 Venice guide-Day Trips out of Venice), Trieste, Treviso, Padova, just to name a few-all of which have far more interesting historical centers and or thriving art or nightlife scenes quite apart from Venice itself.

And as for the OP-I maintain that Chianciano would be a far more enjoyable and interesting a visit than Siena, with its reputation as a major spa center, the opportunity to do something different and actually partake of the spa waters here, PLUS enjoy its medieval center-it's got it all, and quite compact as well.
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Old Aug 4th, 2006, 02:20 AM
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No need to get personal - I did indeed read your post about other towns you find interesting in Northern Italy. I feel that you misread my post on the subject. After your response pointing out things that Venice has that Verona hasn't , I merely reflected that if that is the criteria, then very few cities can compare to Venice.

This is a board about opinions. The fact that you dislike Verona or Siena, while I find them pleasant does not mean that either of us is incorrect.
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Old Aug 4th, 2006, 02:55 AM
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Indeed, Willits, it does not, and I couldn't agree more. Unlike some other posters on this board, who seem to take every difference of opinion with their own in a very personal way, thus leading them to attack the poster, I like enlargement of different viewpoints-makes for some interesting reading.
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Old Aug 4th, 2006, 03:48 AM
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Thank you all. Girlspy and Willit, I'm at the point of flipping a coin. Good point Willit in that I'll be away from my base most of the time anyway if I concentrate mostly on the Pienza area due to time constraints. And girlspy, I'm hearing from you that Chianciano has both the Spas and some Medieval charm. Maybe I should also mention that nightlife is not important, guess it's more of a charm factor. So I think I'll take another look at the 2 hotels I mentioned in my orig. post and see if that sways me. As you approach these cities by bus, and get that first look, is one more impressive?- Maybe a goofy question but obviously I'm still undecided! Thanks...
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Old Aug 4th, 2006, 04:09 AM
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The Jolly Hotel is just outside the Siena wall and very close to the outdoor central bus station, so it is a busy area that can be noisy. It also overlooks the soccer stadium, so that can be a factor depending on when you are going. Their rooms can be nice but many of the less expensive rooms are dorm-like. The public spaces are fine. IMHO, it is overpriced for what you get.
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