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Siena or Florence - Which One Should I Stay Closer to?

Siena or Florence - Which One Should I Stay Closer to?

Old Jul 9th, 1998, 06:37 AM
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Siena or Florence - Which One Should I Stay Closer to?

I'm planning a trip for next Spring to Italy and I have located two possible places to stay - Castello di Montalto just East of Siena and Villa Zingale in Londa just Northeast of Florence. Can anyone advise me as to which location might be best for interesting things to do and see in these areas? I've narrowed it down to these two accomodations because they are in the countryside but still offer an on-site concierge to help us (we are traveling with a 3 year old and need some safety nets). Any other location/accomodation suggestions would be most welcome too!
Old Jul 9th, 1998, 10:10 AM
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I would suggest being near Florence. You will have a much better choice in train/bus schedules for day trips. Florence is a larger city, so there will be lot's of places to eat and things to see and do. I have heard Siena is a great place to stay, but it quiets down in the evening. Read more on the areas so you can make a final decision.
Old Jul 9th, 1998, 10:52 AM
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If you read about the history of Siena and Florence you will have a very clear picture of the difference. Both were very important medieval cities in Italy until the plague. At the time of the plague, 70% of the inhabitants of Siena died and the city came to a total stop with the only activity being survival. Florence did much better. Consequently, Siena is more "frozen in the medieval years" than Florence which continued to prosper. Today, Siena doesn't have the wealth of hotels and restaurants and beautiful shops as does Florence, but parts of it are almost frighteningly medieval, as you can feel lost in time. Florence is more open and being wealthier and more populous after the plague, has more unbelievable art, churches, and palaces etc. How does this apply to your trip?? It will be more crowded with tourist in Florence and more expensive, but you'll have more opportunities ---as the above post said, buses, taxis etc. But, because of the crowds, driving in and out of Florence is a bear!! Most accomodations in Siena are outside the old part of the city, allowing relatively small hotels to have gardens and pools which might be good for your 3 year old, and there are several large car parks just outside the city walls. Also, interestingly, there is virtually NO CRIME in Siena! It's a very close knit city with great pride in itself. They are both fantastic cities--I would tell you to enjoy them both, but you are traveling with a little child. And, just to totally confuse you-----There's a lovely walled city of Lucca and Viareggio is a wonderful family style beach town! I'll stop!! Have a wonderful trip no matter which you decide.
Old Jul 9th, 1998, 11:07 AM
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Siena is one of my favorite places on this planet. Florence is for day trips. Siena is for quiet evenings, concerts and basking in Italia. There are several hotels in the old part of town. Go fall in love with your spouse again in Siena. In Florence you are a tourist.
Old Jul 9th, 1998, 02:48 PM
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Florence is a city not to be missed--but still a city. Day trips in are advisable; to me, it is much more soothing to have a base that is seemingly less cosmopolitan and much more ethnic. Siena--very good; Lucca--the best!
Old Jul 9th, 1998, 05:26 PM
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To Monica:
You have it all wrong about Siena."It quiets down in the evening", Nothing could be more off base. That's when Siena is enjoyable. It's the daytime when Siena is a bore.
Old Jul 9th, 1998, 05:38 PM
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You're probably going to have a 2 sided split here, so you'll end up in the end having to make up your own mind. You might take a closer look at Lucca particularly with a child! When you travel with children all the criteria change. I think maybe you're getting some advice from people who have not walked in those shoes yet! I think though, if you're brave enough to leave the little one with a recommended sitter from the concierge (and remember Italians love children in general), Siena is a safer and more romantic choice. I don't think you'll want to visit all the fabulous museums and palaces and churches of Florence with a child in tow, will you? It sounds like you are looking for a taste of Tuscany at a fairly slow pace and I would vote for that above all else! You will not need to take precautions to avoid gypsies in either Lucca or Siena, but they are a bit of a problem in Florence if you are distracted by your child. If you want more info, email me directly---I've got too much to say about any of these places and will bore everyone to death.

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