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Two days in Lucca, versus one day in Lucca and Siena each


Oct 11th, 2012, 01:26 AM
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Two days in Lucca, versus one day in Lucca and Siena each

Hi, I need help from anyone who's been to both of the above locations. My predicament is this:

I will be headed to La Spezia/Cinque Terre from Florence (not flexible). In between I will have about 2 extra nights (i.e. 2 full days) and I would have spent enough time in Florence, I reckon, to be satisfied with the city itself.

My initial plan was to spend the 2 nights in between Florence and La Spezia in Lucca, to have the 2 full days just chilling out and biking about. However, it's occurred to me that Lucca's pretty small--I don't really fancy lazing around with nothing to do after I've biked the 4km wall within an hour, and visit a few must-see places..

Therefore, I'm considering cutting one night out of Lucca and spending the extra night in Florence, so that I could do a 6-hour day trip to Siena (excluding bus time) on one of my Florence days instead. Siena was not even in my original plan because it's not on the northern train route, but then I heard about the Duomo and all the beautiful things there and I'm wondering if this is not a good opportunity to quickly nip down there and experience the city, even if just for a short while.

Would appreciate any input on both itineraries--a day trip to Siena versus the extra day in Lucca? What are Lucca's strengths over Siena, and would anyone choose the former over the latter if they could only go to one place?

Grazie mille in advance!
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Oct 11th, 2012, 01:33 AM
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A bit more background--

Most of the forum threads I've looked up about Siena versus Lucca are by posters with only one day to spare, and most if not all have been recommended Siena because of the architecture and history. I, on the other hand, have two extra days, and am also conveniently headed West after Florence, so can equally consider Lucca and Siena as part of my trip (and will want to spend the one night, at least, in Lucca).
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Oct 11th, 2012, 03:46 AM
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I'd suggest Lucca and Siena. Lucca is fantastic, but it is eminently doable in a single day. If I remember correctly, I walked the entire wall in just over an hour and I remember climbing to the top of a tower (Duomo or watchtower??) which was good for maybe 40 minutes.
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Oct 11th, 2012, 04:00 AM
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Having visited both places several times I would choose Siena for two days.
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Oct 11th, 2012, 04:23 AM
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Lucca and Siena are two of my favourite cities in Italy, but in terms of sights and places to visit, Siena is vastly superior.
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Oct 11th, 2012, 04:28 AM
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I'd suggest one or the other - either are equally attractive to me - but not both. 2 nights does not equal 2 full days, it equals 1 full day plus a couple of bits of days. Out of interest, how long are you spending in Florence? We went for a week last year (our 2nd visit) & even though we don't like it much, a week wasn't long enough to see all we'd hoped in the city itself.
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Oct 11th, 2012, 04:29 AM
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We are looking at a day trip by train ex Florence, taking in Pisa and Lucca, then back to Florence.
Perhaps that is an option to consider - one day in Pisa, then on to Lucca in the late afternoon / evening, and spending the second day there?
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Oct 11th, 2012, 04:56 AM
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You can easily see the highlights of both Pisa and Lucca in a day, a daytrip sounds a good idea. Lucca is a nice town to be in but not alot of sights, as everyone above has said. But you have not told us how long you have in Florence. Like Caroline, it is not my favourite city but there is an immense amount to see.
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Oct 11th, 2012, 06:56 AM
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I'm not a fan of Lucca so I would go spend the two nights in Siena.

You could easily day trip to either town from Florence if you just want to stay put those two nights. You can bus (Lazzi) or train to Lucca and then go onto to Pisa (20 minutes away by train). You will have more return options to Florence later in the day from Pisa.

You can also bus (Sita) or train to Siena (long series of escalators now available from the train station up to the center). Both take a about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

Either day trip will cost about 7€ each way.
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Oct 11th, 2012, 07:54 AM
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You don't mention how you'll be getting around so I'll describe what we did.

We took a train from Florence to Pisa but not to the Central station. We got off at the next stop (make sure your train stops there) which is Santa Rossore. It's very small and only about a half dozen of us got off there.

We didn't even go to the little building across the tracks. I had printed a little map. This station is less than 10 minutes from the Leaning Tower area.

We spent about an hour around the Leaning Tower and then went back to that same little station in time for the next train to Lucca. This was around noon time.

A few minutes later we were in Lucca. We walked right thru the town, wandered around some squares and walked along the mail pedestrian street. When we got to the far end of the town we pick up rental bikes and spent about an hour riding on the wall around the town. We stopped for a lunch picnic which we brought with us.

Then on the way back towards the train station we made a few tourist stops (I remember going up one or two towers - photos at www.travelwalks.com) and my wife picked up something she had seen in a store on the way.

From Lucca we took the train to La Spezia. Our plan was to keep our hotel in Florence and sleep over in La Spezia taking with small backpacks with toiletries and a clothing change.

We got to La Spezia in time to check into our hotel, which was located less than a block from the train station, and take an 8 minute train to Riomaggiore to see the spectacular sunset.

Then we ate at an outdoor restaurant before returning to La Spezia for the night.

The next day we trained back to Riomaggiore, hiked between a few of the villages and took a boat to Portovenere and eventually after wandering around there a bus back to La Spezia to pick up the backpacks from the hotel and train back to Florence.

Sounds hectic but it was a very relaxed and excellent two days. The important thing is knowing where each place is located and how to get there. Train and boat schedules are also good to have. So we spent a minimum of time figuring out what to do and how and maximum time enjoyng the places and the views.
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Oct 11th, 2012, 08:50 AM
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I think that Siena has more to offer and is more spectacular architecturally. I would spent two days there rather than in Lucca.

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Oct 11th, 2012, 09:47 AM
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I'm a big fan of Lucca, where I have spent over two weeks. I've also been in Siena, was there for 6 days a couple of years ago. Although I like Siena, in your case I wouldn't recommend it as a rushed day trip from Florence (unless you think you're never going back to Tuscany). Lucca is an hour from Florence and there are also very convenient train connections from there to La Spezia/ CT. From Siena its not easy to reach that area, trust me. I tried when I was there and we opted for a private car transfer to get us to Portovenere (near La Spezia).

Lucca is a lovely medieval city, pedestrian for the most part, and with the wall surrounding it. Has great restaurants and a great vibe. If on the 2nd day you're "bored" in Lucca you can always go visit Pisa (only 30 mins by train/ bus). So, my recommendation would be to move from Florence to Lucca on your way to CT.

Good luck!
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