Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Volterra, Lucca, or San Gim - Where would you go with limited time?

Volterra, Lucca, or San Gim - Where would you go with limited time?

Old Apr 4th, 2003, 08:57 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 281
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Volterra, Lucca, or San Gim - Where would you go with limited time?

We will be based in Siena for 3 days, with a car. One day, we will visit other towns in Northern Tuscany. I need your opinions of these three towns--because I do not believe we'll have time to see all three.

Last year, we were able to walk around San Gim for 2-3 hours before leaving for Florence--it was in the rain--we loved it and wished we had had more time.

However, I understand Lucca and Volterra are also wonderful towns.

Where would you suggest we go?
Dog_Mother is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 02:41 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,273
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Last year we had 2 nights in San Gimignano and 3 nights in Lucca, haven't visited Volterra. Lucca was nice, good for shopping, we came across an antiques/flea market that was interesting, the outer wall is good for a walk and interesting too, but overall I enjoyed SG more. I think it had more atmosphere, much smaller town than Lucca, I liked the shops selling beautiful ceramics and local alabaster etc. SG is very small, if you've already had 2-3 hours there you've probably seen most of it. I'd have to recommend San Gimignano over Lucca. We found it very busy during the day with people off bus tours and lovely and quiet in the evenings.
Kay
KayF is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 03:53 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,184
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I found Lucca to be less touristy than San Gimignano. Different atmosphere also. Volterra was my least favorite of these three.
My no. 1 choice would be Lucca, especially since you haven't been there before.
MyriamC is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 07:39 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,093
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It depends on what you want. I liked Volterra as it is a hill-top town with great views over the Tuscany countryside while Lucca is not a hill town but located in a rather flat area of countryside.

Volterra has the classic Tuscany belfry towers common to the hill towns while Lucca does not. Lucca (old town section) is a much larger town than Volterra and San Gim and is very medialval but with lots and lots of shops selling all the things you would find in the mall back home.
If you need a hotel there you can do no better than Hotel Diana, very close to the Duomo, CNN and BBC TV, super clean, enormous floor to ceiling tiled baths and very friendly and helpful owner. 67 euros per night.

Enjoy
Larry J
LarryJ is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 09:18 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 398
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lucca is a long and not especially pretty drive from Sienna- at least the way we went was through some industrial areas.We were not that crazy about Lucca- we went on a Monday and a lot of churches were closed.

We like Volterra better, and it is a spectacular drive there, but our favorite- no contest - is San Gim. I would definitely try to go back there for a longer visit.
Sally is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 09:21 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 9,374
Likes: 0
Received 21 Likes on 2 Posts
My vote goes to Volterra, as well. Beautiful drive, great ruins, pretty park to picnic with wine and pecorino and less crowded. Since you've been to SG, I'd opt for Volterra.
maitaitom is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 09:57 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nothing like getting a heap of conflicting advice, is there?

My vote would be for Lucca. I thought that even before I read you'd been to San Gimingano before. It's much less touristy, has a "real town" atmosphere, and is still very old with very pretty bits.

Volterra I found quite boring and in some ways industrial even- it's the quarrying that does it.

If you like book related things, the new Aurelio Zen from Michael Dibden has quite a lot in Lucca
sheila is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 10:35 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Perception perception--it never ceases to amaze me. From Siena, the choice is obvious to me. You can easily do Volterra and San G. in one day, and throw in Monteriggioni for an hour enroute. That is an easy day and a good one. Take S-2 to S-68 and start in Volterra then work you way back. Lucca is wonderful but is too far from Siena and is not a hill town--it is a city of 90K people. Have fun !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 12:26 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,184
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lucca is indeed not a hill town, that's why it's so different from the other towns.
The distance from Siena is about 140 km and can easily be done in one and a half hour over the highways A1 and A11.

Extract from my travel report (Sep. 2002):
Lucca, the city of Puccini ...
We parked the car on a big parking lot on Via Carducci. It was a park+ride parking (to be paid) where a bus runs to the city every 10 minutes (ride is abt. 10 min. as well). We were dropped off at Piazza Napoleone where we had lunch. Piazza Napoleone is a beautiful big square surrounded by trees. We had not seen any trees within the city walls so far in the other towns, so this was really striking and gave a very airy feeling, despite the oppressive heat.
Lucca was another beautiful city with a totally different character than Siena, San Gim, etc. Not the small alleys up and downhill but streets that must have been real avenues in earlier days with beautiful big houses and palazzi. We visited San Martino Cathedral with its richly decorated façade, San Michele church and climbed the 250 stairs of the Torre del Guinigi for a beautiful view over the roofs of Lucca. Piazza del Mercato was our favourite spot in Lucca with its cheerfully coloured houses.
We went for cappuccino and pastry at the lovely Antico Caffè da Simo, who pretend they were the favourite café of Puccini. We were really sorry we had no time to visit the villas & gardens outside the city. Will be for next time …
http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/29d64/#TL for my Lucca pics
MyriamC is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 02:20 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 281
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
All right, what about this idea?

From Siena, we take a day to do the route Bob the Navigator has recommended. Later on in our vacation, we will go to Florence for 5 nights. We have been there twice before--but there is still SO MUCH I want to see and do. However, it it POSSIBLE, we might shake loose for a day while staying there.

Question: Would Lucca be a good day trip by train or bus from Florence? We won't have a car by that time.

DM
Dog_Mother is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 02:25 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 9,374
Likes: 0
Received 21 Likes on 2 Posts
It's only about an hour away. Perhaps by then, however, you'll want a change of scenery. You could take a short train ride to the Cinque Terre and enjoy that little part of the world. Either way, you can't go wrong.
maitaitom is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 02:31 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,184
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are direct trains from Firenze Rifredi to Lucca (1 hr 12 min) about every hour or so.
MyriamC is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 02:41 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 281
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Rifredi?? Hmmmmm, this is a new one for me. Is there an easy, public transport to this station? I'm sure I have books galore that will show me where this is. But if you have done it, I'd appreciate your directions.
Dog_Mother is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2003, 11:14 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,184
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dog_Mother, I haven't done this before. Just got it from a railway webiste.
Firenze Rifredi must be the main station (I think), next stop is Firenze Castello. Does that sound more familiar to you?
MyriamC is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2003, 01:02 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,716
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Myriam -

Not sure what website you're using, but I'm not familiar with either of the station names your site lists for Firenze. The main station is Firenze SMN (Santa Maria Novella).

Dog Mother - For Florence to Lucca, I prefer taking the bus, which gets you all the way inside the walls, right by the TI office.

http://www.frommers.com/destinations...544030014.html
Lesli is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2003, 01:07 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,184
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Here's the website I use for train travel all over Europe: http://www.ns.nl/international/index.cgi

Firenze SMN is indeed one stop before Rifredi.
MyriamC is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2003, 05:31 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 281
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lesli
Thanks for the info. Through your web, I found www.lazzi.it, the bus company website. Very cheap to go by bus, and doesn't really take all that much longer. Now...to find the bus station--should be quite easy.

Dog_Mother is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
quinnr
Europe
11
Aug 29th, 2007 12:02 PM
Kennedy429
Europe
5
Jul 10th, 2007 08:08 AM
2010
Europe
6
Feb 12th, 2007 08:04 PM
carole
Europe
9
Oct 3rd, 2002 11:13 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:25 AM.