Where to stay in Tuscany.

Reply

Feb 15th, 2015, 05:29 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 410
Where to stay in Tuscany.

Looking for a recommendation for a base for 4 nights In Tuscany in May. We will be flying in to Pisa and using public transportation. Hoping to keep the cost for a double room to around $100 per night if that is possible. Easy access from Pisa and walking distance to restaurants are important, so in town rather than in the countryside. I'm assuming we should avoid the most popular towns as I'm guessing those will be more expensive and we tend to prefer smaller places anyway. Thanks for your help.
gillybrit is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2015, 02:28 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Some attractive places with train stations likely to offer affordable bed*breakfasts:

Pistoia
Montecatini Terme
Pietrasanta
Arezzo
sandralist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2015, 02:36 AM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 410
Thanks! A couple of questions. How long to get to these places by train from Pisa airport. Any specific hotel recommendations in these towns. How easy is it to get from these towns to Lucca sienna and San Gim? Thanks again.
gillybrit is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2015, 03:05 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
You can look on the Trenitalia website to see train schedules.

Lucca is on the train line that connects with all the towns I mentioned, although Arezzo would be the most inconvenient "base" if Lucca and San Gimignano are places you want to visit. As far as I know, the only way to get to San Gimignano using public transport is by buses that leave from either Florence, Siena or Pisa (probably 1 hour each way). You probably can find affordable lodgings in Pisa, which is not a big town and quite untouristy away from the Tower, so you might consider looking there as well.
sandralist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2015, 05:27 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,333
Expanding on the above: Pisa-Lucca-Montecatini Terme-Pistoia can be done by train, in that order (with a train change in Lucca I believe). The trip from Pisa Centrale (station in town, not airport) to Pistoia is about 1.5 hours, with a change in Lucca. The convenience of the train makes any of these a good choice.

Any of those towns would work as a base. Lucca is very nice, with its walls and several sites to keep you busy. It also probably has more international tourists visiting than Montecatini or Pistoia and so is busy and probably more expensive.

Montecatini can seem like a refreshing change because of the art nouveau (Liberty style) architecture that contrasts with most of Italy's older buildings. The older town, Montecatini Alto, is reached by a funicular railway.

Pistoia has some lovely architecture and fine restaurants. I stayed there 2 nights at the Hotel Patria, which might be just outside your budget. There are more affordable options, though. I really enjoyed their market (Saturday morning, I believe).

Of those towns, Pisa would probably be a better base for visiting San Gimignano, although it seems like the transport is not easy.

The best info on transport I could dig up, would be take the train first as noted below, and then transfer to a bus.
- Pisa-Empoli
- Empoli-Siena (Get down at the station Poggibonsi/San Gimignano)
- Bus to San Gimignano
mama_mia is online now  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2015, 12:17 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 22
I'd highly recommend Lucca. There is a lot to do in the medieval walled town.... ride bikes on top of the wall, too (it's a park up there). You can take public bus or car service to Pisa to see the sites there. You don't want to stay in Pisa... it's more of an in-and-out tourist spot. Very crowded. Lucca is more human and romantic. You can easily spend a few days there and not regret it.

--Jerry
finzidad is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2015, 01:23 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
I stayed in Lucca for a week and totally regretted 6 of the 7 days I spent there! Speak for yourself, Jerry.

I personally would much prefer to stay in Pisa than in Lucca, and many people would agree with me. Some prefer Lucca, some prefer Pisa (or anyplace but Lucca). Lucca is in reality loaded with "in-and-out" tourists during the day and while Pisa gets many to see its famous tower, if you walk away from the tower, you will find a fully functioning Italian town that has nothing to do with tourism. Lucca is "boutique" and completely devoted to preserving its tourist statusthrough and through.

The main reason many people don't like staying in Lucca is precisely because they find so little to do there other than shop or just wander around staring at the fronts of lovely buildings that are privately owned and closed to the publics. If the weather is nice you can walk or ride bikes on the walls, or sit at outdoor cafes -- but the weather may not to be nice, or you may have limited appetite for that activity for more than a few hours, not days.

By contrast, Pisa actually more indoor sights of high Renaissaince importance than you could easily see in 4 days, an untouristy market, and a lot more untouristy texture.

A lot of people feel as "Jerry finzidad" does -- but a lot of people don't. Lucca gets fairly low marks from a lot of posters on Fodor's. Others are negative on Pisa. The opinions expressed here on just that and while I am sure you are glad to know everybody's, it is simply a fact that you could go to Lucca just like I did and regret it. Jerry doesn't know you and he has no basis for predicting what you or any other individual would enjoy most.
sandralist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 17th, 2015, 08:16 AM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 410
Thanks for all the input. Our preference would be a smaller town but not necessarily one of the busiest small towns. As a reference when we spent time on the amalfi coast we stayed in praiano. As long as there are a couple of restaurants in the town we are staying in we are fine. Key is access to trandportation. Sounds like San ginigmano may be tough so might have to skip that. Pistoia sounds like it might fit what we are looking for. Or possible montecatine. Looking forward to more input! Thanks again.
gillybrit is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 17th, 2015, 09:22 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 31,835
>>>I'm assuming we should avoid the most popular towns as I'm guessing those will be more expensive and we tend to prefer smaller places anyway<<<

I don't think you should assume that. I think you could find something in Florence at your budget which would give you easy access to a quite a few towns for day trips. It's also easy access from Pisa airport (there is a bus from the airport to the Florence train station). From Florence some of the towns in Chianti are an hour by bus, Siena about 70 minutes by bus, Lucca about the same (bus or train). With 4 nights, you only have time for 3 day trips. If any of your days are a Sunday, you will find reduced or no service to some places.
kybourbon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 17th, 2015, 09:58 AM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 410
Thanks. Really hadn't considered Florence as we tend to prefer smaller out if the way places. Good point about better access for public transportation though so may need to reconsider.
gillybrit is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 17th, 2015, 04:02 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 31,835
I've stayed in these apartments in Florence before and they are in your price range. About a 15 minute walk from the train station and that far from most things in the center. You might want something a bit closer although I think there's bus service too.

http://www.residenzailcarmine.com/
kybourbon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 17th, 2015, 05:54 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 31,835
I've stayed in these apartments in Florence before and they are in your price range. About a 15 minute walk from the train station and that far from most things in the center. You might want something a bit closer although I think there's bus service too.

http://www.residenzailcarmine.com/
kybourbon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 19th, 2015, 02:55 PM
  #13
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 410
I am leaning towards pisa for a couple of reasons., although it won't give me the quaint small town feel i was hoping for. Since we are flying in and out of pisa logistics just seem easier. Sounds like using pisa as a base will make day trips by public transportation relatively easy. Also we have an early flight home so getting to the airport early might be a problem if we stay somewhere else. I actually thought about staying somewhere else for 3 nights and the last night in pisa but not sure if it's worth the hassle of moving. That said any hotel recommendations for pisa? Might start a separate thread for that specific question...
gillybrit is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
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


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:20 AM.