Ill be visiting italy with my wife in early July. We have about 7 days at hand and our departure is from Venice. We will arrive in Italy from Paris by an overnight train, and are planning to arrive at Florence. Spend couple of days there before moving to Venice for last 2 days before returning. I would like to see some medieval towns around Sienna, Do some wine country visits and spend some time around Florence enjoying the city and neighbourhood. If possible would also like to make a short trip to Pisa. Can someone suggest a good itinerary? We would like to do a budget trip but don't mind renting a scooter for a day or two. Where should we base our trip around Tuscany? SHould that be in Sienna or Florence?
Regarding transportation around Florence.
I'm not sure you need a scooter, you'd better rent a car. At least for a day. One day is completely enough for a trip to Pisa and come back. There are lots of free parking in Pisa and Florence, at least we didn't have any troubles. We rented a tiny Fiat 500 for about 50 euro/day.
All the other attractions inside the city are within walking distance. No need to take any transport. Florence quite compact city.
If you need to find place where to stay by yourself try airbnb. We found our apartment so. But keep in mind there are hundreds of apartments in Florence.
Answered by room202.co team
Fiat 500 we rented for a day to visit Pisa.
We had done this trip around Venice, Florence and Tuscany last year so I'm speaking from experience. We had a car, but we also had 2 weeks. I would not recommend a scooter because it will be very slow on those winding roads and also dangerous on freeways which you will have to take if you want to get around efficiently.
First of all, IMHO you're trying to jam a lot into 5 days. That usually ends up with a lot of travel time on roads and subsequent disappointments because you don't have enough quality time visiting some of the more interesting destinations. If you want to explore Tuscany, Florence is a good choice but realize that you're dealing with about two hours of driving into an out of the Tuscany area (that's 4 hours on roads/ day) so be careful. Parking and getting around Florence with a car is a nightmare. It's better to stay outside of Florence, drive in and park the car for the day and get around on foot or public transportation.
Instead, we stayed in Greve In Chianti in an AirBnB house in the Tuscany area and drove into Florence for 2 days (about a 40 min drive each way on a really nice picturesque road) to see everything there was to see. Staying in the countryside also allowed us easy access to just about every other town in Tuscany including Siena (a half a day's visit) and San Gimignano. Each was about an hour or two away and so we could hit 2 to 3 towns in a day comfortably and also see the Tuscany countryside. This way everything was much easier. Keep in mind that the roads are single lane, very windy and slow to drive.
Pisa is 1.5 hrs away and you can hit on some neighboring towns as well and make it a day trip from Greve. Super tip#1: get a GPS. Enjoy your trip!
Super tip#1: Check Google Maps for directions from where you're staying to a town and you will see the time it takes to get there and back. Then hit nearby towns you drive past to optimize your time. That's what we did.
Tip #2: Get a GPS. :)
Enjoy your trip! Some of my pictures are attached for inspiration.
One of the best things I have ever done was take the Tour of Tuscany https://www.walkaboutflorence.com/tours/best-tuscany-tour
In fact, my husband and I are going this Spring and will be doing it again!
If you aren't interested in the guided tour (which does give you a lot of solo time as well), then you may want to check their itinerary and follow that.
Have a great trip!
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Well I agree that renting a car makes everything easier but I approve your first idea. With a scooter I think you can really breath and feel Tuscan countryside and you can brag around that you lived a true Italian experience! Well, it can take double the time to go to Siena or Pisa though. May I suggest a motorbike?
For what concerns the itinerary I would say that if you like the countryside you can try Siena, Monteriggioni, Volterra and then Arezzo and Cortona. Pisa is beautiful too but with a scooter there is a big nothing to go through before reaching it while you can arrive to the other towns I suggested through panoramic roads and a lot of wine tasting bars!
Have a good trip!
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For the most part, Miklos suggestion is excellent if you're looking for the full Tuscan treatment over a short time: quick access to the countryside, visiting multiple quintessential towns. Chianti feels pretty different from the landscape south of Siena — most of the iconic visuals you've seen of Tuscany are from that area — but it's wonderful. That said, if you're only there for two days, Florence alone — really immersing yourself in the city — would be a great, rich trip.
I spent 7 days in Florence a couple of years ago. It's entirely doable without renting a car or scooters. The bus to Siena is easy to navigate (and by the way, the cathedral there is one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever encountered). There is a train to Pisa, but it was not on my agenda.
In Florence itself, there is so much to see, you can get easily overwhelmed. This Itinerary generally reflects my schedule for 6 of the 7 days:
Orientation Walking Tour: Either hire a guide, or if you like, download onto your smartphone the Rick Steves Audio Tour app, and fill it with the audio tours of Florence and Venice.
The Baptistery of St. John and Ghiberti's "Gates of Paradise" doors (must be seen to be believed)
Loggia dei Lanzi (outdoor sculptures on the town square)
Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge, now lined with gold merchants)
Galleria dell'Accademia (Accademia Museum) (Michelangelo's David, plus a bunch more)
(Many European museums close on Monday. But art-hosting churches are usually open):
The Duomo (the interior is disappointing, compared to the eye-popping exterior)
Museum of Opera of Saint Maria of Fiore Duomo Museum (church sculpture by bunches of folks, including Donatello)
Santa Maria Novella The Church of Santa Maria Novella (medieval frescoes & early Renaissance paintings)
Basilica of Santa Croce (tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, & Rossini, plus a Dante memorial)
Bargello National Museum (mostly Renaissance sculpture, including several Michelangelos & Donatellos)
Uffizi Gallery (the most extensive collection of Italian Renaissance paintings anywhere. Viewing all this took half a day)
Fiesole, (a small village up hill from Florence, containing a small museum, roman amphitheater, and Franciscan monastery. Watch for pick-pockets on the bus from Florence to Fiesole.)
Siena (which you can reach easily by bus. Be certain to seek out the Cathedral.)
Mercato di San Lorenzo (public market with great sandwiches)
Medici Chapel (see how the other half dies)
'Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte (San Miniato Church)
This should keep you busy and your jaw agape. I hope you enjoy your trip as much as I did.
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Assuming you have the full seven days (rather than five for sightseeing and two for travel), I'd structure my itinerary like this:
Day 1: Florence
Day 2: Florence
Day 3: day trip to Siena
Day 5: Florence to Venice by train
Day 6: Venice
Day 7: Venice
For the day trips, I'd suggest renting a car. Visit a winery or two on the way back from Siena - I might even suggest hiring a driver for that day so you both can fully enjoy. You could either return to Florence that evening, or stay one night in the countryside and come back after visiting Pisa, etc., the following day.
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I would save money by not renting a car and not going through the hassle of parking. A day trip to Pisa from Florence can be done easily by train. A day trip to Siena is best done by bus.
The first time I visited Florence I did it exactly the way you are; I came in on an overnight train. The first thing I did was put my luggage in a locker at the station, then go to the @ Galleria dell 'Accademia. I'm glad I did too. I got there just as the tour busses were arriving, and I managed to see what I wanted at a relaxed pace, and beat the crowds. I spent about ten uninterrupted minutes with Michelangelo's David. You can make reservations for entry on line or over the phone.
You mentioned visiting Pisa. It's an easy day trip, as it's only a little over an hour away by train.
Which brings me to another point. I don't how much you'll need a car. You definitely don't want to use it in the city. It's easily covered on foot, or by using public transportation. The streets are crowded and parking is a nightmare. Beside, all the wonderful sites of Florence can walked to. I've never had a vehicle any time I've been to Florence, and I haven't missed a thing.
The same holds true for Sienna too. It's only an hour and a half by train.
So, unless you really want to get out and explore the countryside, you might want to consider skipping the car.
Finally, consider a side trip to the Cinque Terre. Five little traffic-free towns hugging the Mediterranean. They're picturesque delights with pastel colored buildings that seem to lean against one another. They're all connected by train as well as walking trails. There're are plenty of beaches, cafes and restaurants. Best of all, it's only 2 1/2 hours by train from Florence, and it's the perfect little vacation, in the middle of your vacation.
Whatever you decide I hope you have a terrific time.
Florence has some of the best gelato! Love Vivoli gelateria just by Piazza Santa Croce!
Also check out this Florentine experience where you can make your own gelato in Florence :)