a VirtualTourist member from Nashville
we will only have 3 nights in Tuscany. My husband really wants to stay in Florence, and I on the other hand want to experience the Chianti region (Castellina). I think I will give him overnighting in Florence because he seems very excited about that. I need suggestions:
We will arrive in Florence by train (coming from Venice) and can drop luggage at hotel and get started on sightseeing asap. I definitely want to visit Siena and would love to spend the last day touring some of the smaller villages in Chianti by car. We can rent a car for the day to tour Chianti and then drop off that night if possible. I don't mind hiring guides or purchasing tickets in advance for the more popular sites, so we can hopefully skip some of the long lines. I know this is a lot, but I don't want to give in for driving through those amazing villages in Chianti. I appreciate any advice.
I think you should stay at least three days in Florence. There are some interesting sight to see there. You can see much there in one day.
You can easily visit Siena and other towns and villages as day trips from Florence.
About Chianti...I don' t know. I have never been there.
I can not advice you to visit both in 3 days . Tuscany is a wonderful region with very nice places !! you need to feel the athmosfer and that can not done from the window of a running car ! sorry.
We were in Florence for a short day !! and if we did not use the double deck red bus we would not see nothing !! There are so much to see in Florence ( from out-side ) !! From our experience we arrived to a conclusion that only by staying in a hotel for some nights we could visit and begin to understand all the possibilties in Florence , our day visit was only a brief " tast " . So good luck !!
Few years ago I went by car from Florence to Siena, it is local road and the distance is no more then 50 km., but I traveled 2 days. Region of Chianti is so beautiful and the people very friendly. I stayed in a small village of Castellina in Chianti, renting a room there and spending unforgettable time in strolling and driving around, from one hill to another and each one more attractive then previous.
Florence is beautiful but to me Siena is something special, especially the local people. If, by chance, you can add one more day for Tuscany you will enjoy much more.
I think you will find that there is far more to explore and enjoy in Florence than you expect.
Hwoever, if you are set on Siena + Tuscan viuillages then I suggest you:
a) base your selves in Florence for all 3 nights. Choose somewhere within easy walking distance of Santa Maria Novella railway station, where you will arrive from Venice.
b) take the express bus from Florence to Siena and not the train. why? Because the bus stops at the historical centre whereas Siena's railway station is good way out, requirng a longish walk, bus ride or taxi.
Bus timetables here:
Click 'Mostri alti'' at the bottom of the page. The express bus is line is 131R A (from Siena) and 131R R (from Firenze/Florence)
c) Hire a car from Florence for one full day's exploration of the Chianti countryside.
As for online tickets, this is the official site in English for the Uffizi, Accademia, Pitti Palace and other Florentine museums/galleries:
You may be able to visit one, or maybe two if you arrive early enough from Venice.
we have stayed in Florence , and spent another week in Tuscany
I can recommend this hotel in Florence
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and in Tuscany:
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We did day trips to Chianti, Sienna, Lucca, Pisa, and many more. We hired our car in Florence and drove to Pontassieve which is about 30mins south of Florence.
The scenery is spectacular
I feel your pain. You really can't do justice to both Florence and the Chianti region in three days...but my attitude is that you should always plan your trip on the assumption that someday you'll be able to come back and see what you've missed...otherwise, you simply go crazy with trying to see 25,000 things in too short a time.
I suppose in your case, I would stay in Florence, but rent a car for a day and drive around the Chianti area. The scenery alone will be worth it, and using the bus or train system will be a lesson in frustration. leics is right that if you are going only to Siena, just take the bus, but I sense that you really want to drive around the countryside, and nothing will compete with a car for doing this. This allows for the spontaneous freedom of movement that everyone dreams of when they envision those movies of Tuscany with winding roads through the vineyards and the manicured trees.
Question: what days of the week do you plan on being here in Tuscany? Do these days include a Sunday or a Monday? Sundays are obviously slow days in the smaller towns as many things are not open, but normally the national museums (like in Florence) are not open on Mondays. If your trip covers either one of these two days, some additional planning is called for to make sure that you get the most out of your brief time there.
I respect the opposite or different opinions but personally I think that the trip by car is the only way to experience Tuscany in a proper way. Depending on bus or train timetable is the worst option for exploring Tuscany, first because you depend on the schedule that you haven't planned and second, because you'll miss lots of little gems that are located on the hills which are outside the roads where bus is running or train does not reach.
The historic centers of Florence or Siena are relatively small and if you do not intend to visit museums and galleries, one day is quite enough for each of these cities to see all major sights. So, there remain one whole day to wander the hills of Chianti and enjoy in extremely charming places to which no train or bus could bring you. Only bar car you will be able to get in a village "trattoria" (inn-tavern) and eat excellent and inexpensive Tuscany lunch (that could not be found in Florence), or you will stop in one of many wine cellars, situated on a top of the hill, where they will offer perfect Tuscany made sheep cheese and ham, homemade bread and glass of Chianti wine.
As always I see so much good advice, and must agree that 3 nights is hardly enough; but people have suggested some appealing itineraries. I usually go for something closer to what leics suggested.
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