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San Gimignano, Levanto, Lucca, Bellagio - order??

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San Gimignano, Levanto, Lucca, Bellagio - order??

Hi there,

I will be studying in Florence for 3 mths. We have rented an apartment in Florence for most of it. For the first 2 weeks when I only need to be at uni 2-3 mornings per week we are thinking of the following itinerary...

3 days (Mon-Wed) Lucca

4-5 days (Wed-Sun) Levanto

3 days (Mon-Thurs) San Gimignano

5 days (Thurs-Mon) Bellagio

Are there any other towns other than Lucca or San Gim that are no further out from Florence that we should stay at instead? Our group varies from toddlers to grandparents so we want a town where they can walk to things for a few days rather than have to drive. Also, would you do Lucca first or San Gim first?

Many thanks.

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: San Gimignano, Levanto, Lucca, Bellagio - order??

I'm not sure I understand because this itinerary seems to occupy the whole week for two weeks, no time for uni. You also don't say how you intend to travel, car, bus or train?

However, if you are planning two weeks when you want to stay in these four places, going from one to another, I would probably do it in the order of San Gimignano, Lucca, Levanto, Bellagio. You might also do better to consider Varenna as a stop instead of Bellagio and go to Bellagio by ferry. Varenna is on the train line and is very pretty in its own right and a lots less expensive than Bellagio. Bellagio is also at the end of a peninsula with very little car access and parking. It is there, but awkward in my experience.

If your plan is to take four side trips out of Florence then the order doesn't matter.

Lucca is a superb town, quite flat and on the plain, with massive surrounding walls on which you can walk and cycle. Real treasures in cathedral, opera del duomo and the duomo and other churches.

San Gimignano is now very touristy but much nicer at the end of the day when the crowds are leaving. There is also a small bus which now runs down the main street. Lots of shops, a beautiful collegiate church all frescoed inside.

Bellagio is fashionable and full of rather expensive shops and nice restaurants where you can sit looking out at the lake. A centre for silk, so have a look at silk pashminas and other things.

I haven't been to Levanto as yet but will go this year. As a base for the Cinque Terre it looks good and has a beach and nice views.

If you miss Siena you will miss something very special. You can't drive in it, have to park the car, or go by bus which will take you to the centre of town. A wonderful campo of course, but also the fabulous town hall, the duomo, baptistry and crypt, and the Santa Maria Della Scala opposite the duomo, with a history of being a hospital, foundling home, orphanage and school. An amazing place and well worth a visit.

Other places we have greatly enjoyed include Arezzo with its tilted piazza and colonnade along the top, antiques, beautiful churches. Pienza, tiny and perfect, created by a pope to do up his home town. Volterra, home of alabaster and with a big Etruscan history. Fascinating. Sirmione on the tip of a peninsula in Lake Garda, with the remains of a Scaglieri castle, a roman villa, thermal baths and a busy, touristy village is also lovely.

Wherever you go you will enjoy.

north carolina
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2. Re: San Gimignano, Levanto, Lucca, Bellagio - order??

My feeling is that you can see San Gimignano fairly well in a few hours, perhaps four to five hours with a group, whereas Lucca deserves days. Lucca is a city, San G. is a sight.

Raleigh, NC
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3. Re: San Gimignano, Levanto, Lucca, Bellagio - order??

They are a bit further out but I would consider Assissi and possibly Cortona in Umbria. I have never spent time in Levanto but you can hardly go wrong. Your Lucca itinrary should include a side trip to Pisa.

4. Re: San Gimignano, Levanto, Lucca, Bellagio - order??

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