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Questions about Florence and Tuscany

Springfield, IL
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Questions about Florence and Tuscany

We will be in Italy from June 5 through June 20th---a surprise gift from our kids. We are flying into Rome and are going to head up to Manarola for 3 nights when we get there. Then we plan on going to Florence/Tuscany area for 3 nights. We were thinking of basing ourselves in Florence---doing a day of sightseeing there and then maybe renting a car for a side trip possibly to Pisa, Siena or San Gimignano. Do you think this is doable or would it be better to base ourselves outside of Florence and go in for a day??? Would a day with a car be enough? Any suggestions would be welcome.

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Province of Florence, Italy
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pittsburgh
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1. Re: Questions about Florence and Tuscany

You should probably ask this on the Florence forum.

Donna

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2. Re: Questions about Florence and Tuscany

Pisa would be a fast stop- besides the tower and the basilica+baptistry next door there's little to see. I'd focus more on Siena and San Gimignano- both of which are stunning! Though these cities do require paying to park your car outside...no cars inside...so you might even consider the merits of driving versus taking trains (ie: if you want some freedom to stop randomly along the way, or just plain enjoy driving through countryside).

Angelo/LivItaly

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Pisa
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Province of Pisa, Italy
Siena
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Province of Siena, Italy
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LivItaly Tours
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Virginia
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3. Re: Questions about Florence and Tuscany

Florence makes an excellent base but you'll need more than 1 day to see what it has to offer. No need to rent a car to get to Siena or Pisa as there are busses and trains which make Pisa & Siena both easy day trips. Don't miss Ghini Gardens in Pisa (a few euro to enter the University Gardens less than 5 mins from the leaning tower). They were the first botanical gardens in the world!

In Florence we loved the secret itineraries tour of the Palazzo Vecchio (think paintings and large cabinets that open into secret passages). Michelangelo's David. The Uffizi. The Bargello had amazing statues. Piazzale Michelangelo. Ponte Vecchio. The Duomo (climb to the top for amazing views). The Baptistry (the beginning of the renaissance on the famous doors). Santa Croce (where some of Italy's Greats are buried). Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens. That's just off the top of my head. There is tons more to see in Florence alone.

But I think Florence makes an excellent base to explore Tuscany because of the Transportation options and fact that there's more to do and places to eat.

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Springfield, IL
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4. Re: Questions about Florence and Tuscany

Sorry--I guess I should post this on the Florence forum. Still trying to learn how to navigate it all on trip advisor. VTJedi--did you do a tour to see all of that in Florence?? Would Siena and Pisa be separate day trips or all in one day? And if we can do it in one day-would a train or bus be doable? We have never been anywhere in Europe so planning this trip has been difficult. I really appreciate all the input from everyone.

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5. Re: Questions about Florence and Tuscany

Pisa and Siena are in the opposite direction -- I would pick one -- and for me that would be Siena -- which is best visited by bus -- they run about every half an hour all day and leave you right on the edge of the historic center

you don't need a tour for Florence, you need time. Florence is about its great art heritage and that means visiting churches and museums. if you only have one day, then choose 3 or 4 of these and accept that that is what you can do. My priorities would be the Brancacci Chapel, Piazzale Michelangelo/San Miniato, Academia and David and Santa Croce -- climbing the Duomo is also pretty nifty if you have time. you need to look at a good guidebook and decide what YOUR priorities would be. With only 3 nights, I would spend the two days you have in Florence

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Virginia
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6. Re: Questions about Florence and Tuscany

No, I didn't do any tours in Florence except for the guided tour of the secret itineraries at the Palazzo Vecchio - which was awesome.

Italy is easy to do on your own. No need to pay someone to take you around when most can easily manage it on their own with just a tad bit of research before hand :-) And Trip Advisor makes it really easy to do it on your own. Lots of friendly people to ask and answer questions.

Siena and Pisa are in opposite directions and it would probably be a lot to try to do both in one day but I've seen people who talked about doing it. I probably wouldn't but that's just my subjective opinion.

Most would say a bus from Florence to Siena is better because the bus gets you right into the main action in Siena where as the train station is further away. On the other hand the 45 minute or so train from Florence - Pisa is a good option. It gets you within a not long walk to the leaning tower. We did Pisa as a half day trip. Left Florence around 9:30... visited Ghini Gardens and got our reserved tickets to the leaning tower... had lunch... walked through the town a little before heading back to Florence with plenty of time to do something in the afternoon.

I'm not an expert... just passionate about travel and LOVED my time in Italy last summer so I'm happy to answer any questions I might know the answer to or give suggestions about things I did.

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Springfield, IL
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7. Re: Questions about Florence and Tuscany

Thanks for all the input. We are going to try to find a place in Florence to stay. Any ideas on that? We don't need 5 star but someplace clean and comfortable with a good location for walking to places.

Also--thinking of maybe renting a car to drive down to Rome. What are your thoughts on that. I have heard that it is quite beautiful and then we could make some stops on the way. Any ideas how long that would take?

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Cork, Ireland
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8. Re: Questions about Florence and Tuscany

Hi ILKathy, with regards to questions about hotels etc, you would be better posting a new topic in the Florence forum, just click on the link and away you go!

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowForum-g187895-i68-Flor…

Maybe put your exact dates, and budget per night in your post, makes it easier for people to advise.

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Florence
Florence
Province of Florence, Italy
Minneapolis...
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9. Re: Questions about Florence and Tuscany

We based ourselves in Florence and with our rental car we visited Pisa, San Gimignano and Siena. It is a wonderful drive through Tuscany but please note that you have to watch out for the ZTL (zona traffico limitado) You'll find that in Florence, Siena, Pisa. You must find parking outside those areas and then walk or take a bus to the historic center. Figure out where the leaning tower is located and then plan on parking somewhere nearby. We drove into the city and parked far away from it and though we took the bus we did waste a lot time just getting to it. My favorite place is San Gimignano it is just dreammy :) And yes it is doable. You can take public transportation that connects to those cities but you will miss the experience of driving through Tuscany and stopping anywhere you want to take photos.

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Province of Florence, Italy
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10. Re: Questions about Florence and Tuscany

About staying in Florence, we stayed in Boscolo Astoria and booked it through Hotels.com The hotel is within walking distance of the Historic center of Florence.

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