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A schedule for two weeks in Tuscany

Ghent, Belgium
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A schedule for two weeks in Tuscany

Hello. In july we stay for two weeks in Tuscany. We have a rental car and stay for 7 nights near San Gimignano and for 5 nights near Castiglioni d'Orcia.

This is the preliminary schedule for our visit. We like art and nature and would like to visit a great part of Tuscany (except for the northern mountain region and the southern Maremma).

Day 1 (Friday) : arrival at Firenze airport and transport to San Gimignano where we arrive in the afternoon. Visit to this city for the rest of the day.

Day 2 : Volterra and Pisa

Day 3 : the Chianti region

Day 4 : Lucca

Day 5 : Firenze (for our daughter of 18 who wants to see this beautiful town, we have already visited without her for five days in April this year)

Day 6 : Monteriggione and Colle di Val d'Elsa

Day 7 : Siena

Day 8 : transport from San Gimignano to our next hotel near Castiglioni d'Orcia (through the Crete Senesi)

Day 9 : Cortona (and eventually also Arezzo)

Day 10 : Monte Amiata, Sorano, Sovata and Pitigliano

Day 11 : Montalcino and surroundings (abbays)

Day 12 : Pienza, Montepulciano (and eventually Chiusi)

Day 13 : back to the airport of Firenze

Of course the order of the days can be switched yet.

Any further suggestions. Do you think this a good schedule ?

Has anyone done something like this already ? Any other places of interest I forgot ?

We would like to build in also a day trip to Elba, but I think this is too far from both locations. So I left it out.

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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1. Re: A schedule for two weeks in Tuscany

It is very busy, but doable for the very energetic! Lucca and Pisa are both quite a drive from San Gimignano, so I would want to visit both on the same day, to avoid having to do that drive twice. How will you be getting to Florence? I would suggest leaving your car at Poggibonsi and taking the train in and out, much simpler than trying to deal with the ZTL. (and of course you know there are camera enforced ZTLs in Siena, Pisa and Lucca too, I hope).

Montepulciano, Italy
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2. Re: A schedule for two weeks in Tuscany

As Peggy rightly says, it is very busy though perfectly do-able. I'll only comment on the second week but must alert you to the fact that Days 9 and 10 (and even 11) involve quite a lot of driving. Please also bear in mind too that it could be very warm in July - we often see temperatures in the high 30s - and that doesn't help when you have a lot of driving combined with a considerable amount of sightseeing. As a guide, even we tend to find it's too hot to do much between 11.00 / 16.00 hrs in high summer. I also find driving fairly long distances on our narrow, windy roads quite tiring even though I know where I'm going. If I were you, I would plan a quiet day with maybe just a short excursion in the early morning or late afternoon somewhere in the middle. Where are you staying in Castiglione? Lovely place with sensational views, and the old town is very unspoilt. Incidentally, you haven't included gorgeous Bagno Vignoni, San Quirico and Monticchiello. All three are very close to you (all are within sight, in fact) and well worth a visit. To be honest, if it were me on a hot day, I'd skip Cortona / Arezzo and visit these three instead.

Edited: 28 April 2013, 12:56
Ghent, Belgium
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3. Re: A schedule for two weeks in Tuscany

We are very energetic people, indeed ! Concerning Lucca and Pisa, other people on this forum gave me the advice NOT to combine them on the same day. If we visit Pisa before noon, then there is only half a day left for Lucca (we have to drive back to San Gimignano in the evening) and most people say that this is not enough. We would like to visit the city and to walk over the walls. Is it possible to do that in one afternoon (and part of the evening) ? We are used to walk a lot, but in summer with high temperature it will go more slowly. And what else to combine then with Volterra ? Can we spend a whole day there ? It seems to me that Lucca deserves much time than Volterra or am I wrong ?

For the visit to Florence we leave our car at Poggibonsi and take the train. For Lucca, Pisa and Siena we leave the car outside the town (there are public parking places I hope) and walk to the city (how far has one to go then or is there another possibility, bus navette or something like that ?)

Ghent, Belgium
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4. Re: A schedule for two weeks in Tuscany

Thank you both for the useful comments. We stay in Hotel Osteria dell'Orcia. According to the weather conditions we will adapt our program and if necessary leave out the day to Cortona (and certainly Arezzo because of the much longer drive). We can replace it with a short visit to Bagno Vignoni, San Quirico or Monticchiello.

But I would like to keep day 10 to see the interesting landscape of south Tuscany, even if it is a long drive !

You say the roads are narrow and windy but what about the traffic ? Is it busy on this roads in summer ?

South East England...
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5. Re: A schedule for two weeks in Tuscany

For parking in Lucca we use the underground car park "Mazzini" inside the walls on via dei Bacchettoni when we stay in the city. Enter through Porta Elisa, take the first turning immediately on the right (tourist info office on the corner) it's about 300 meters on the left hand side. When you leave the car park turn left, follow the road until the first Piazza (Luigi Varanini) again about 300 meters, and turn right through Porta San Jacopo to join the Lucca ring road. Very straightforward. Be aware of the need to observe the directions to/from Park Mazzini so as to avoid fines from the ZTL cameras. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings when the outdoor market is being held in the road to the car park diversions are in put in place, these are easy to follow and take you out of the centre through Porta Elisa. There is also a car park called "Carducci" on the ring-road outside the walls, which is a short walk into the city.

mesh

Edited: 28 April 2013, 13:39
Montepulciano, Italy
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6. Re: A schedule for two weeks in Tuscany

Most roads will not be very busy, it's just they are usually almost deserted so when you live here year round, you notice a big difference. In summer you tend to find a steady stream of traffic going quite slowly along the Montepulciano / Pienza stretch of road and then from Pienza / San Quirico. The Via Cassia too either side of San Quirico often sees lines of vehicles, though the traffic moves. It can also be fairly slow on the final kilometre or so into Montalcino. If you are going all the way over to Cortona, it's worth the additional 30 mins drive on to Arezzo, though be prepared for crowds in Cortona, for it's very busy nowadays indeed in summer.

Oh please don't skip Day 10 - again, if it were me I'd drop Cortona in favour of this. It's a wonderful drive, though the road is circuitous so driving quite tiring. (I do this drive several times a year with visitors.) Consider going via Castel del Piano (Castiglione to here is one of my favourite drives in southern Tuscany), Montelaterone (beautiful tiny hill town), Arcidosso (not quite so interesting), Semproniano (another beauty). Then do a loop Sovana / Pittigliano / Sorano and if time permits come home via Abbadia San Salvatore having checked what time the abbey closes (I'm ashamed to say I can't remember). The crypt is an extraordinary place, a real must-see in my book. Fabulous views all the way on the roads around here.

Ghent, Belgium
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7. Re: A schedule for two weeks in Tuscany

Thank you all for this useful information !

8. Re: A schedule for two weeks in Tuscany

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