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Drive through Tuscany

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Dallas, Texas
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Drive through Tuscany

Renting a car for one day in Florence and returning to Florence. We want to see Siena, San Gimignano , and Chianti. Which order should we see them in?

If only time for two - which should we see and which orde?

Thanks!

Saint Marys, Ohio
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1. Re: Drive through Tuscany

If you exit Florence and head down SR 222, The Chianti Road, you'll be in Chianti and San Gimignano is west of SR 222. You can turn west near Castellina-in-Chianti and head to San Gimignano. You can head southeast from San G if you'd like to get to Siena or you can go back to SR 222 and head south.

It's a very beautiful drive.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Drive through Tuscany

I suggest you should go through the Chianti area, then to Siena. If you have time, detour to San Gimignano on the way back.

Do not try to return the car in central Florence. The whole of the central area is prohibited to visitors' cars, and there have been countless posts from people who have accidentally driven into this area, or in a bus lane, and have been hit with multiple €100 fines months later.

Picking up the car in Florence is OK: ask the agent for instructions on how to leave. But return the car to Florence airport.

Tbilisi, Georgia
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3. Re: Drive through Tuscany

Hello,

I am Planing a week-long trip to Tuscany, mainly I want to see small and picturesque villages. As I understand the best way to get around is on a scooter. Are there any cities other than Florence, with rental companies? and if it is please give some links. :)

thks,

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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4. Re: Drive through Tuscany

The best way to get around is certainly not by scooter. Scooters are for getting around towns and cities, not for riding out on country roads. Too slow and way too dangerous.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Drive through Tuscany

Use a scooter out in the countryside only if you have a death wish and good medical insurance.

Tbilisi, Georgia
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6. Re: Drive through Tuscany

Thanks for the comments.

So what will you suggest, car rentals? Is there any car rentals in small towns such as Voltera, San Gimigniano or Siena? Or maybe Hotels can provide such service? As I will be visiting in the beginning of June car rental prices will be higher the for example in May or April?

London, United...
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7. Re: Drive through Tuscany

Definitely rent a car is the best solution, cities that you have mentioned are very beautiful and worth a visit, I would add Volterra (if you have time).

Florence
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8. Re: Drive through Tuscany

Mproth,

Chianti is a region which has been defined many different ways over the years. The area now called "Chianti Classico" is roughly between Florence and Siena. To get to Siena from Florence you drive through various denominations of Chianti.

Siena is far and away the most spectacular town in Tuscany other than Florence itself. It provides a unique window into the high Middle Ages. It is easily worth spending an entire day in.

To try to see anything other than Siena in one day is not a great idea, because it will inevitably mean you will see less of Siena. San Gimignano is a cute, touristy town, with surprising medieval "sky-scrapers". But that's really about it. The town was made very popular by the movie "Tea with Mussoline", and it has become totally taken over by the tourist trade. In high season, it is completely chockablock with tourists.

Volterra is a wonderful little town that has also become something of a tourist trap, and it is a fairly long, hard drive to get to.

On a day-trip from Florence to Siena, I think it makes sense to take the "superstrada" or "raccordo" - the SR 2, not the lovely old "Chiantigiana" SR222. It's the difference between an easy one-hour drive, each way, and a demanding two or three hour drive, each way.

Florence, Italy
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9. Re: Drive through Tuscany

Chianti is the name of the region between Florence and Siena. Grapes have been cultivated here since Etruscan times. It's been called Chianti since at least 1250 when the Republic of Florence founded the Chianti League - an administrative unit somewhat like a province. The name, Chianti, derives from an Etruscan word, "klant" which means "water", probably referring to the numerous natural springs in the region. There are a couple of other possible meanings to klant, making the mame yet another fun Etruscan mystery. The wine we drink (a lot!) today comes from the name of the region. Chianti Classico is the name of the DOCG wine whose disciplinary was created in 1996. Sorry for this pedantic outburst - I just wanted to to clear up any confusion about this very wonderful area to which I'm particularly partial - I live here.

San Gimignano does attract a lot of tourists, and there's a good reason. They go there because there's stuff to see! Yes of course, the towers, but how about the Colleggiata - the main church - considered one of, if not the most integrally preserved medieval churches in Tuscany! With frescoes by masters of the Sienese and Florentine schools, you can't beat it for a good glimpse at how things looked before the counter reformation! In San Gimi, get off the main drag and explore the narrow streets and allies. The town lost as much as 4/5 of its population with the Black Plague - it took years to get back on its feet. So what we see today is the town practically as it would have appeared in 1348!

Siena is Siena - absolutely a gem.

I have visited all three places in one day many times with guests. It can be done and its not a frenetic, crazy day! Start early from Florence, drive down the Firenze-Siena highway. Get off at Poggibonsi Nord and follow the signs to San Gimignano. You can get a fine flavor of the town in an hour to 90 minutes. Retrace your steps to the Fi-Si and continue to Siena. You'll pass the early 13th century fortress of Monteriggioni on your right. Exit the Fi-Si at Siena Nord, follow the signs to Porta Camollia, then to the Stadio. Park at the Stadio. From there it's an easy walk through the historic center. If it's lunchtime, one of our favorites is La Torre, in the narrow ally just to the left of the tower in Piazza del Campo. It's tiny, delicious, packed with locals and dirt cheap. Reservations are a good idea.

From Siena, return to the Fi-Si and head back towards Florence. Exit at Monteriggioni and follow the signs up to Castellina. There, you'll turn left onto the SS222, "la Chiantigiana". This will meander through the heart of Chianti, back to Florence. I leave this to the end of the day because you'll hardly want to be driving through wine country and not taste any wine! And who feels like tasting wine in the morning?

Hey, sounds like fun! Enjoy!

Oh! Volterra. I love Volterra with all my heart. It is so not a tourist trap. I was there just today - visited with one of my top 3 favorite paintings of all time: Rosso Fiorentino's Deposition. Just Rosso and me in the room. I can't tell you enough interesting things about this town. However, it's really too far to include in this particular road trip. If you really are attracted to Volterra, it's only about 40 minutes from San Gimi, so this could be an alternative to what I described above.

Dallas, Texas
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10. Re: Drive through Tuscany

Thanks so much. Your information is wonderful - especially the driving directions. Can't wait to go