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Choosing a home base for a week in Tuscany

Calgary
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Choosing a home base for a week in Tuscany

I am planning to stay in Tuscany for a week this July with my family of 5. This will be one week out of a month spent in Italy.

I'd like to rent an apartment/villa somewhere near a smaller town or in rural Tuscany and use it as a base to see various places. I also plan to stay in Florence for 4 or 5 days after staying in rural Tuscany to see the city sights.

Possible day trips in Tuscany might include (in order of what i want to see)

- San Gimignana

- Siena

- Volterra

- Any other suggested interesting places that might appeal to children

- Pisa?

- Lucca?

1. Where would be a good area to concentrate my search for accommodation? There are literally thousands of holiday rentals to choose from.

2. Would it be better to do day trips to Pisa & Lucca out of Florence by train and stick to the smaller centers during the week in Tuscany?

Castellina in...
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1. Re: Choosing a home base for a week in Tuscany

This might help you prune the options a bit: chiantitravelguide.com/best-place-to-stay-as…

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Choosing a home base for a week in Tuscany

I admit to having some confusion about why you want to stay in rural Tuscany. If you stay there you will probably need to rent a car to get around even if it's only to buy a loaf of bread. The places you consider visiting are all cities where having a car will prove to be more of a disadvantage than an advantage. Sure, if you really wanted to visit Monteriggioni or the Chianti region, or Montepulciano you would probably need a car.

3. Re: Choosing a home base for a week in Tuscany

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Removed on: 05 January 2014, 12:29
Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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4. Re: Choosing a home base for a week in Tuscany

This may help with some of the factors you need to consider:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187893-c128287/Tusca…

Pisa and Lucca are both good choices for children, climb the leaning tower (book this online 2 weeks in advance), hire bikes in Lucca, cycle the walls and have a picnic. However, both can be easily done in one day trip by train from Florence and this would save you a potentially long drive and give you more time to see other Tuscan towns and villages during the rural leg of your trip.

Somewhere north of Siena, would seem like a good base for you to visit San Gim, Siena and Volterra. The children would probably enjoy Monteriggioni too and other nearby towns worth visiting are the upper town of Colle di Val d'Elsa, Castellina and Radda in Chianti. There is plenty of interest in the area to keep you busy for a week.

Calgary
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5. Re: Choosing a home base for a week in Tuscany

Thanks for the tips Tuscan and Peggypatch.

I will save Pisa and Lucca for day trips by train from Florence.

Yes, BackpackerNoMore62, I will have a car during the stay in Tuscany. Unless you're on a bus tour then I think a car would be a necessity to see the hill towns and villages. But I'll return it when I return to Florence.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Choosing a home base for a week in Tuscany

Having a car is a distinct advantage in Tuscany. I have no idea why someone would say otherwise. Public transportation in Tuscany is geared to getting Italian citizens to and from work and school. It's not set up for touristic travel.

Staying in rural Tuscany is glorious. Once again, I have no idea why anyone would be "confused" about it or would recommend against it.

Staying at an agriturismo is a great way to enjoy rural Tuscany. This one has a great pool for your kids and is very centrally located.

http://www.foresteria.it/

7. Re: Choosing a home base for a week in Tuscany

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Removed on: 22 January 2014, 16:05
8. Re: Choosing a home base for a week in Tuscany

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Removed on: 22 January 2014, 16:35
Los Angeles...
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9. Re: Choosing a home base for a week in Tuscany

I think Lucca is a better base than Florence, if you want to experience more local living. Florence I found to be big, crowded and gritty. I stayed in Lucca for over a week and used it as a base to explore the coast and to visit Florence. There are many great sights in Florence and would recommend a visit. However, I always breathed a sigh of relief as I traveled home on the train to Lucca, which felt very homey. Wandering around its small, untrafficked alley ways in search of food, shopping or just looking was a wonderful experience. Florence in October was very crowded. I can only imagine with terror how busy it would be in July.

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10. Re: Choosing a home base for a week in Tuscany

I think Lucca is a better base than Florence, if you want to experience more local living. Florence I found to be big, crowded and gritty. I stayed in Lucca for over a week and used it as a base to explore the coast and to visit Florence. There are many great sights in Florence and would recommend a visit. However, I always breathed a sigh of relief as I traveled home on the train to Lucca, which felt very homey. Wandering around its small, untrafficked alley ways in search of food, shopping or just looking was a wonderful experience. Florence in October was very crowded. I can only imagine with terror how busy it would be in July.