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Florence to Siena and San Gimignano

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North west of...
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Florence to Siena and San Gimignano

We are due to visit the Tuscany area at the beginning of November and would like to see Florence, Siena and San Gimignano. Can anyone advise the best way to spend our 4 nights and 3 days? Not sure which order to do each area and timescales in each. We have already spent 2 nights in Florence so have already seen most tourist sites there.

Also what is the easiest way to travel to San G and Siena?

San Diego, CA, USA
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1. Re: Florence to Siena and San Gimignano

Ciao - Since you have already been to Florence, and depending on where you are arriving/departing, I'd suggest maximizing your time in Siena, with a day trip to San G. and whatever is left in Florence. My wife and I personally fell in love with Florence but Siena is incredible also. It is a mid-sized city, as compared to San G. We had a car in Siena so we happened to drive from Siena to San G, so I'm not sure if there is a bus b/w the two. San G. is very small, so I can't imagine spending more than a day there. If I remember the name of our incredible hotel in Siena I will reply to this post again. Matt

San Diego, CA, USA
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2. Re: Florence to Siena and San Gimignano

Palazzo Ravizza - try to get a loft room on the top floor - fabulous! Good breakfast too.

North west of...
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3. Re: Florence to Siena and San Gimignano

Thanks Matt this info is really helpful. We are considering Siena or San G for our wedding next year. But thanks to reviews on this site we are now gathering info which has left us thinking they may be either too busy with tourists(siena) or possibly too quiet for a weeks stay(San G)? Hence our visit in a few weeks.

We have decided against car hire due to our scary experiences in Italy so far so it will all be train or bus.

Thanks for the accomodation recommendation was about to tackle that tomorrow eve once we have decided which area to stay?

Seal Beach...
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4. Re: Florence to Siena and San Gimignano

Another excellent accommodation in Siena - B&B San Francesco

Delightful - great service - charming. Do a google search for it.

Stay in SIena and take the bus to San G (try to go in the later afternoon/early evening when tourist traffic is beginning to depart. Much more fulfilling experience!) Otherwise, San "Gimmemoney" (as another TAer puts it) is wall to wall crowded with tourist and is overpriced for souvenirs, food, et al. Be sure to do your shopping elsewhere but do visit the Collegiata (main church - gorgeous frescoes!) and walk up the hill and all along the ramparts/walls of San G for stunning views.

As an excellent alternative that is equidistant from Siena, please consider my favorite Tuscan hilltown, Volterra. Charming and not as well known, less touristy but with equal sight and scenery as the others. Known for alabaster trade, get souvenirs aplenty here at reasonable prices. Food is great and prices again are better. THere are Etruscan ruins (the Romanesque amphitheater is beautifu!) and an Etruscan museum here as well. I highly recommend it if you want a "real " Tuscan hilltown experience and not a Disney-fied version as I'm sorry to say San G has become.

Both are reacheable by bus from Siena easily and in less than an hour. You could do Volterra and San G in one day, in fact, if the bus schedules work out. They are themselves less than one hour apart.

Ciao! LL

North west of...
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5. Re: Florence to Siena and San Gimignano

Many thanks for your comments they are really appreciated. We were considering a wedding in San G but i have had lots of negative feedback in relation to crowds so i may reconsider. We will make a final decision after our visit to the area in Nov. I will certainly visit Voltero after this recommendation

Kingston
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6. Re: Florence to Siena and San Gimignano

Just to add my 2 cents. We rented a villa just outside San G. a week ago. Although we took various day trips, we spent three days of our time in San G. and always found things to do. We also found it more inexpensive than Sienna or Florence.

We were able to get parking every time we visited. In Sienna, we ended up parking at the train station and taking public transit into the city because it was so busy.

Overall, we disagreed with reports that San G. was overly touristy--certainly busy in the middle of the day, but not unlike any of the other towns.

I wouldn't miss San G. on your trip.

7. Re: Florence to Siena and San Gimignano

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