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12 Days in Tuscany - How to Divide Time

Santa Barbara...
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12 Days in Tuscany - How to Divide Time

Hello,

My husband and I are planning a ~12 day trip to Tuscany in late April 2018. We will be renting a car in Florence. We have a list of places we would like to go but aren't sure how long to stay in each place / which towns are best to visit en route during our drive.

From Florence, we are thinking of visiting Siena - Chianti region - Montalpuciano - Val d'orcia - Montalcino - Volterra - San Gimignano - Pisa - Lucca - back to Florence

We would appreciate any suggestions for how to break up the trip. Are certain places better as hubs for visiting the others (for day trips) from?

We enjoy country settings like those of the hill towns and would like to stay at a couple of agritourismos - are there any areas that are best for this? We would prefer to visit urban areas like Pisa as a stop while driving through.

Any suggestions for changes to the above itinerary are welcome.

Thank you for your help!

12 replies to this topic
CA
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1. Re: 12 Days in Tuscany - How to Divide Time

Read this about driving in Italy, especially the part about limited traffic zones in town and city centers:

http://driventoit.blogspot.com.au/

Montepulciano, Italy
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2. Re: 12 Days in Tuscany - How to Divide Time

First off, a car is a liability in Florence city itself whilst staying there for the purpose of seeing the town's sights so I would recommend you only hire one on the day you decide to leave for the countryside.

You can drive to Siena through the Chianti, allow a lazy four hours or even better perhaps overnight. Stay two nights in Siena itself then head south. A base such as Pienza / Montepulciano or Montalcino will enable you to explore these very attractive towns and the surrounding countryside. Then, if it were me, I would head north again and treat myself to a night in San Gimignano itself as it's so much nicer in the evening and early morning when the tour buses aren't around. If you don't mind checking in / checking out, I would consider another overnight in Volterra as there's so much to see there too. Note also that it's not a great idea to keep your luggage in the car when you are sightseeing, Pisa in particular could be dodgy. You may want to consider doing that town as a day trip from Florence by train, it's easy enough.

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3. Re: 12 Days in Tuscany - How to Divide Time

Does 12 days mean 10 or 12 nights total? (Makes a difference). And are you planning to spend several nights in Florence? If so I would spend 3-4 nights in Florence, head to the Florence airport to pick up your car rental so that you avoid ZTL zones and fines. I would split my remaining time between the Siana/Chianti area and the Val D'Orcia area. Also be sure to obtain an international drivers permit before you leave as it is required to drive in Italy.

Kansas
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4. Re: 12 Days in Tuscany - How to Divide Time

Holly,

This may help slowtrav.com/italy/tuscany/hs_planning.htm

Nova Scotia
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5. Re: 12 Days in Tuscany - How to Divide Time

I agree with bonniebell4. The driving is fine as long as you know the signs and are careful.

CA
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6. Re: 12 Days in Tuscany - How to Divide Time

San Gimignano, the Relais Santa Chiara is a terrific hotel, right below the city walls, about a 15 minute walk.

Saskatoon, Canada
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7. Re: 12 Days in Tuscany - How to Divide Time

If you are flying into Florence or arriving by train I would not rent a car until I left the city. We usually spend 3 or 4.Driving in Tuscany is easy as long as you realize you need to stay our of the centres of the town,they are clearly marked. We like to have a base place to stay for 5 or 6 days and travel from there. We have stayed at a B & B Villa just north of Siena and toured the towns and winerys between Siena and Florence.

We spent 3 days in Lucca last year and throughly enjoyed it.

Los Angeles...
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8. Re: 12 Days in Tuscany - How to Divide Time

From Florence, head to San Gimignano early morning and then to Volterra. Hopefully, you will get to a Volterra before it locks up tight for siesta, but you could stay for lunch, and an overnight. After that, maybe a swing by Pisa and an overnight in Lucca. Maybe two nights. Lucca is a charmer. Straight across to Chianti and an overnight somewhere. Continue on south to Val d'Orcia and allow enough time for day trips and chill. IMO, this is the pretties part of Tuscany. Maybe spend the last two nights in Siena. Very rough but you need to get a map, chart your itinerary and allocate time.

Santa Barbara...
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9. Re: 12 Days in Tuscany - How to Divide Time

Thank you all for your very helpful responses! We will definitely rent the car upon leaving Florence in order to avoid driving in the city. Your information has been just what we needed.

Many thanks,

Holly

Northern California
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10. Re: 12 Days in Tuscany - How to Divide Time

My husband and I did a combination bicycle + driving tour in 2016, starting in Siena. We did the Tuscan Classics tasting/presentation at the Tuscan Wine School in Siena the day before we started the bike ride, which I thought gave us a great orientation of the different regions and classifications of Tuscan wines, and gave some guidance/structure to the wines we elected to sample in the other towns the rest of our trip. They have a location in Florence, too. I highly recommend this at the front end of a trip. We loved our overnight stay at L’Antico Pozzo in San Gimignano, and the terrific food and hospitality at the Agriturismo Podere Spedalone outside of Pienza at the end of our trip. The bicycle portion was a new town every night, and the driving portion we had a home base, then drove to hill towns as day trips, which worked well. I am returning to Tuscany with a friend this spring - maybe we will overlap! We are making an apartment in Pisa our base for the first part of our trip (Pisa, Florence (2 days), Lucca and Cinque Terre, all via rail/bus), then picking up a car and staying at Agritorismo Marciano - 2 km outside of Siena - as our base for the second half of our trip. If you have 12 days you will have a fantastic trip!

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