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Day trip: car or train/bus

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Wisconsin
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Day trip: car or train/bus

How easy is it to drive from Castellina in Chianti south to montalcino and then montepulciano? Is it reasonable to do this as a day trip?

We won't have a car until Castellina but wonder if we should visit Montalcino and Montepulciano from the train station in Chiusi (coming from Rome) by bus? and then continue by train to Castellina where we will stay for 2 nights and have a car. Or maybe even stay one night in either town before train to Castellina.

Chorley, United...
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1. Re: Day trip: car or train/bus

Neither Montepulciano or Montalcino are very close to a railway line. Castellina in Chianti lies on the N0. 222 road which runs south to Siena so not an impossible journey to reach either Monetpulciano or Montalcino. The road between these two towns (No 146) takes you through both S. Quirico d'Orcia and Pienza. If you have the time both worth having a quick look at.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Day trip: car or train/bus

As I said in your other post, there should be no problem. Castellina-Montalcino-Montepulciano-Castellina round trip would be about three hours' driving.

Southern Tuscany
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3. Re: Day trip: car or train/bus

I've replied to your PM but for anyone else considering touring the southern Tuscan hilltowns and wineries from Castellina or elsewhere in the southern Chianti, it's an easily achieved very beautiful full day out. A circuit heading first for Montpulciano via Asciano on the Crete (take Perugia road out of Siena turning right at Taverne d'Arbia Nord, then on to Pienza (ensure time to stop, village is small and can be seen in 30 mins), then on to Montalcino and back home via the Via Cassia/Siena. Some fantastic places to see, wonderful countryside to drive through and terrific wine too.

Lucca, Italy
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4. Re: Day trip: car or train/bus

I think going by car is the best way to really see and enjoy Tuscany. In Italy, the trains can be unreliable (random holidays or strikes can shut down the whole system for days) and the buses are not a great option to travel between cities.

When we were in Tuscany last year we found a great little family company that drove us all around Tuscany. They were both reliable and efficient, taking us from quaint Tuscan villages to beautiful vineyards. Our drivers were Marzio and his son Andrea, they were the quintessential italians, full of knowledge of the region and passion for the culture. Having a driver became much more of a blessing than we had bargained for, when we arrived at one of the restaurants where we had planned to eat only to find that it was closed. Our drivers, since they knew the area, were able to take us to a different restaurant, a little off the beaten track, which was perfect.

I also think getting a driver is a great alternative because driving in any foreign country (especially Italy!) can be very stressful. We could drink all of the delicious wine we wanted to and, on they way home, we could enjoy looking at the amazing scenery instead of looking at a map.

the contact info for the company we used is: andrea_paganelli@hotmail.it

Le Marche, Italy
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5. Re: Day trip: car or train/bus

while it's true that trains are not the best way to get around rural Tuscany, it's not true that the trains are unreliable. Neither do holidays and strikes shut them down for days. Trains run on every holiday, including Christmas, although on a somewhat reduced schedule. Strikes are unpleasant, but they're announced well in advance and rarely last more than 8 hours or so. They also always have some guaranteed trains on every line that run even during a strike.

Buses are a possibility for visiting small towns in Tuscany, but you would find it hard to visit more than one town a day by bus, because they usually run from a central hub (such as Siena) and don't connect with buses going to different towns. Also, they mostly serve kids going to school in different towns, and people who are shopping, so they often don't run at all on Sundays and holidays.

Since you will have a car in Castellina, it makes sense to visit these towns while you are there. There's no need to hire a driver. Also, I have a cynical suspicion about people whose only post ever on tripadvisor is to plug a guide. My apologies in advance if Katherine is totally innocent of trying to advertise on a site where advertisement is not allowed, but this happens so often that it's really hard to believe that all these one-time posters are really disinterested happy clients.

Lucca, Italy
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6. Re: Day trip: car or train/bus

While this is my first post (I am new to tripadvisor) I hope that fact alone does not discredit my recommendation. I lived in Perugia, Italy for 8 months and was constantly inconvenienced by the erratic train schedule. Maybe if I had paid more attention to "announcements" of holiday schedules and strikes, those inconveniences could have been avoided, but for someone who does not speak italian and is trying to get the most out of a few days in the country, trains can often times lead to hours of waiting in stations, which is not how I enjoy spending my vacation.

Obviously, a hired driver is not the only option, but I found that, on my latest trip back to Tuscany, it allowed me to relax and enjoy myself more than when I travel by train or try to tackle the Italian roads driving myself.

I am sorry if the post came off as an "advertisement" but I just wanted to pass along some advice that made my trip more enjoyable

Southern Tuscany
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7. Re: Day trip: car or train/bus

The issue of driving/wine tasting can be avoided if you can manage (as you may be able to on your itinerary) to stay in a wine producing town or village. Visiting the wineries is a wonderful experience and many offer excellent estate tours but if time doesn't permit, there are numerous recommended enoteca in all the villages in southern Tuscany and in some towns (such as Montepulciano) all the major estates have their own town centre outlet.

Drinking aside, driving in this area is not at all difficult. The roads are relatively quiet, most local people drive either 3 wheel Piaggios or ancient Fiats so the average speeds are low (for some of us, frustratingly low!). Throw in the fact that the roads are naturally slow and windy, speed isn't an issue. Signposting is good too and car parks are clearly indicated often on the immediate approach to a town.

The public transport alternative really is a challenge and will restrict where you go and when tremendously. For example, from my village in to the nearby town there's a bus at 06.30, another at 10.45 and a third late afternoon. And that's it! Although pretty reliable, I wouldn't want to plan my much-looked-forward-to-but-limited-time-vacation around a schedule that would barely enable me to visit one local town a day, whereas with a car I could possibly cover a handful as I want, where I want.

Le Marche, Italy
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8. Re: Day trip: car or train/bus

I agree with Catie that driving in not difficult in rural Italy, and that speed is not really an issue. There are some daredevils who zip along those curvy roads, cutting all the curves, but more often I find myself behind an elderly farmer who slows down while passing every field so he can check out how the crops are coming along. (Funny thing: I've been saying this for ten years, but I recently heard a farmer's wife complain that her husband did so!)

And I'm sorry if I accused Katherine unfairly; I encourage her to participate more actively and share her knowledge of Perugia.

9. Re: Day trip: car or train/bus

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