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Pisa, Florence, Siena, coast?

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GrandOiseau
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Pisa, Florence, Siena, coast?

#133034

Postby GrandOiseau » April 18th, 2018, 1:41 pm

We arrive Pisa airport on a late Tuesday afternoon and we have to be in Greve, 45 mins south of Florence later on Friday. I have been to the 3 cities inter railing nearly 30 years ago and can only remember bits and pieces. And I don't know the coast at all.

What are the must see's and do's? How much time should be spent on each? Should I even ditch going to Siena and just enjoy PIsa, the coast and Florence in a more relaxed and detailed manner?

We will have a hire car and on the trip is my wife, children 10 and 13 and my mum! We are attending a wedding in Greve at the weekend.

Hardgrafter
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Re: Pisa, Florence, Siena, coast?

#133077

Postby Hardgrafter » April 18th, 2018, 5:01 pm

I have just this week come back from Florence. As you have a family in tow, who probably have not visited Tuscany, I think you will have to act as a tour guide.

A Wednesday mornings enough for Pisa, just to see the field of Miracles / Tower. Then move on to Lucca for rest of the day. Thursday go via Pistoia to Florence. You can park near the terminus of the T1 tram line is Scandicci / Villa Costanza. Eur 1.2 per trip. Spend day. Friday go via San Gimigiano to Siena. They have to see the mosaic floor of the Cathedral and the piazza del Camp. Then on to Greve.

Enjoy the Chianti (I went on a winery tour of Castello di Verrazano, which was brilliant). But if you are driving then forget it...

GrandOiseau
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Re: Pisa, Florence, Siena, coast?

#133231

Postby GrandOiseau » April 19th, 2018, 11:20 am

Hardgrafter wrote:I have just this week come back from Florence. As you have a family in tow, who probably have not visited Tuscany, I think you will have to act as a tour guide.

A Wednesday mornings enough for Pisa, just to see the field of Miracles / Tower. Then move on to Lucca for rest of the day. Thursday go via Pistoia to Florence. You can park near the terminus of the T1 tram line is Scandicci / Villa Costanza. Eur 1.2 per trip. Spend day. Friday go via San Gimigiano to Siena. They have to see the mosaic floor of the Cathedral and the piazza del Camp. Then on to Greve.

Enjoy the Chianti (I went on a winery tour of Castello di Verrazano, which was brilliant). But if you are driving then forget it...

Cheers, will look into those things.

simoan
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Re: Pisa, Florence, Siena, coast?

#133296

Postby simoan » April 19th, 2018, 4:08 pm

Hardgrafter wrote:Then on to Greve.

Enjoy the Chianti (I went on a winery tour of Castello di Verrazano, which was brilliant). But if you are driving then forget it...

Once in Greve, you can enjoy a trip to Antica Macelleria Falorni in the main square. Some seriously delicious meat products (I still have some of the wild boar prosciutto I bought last year). Not cheap though. They also have some enomatic machines if you want to taste wine. Only downside is that it is a bit touristy but if you're lucky and time your visit right, there may not be any Americans about :-)

All the best, Si

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Re: Pisa, Florence, Siena, coast?

#133326

Postby simoan » April 19th, 2018, 5:51 pm

I forgot to add that if you have time it's worth spending a couple of hours exploring the cobbled streets of the ancient hilltop village of Montefioralle; only a short drive up the hill from Greve.

All the best, Si

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Re: Pisa, Florence, Siena, coast?

#133353

Postby Nimrod103 » April 19th, 2018, 8:54 pm

Two years ago we went Pisa - Lucca - Florence - Bologna - Ravenna - Padua - Venice, by train. Definitely agree with with poster who said a morning in Pisa is enough, and go to Lucca. I thought Ravenna was the high point, but then I love the 5/6th C mosaics there. Florence was of course very interesting, but crowded.

UncleEbenezer
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Re: Pisa, Florence, Siena, coast?

#133381

Postby UncleEbenezer » April 19th, 2018, 11:30 pm

Halfway between Pisa and Florence is the village of Vinci. The museum of Leonardo's amazing inventions is well worth a visit. You could think you were in a museum of the English Industrial Revolution until you look at the dates!

As a rule in central Italy, the countryside and small villages have a lot more to offer than the tourist cities. Go into a humble village church and you're met by stunning renaissance art, and because it's in its proper setting it makes a whole lot more sense than the famous stuff looking sterile in a gallery.

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Re: Pisa, Florence, Siena, coast?

#133611

Postby flyer61 » April 20th, 2018, 6:15 pm

Please report back! I am going to Italy (Milan) with work for 2 months (June/July) so all hints and tips gratefully recieved.

UncleEbenezer
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Re: Pisa, Florence, Siena, coast?

#133644

Postby UncleEbenezer » April 20th, 2018, 8:30 pm

flyer61 wrote:Please report back! I am going to Italy (Milan) with work for 2 months (June/July) so all hints and tips gratefully recieved.

June/July, get out to the lakes and mountains at every opportunity.

One snag: there are no maps of remotely comparable quality to our Ordnance Survey. Unless things have changed since my time, the best you'll get are the (german-made) Kompass maps, and those are only available for selected areas. Fortunately the Alpine and Lakes areas are pretty well-covered.

flyer61
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Re: Pisa, Florence, Siena, coast?

#133756

Postby flyer61 » April 21st, 2018, 4:27 pm

Thanks Uncle E!

GrandOiseau
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Re: Pisa, Florence, Siena, coast?

#143924

Postby GrandOiseau » June 5th, 2018, 2:31 pm

In the end...

We flew Luton > Pisa on a Tuesday afternoon. We had a 3-4 hour delay due to storms over Dover meaning we arrived mid-evening rather than late afternoon. Such circumstances always makes the wait for the hire car more frustrating. We had an airbnb apartment booked on the southern outskirts of Viareggio. Bit of a mare to find due to not fully understanding the addressing system of Italy (interno 13?). The owners (mother and daughter) spoke very little English but wife was able to converse with the mother in French. Went to a restaurant nearby. Ordered a mixed grill for my mother, turns out it was a mixed grill of Fish! So she swapped with my wife and ate spaghetti. Owners had left pastries and they had nice coffee. Place was very clean.

Wed morning we drove down a long straight road to the beach and then a long straight walk between the roped off "private" areas to the sea shore itself. Went for a swim in the sea. At this point at was nice and warm but quite cloudy. Stayed for a couple of hours and then it started raining. So off to Pisa we went. It kept raining on and off (quite heavily) the rest of the day. But we did our bit in Pisa around the tower. Then went to a supermarket for some supplies. Our next apartment was in a small town south east of Empoli. We made the mistake of taking the state road rather than the motorway. Turned out to be very slow going. Still made it for a little before 8. Cooked a nice meal and had a glass or two of Chianti. This apartment was a nice place though the kitchen was old.

Thursday we drove to Florence. Parked near the tramway station at Batoni (parking was about 10 Euros for the day) and got a tram to the centre or as close as it went (6 Euros for 5 people). We had pre-booked the entrance to the cathedral dome for 11:30 and we made it to the vicinity in plenty of time. Thought it was really a good thing to do. We didn't bother queuing to go in the main cathedral as we had seen the dome from close up and access to the groundspace was restricted. Instead we did a walking tour. Florence is as warm, noisy and dusty as a remember it but there is some fantastic architecture. It would have been nice to have the time to explore some of the museums and galleries and to try a restaurant or two. We did manage an ice cream and crepe after our packed lunch. We then headed back to the apartment to relax and have another nice home cooked meal.

Friday we drove down to Siena. Found a free parking spot just outside the wall and did a walking tour. It was again very hot but Siena is a beautiful place and of course the Piazzo del Campo the great highlight. We left mid-afternoon to head up to Greve in Chianti were the wedding was taking place. We were staying were the ceremony and meal was, in a renovated vineyard house on the hillside overlooking Greve. It was a fantastic place and a great relaxing weekend was had with relatives and friends in gorgeous weather. Friday evening was a "pizza party" in a lovely Greve restaurant, Saturday the wedding and Sunday a chill out day.

Monday we packed up and checked out around 9.30, cruised cross country and then motorway a bit, then back on state roads to Lucca were we had a wander then lunch. Then we headed back to Pisa airport for another delayed flight to take us back to blighty.

Tuscany is certainly a great getaway from it all location with great cities, countryside and coast. The airbnb's were a good budget option for us, although it would be nice to Florence and Siena at night. Maybe when the kids are grown up!


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