My husband and i are leaving for 12 day tour of italy on thursday, 11/2. We want to see many cities in Tuscany region, but don't know if we should rent a car? i've heard you cannot drive in Florence where our hotel is...... should we take the trains? We want to visit Pisa, Lucca, Montepulicaino, San Gimignano, Siena, or any other recommended cities.... Please help! Thanks!
Tuscany is one of those regions that you can't really get around in by train, except between big cities. If you're hoping to visit a villa, go on a wine tour, see the countryside, etc., a car is pretty much a must. And you most certainly can drive in Florence - it's just not easy. Italians are crazy, albeit respectful, drivers.
I agree with Tway. It is difficult to get around Tuscany only by train. I think to go from Siena to Florence alone I had to connect through a small town called Poggi Bonsi. For some reason I had to take a bus to Poggi Bonsi and then take a train. Trying to communicate to the little old lady next to me that I wanted to get off at the stop near the train station wasn't communicated the way I wanted.
Pisa is really easy to get to from Florence - they're connected by a direct train line. I would recommend doing Pisa by train. Its a good little day trip.
You should better construct your own tour by car, deciding how many days you want to stay in each town. And booking differen hotels in different towns, of course. Car is the best way to visit Tuscany, but it's unuseful if you have to come back anytime to Florence
Hy! I think you can find some useful informations and itineriaries in the following links:
I don't suggest you to drive inside Florence, it's not necessary and it could be difficult if you're not used to.
You can reach Pisa by train (1 hour) and Siena by bus (1 hour) or by train (1hour 45 min).
To see all the rest, especially the beautiful countryside, you definetely need a car.
I would like to add to all the towns I suggested in the links also Sorano, Sovana, Pitigliano. They are located in the very south part of the region, close to Amiata mountain on a hand and to Bolsena lake to the other. They are etruscan towns built on a tuff hill, very impressive. It's chestnut and mushrooms time at the moment, in this area you can taste specialties made by this local products.
In valdasso (San giovanni d'Asso) there are some white truffles festivals in November.