1 week in Tuscany. Where to stay/where to visit

My girlfriend and I plan to visit Tuscany for 1 week in mid April. I know Tuscany is a large area with many places to see. We are looking for recommendations where to stay and where to visit. Should we stay in one place as a home base and rent a car for the week for day trips? Or should we move from town to town several times? Additionally, as there are so many places to see, which towns do you recommend? We both love food and wine and we enjoy exploring as well as relaxing. Being immersed in the culture is more our speed versus tourist traps and hotels.

Thank you in advance!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao RochesterIBC,

Seeing what you envision for your vacation and what you like - I'd suggest staying in one single place the entire week!
A farmhouse or villa apartment in a central area will be perfect for day trips - heading in a different direction every day, as well as staying at the farmhouse any time you want to enjoy some time relaxing. April generally has nice temps but it can also have rainy days, not sure many places that have pools will already have them open by then. It seems many open the pools in May, must be that April is still too cool for use as many are external and not heated.

If you stay in the Chianti area between Siena and Florence, you'll be very central to see the majority of the main sights to see in Tuscany.
Among the places to see are:
- drive around Chianti's hilltop towns
- San Gimignano
- Volterra
- Siena
- Florence

a little further away but still within 1.5hr drive
- Pisa
- Val d'Orcia
- Arezzo

I'd say keep all these in mind, then decide as you're here - wherever you end up staying, there will be more places nearby to add to the list.

As for places to stay, I'd suggest you start browsing through the ones here: http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/chianti/
I'd suggest Romitorio di Serelle, Il Cellese, Borgo della Meliana - all are very central, but not knowing your budget or preferences, I'd say browse and see which ones catch your eye... if you have any questions or want more specific recommendations, let me know a bit more and I'll try to help!
 

gioiascarpati

New member
Ciao,
Tuscany is very large and sometimes places are very far one from each other, especially if you plan to visit tuscany from north to south. Besides there is no need to move town to town. The best recommendation I can give you is to choose one town in the north and another one in the south, you can choose a hotel or a farmhouse in the chianti and another one in valdorcia.
I recommend to choose accommodations near the A1 motorway, the province of Florence is perfect to visit Pisa, Florence, Lucca and the province of Siena is perfect to visit Siena, Arezzo, Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano, where I live, the last three towns are perfect if you are interested in food and wine.
In mid April, the weather is usually sunny and you can find about 20°C during the day. If you can delay your journey, May would be perfect.
 
Thank you, Lourdes!

We saw some nice Agriturismos in Pienza. Is that too far South to comfortably travel to places you mention (Florence, Pisa, Siena, etc.)?
 
Thank you, Gioia! So you suggest staying in 2 different places during the week? Or do you suggest only visiting either the north or south (not both) because a Tuscany is too large to see during 1 visit?
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
With one week, you can break up your vacation and spend 4 days in Florence (northern Tuscany) and then the rest of the days in Pienza. That way drives for day trips are shorter... but having said that, even if you were to stay in one location, such as Pienza and the Val d'Orcia, you could still do day trips to Siena, Arezzo, Florence with Pisa being the furthest at about 2 hours and 30 min drive. The area around Pienza is beautiful, if you liked places near there I would just suggest you spend more time in the area rather than taking long drives to check off places off a list of must-sees. There is plenty to see and enjoy in every area of the region!
In mid-April (will it be over Easter? because Easter in Florence is great), you have your choice of city or countryside... it is up to what you like and think you want out of your experience in Tuscany - there is no wrong answer and both will be great! :)
 
Thank you, Lourdes.

Which airport do you recommend? Florence, Pisa or Rome? And do you suggest a car rental at the airport or outside the airport?
Grazie!
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Take a look at all 3 and see if you find any one with special fares. Rome isn't that far, but if what you save on airfare then gets up eaten in extra car rental charges, then it might make more sense to fly into Pisa or Florence.
Pisa has international flights from the US whereas Florence doesn't, it is a much smaller airport.

Once you're on the ground, the car rental location really depends on your itinerary, I haven't seen that much of a price difference between Florence airport and downtown, for instance.
You should use the box on this page to start your search - http://www.discovertuscany.com/tuscany-car-rental/ since it shows results for the various locations as well as the major car rental companies to start. Then you can also use other sites and see if there is a difference. I'd go with convenience over a few euro difference - if you're at the Florence airport and renting a car to leave Florence right away, it doesn't make sense to get into downtown first to then go to the car rental agency ;-) But you already know that!

But if you stay in Florence a few days, then definitely rent from downtown once you're here :)
 
Lourdes... more help please :)

I will look into all options, per your recommendation. Grazie!

Lourdes,

Ciao!

I am re-opening my post, as we never got to Tuscany in 2014, but now are planning for early August 2015 and need more of your advice (please).

I have so many questions. LOL

We have looked at many agriturismos and it so hard to decide in what region to stay. We plan to stay at least 1 week and have a car. You have mentioned some areas to stay during my initial post and wondering if you had update recommendations.

If there is a way to contact you 1 on 1, I would welcome your personalized advice. :)

Let me know.

Grazie!

Ian
 
Certaldo a Great Base on the Florence-Siena Train Line

I always recommend Certaldo as a great base to see Tuscan countryside and be very central for the main places people like to see.

Certaldo area is a great base as it is right in the middle of an area exactly half way between Florence and Siena in which there are some lovely places to see like Certaldo Alto, San Gimignano, Colle di Val d'Elsa, Volterra and Monteriggioni. The train station in Certaldo has a free large parking lot behind it so you can easily go to Florence (to the north) and Siena to the south) by train without having to worry about parking. For driving between towns the roads in this area are much more gently hilly and curvaceous than in the main Chianti area around Greve where the terrain is much more mountainous and steep.

There are loads of good, inexpensive places to eat local food and there are also many family-run wine producers in this area.
 
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