Best Base in Tuscany


New member
Hello Lourdes,
We are a family of 6 ( two adults, two teenagers, 17 yrs old and my parents in their 70s) and we are planning a week in Tuscany at the end of July , possibly 8 days. We are arriving in Rome, staying there for a few days and then renting a car for a week or so. My husband and I have been to Tuscany many years ago and at that time we stayed in Certaldo for 5 nights and did day trips. It was wonderful. Unfortunately the airbnb we stayed at was permanently closed and there are not many lodging accommodation in Certaldo.

We are trying to decide on a base, one or two cities (or three cities) maybe one in Southern Tuscany and one in Northern Tuscany. My daughter prefers to stay in one place but then it would be hard to visit southern and northern cities in Tuscany with daily trips being too long. We want to visit Cinque Terre for a day as well. One day in Florence for sure ( we want to take a train for that). Would there be time for a beach day? We want to have time just to relax. Of course we want visit wineries. We want to check our favorite winery in Certaldo area as well. I see that the vespa tours are popular and my kids will definitely be interested in that.

What recommendations would you have for a base, possible 2 or 3 cities? And an itinerary. Is it worth to visit Cinque Terre for a day? We want to visit Pisa/Lucca, San Gimignano, Florence and Montepulciano area as well.

I am not sure if it would be too hot. Ideally we would like to have a base where we can walk to restaurants and leave the car, so we do not have to drive all the time.

Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Ciao Rumi, welcome to our forum!

First thing, end of July will be warm so the first stop I would take out is Cinque Terre. The place gets packed during the day so if you do want to do it, I would suggest spending an overnight there so that you can also enjoy it in the evening and morning when the crowds have left and not arrived. But personally I avoid CT in the summer and I would not recommend it, also because the trails along the coast do NOT have tree cover and would not be fun to do. The trains are super crowded as well, you have to be super careful of pickpockets.

On that note, the best base would be around that area in Chianti - anywhere around San Gimignano, the area between Florence and Siena. It would leave the main roads nearby for your day trips that take you further away than the direct area. Since you want to also include Pisa and Lucca, maybe I'd recommend closer to SG area.
Take a look at these places: there are many places there that would work well as a base.
It would also keep you close to Certaldo to revisit any of the places you remember.

You could break up the week in two to have less driving time and explore the southern area of Tuscany, called the Val d'Orcia. Take a look at the places here:

In that case, you could do, in no specific order:
day 1 - florence - you can take train from empoli so drive there and take train from there.
day 2 - pisa & lucca
day 3 - San Gimignano and Chianti - wine tasting and exploring small towns
day 4 - beach day - head west toward the coast.
day 5 - move to other base - spend the rest of the day driving around the area
day 6 - Siena
day 7 and 8 - explore the Val d'Orcia over two days: montepulciano, montalcino, pienza and the hot springs at Bagno Vignoni or San Filippo (search on our site and the info will come up for both)

Let me know about any other questions that pop up and I'll try to help!
Ciao Lourdes - I am trying a second time to post, so I apologize if this is redundant. My wife and I are traveling to Italy 9/17 - 10/10. We begin our travels into Milan (2 days) to see Lake Como and Bellagio. We head to Venice for a couple days (not sure we need 2.5 days and would like your feedback and any place you recommend to stay. From Venice we head to Cinque Terra for 3 nights to visit the villages. Then we head to Tuscany for 4/5 days. We have been to Florence before for 1 day and would like your recommendation on where to set up camp and your best recommendation on how to plan those 4/5 days in Tuscany. ( We like wine and love to cook). From there we head to Sorrento/Amalfi > then Sicily fly to rome and head home to US. Grazie