Good base city/cities in Tuscany


My husband, son (19) and myself will be going to Italy in June of 2014. I'd like to spend 5 days in Rome and about 5 days in Florence and the rest of the time in Tuscany. My husband isn't too happy about changes locationss every couple of days so I want to get two good locations in Tuscany and then take day trips from those. I'd like recommendation for base locations and places to stay. Two places that stick out are Val O'rcia and Siena -- I'd like to either stay or visit those. But the most important is to stay in places where it wouldn't be more than an hour each way (or less) for day trips. I'm thinking of visiting Pisa and Lucca as day trips from Florence (are Pisa and Lucca worth visiting and taking time away from seeing Florence if we have only 5 days in Florence?)

Also we've never been to Italy and my husband (who'll do the driving) isn't crazy about driving in a foreign country, but is there any way around it when making day trips in places like Val O'rcia and Chianti Wine region?

And if someone has recommendations of nice places to stay in Florence or Rome, that would be helpful. We would LOVE to have a pool but I'm sure it a place in the middle of Florence with a pool would cost a fortune. Also, is it worth it to stay outside of Siena and Florence and walk to the city or is it a hassle.

Thanks for your help.


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Maryanne and welcome to the forum!

How many days total will you have in Tuscany, aside from the 10 days spent between Rome and Florence?

A car is definitely needed when going around Chianti and the Val d'Orcia, but as an American living here, I can tell you that with a good GPS on hand your husband will do just fine. Signs are different, roads are a bit narrower but you'll see the roads are not difficult. Those two areas do need to be explored slowly and by car - so as long as he drives as he feels safest to do, he shouldn't have any problems.

A day trip to Pisa and Lucca from Florence as part of those 5 days should be perfect. They are worth seeing and you won't feel that you didn't see Florence at all since you'll have plenty of time. Many people try to see everything in 3 days or less, with more than a week you'll be doing fine.

In Florence, you can stay in the city center so that you are walking distance to everything. You don't need a car in Florence so you don't have to worry about parking it somewhere. Once you leave Florence and head to Tuscany, rent the car and stay at a place with a pool so that you can enjoy that too!

Here are some places I'd recommend in Florence if you're looking for a B&B:
or an apartment:

Once in Tuscany, I'd recommend one single place as a base to use, to stay and relax as well as do day trips. With Pisa and Lucca already taken care of, I'd suggest somewhere near Siena, either to the north such as the area around Castellina in Chianti or to the south in the Crete Senesi area. You won't have too long of drives then, heading in a different direction each day.

Here are some I'd suggest you take a look at:

Not knowing how much time you have exactly in Tuscany, I've recommended places that do require at least a week's stay. Here is where you'll get the chance to have a pool!

Let me know if you need more ideas or different suggestions as to places in Tuscany or Florence!!


Tuscany Day Tours

Lourdes (and any one else who might have feedback)- my trip planning for July 14 is coming along nicely but I'm doing all the research myself and I'm a little nervous. We are arriving in Rome on July 9 and will be staying at Hotel Rivoli in Florence on nights of July 10, 11 and 12, then at Hotel Garden outside of Siena on nights of 7/13, 7/14, 7/15 and 7/16 and then in Rome at Michaelangelo near Vatican for 7/17, 7/18, 7/19 and 7/20. We'll be flying back on the 21st.

First of all please tell me what you think of my hotel choices - if you think I've made a big mistake adjustments can be made since I've got plenty of time to cancel -- but I am worried that other places might book upl.

What I also need advice on are transfers and tours - I'll number these since there are many:

What would you recommend for getting from Rome to Florence when we arrive. We decided to fly into and out of Rome because we got a reasonably priced flight and flight is also direct which we couldn't pass up. But after flying all night we' ve got to get from Rome to Florence at 6:00am in morning. Do you suggest getting a private transfer, or taking Lorenzo express to main train station in Rome for a direct train to Florence. There will be three of us.

2.When we are in Florence and Rome we'll pretty much stay in those city centers. We'll only have 2 days to see Florence and 4 to see Rome so I think we'll need that much time to see the cities we're in. But while at Hotel Garden outside of Siena we were hoping very much to take some tours of Tuscany. For example: I'd love to have a driver take us to a few stops in Chianti and then back to hotel. Also, on another day, I'd love to go to Orvietto and Pitigliano. Problem is that my husband does NOT want to drive no matter how much I pressure him. I seem to be having a problem because many tours originate in Rome or Florence and not in Siena. Also, could you give me some ideas as to which hill towns to visit. Also heard that Cortona is wonderful. And, of course, the private and small group tours are pretty expensive. I saw a Taste of Tuscany tour that was only about $100 Euros a person. Don't know how small the group is but I don't mind a larger group to bring cost down. Anyway, I'd like to take two day trips while I'm staying in Siena for four days. Buses appear to be an option (or trains) but it looks like it would be very time consuming and don't want to spend whole day on bus or train.

3. I'm a little nervous about reading the bus schedules also.

Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks for you advice.