Suggested Itinerary & City Base

bella G

New member
Hello! My husband & I will be traveling to Italy this March 2012 for the very first time. We'll be starting in Rome, going to Tuscany & ending in Venice. We'll be spending a total of 3 days in Tuscany & I'd REALLY love opinions/insights on what I think we might do.

We are really excited about the medieval towns, castles, the countryside and the culture. We want a bit of a smaller-town feel so thinking we'll base in Siena as we want a quieter pace from Rome. Take a day trip to Florence and maybe a half/whole day tour of the countryside or other towns (Volterra, Montepulciano, etc.). We won't be renting a car as we'll be there such a short time & don't want to hassle with parking, gas, driving on the left, etc.

Is this striving for too much? Is Siena the wrong base for this type of trip? Also, I have NO idea how to choose a tour or if we should make up our own. Do we take a bus? A train? What can I expect to pay if we hire a tour? We don't need a wine-tasting tour, we're mainly looking for something to see the sights, stop occasionally, take in the views, etc.

Any insights/suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!! I have loved reading through the other posts :)

Also, I forgot to mention. Our actual wedding anniversary will be while we are in Tuscany...any good ideas to celebrate?!
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The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Bella G,

It really sounds like already have a good itinerary planned out. I agree with 3 days in Tuscany and not really needing a car in Rome nor Venice, it doesn't make much sense to get one (but just to be clear, driving in Italy is NOT on the left!). I actually think Siena would be a very good base because it is quieter even than Florence, and Florence isn't that big of a city.

The only problem is that a car really is sort of required to see the towns and countryside like you're imagining. The reason is this: the area between Florence and Siena is Chianti - and the way to conserve it is for the train to NOT cross it, so it skirts its way around. The same goes for the Val d'Orcia which is where you find Montepulciano - while there ARE buses, service is limited and with such a limited schedule on your hand, the bus is just not ideal.

So you have basically two options: 1. no car and do everything with planned tours where you get driven around or 2. rent a car and have a bit more independence with freedom of movement. If #2 is not for you because you just don't want the hassle, then I'd definitely recommend #1.

There are many tour companies, many offering set 1 day packages that you can join in with another group and thus pay less per person OR others that offer personalized tours where you get private service with your own driver. Do you have a set budget or preference? To get started and have an idea of the group tours, take a look here: Tuscany Tours

For wine and food tours, or cooking classes, you can also look into the Tuscany tours and class offerings by Vinaio.

For your anniversary, I'd definitely recommend a very nice dinner out :)
How about the dinner at Castello di Verrazzano that Mathieu recommended in his Italy trip report?
If you read a few more posts down, he offers several additional suggestions of things to do/see ;-)

Feel free to post any more questions you might have!! I wanted to write in the meantime and get these ideas to you, if I think of anything else I'll post again!