Volterra or Cortona?


New member
I will be in Florence for 4 days at the beginning of July 2014. I would like to visit the countryside for one day, really to see a hill town. I am thinking of the day the Palio is on in Siena, in the hope that it may be quieter in other places. I won't have a car and am travelling alone, so it looks like trains or buses. I also don't want to spend hours and hours travelling only to have a short time at my destination. Cortona looks good with the train. Volterra seems quite difficult on public transport. I would appreciate advice from those who know what's best. And am I overlooking a quiet gem somewhere nearer t Florence and easier to access?
Many thanks in advance for your time and advice.


New member
Anyone out there who can assist me? In particular in getting from Florence to Volterra on public transport.


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Jcmi,

Volterra is quite tough to reach by public transport - you have to depend on buses as there is no train station that arrives close enough.
Check out the schedules here: http://www.cpt.pisa.it/orare/extraXlocalita.htm
From either Pontedera or Colle Val d'Elsa, the summer schedule is showing 1 bus a day in each direction! Not good at all!
If you do want to do it, I wouldn't do it as a day trip but plan to spend the night out, with return the next day.

If you really were looking at these two as options, I'd suggest Cortona, easier to get to with train+bus.

HOWEVER, there are places that are closer than both that you can spend the day at - how about Greve in Chianti and Panzano? look at schedules here: http://www.acvbus.it/orari/365.pdf
How about San Gimignano or Arezzo? Arezzo is a beautiful town, also quieter than other spots and very easy to get to with train from Florence for a day trip.

Are you planning to visit Siena on a different day? If you haven't been, it deserves a visit but the day of the Palio (July 2) is really crowded and hectic.


New member
Cortona or Arezzo now!

Ciao Lourdes,
You have confirmed what I thought would be the case. Thanks for that.
I have worked out the Cortona trip. I was considering Siena, but given that it's the week of
the Palio, I'm thinking it will be very crowded the whole time. I will come another time I'm sure and
will see Siena and San Gim.
I love wine, but I don't really want to visit wineries - my interests are much more art, architecture and the
landscape. I'd like to get a feel for a hill town - hence Cortona. I thought perhaps I could get a taxi from the train station to Le Celle and then walk back into the town. Sound like a good idea?
I am also now considering Arezzo - the frescoes and the fact that it may be quieter. But, will I get vistas of the countryside?
I could hire a car, but it seems to be too hard (maybe I'm just lazy!) for the one day - too much pressure.
The day tours available all seem too rushed. So, I'm in a bit of a dilemma. Now, I think it's Cortona or Arezzo.
There are smaller places like Barberino Val d'Elsa or Vinci. What do you think of those as options for what I have described I am interested in above?
Thanks so much for replying - I appreciate the time you have given.
Cheers from Australia.


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Julie,

You're very welcome. Cortona is high enough on an outcropping that you get the vistas, you can't beat that. You can definitely get a taxi if there is no bus coming along soon after you arrive. Arezzo is on a hill but the vistas are more limited... but the frescoes in San Francesco, Piazza Grande and cathedral are stupendous and merit a visit, I really like the town.
You could head to Cortona early in the day and see how it goes, if you want to head back earlier you could stop in Arezzo for the afternoon/evening.

Barberino and Vinci are also good possibilities, if you had a car... they are much smaller and thus harder to get to without your own means of transport....and are not big enough to merit a whole day there.

Another possibility is Colle Val d'Elsa which is on the way between Poggibonsi and Siena.. and a hilltown. You can take a bus from Poggibonsi's train station to reach it (120-129-130-1310-135).

Montepulciano and Pienza are also great but also hard to reach without a car.

There is wine everywhere in Tuscany, there are wine shops in all the towns called "enoteca" where you can do wine tastings so you don't need to head out to the wineries to do great tastings.