Wednesday

Anyone up for a day trip?

It's getting to that time to start thinking of 'where else can I possibly visit while I'm in Firenze' - exciting, huh?  Happily, Florence is surrounded by the attractive scenery of Tuscany, and whether you want to visit another art city, relax in the green countryside, wander through medieval lanes or visit villas and vineyards, you'll be spoilt for choice


Well for your consideration, we excitingly present these wonderful options.  On a side note, a favorite with ease is Fiesole (hint, hint).



Siena

Siena is a beautiful Tuscan hill-town with an illustrious past. Famous for the twice-yearly 
Paliocontest, when horses race around the sloping Campo, Siena also has plenty to 
offer tourists at other times of the year: art; churches; museums; narrow picturesque 
lanes; views. SITA run express buses from Florence to Siena, departing from the SITA 
bus station (approximately hourly). The journey takes an hour and fifteen minutes. Trains 
are not such a good option: the journey takes nearly two hours (although a new railway 
initiative, the ES link, provides alternative coach travel to Siena). If you take 
the train you will need to catch a local bus from the railway station into the heart of Siena.
More information about Siena
 




Medici Villas

The colourful Medici family ruled Florence for many years (on and off). They appreciated 
life's comforts, and had a number of fine villas built for themselves in and around 
Florence, complete with splendid gardens. Several, including the lovely Renaissance 
villa at Poggio a Caiano, can be visited by the public, and make a pleasant 
excursions for tourists with an interest in history or architecture. The Florence 
Tourist Information office supplies an English-language leaflet with descriptions and 
useful information for getting to the villas.
 





Fiesole


Fiesole was once more important than Florence. Long since conquered and dominated 
by the newer city on the plain, Fiesole has subsided into a peaceful, attractive place 
with famous views over Florence. The small town is a good destination for escaping 
the heat and crowds of the city - you'll see from the grand villas how many of 
Florence's wealthier residents have escaped here in the past. Fiesole is a short 
trip from Florence on an urban ATAF bus. Bring a snack to eat in a panoramic 
little park. You don't need more than half a day to see Fiesole, but your outing can 
be extended by walking around the lanes - or even back into Florence.
More information about Fiesole
 


San Gimignano

San Gimignano is famous for its medieval skyscrapers - fortified towers which were 
built by the hill-town's competing families. Today San Gimignano is a tourist honey-pot, 
but is still charming enough to win over the sceptical visitor. To get to San Gimignano 
from Florence, take a SITA bus or train to Poggibonsi, then change to another bus for the 
short journey onwards to San Gimignano.
More information about San Gimignano
 




 (I liked how this guy did the kick instead of the push)


Pisa

Pisa and its famous Leaning Tower are just a train trip away from Florence. Few 
tourists in Tuscany will want to return home without a photograph of one of 
Italy's most celebrated landmarks, and there are plenty of other sights to interest the 
daytripper. Trains run to Pisa from Florence's Santa Maria Novella station, and 
travel time is just over an hour.
More information about Pisa
 


video


Tuscan countryside

There is some beautiful countryside very close to Florence: rolling green slopes 
capped by fortified villas; vineyards and crumbling villages. If you have a car, you 
could spend a day just exploring Tuscany, stopping off to visit vineyards and 
other sights. It's more tricky to roam using public transport, but not impossible: for 
example, we took the slow bus to Poggibonsi and were very impressed by the 
countryside and villages we passed through. An intrepid traveller (ideally armed 
with a bus pass) would enjoy taking in the view from bus windows, and hopping 
off on a whim at interesting locations.
 


More suggestions

Arezzo is a dignified historic town on a hill topped by a large park and ruined 
fortress, easily reachable by train (a range of types; the fastest is Intercity which 
takes just 37 minutes). Cortona is one of the most admired hill-towns of Tuscany, 
with superb views over Tuscany and Umbria, and is an hour and twenty minutes 
by train from Florence (followed by a local bus from the station up to the town). 
Lucca, the walled town so popular with overseas visitors, is approximately an hour 
and twenty minutes away by train.
We wouldn't advise visiting Rome for a day trip. But if this is your only opportunity 
to see Italy's capital, then be bold and take the fast Eurostar train service for a busy 
day's sightseeing. Be warned, though, you will only be able to get a frustrating 
glimpse of this fascinating city's charms.


No comments:

Post a Comment