I’m arriving in Italy late April. My first week I’m at a in Positano. That’s all booked, I’m traveling solo but with a group of women.
The second week I’m on my own and this is what I need help with (May 2- 10th).
I’m thinking of visiting Florence, Venice, Siena and Pisa. I will visit Rome 2 days in advance (April 23-24th) and have a good B&B booked and plan to see the Colleseum, Vatican etc.
The BIG QUESTION is what is the best route for me in that week? I thought –Florence, Venice, Siena, Pisa, Rome (to fly out)?
I’d be in Florence from 2-3rd, 1 night in Venice, back to Florence (to go to opera I really want to see) then make my way down/south through Tuscany.
I’d like to take a boat trip and maybe a cooking class in Venice while I\’m there. Any suggestions? I\’d just like to take 1-2 great cooking classes in Venice, Florence or Tuscany too! Suggestions?
I have a hotel booked in Florence for May 2-3, Venice 4-5, and then plan to go to Siena May 6-7th.
Is it better to take the train or bus to Siena?
I plan to do day trips to Montilleco, San Gimignano, etc. Any suggestions?
Is there any issue me getting a car rental? Do I need an international license?
That said I’m questioning whether I should be based in Florence the whole time or just be there for a few days and then onto a more southern place to see more towns/sites?
I have one night (Friday) I\’m not sure what to do with in terms of what city. Any suggestions? I\’d like to maybe stay at a retreat/farm type of place and would like that experience of staying with a great family that has great cooking classes and teaches me about olives, wine, cheese. Is there any place you\’d recommend? I would be willing to change my base from Siena to another town and location to find a good place that is a retreat/farm where I can stay for perhaps 3 nights then and get to know the family a bit more.
I’m leaving the country via Rome, I thought I might go to Pisa and go to the airport their to get to Rome. Does that make sense? I could see the leaning tower but its more just to get the fastest route back to Rome at that point. I planned to take a train from Siena to Pisa in the morning. It that easy to take.
I Have 4 hours there then the 1 hr flight from Pisa to Rome is that enough time to see the tower etc.?
OR should I change my itinerary and go out through Venice to Rome the last few days?
Thanks for your suggestions as you are an insider and know the time/distances between places and likely best routes and accommodation too. As mentioned, I\’d like to do a tour of a winery, take a cooking class or two, listen to music/opera and see museums.
I know there is so much more to see in this great country but for another time!
I’m glad to give some help in planning your trip to Italy
Which one visit first, Florence or Venice? I would definitely reach Florence from Naples by train. Fast trains (Frecciarossa) reach Florence Santa Maria Novella station in about 2 hours and 50 minutes. And when you’re done with Florence, reach Venice by train, the journey by a “Frecciargento” fast train takes 2 hours. Finally go back to Rome from Venice by plane. You can check for train schedules here.
As far as cooking classes in Venice I recommend Cook In Venice, while for cooking class in Florence center take a look here.
For Florence’s main sights and attractions to visit have a look here.
It’s probably better to reach Siena by a SITA bus, as a direct ride will drop you off in the town’s center in about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The bus station is next Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station, in Via Santa Caterina da Siena. Here are bus timetables.
No issue to get a car here; the car is indeed the best way to tour Tuscany.
From Siena you can make delightful day trips! Take a look at the list
For the Friday, I second your idea of staying at a retreat/farm type of place where to experience staying with a great family that has great cooking classes. I recommend:
in Valdorcia, south of Siena:
In Chianti, between Florence and Siena:
Here are some great wineries I recommend for great wine tours:
Badia a Passignano in Chianti
Ciacci Piccolomini in Montalcino
Fattoria Poggio Grande in Val d’Orcia
It’s easy to take a train from Siena to Pisa, you will only have to switch train once you get to Empoli station. Also check on Trenitalia.com. 4 hours are enough to see the Leaning Tower and Piazza dei Miracoli. However, I would actually go out through Venice to Rome by plane the last few days. You may still visit Pisa on a day trip from Florence, half a day would be enough.
For any other suggestion, do contact me again,
Have a nice day and enjoy planning your holiday!,
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