We took a bus there for the day and really enjoyed it. If you look at a map, you would see instantly that Verona and the Isle of Capri are further away from Florence than destinations that other posters have told are not realistic day trips. Verona is doable. You can take a Frecciargento high-speed train from TrenItalia. Frecciargento are a very slight step down from Frecciarosso in matter of speed, but not much in comfort -rossa now has 4 service leves, -argento would still have 2 classes , and in certain stretches run on lines that are not fully developed for high-speed.
Travel time is approx. The Stations are about 2km apart from each other. Depending on where your hotel is, there might not be a big difference. Isola d'Elba where Napoleon spent his first exile which is in Tuscany might be a more abordable adventure To get to the departure port " Piombino " you have to take connecting trains that take longer than the high-speed to Naples.
So even though the Island of Elba is closer in terms of kms, it takes longer to reach it. Is it worthwhile? Only you can say in the end. Jackie Kennedy seemed to love the Island of Capri , if it was good enough for her, it's certainly good enough for me.
It's totally easy to get around. Bologna the trains take you right into the heart of the city, so again, easy to get orientated. Also consider that for public transportation, the Main Station is always a focal point, so from there on you will have a lot of City Bus connections and in places like Rome or Milan also the Metro Subway, Trams, etc. I don't have personal experience for Lucca or San Gimignano , but they are not huge places, so it should not present any difficulties.
Best thing to do: get a guidebook which covers the places you want to go to or more than one , read up on the things that interrest you and so that you'll have a rough idea of what it is that you'll find, and what you're looking at. Also get a map of the place, where you can cross on the places you want to go to, figure out where the Train Station or Bus Station is, and then draw out a rough itinerary. It's true that these days with internet and smartphones, you probably could also just use Google Maps or similar , and the GPS function, though you could face high roaming charges if you use those as you'll probably be downloading data packages.
Rome to Naples are around kms, it's only 70 minutes by high-speed Train. Pisa is closer to Florence by kms than Bologna , but one takes 1 hour, the other 37 minutes. Milan to Rome, you could fly, or you could take the high-speed trains.
Free travel guide to Lucca, Italy | CN Traveller
If you take a flight , flight time is about 1 hour, but you must be at least 45 minutes earlier at the Airport considering how security checks are these days, even earlier , you must get from the City Center to the Airport, and once you arrive, you'll have to wait on eventual luggage, and get back into the destination City. All this time, the train has taken you from Downtown to Downtown. I have travelled extensively in Italy and have done so since my first trip there in It was not meant as a lesson on "Italian Geography", as geographically you are absolutely right about the distances.
If anything it was an examplification of "Italian Infrastructure". It is nice that you have travelled extensively to and in our beautiful country of Italy , and I'm glad to know that you love and enjoy it. I might currently find myself in Germany and will most probably be here at least another 6 months , but I grew up in Italy and lived there the most years of all the places that I've been to in the world, in different parts of the Peninsula. I'm Italian, I do dare to think that I know my own Country. Siena and S G are walled hill towns. Lucca is a walled city.
There are many others in Italy. Each are different, but most have one thing in common. You cannot drive within the walls or there is very limited driving or you need a permit to drive within. The hassle with Venice for one day is railing to Piazza Roma and then taking a water taxi or water bus into the San Marco area. If you are going to go to that much trouble to get there, I would think you would want to start with the main sights. There is nothing like Venice and you could get a good taste of it by overnighting. I think I would concentrate on some of the ideas mentioned above.
Elba is quite interesting, but I question if you have enough time. A few of the villas and their gardens are open to visitors and can even be visited by bicycle rentals available at several shops in a town near the walls. Bagni di Lucca is a historic spa center made up of several towns and villages. It's about half an hour train ride to the Bagni di Lucca station in Fornoli. From there you can take a bus toward Lucca Villa to get to Ponte a Serraglio the spa town or La Villa the biggest town along the river. If you have a car you can explore more of the villages that make up Bagni di Lucca.
After you see the sights on the square, take some time to wander through the rest of the city, away from the tourists. The train from Lucca to Pisa takes about half an hour. Montecatini Terme, about half an hour by train, is a historic spa town. Its tree-lined streets and park are pleasant places to walk, it's a good place for shopping, and there are several thermal centers.
Don't miss a visit to Terme Tettucio open May - September. Take the funicular railway up the hill to the medieval village of Montecatini Alto. Torre del Lago is a small town between Lake Massaciuccoli and the sea. It's famous for its summer Puccini festival in the outdoor theater on the lake. Puccini had a house in Torre del Lago and it's now a museum. There are a couple of restaurants by the lake and during the summer season, you can take a trip on the lake by excursion boat.
The best way to get there by public transportation is by bus from Viareggio although some trains stop in town from where you can walk to the lake, about 1 kilometer. The plaza is regularly used to display art, such as the collection of sculptures depicting heads in various forms and materials pictured above. In keeping with what the region is known for, we had the opportunity to tour a working marble studio.
Cervietti Franco S. Walking through the warehouse with the owner, who is training his son to take over the family business, was a novel experience. The studio uses local marble and a mix of traditional and modern methods to serve clients from around the world. The sizes of the sculptures they produce range from the small to monumental.
Many were religious figures, though I spotted the face of Michael Jackson, too.
What to see and do in Lucca in one day
Raw marble is exported around the world as well, and we were told the mines are controlled by a handful of powerful families. After checking into our hotel just outside the city walls, we walked into the old town for dinner at Ristorante Mecenate. On the menu tonight, a delicious caramelized onion tart, prosciutto, a red pepper pudding you smear on bread, testaroli pasta with pesto, breaded and fried beef topped with tomato sauce and capers, and custard for dessert.
The three miles five kilometers of walls were built for defensive purposes in the 16th century. When the need to defend the city passed, the tops of the walls were repurposed as streets and pedestrian walkways. Tip: Lucca is an easy day trip from Florence. Check out Get Your Guide for tours of Lucca. Since , Guido and his wife Stefania have been producing high-quality organic cheeses using cow, goat, and sheep milk.
They welcomed us with big smiles and an even bigger spread of their cheeses, including an earthy truffle cheese my favorite and ricotta with honey I had more than one serving of that too.
1. Lucca Cathedral
Since man and woman cannot survive on cheese alone, they also provided bruschetta, raw wild boar marinated in olive oil, boar sausage, and bruschetta. The setting for lunch was idyllic, a few picnic tables in front of the farmhouse with views of the surrounding hills. Read more about my lunch on an organic farm in Tuscany. Roberta opened her map and gave us a quick briefing on our afternoon walk from Coiano to Gambassi Terme.
We set off on foot from the farm, walking uphill through olive trees until we reconnected with the trail. It was a reasonably easy and relatively flat stretch of the Via Francigena, ending with walks through several vineyards. But between the warmer than normal weather and sun exposure, I worked up quite a sweat.
We hopped in the van for the minute drive to Pieve of Santa Maria; another Romanesque church visited by pilgrims on the Via Francigena. Adjacent the church is Ostello Sigerico , a hostel where we met an Irish pilgrim who was walking the length of the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome. He estimated it would take another two weeks for him to finish, making his full traverse of the trail a three-month affair. We couldn't help but notice he was using the official guide for the Via Francigena, which was written by our guide, Roberta. We brought this detail to his attention, which delighted him, and he then asked for her autograph.
He also showed us his Pilgrim Passport. This informal ID serves as both a souvenir as well as a way to identify one's pilgrim status on the Via Francigena. Meeting this gentleman brought the whole experience to life in a new way. The Via Francigena wasn't just a trail used a thousand years ago. It's alive and well today, too. Our accommodation for the night was Tenuta Sant'Ilario , a gorgeous family-run agriturismo hotel in an old stone farmhouse.
The hotel produces olive oil and wine, and there's a small restaurant on the property where we had a delicious three-course dinner ricotta cheesecake, pork loin, and pannacotta. On our fifth morning, we began walking straight from the hotel after breakfast. It was nice not having to get in the van, and I much prefer walking in the morning when the sun isn't so high in the sky.
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