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11 nights in Tuscany Sept/Oct, Venice also?

We have 11 nights to spend in Tuscany this fall the last week of September and first week of October. Is it feasible to add Venice to the itinerary also for a day? Or, is that too much of a comprise on time? We could then fly into Venice and out of Pisa, with a train from Venice to Florence. We're interested in seeing some of the galleries and museums, but also really enjoy hiking, the countryside and food. We'll also have a 1 year old with us as well.

Currently our itinerary is:

  • Fly into Florence
  • 3 nights in Florence
  • 4 nights in S. Tuscany (w/ car rental)
  • 4 nights in Lucca
  • Fly out of Pisa

With Venice:

  • Fly into Venice
  • 2 nights in Venice
  • 2 nights in Florence (train from Venice to Florence)
  • 4 nights in S. Tuscany (w/ car rental)
  • 3 nights in Lucca
  • Fly out of Pisa
Posted by TC
2859 posts

Two nights in a place really means one full day and (depending on arrival and departure times) perhaps another half day. With only eleven nights you might want to consider staying in only two places and doing a day trip or two from each. The reason for that suggestion is that even when things go exactly as planned, it always take more time from Point A to Point B than anticipated. Don't mean to be Debbie Downer, just food for thought.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
4816 posts

Agree with Suki. I would do the 2nd option but take one night from Lucca and add to Florence. This depends of course on what you planned to do with 3 nights in Lucca.

Posted by Dan OP
Golden, Colorado, USA
16 posts

We're actually using Lucca as a base for a daytrip to Cinque Terra and anything else we decide to do. However, 3 nights is really only 2 full days. I guess we may want to consider staying in CT.

Posted by Dan OP
Golden, Colorado, USA
16 posts

Well, we ended up adding Venice to the trip. So 1 full day in Venice, 1 full day in Florence, 3 full days in Tuscany, and 2 full days in Lucca. If we wanted to see Cinque Terra, would we be better served staying there instead of using Lucca as a base?

Also, since we figured to stay in Florence since we were taking a train there from Venice. Would it be better to rent our car in Florence, drive to Tuscany for a longer stay, and pop back to Florence when we felt like it? So essentially, add days to a home base in Tuscany so that we aren't popping around so many hotels?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by gerri
lexington, il
2304 posts


If you decide to extend your Tuscany stay, pick up your car in Venice and drive to your base in Tuscany. Though travel time by train to Florence is faster, by the time you take a taxi to the car rental, picked up the car, then navigate out of the city you've used up that time savings. Not having to move the 1 year old multi times
Is also a plus.

Lucca makes a nice base for a young family. If the weather for the CT does not cooperate.

Posted by Julie
Frisco, Texas, US
177 posts

If you spend the night in CT then you will have more time there since you won't have to spend part of the day getting back to base. It really is gorgeous and during the fall (off season) you will be able to relax there. Travel light, that is key. Ciao!

Posted by celfan
Burlington, Vermont USA
96 posts

Nights and mornings in the CT are magical. I think day tripping the CT is a bad idea, you'll be missing the best it has to offer. Your memories will be a sea of people walking elbow to elbow. What a difference before 11am and after 4pm.

Incidentally, we visited CT during the last week of September in 2015 and first week of October last year. Great time to go!

Posted by Dan OP
Golden, Colorado, USA
16 posts

Just a few reflections after having completed our trip......
Our itinerary ended up being:
•Few into Venice
•2 nights in Venice
•Picked up car in Venice and drove to Tuscany
•5 nights at Agritourismo near San Gimignano (w/ car rental)
•4 nights in Lucca
•Few out of Pisa

One full day in Venice was plenty with our 1 year old. Walking around before 10am and after 7pm was fantastic. I wanted to jump into the canal otherwise due to the overwhelming crowds. Venice was beautiful, but I felt like I was at the mall with the identical 5 stores repeating for miles on end. St Mark's was magnificent inside an out.

San Gimignano was a good location for day trips to Florence, Sienna, and Rick's heart of Tuscany drive (was a big day!).
Lucca made a good home base to visit Pisa and Cinque Terra as day trips. It was a great place to be any time of day. It felt far more local and less touristy than many of the other places we had been. The train access was perfect there as well.

Cinque Terra was a slog but worth it....2 1/2 hours by trail each way from Lucca. It was raining lightly when we arrived in Cornigilia which made for spectacular photos. If we had a choice to stay in CT with the baby, we probably would have chosen Monterosso. However, we really didn't want to hop around too much with the baby, so we elected to stay in Lucca.

Overall it was a great trip! The only change I would have made would be to spend more time in the countryside and hill towns that time of year, and return in winter to focus more on the museums (crowds)

Posted by Laurel
Lincoln City, OR
7237 posts

Thanks for coming back with a post-trip report! I like a nice long centerpiece somewhere in a trip. Your San Gimignano base was that. I love Venezia but I do not care to go anymore outside of late October through March.

Cities and museums in winter, countryside in the shoulder season, and for me, no summer visits except in the Dolomites!