Hi - will be in Florence 2 Nov. - 6 Nov. Staying at a B& B and wondered how practical it is to take a bus to a hill town alone and just wander around...or should I pay the Euro 300 tours I see on web?
We find that part of the adventure is taking Itlian buses for day trips. They are never on time and sometime never show up, but it's all part of the fun! There are many local buses that run in and out of Florence. Have fun!
Siena is easy to reach from Florence. See http://www.mega.it/ita/not/sita.htm and easy to see for yourself.
Lucca would also be easy by train or bus.
300 euros!!!! That is outrageous!!!! You can go to small towns for 10% of that. The bus and train stations are right next to each other in Florence. Most buses go every hour if not more often. REad up on the towns ahead of time. A really delightful experience is taking the city bus to Fiesole. It takes 20 minutes. There is a wonderful lookout over Florence from the north. Make sure you make the treck up the hill to the left of the bus stop(as you're facing the street). It will cost you about $1.50 in Florence for the ticket for the bus one-way. Remember you can't get city bus tickets at the bus station. you have to purchase them at a tobacco shop. You'll know which ones by looking for the blue signs with a "T" on them.Get the #7 at the train station. As you're facing the station it is to the right. Fiesole is well worth it. I wouldn't be nervous about going to towns alone. Have fun.