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Enough time for Pisa and Lucca

We will be leaving Siena in the morning to go to La Spezia and Monterosso, by car.

Will we have enough time to spend a couple of hours each in Pisa and Lucca on the way?

Looks like it might be tight.

thnx

Posted by
1294 posts

I have never tried both, however I have stopped in Pisa on 2 different trips. One time I was going from Siena to CT and the other time going from CT to Greve. My journal shows that the first time we left Siena at 9:00 am and caught the 3:30 train to Vernazza from Levanto (north of CT versus La Spezia which is south of CT) I would say we spent about 2 hours at Pisa on that trip. In 2008, we left Vernazza on the 8:10 train to Levanto, arrived in Pisa at about 10:45, spent about 2 hours there and then drove to Greve mid afternoon (between 3 and 4) Hopefully these "real times" will help you decide if you want to try and squeeze in Lucca and Pisa the same day. It would probably be "too tight" for me (having done it twice) but you will have to decide for yourself. Have a great trip.

Posted by
1294 posts

Also...if you do decide to both, I would recommend having a reservation in Monterosso that you know will be there even if you don't arrive until evening. This would be particularly true during high season. But you may have thought of all that.

Posted by
3112 posts

www.viamichelin.com lists the driving times as 1:40 Siena to Lucca, 0:31 Lucca to Pisa and 1:20 Pisa to Monterosso. That means you could leave Siena at 8:00, explore and have lunch in Lucca, leave 1:30 for drive to Pisa and Field of Miracles, leave 4:00 and be in Monterosso around 5:30. If you're dropping off your car in La Spezia, driving time from Pisa is 0:57. It would be a busy day and you couldn't linger in either town as long as you might like, but it is doable. I beleive both Lucca and Pisa have ZTL's, so be sure to investigate parking options that avoid them. In Lucca, I suspect anywhere outside the city walls would be OK.

Posted by
155 posts

Yeah, it looks kinda tight.

Wanted to show grdaught the tower but also wanted to spend a little time biking around Lucca on the ramparts,. That sounded like something she would like.

Have all reservations in, just deciding how much to use the car, pick-up drop-off, places, etc.

I am not too good at logistics. I always see the big picture and the little details get lost somewhere in my brain !

thnx

Posted by
3313 posts

Lucca's ZTLs are easy. Don't drive inside the walls. Park at the train station and walk in. Have lunch at the central Piazza. I caution against trying to then drive to Pisa. I found Pisa confusing to drive into and then park - regardless of the ZTLs. It can be done, but Viamichelin's time estimates are best case.

Posted by
10344 posts

Apparently (not completely clear) the Viamichelin times do not include stops of any type, the times given are just road time, assuming you're going about 90% of the maximum speed. After adding for stops, some travelers have found that they needed to add an additional 25% to the driving times given in Viamichelin, to get times that were accurate for their trips.

Posted by
155 posts

Well, if the car rental place is at the Siena train station, I may just as well stay in Siena, do side trips, and drop the car off at the Siena train station. Then take the train to La Spezia and Monterosso.

I think that is looking like the plan.

Thanks all

Posted by
3112 posts

Your train will pass through Pisa, and you may have a change there. You could check your bags for a few hours and visit the Leaning Tower.

Posted by
155 posts

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. I guess it just depends on how much we are able to out of Siena. Gots lots of ideas!

Posted by
12172 posts

Since you are driving, I think it's doable. Expect a full day, especially since you will drive to the furthest town in CT.

What time of year are you going? In high season it will take longer to park and hike to the sites.

We found seeing the tower in Pisa with the Duomo and Baptistry was fine. It wasn't hard to park because we were there early in the morning in late October.

Lucca was mostly deserted when we visited. We liked the wall-turned-park. The rest of the town was flat and not much worth looking at.

I think many tourists like Lucca because it is relatively uncrowded in high season and easier to get around in than towns that are built on steep hills. For us it didn't spark our imaginations as San Gimignano did.

Posted by
1574 posts

We did both in one day about 3 years ago. We were using Florence as our base and used the trains to travel between the towns.

We didn't feel rushed in anyway and had ample time to see the sites. So I think you should be able to do this though I am not familar with the roads - will defer to others knowledge on this.

Posted by
1589 posts

Dear Nanc,

If you decide to choose only one ( and I would), I suggest Lucca. BTW, do you have your CT area parking problem well in hand?

Have a great trip!

Posted by
1158 posts

I think you can do it. I was in Pisa for about 2 hours and I walked from the train station. It's a tinny city, not much to see beyond the tower and baptistry.
Lucca is a small town too.