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Italy Help Needed

I am making a trip to Italy with my parents this summer and my mom is dying to go to Tuscany. We will only have 2 days and it needs to be something that is easily reached by train. I'm looking for a small town that will give us a sense of daily life in Italy as well as amazing images of the Tuscan countryside.

Posted by
409 posts

Hi, Laura: You don't say what your starting point is, but I would drop the idea of the train and rent a car, even if it's only for two days. If you're going to be in Rome, for example, take the train to Orvieto (and hopefully spend some time there) before renting a car there and finding a convenient central location to see a town or two. I'm biased towards Pienza or Montepulciano, both of which are an easy drive from Orvieto. I'm sure you're going to hear from others that you don't want to have to depend on the trains if you only have two days. A rental car will make all the difference!

Posted by
10344 posts

You say a small Tuscany town easily reached by train. Those two requirements narrow down your search considerably, to Chiusi (smaller) and Orvieto (not so small). Your requirements of Tuscany, small town, and by train only make your request an unusual one and narrows your choices considerably, since the train tracks don't go into the Tuscany countryside. Orvieto has 20,000 population and some would say that's no longer a small town. Not all trains from Rome stop in Chiusi, this website will show you train schedules, enter Roma or Rome and Chiusi-Chianciano Terme to see the schedules. The Chiusi train station is not actually in Chiusi. The other Tuscany towns are either too large to meet your requirement of "small town" (example Arrezzo or Siena) or aren't on the rail line.

Posted by
32266 posts


A few suggestions to add. Orvieto would be a good choice, although it's in Umbria rather than Tuscany (the scenery is much the same). It's easily reachable by train from Rome (about 1 hour), and IMO it still has somewhat of a "small town" atmosphere. In addition, it's close to towns like Bagnoregio which are a bit smaller and may offer more of "sense of daily life". In addition, one of Rick's favourite hill towns in just outside Bagnoregio, Civita di Bagnoregio.

Siena is in Tuscany and is easily reachable by train or Bus from Rome or Florence. Bus is preferred by many as it drops passengers in the city centre, rather than the bottom of the hill where the rail station is located. If you did decide on train, just take a Taxi up to town. If you venture into the many side streets around Il Campo, there are lots of examples of "daily life", even though it's a larger city (and some good Gelato shops as well!).

Another possibility would be Cortona, which is where the book Under The Tuscan Sun is set. The transportation to get there is a bit more involved, but it's a beautiful town. If you do decide to visit Cortona, your Mother might enjoy watching the Andre Rieu concert that was held in the Piazza della Repubblica in Cortona. If you get the DVD, watch the reaction of one older man in the audience when Carmen sings O Mio Babbino Caro.

Happy travels!

Posted by
251 posts

With two days (1 night) and if you're based out of Rome, I would suggest going up to Cortona to stay the night, stopping in Orvieto along the way up. From there you can head to Assisi on the way back to Rome on the second day. I don't know if you were looking for just 1 town, but this would make the most out of the time you have, getting to experience 3 great hilltowns.