We are 4 senior ladies who travel to Europe each March/April WE rent self catering 2 bed flats and do day trips.WE plan a week in Lucca and 4-5 days in Venice.Should we stay in Florence or Siena.?Which has better opportunities to visit the surrounding sites by bus or train or both
Nancy, if you're an insane art buff that can never get enough then stay in Florence. IMO, that's the only reason to ever stay in Florence. Siena is smaller, but not too small. It's quieter, but not too quiet. It's far more charming. It's also closer to the smaller towns in Tuscany that you'd want to see. And the best part of all, it's cheaper!
A lot depends on your interest. Want to see the many outstanding museums/sites of Florence? Or prefer to see a variety of small towns? Florence is an active, bustling city with people walking and enjoying themselves even late at night. We saw hundreds of people walking by the Duomo even near midnight!
Siena is going to be less active with one main area near Il Campo and other, much less impressive sights. However, it is less crowded and more convenient to the hill towns, per Rick. He says "Stay there". We preferred Florence and spent 8 days (including a family reunion) with visits to Pisa and Siena on day trips.
I'd choose Siena in a heartbeat; it's where I've stayed three of the last four times that I've been in Tuscany. It's quieter, cleaner, and is well-connected--not as well connected as Florence, of course, but it's relatively easy to navigate Tuscany from Siena. As the previous poster suggests, though, it comes down to personal preference. I prefer to take the 90 minute (or so) train ride to Florence, see what I want to see there, and return to the much more serene Siena.
Thanks for the imput.You have confirmed my thoughts on Siena.Now do you know of any central apartments?We tour all day and have lunch but prefer to eat dinner at home and play bridge.As I said we are seniors but active!!
nancy, try this place http://www.hotelmodernosiena.it/AppOvile/Home_Ovile.asp. Rent an apartment. There is an escalator built into the side of the hill across the street that takes you up to the main level of town. But beware that sometimes the escalators are under repair and you may have to walk up stairs. If this intimidates you then Hotel Moderno would not be a wise choice. I have stayed here and the apartments are great. You can make your own meals in the kitchen. But don't stay in the hotel of this place. It is terrible.
Florence provides more opportunities for day trips by bus or train. While Siena has its charms, there are fewer day trip options using public transportation.
I spent 4 days/nights in Siena and took several day trips (and one day in Lucca which was much too short!)you have many opportunities to go by train to other towns from Lucca, in Siena the bus connections were much better; the train station is outside the old town.
We enjoyed Siena as our home base and visited Assisi, Montepulciano and Pienza from there. We did a lot of walking! The buses are clean and punctual but at times tricky to get tickets. Study up on your Italian! In Siena, do not take a day tour given by Terre Siena tours! (yellow brochures)heavily promoted at the TI. you get transportation and dumped off for 35 Euros.in Pienza they took us to the church, said " I am going to go somewhere warm, see you at the bus" I wanted to visit the Library in Pienza,you have to go w/a guided tour which we didn't have time to do and she must have known that. Go on your own w/guidebook. In Siena Palazzo Bruchi B & B was wonderful,they have a communal kitchen and are centrally located.
neither the one nor the other, but on the mountain at Hotel Lorena
I much prefer Siena as a place to stay, but since you mentioned that you are 'senior ladies' keep in mind that the part of Florence you will want to see is flat, whereas there is hardly a level place in Siena; be prepared for steep streets and lots of stairs.