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Siena Questions

I am helping my friend with her Europe vacation planning. She will be traveling throughout Italy with her son by train. They would like to visit Tuscany so I would like to get her to a town where she would have many options to see some surrounding villages and countryside. I am interested in hearing from anyone that has used Siena for their base and did excursions from there. She will be traveling on a budget so if you know of any nice but reasonable places to stay that also would be very helpful information.
Thanks in advance!

Posted by
345 posts

Kent is right. Siena is not a good base. Lodging and parking are expensive in Siena, so why stay there if you're going to spend your time elsewhere? Getting in and out of Siena (distance from your lodging to your parking lot & time getting in/out of a large city) is much more difficult than a smaller town.

Stay in Siena to see Siena. Stay in a hilltown to see hilltowns.

(If you are saddled with a car during your stay in Siena, I recommend Fonte dei Tufi just outside the Tufi gate. Quiet, spacious, affordable with free on-site parking.)

Posted by
32227 posts

Wendy,

I definitely concur with the others, especially Linda's succinct evaluation of Siena.

On the topic of driving there, on my last visit to Siena I spoke with a young couple from the U.S. that spent two hours trying to find a parking spot. I didn't have my Guidebook at hand, so couldn't offer any suggestions. I had arrived by Bus from Florence, so didn't bother looking into the parking options for my trip.

Your friend might want to use Florence as a home base, as it's also in Tuscany. The transportation options for day trips to hill towns or other locations will probably be better than a smaller town like Siena.

As a suggestion, you might post a few Itinerary details on your friend's trip, as I'm sure the group here will be able to offer some good tips for her trip.

Cheers!

Posted by
831 posts

Wendy,
Not negating what others have said but trying to answer your questions.
Alma Domus is a good budget option in Siena.

Trains are not the best option in Siena. Buses are available but you must carefully check times and connections. See http://www.trainspa.it/2009/extraurbano.pdf

Posted by
10344 posts

IMO sleeping in Siena when the main objective is not to see Siena but to use it as a home base for visiting the Hill Towns is not the best choice. A rental car is best for seeing the Hill Towns, however a car is a significant headache (parking, ZTL limited traffic zones, etc) if you're sleeping in the historic core area of Siena.The Hill Towns are best seen by rental car by someone not sleeping in Siena. The Hill Towns are rural, dispersed geographically, there are many of them, and most are not served super-efficiently by rail or bus.

Posted by
267 posts

we used siena as a base and rented a car in siena and visited 6 hilltowns. we stayed at alma domus. you can use public transportaion to visit the other towns but dependeing on your schedule you may be at the mercy of the train/bus schedule. i have no experience with staying at any of the other towns but kent does raise a good point about visiting them and staying there. i'm sure you will get other responses that will help you in your research on what is the best route for your friend to take. good luck :):)