Four of us will be touring around Tuscany (renting a car) and are thinking of staying in Sienna rather than Florence. Any suggestions of lovely places in or around Sienna or is there another place we should consider?
Barbara - we are staying 4 nights in Siena at Albergo Bernini...Rick profiles it in his DVD of Siena. They seem very accomodating and responsive to e-mails.
Siena is a fabulous base for Tuscany with or w/o a car. I stay at Hotel Cannon d'Oro in Siena and nr sights. You can bus it to Florence (do not miss)easily from Siena. F is a nightmare to drive in w/ no where to park or shuttle in from airport outside of city.
Try Venere.com many options and seems to be good reviews.
Barbara, follow Rick's advice and stay in Sienna, and then take the bus to Florence. The bus is clean, comfortable and convenient. I think that it runs 30 times/day. Sienna is a wonderful town, full of great restaurants, and the "Passagiata" stroll at night is "magical", just like Rick says.
Also look at Trip Advisor.com for hotel and B&B recomendations. (there has been some good reviews of the Hotel Alex). We stayed at the Hotel Chiusarelli. the location was excellent, but the hotel was "so-so".
Barbara, our family stayed in the Alma Domus, recommended as one of the best values in Sienna in Rick Steves' Ialy guidebook. It was run by nuns and the old hillside building was physically connected to the lovely Sanctuary of St. Catherine. While not luxurious, it had character, with beautiful iron balconies overlooking breathtaking Sienna. Quite an amazing deal for only 60 EUR for a Db.
We have reservations for a triple in October at Il Chiostro del Carmine (chiostrodelcarmine.com) for a splurge. In '02 my husband and I stayed at Albergo Bernini which was lovely but our "street"-side room was very noisy.
Barbara, I don't know if you have left yet, but if you haven't, consider staying at an agriturismo. We stayed at Agriturismo Marciano, a vineyard about 7km from the Campo (city center). It is a working olive oil and wine farm, very laid back, and Tuscan in style with exposed wood beams, comfortable beds, and new bathrooms with plenty of hot water. Breakfast is included, but as in all of Italy, is simple: toast, yogurt, very good latte and tea. It was around $120/night during the Palio weekend. The proprietor -- Christian -- is a kind gentleman who is quite proud of his wine and will organize a tasting for you if you desire. They offer bicycles (though no helmets) for you to borrow. If you leave the car there you can walk to the center of town (about 45 minutes) and get a taxi back for about 10-12 Euro. It was my favorite lodging from among 7 B&Bs in 4 different cities.
I just spent three nights at Albergo Bernini. Great, reasonable rates and wonderful location and terrace. If you can get room 11, go for it! It's fabulous. I am returning there in a week with my parents who will be visiting for two weeks.
As a side not, if you walk out the front door, turn right and turn right immediately half-way down the steep hill is a rather randomly placed restaurant on your right side. BEST meal in Siena. Sorry I can't tell you its name.
Three of us stayed so elegantly and comfortably at Palazzo Ravizza, but the garden rooms (suites) must be requested in advance. Our first night was in room #10 with lots of street noise and a bidet that overflowed onto the floor. Thankfully, the woman manager arrived in the morning and moved us to a heavenly garden room (Suite #1) for the same rate as the regular room. One of our best meals (hearty, Tuscan style) in Italy was a short walk down the street at Nonna Gina's. We stayed in Siena 4 nights, and drove easily up to Florence, parking in the free public lot called Piazzale Michelangelo. The downhill walk into town was short and easy. Very happy we stayed in Siena rather than Florence!
I also stayed at Albergo Bernini last September, and it was fantastic! The breakfast terrace is such a nice way to start the day and the family is wonderful! I was only sorry that I didn't get to hear an Accordion solo! Maybe next time?
Stayed at Albergo Bernini but we stayed in one of the apartments rather than the hotel. You don't get any of the hotel amenities, but you get a fully furnished apartment. There's a small grocer just up the escalator from the hotel into the main town. Cook your own pasta and save some cash.
However, this doesn't get you into the culture as much. You need to make a greater effort to interact with people, and make sure you don't eat in for every meal.
Hi! I would like to second the vote for Albergo Bernini. Im in Italy right now and just stayed at this b and b 3 nights ago. The view terrace is AMAZING, one of the best views I found in Siena. It was so nice to start the day with breakfast there each morning, and for 7 euro, what a steal. Also, the owners are so kind! They are always hanging out in the living room and will play the accordian for you if you ask politely, and at a good time! The rooms were good size and very clean. Also, the location was nice. Have fun!
A revision to my previous post, I did not stay at Albergo Bernini. I can't remember the name of the place, but I know exactly where it is on a map.
Just outside the main walls of the old city out the Porta Ovile is a street called Via Baldassarre Peruzzi. On Via Baldassarre Perizzi between Porta Ovile and the Risalita San Francesco or the San Francesco parking lot is a hotel. They rent out apartments. And the Risalita is an escalator that takes you right up the hill.
Has anyone else heard of this place?