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Wedding in Tuscany

Hello!

I will be a groomsmen in a wedding in early September 2022, in Tuscany. I will be traveling early with my girlfriend to visit a few other areas of Italy before the wedding.

Having never been to Italy, I am looking for your recommendations on two places to visit before the wedding festivities begin. We will have 6 days total to spend before the wedding.

Thanks!

Posted by
2735 posts

If you've never been to Italy before, then 3 nights each in Venice and Florence would be nice. Fly into Venice then take the train to Florence.

Posted by
1319 posts

Do you have any time after the wedding, also? I wanted to recommend Siena.

Posted by
11966 posts

Hi Daniel!
A couple of questions? Where exactly in Tuscany is the wedding?

Does your 6 days include arrival day + the day you have to move on to the wedding location? Edited: Is the last day of the 4 reserved for wedding festivities also the day you must fly home? There may be some concern about how far from an airport you might be, especially if the location in Tuscany isn't on a rail line and/or you have an early flight.

Hint: it's usually more accurate to count your nights on the ground in Italy versus days.

What sorts of things are you and your lady freind interested in doing/seeing during your 6 days? I'd love to suggest basing in Florence, as there's much to see there plus there are a good selection of daytrips you can take from there via public transit. Then again, my interests might not be yours so in the interest of making it YOUR trip....:O)

Airports for flying in/out of that region would be Pisa and Florence.
(Edited the line about 1 remaining day for flying out.)

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks for the response. The wedding itself is in a small village outside of Siena. The 6 days mentioned are 6 “on the ground in Italy” days. I have backed out the additional travel days from my original figure.

We are interested in the typical history, sightseeing, spots. But would also love any “under the radar” day trips.

I have been eyeing up Cinque Terre and Florence as the two main places to visit. Thoughts?

Posted by
20893 posts

Interesting places to visit in Italy is endless. You might check your local library from Steves' travel CDs related to Italy and see what appears to you. Time is limited. I would try to keep the sightseeing to areas around Tuscany just to keep travel times down and to make efficient use of your time. The area around Florence plus a couple of wineries will keep you busy. Rome should not be overlooked but you could save it for the next trip.

Posted by
11966 posts

OK, that small village...
Can you be more specific? Has the groom/bride provided any info on how to reach it? A fair amount of small villages can be challenging to reach via public transit or require wheels. It would help to have some idea of how you'll need to get there.

But aside from that.... Yes, Florence makes a great base, and you do not want or need a car in the city. It's very walkable, and train service is frequent to other interesting or scenic locations. You can also take either bus or train to Siena...which I wouldn't do until you need to go to the wedding village. During the 4 days of the wedding festivities, it's possible there will be opportunity to do some exploring in Siena?

Just a few possible day trips from Florence:
Lucca (by train: highly recommended by many RS posters who've done it)
Pisa (by train)
Fiesole (perched above Florence, just 20 minutes or so by city bus)

Cinque Terre? Yes, people do it as a day trip from Florence (by train) although I personally don't recommend that one unless you can stay at least one night. It's become wildly popular so also wildly overrun with day trippers/cruise ship tours. The best hours are in the early mornings and evenings when those folks go back to wherever they came from. Have only one day and that one day pours rain? Can happen and DID happen to a friend of ours. This one is also not a good base for exploring the region.

I love Florence itself but I'm also an art/architecture geek so pretty much lost my mind over the Renaissance treasures!
Anyway, with 6 total days (6 nights?) I'm figuring one (arrival day) might be a fog of jetlag, and one might be tied up getting to the wedding village, unless that one figures into the 4 days set aside for that event?

Posted by
1729 posts

I'd suggest Florence plus one other place, and that you take your time choosing it. Cinque Terre eats up quite a bit of travel time--honestly with only six days, I'd be loathe to give up several hours on a train. If you are an avid hiker, it is a great choice. I struggle to understand why anyone who will not be taking advantage of the marvelous trails goes there when there are plenty of pretty coastal places. A lot depends on if you want to drive or use transit. I'd grab a Tuscany book and find that one other place that appeals to you both.

Posted by
1830 posts

For a first visit to Italy I think it would be a shame to not include Rome in your itinerary.
Sounds like you'll be seeing a lot of Tuscany in association with your scheduled wedding activities, so why not fly into Rome first - spending at least a couple of days (ie 3 nights) there enjoying one of the world's great cities while at the same time shedding some of your jet lag, then hop the fast train from Rome to Florence (about an hour and a half) for a few nights there as others have suggested.
There are plenty of places to see in both cities that won't require a car, as well as a multitude of day trips to nearby attractions that may appeal to you after further study.
I agree that trying to include an outlier like Cinque Terre would be a waste of your valuable time - it's a 6 hour train journey from Florence (round trip) which means that it would be a very long day indeed. Better to stick a little closer to Florence as others have suggested.

Suggest researching an Open Jaw, or multi-destination, flight plan - flying into Rome and then returning from either Florence or Pisa. Would be a more efficient use of your limited time.

Posted by
2591 posts

I assume you're aware of how fast the train service is between places like Rome and Florence. I've never done it, but I think I heard that the bus is better between Florence and Siena.

Posted by
489 posts

The Cinque Terre and Florence are excellent places to visit before going to the Tuscan countryside. Flying in and out of Milan tends to be cheaper than flying in and out of Rome. Make sure you reserve your Uffizi tickets when you purchase your airline tickets because you need to book out as far out as possible. If there's one fine arts museum in the world you want to visit, it's deffinitely the Uffizi.

Posted by
1319 posts

Perhaps the wedding hospitality will include excursions into Siena, since it’s four days and you’re right close by.

Posted by
2985 posts

Your 1st trip to Italy and only 6 free days? My advice is not to waste any of it on the Cinque Terre. It sounds like the 4 days in small town Tuscany will give you enough of that, especially if a day in Siena is included.

The big three of Italy are Rome, Florence, and Venice. Since you will be closest to Florence, include it, for sure. You can easily get to either of the other two by train, from Florence, or vice versa, so you might want to factor in the ease of arrival from the U.S. There are way more flights to Rome than to Venice.

Posted by
11966 posts

Gotta chime in here...

With only 6 days (nights?) to work with, and one to two of those consumed with either jet-lagged arrival processes and/or transfers to the wedding venue, I wouldn't recommend adding Rome to the agenda. I LOVE Rome but it's its own animal that requires more than a couple of nights to get the head around. Personally, I'd focus on Tuscany and save Rome for a future trip, maybe one that includes Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. There's just so much for our first-time visitor to explore in Tuscany!

We haven't clarified yet what our OP has for sightseeing time before having to be at the wedding location. I'm guessing it's not 6 FULL days but 5.5 or less depending on when they have to travel on to meet the wedding party.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks for the responses everyone. Sounds like my best bet for my 6 “pre-wedding” travel days are Florence and Venice.

Posted by
1600 posts

hey hey daniel
where are you flying in from USA, Canada, another place in europe, etc? is it only you and girlfriend coming in early before the wedding and traveling by bus or train? september is a busy month to travel with harvest season, conferences, good weather most of time, some think back to school with families that have spent summer time, locals back at work that took august off. it's still high season with higher prices. will you be renting a car, if so you will need an IDP (coincides with driver's license) from AAA/CAA for about $25 and 2 passport photos for each driver, good for one year.
we all have different opinions of what to see/do, what's important to you, where to go and spend time. being your first time to italy, "we" all want to see everything but 6 days is not a long time. first night could be jet lag, roam around looking, not standing in lines for hours to get into an attraction, make sure you reserve ahead of time, skip the line does not mean skip security lines. there is no right or wrong with what you plan. people here will help and give you good bad and ugly, you decide from there.
do a multi-city flight, into one city out from another. i agree with a few people here to fly into rome and out of florence/pisa or fly to milan for 2 days train to venice for 3 nights then train to florence for wedding, fly out of florence/pisa.
others have said not spending time in cinque terre where it is overcrowded with cruise passengers and day trippers. cruisemappers.com lets you look at how many ships are in port that day, if you have 4 ships that's like 20,000 people not counting day trippers, waiting for trains that are so crowded they pass right by you. not my cup of tea.
with your 4 days for wedding and activities, are there plans to see cities/villages of tuscany, wine tour, place to stay is same as wedding venue, florence day trip, how many people are planning to attend?
europeforvisitors.com
seat61.com is all train travel
know your flight arrival times to check in hotels usually 2-3pm, early check-in or luggage storage. stay in a hotel that you can ask questions within city center. you have a lot of time to research, what's important to see and do, what flights are available that suits your fancy. ask questions to get answers to make things much easier and planned out when you get there, you'll be much happier. enjoy
aloha

Posted by
30 posts

Great advice already from others. I would point out that your question is simultaneously easy and impossible to answer. This is because there is really no wrong answer. All the places mentioned are treasures. There also are some absolutely wonderful places nearby in Tuscany like Montepulciano, Penza and Montalcino. I have to agree with people on Rome, not to be missed but not to be shorted either. I spent 9 days in Rome in 2019 and I want to go back. For that reason alone, I think you should stay north and be sure to do Florence, see the David and the Uffizi. Add a Tuscan hill town while you’re out near Siena. Fly via Pisa, which is a great easy airport, and see the Campo dei Miracoli while there. I would not tell anyone to skip Cinque Terre, but if you go, set aside enough time to walk a section of the coastal footpath. Manarola and Vernazza were my favorite towns. No matter what you do, can’t miss.

Posted by
237 posts

Forgive me if I missed any mention of whether or not you'll have a car. Lots of good suggestions so far. If you have a car I'll suggest Volterra and San Gimignano, both a little West of Siena. That being said I will also second the suggestion of Montepulciano and Pienza. My wife and I also love Bologna, which you can do by train, but maybe that's not a first trip to Italy destination.