Two weeks today I’ll be flying to Tuscany with 13 (yep you read that right, thirteen!) of my fellow family travel bloggers to review this gorgeous luxury Tuscan villa and experience some of the best attractions the area has to offer. Not only am I excited to have a few days away with friends, I also cannot wait to visit one of my favourite regions in Italy.
One of the port’s of call I most looked forward to when I worked on cruise ships was Livorno, the main cruise port for Tuscany. From Livorno we ran shore excursions to the lovely Lucca, Siena, Florence, Pisa and San Gimignano… deciding where to spend a day ashore was always a difficult decision! Fast forward ten years and add into the mix 13 passionate travellers and it’s easy to see why it’s taken a while to confirm plans for our three-day road trip in Tuscany.
Road trip ideas for a short break in Tuscany
Country Relais and Spa Le Capanne is located near the historical centre of Volterra in Ulignano, close to San Gimignano. It’s a great central location for exploring the region by car as Florence, Siena, Pisa and Livorno are all about an hour away.
We will be picking up our hire car from Pisa airport after midday on the Friday, and leaving midday on the Monday, so our priority is to make maximum use of our two full days sightseeing. **Top tip – A useful site to compare rental car prices is EasyTerra, an independent car hire comparison site.
We originally considered combining a half day in Pisa, (very doable as the main sights – the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Field of Miracles and Cathedral can be seen in a few hours,) with a half day in Florence. We decided against it, as the hours spent driving would have been impractical and wasteful. Instead we have opted for a full day in Florence and a full day in Siena to fully explore these incredible cities. (Although I have to say it was a difficult choice as San Gimignano is also spectacular!).
Saturday morning we plan to pop into Volterra on our way to Siena. This will be my first time in Volterra. I’m most excited to walk along the cobbled streets of the walled town, check out the medieval ramparts and visit the pastry shop owned by the Giovannini family to indulge their famous Italian pastries.
Our one hour drive from Volterra to Siena will be a very pleasant one passing by rolling hills, woods, vineyards and olive groves… The iconic Tuscany landscapes I remember so well from my cruise ship days.
During our journey we will pass Castel San Gimignano, a popular spot which must be featured on Instagram thousands of times due to its enviable location set high on a hilltop. We won’t get time to stop during this rather short road trip but it’s not hard to see why it’s one of Tuscany’s most famous villages…
Siena is a unique city, built over three hills. Leading the way over the hills, (and helping us burn off some pizza, wine and gelato calories!), will be our local guide who will take us on a three-hour walking tour around the main sights of the medieval city. We plan to check out its central piazza, Il Campo, which is known worldwide as the location of Siena Palio, the famous bareback horse race, which takes place there twice a summer. It’s a place I have been keen to visit after seeing it in the James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. It’s also a strikingly beautiful part of the city with unusual architecture such as the Palazzo Pubblico –