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Tuscany and Florence from Milan

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posts: 16
reviews: 1
Tuscany and Florence from Milan

Suggestions, please?

We have a flight into Milan Sun, 7/3 and departing Milan Fri, 7/8....but we don't want to spend any time there. We want to concentrate on the Florence/Cinque Terre/Tuscany area. What are your best recommendations for cities and transportation (use train between all towns? can you catch a train from Malpensa to Florence's main train station? and is the train do-able for the Cinque Terra area?) Or should we do a train/drive combo? Thanks and ciao!

Fairfield...
posts: 25
reviews: 22
1. Re: Tuscany and Florence from Milan

No you can't grab a train from Malpensa to Florence however it is very easy to get from Milan to Florence. When you arrive in Milan you will want to take a bus to Milan's central station. There will be signs for it as you exit customs. From Milan, Florence is 3 hrs or so by train. However, you MUST make a reservation for a train otherwise if you are lucky enough to get a ticket you will be standing for the whole ride.

I am not sure about Cinque Terra. I just bought a eurail pass and my travel agent said that when she booked it (10 days ago) they were offering 2 free days of a rental car. We don't have need for a car so we declined the offer. TOO BAD!

Google "eurail pass" and you will find a few websites that have the train schedules. The scheduels will tell you what is possible and when. You can purchase "point to point" tickets or a pass. However, in addition to our passes we also had to purchase reservations- I am not sure if that is the same with point to point tickets. If you buy a pass, read the rules- many of them require you to validate them before you take your first train. You have to go to the ticketing area of the train station and find a desk that validates eurail passes or your pass is worth nothing and you'll have to buy a ticket on the train. (Speaking from experience!)

good luck and have a great trip- we are flying into milan on 7/6 and will also be taking a train to Florence.

posts: 16
reviews: 1
2. Re: Tuscany and Florence from Milan

Thanks picklepiepeanut! I forgot how important train reservations are in Italy.

Now, has anyone stayed at either the Hotel Palazzo Galletti-Residenza D'Epoca or Hotel Boccaccio in Florence? In a previous forum there was advice not to stay near the train station. Hotel Boccaccio is located NW on Via della Scala 59-- is that too close to the ugly train station neighborhoods? And I want to be in the center of all sites.... not at the very far end.

Thanks much!

posts: 21,544
reviews: 29
3. Re: Tuscany and Florence from Milan

For train schedules and reservations, look into trenitalia.it. They have an english part as well.

If you want Cinque Terre, try and see if you can get a train from Milan to Genova, and from there maybe a bus to the Cinque Terre, or carry on with local trains. Then you can carry on south towards Florence, and travel back straight from Florence to Milan.

Another time-saving solution could be to rent a car from the airport, drive from Milan to the Cinque Terre, travel to Florence, hand the car in Florence (you really have no use for in in town), and take a train back to Milan. Try nova.co.uk or Auto Europa for rental prices. I use the first and in this forum there are good recommendations for the second. From Milano Central Train Station (Milano Centrale) you have busses to the airports (look under http://www.sea-aeroportimilano.it/).

I have not stayed in either the hotels you mention.

Enjoy your visit!!

Fairfield...
posts: 25
reviews: 22
4. Re: Tuscany and Florence from Milan

I don't know either of those hotels but I would agree that staying near the train station would not be my first choice. The neighborhood can be a little less polished than other parts of the city. The city however, is small enough that you can stay anywhere and walk to what ever you want to see with no problem. For points of reference, I lived in Fiesole for a few months while in college and would take a bus into town that dropped me in Piazza San Marco. From there I would walk to Piazza Santa Spirito which is across the river by the Piti Palace. The walk would take about 20 minutes. My experience with hotels in Florence has been limited to college-age pensiones. The past few times I have been in that area we have been renting houses in Tuscany and driving into the city.

Fairfield...
posts: 25
reviews: 22
5. Re: Tuscany and Florence from Milan

I just looked at Via Della Scala on a map and in from my own experience, that would be too close to the train station for me. When I studied there, I had to go to Santa Maria Novella quite often and always found myself mobbed with gypsies. Having said that, I never felt in danger of anything more than being pick-pocketed. I should note that this was 12 years ago and the city has become more populated with tourists than when I was living there. Each time I visit I am stunned at how many tourists are filling up the city. So, areas that were previously not well suited for tourist hotels may have become so in the past decade.