Tuscany (or Toscana, in Italian) is one of the most famous regions in the western world. You can hardly walk through a grocery story without seeing a theme influenced by this region. This region houses some of the most iconic symbols in all of Italy within its boarders. (I feel like I say that a lot, but it’s too true.) The capital city of the region is Florence (or Firenze), but most people, if given the opportunity, will venture further outside the city. Amongst the hill towns and castles there is probably one city more famous than them all. Siena. I went to Siena for the first time a few years back. It’s an amazing city, and one I recommend seeing. But, just like everything in Italy, getting there was not very self-explanatory.
This post calls out three things to help clear up any ambiguity in the process of traveling from Florence to Siena. None are earth shattering, but are all things I wish I knew before I set out on my journey.
Below are three insights to give you an edge when traveling to Siena.
- Leaving Florence. The easiest point to launch your journey from is Florence. The heart of Siena is not serviced by the local train system – Trenitalia. Therefore, unless you take a (rental) car, the only way to get there is by bus. I didn’t think to check into this when I went the first time, and it cost me an entire day of rethinking my logistics. At the trains station, I went to three biglietto veloce (the self purchasing ticket stations) before I stood in line at the ticket window for 45 minutes. After wasting a good hour and a half, the lady at the window, explained the situation, and sent me to the bus station. The bus station is located across the street to the northwest (really kitty-corner) from the train station. It’s tucked behind several walls, and a building, not easily seen in plane view.
- Cost. The SITA bus company services Tuscany. The tickets to Siena from Florence, are very inexpensive, €7 each way, if memory services me correctly. And, the daily bus schedule is flexible. There are several ticket types to choose from which get you to Siena. It can be hard to know exactly which one to purchase. The bus station itself is a zoo. And, in situations like that, it can be easiest to just follow the crowd. There are handfuls of people going every which way (tourists and locals alike) just follow the group headed toward Siena.
- Slow and fast, by Bus. The buses themselves are more ambiguous than one would think. There are two types of buses, slow and fast. The slow bus can take up to two hours, or more. While the fast bus, can get you there in a little over 45 minutes. The words directing your toward each bus are incredibly deceiving. The three words that indicate the slow bus are ordinarie, diretta, and accelerate. These slow buses take you on a very beautiful, and intimate ride through Tuscany. It’s a great way to see a little more of rural life – if you have the time. The fast bus says rapide, and takes you there almost directly. Mind the bus display.
These three insights were taken directly from my travel notes. If you have any insights you found helpful from your travels, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.