View Full Version : Is there a way to see Pisa and Tuscany???

April 23rd, 2005, 08:00 AM
I am wondering is there a way to see the Tower of Pisa and Tuscany as well.....
Originally we had planned to do the a tour of Pisa and a wine regions. But now we fear that the wine tour might not be worth it, so we much rather see the Tuscan region.
But I can't find anyone doing this. I have checked with the cruise line and private tours. Everyone is doing Pisa and Florence.
I know we can do a tour with RCCL to see the Tuscan country side but it is all day and I really want to see the Tower of Pisa too.

April 23rd, 2005, 09:33 AM
Many people feel that the Tower of Pisa is just about the only thing to see in Pisa - if at all. To see what I mean simply google Pisa in "images" and see what else you see.

A suggestion to hopefully help your decision is to start by saying what it is exactly that you want to do or enjoy. You cannot see the whole of Tuscany in a day or from a coach. So make some easy decisions. Do you want to go to a big city as say a part of a tour and see a bit of it. Florence might be your best bet. Do you want to be independent and go somewhere peaceful for a day to soak in the local atmosphere. Lucca by taxi from Livorno might be your answer - popping into Pisa on the way back.

Your starting point I suggest has to be a clearer idea and statement of what you like and how you want to spend your day.


April 23rd, 2005, 09:51 AM
You can definitely see a part of the Tuscany area and Pisa on a private tour if you choose that option. We used Papillon tours (http://www.papillonservice.com/index.htm) last May and had a wonderful tour. A private tour operator will be glad to help you customize an itinerary for the day. I have a strong preference for private tours over shore excursions in ports that we cannot do on our own because the private tour experience has been far superior due to the time savings gained from not having to wait for large groups to eat, bathroom breaks, load and unload, etc. We also have more interaction with the locals on private tours as opposed to shore excursions (best interaction is on your own). Those are just a couple of the benefits of private tours but bottom line is that you will see a lot more. I think a private driver for Livorno is a good option.

There are some risks with private tour such as the fact that the ship won't wait if you're late, but our opinion is that this risk is practically nonexistent if you use a tour operator who has a back-up vehicle in the event of problems and has experience dealing with traffic issues in the port you are visiting. Of course you are the only one that can determine your comfort level with the private tour risks.

Maybe reading information on these boards and on the tour operator's web sites will help you to narrow down your many choices for your tour. Unless you have 4 or more passengers in your van (tour costs will vary based on the itinerary you choose), the cost will be higher than an shore excursion sold by the ship

Hope you have a great time,

April 23rd, 2005, 10:22 AM
This is really hard, I can't decide between the all day tour in San Gimignano and Volterra and Pisa/Florence.

If I could have it my way I would combine San Gimignano and Volterra and Pisa, but it seems as it is not possible, due to the distance. I emailed a private driver to see if he can do this and if he is even available at this point.

Although DH and I have never been to Florence before (or Italy for that matter), we are not sure if we would enjoy Florence. From what I've read about the Florence tours, most people just go to the museums and the Duomo. I need to read more about FLorence and see what things it has to offer.
We are the kind of people that would rather spend our day on the country side soaking up the culture and the amazing views.

On the other hand, I would like to see the Tower of Pisa (DH does not care much for it). I keep reading that there is not much to see there other than the tower and the duomo. But even if it is to look at it for 5 minutes and take a picture, I will be happy with that.

I don't know, but the more I think about it and read the reviews about RCCL's San Gimignano and Volterra tour, the more incline I am on doing this.

So many things to do......so little time.
I told DH that the good news among all of this is that we have no choice but to plan another trip to Italy in the future :D

April 23rd, 2005, 11:33 AM
I very highly recommend San Gimignano. It is just wonderful. I haven't been to Volterra so can't comment on that. I love Florence but personally don't think it's a good option for a day tour because there's just so much to see. The views in the countryside of Tuscany are very beautiful. I liked Pisa, but we didn't spend a lot of time there either. It think a quick stop there is worth it, and it's right off the highway, so that's pretty easy to do.

Hope you have a great trip,

April 23rd, 2005, 12:14 PM
DH left it all up to me, so after much thought I decided to do the San Gimiagno and Volterra tour.

I have read so many wonderful reviews on this region of Tuscany, I could not stand the thought of missing out on it. As much as I would like to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, I don't think it is something I would regret not seeing as much as Tuscany.

Thank you all for your advise!!

April 23rd, 2005, 01:48 PM
I personally think you made the right choice -- although if I was in your shoes, I probably would have gone with a private guide so I could see ALL I wanted to see.

I've been all through Tuscany several times (and will be there again in a couple weeks, on my own cruise). San Gimignano and Volterra are two of my favorite places in Tuscany, other than Siena. Volterra is truly wonderful -- they have fascinating Etruscan ruins, and I adore the alabaster craftwork, for which Volterra is known. I've started a collection of small alabaster boxes, and pick a few up every time I'm there.

It is true what you heard about Pisa -- it's really a nondescript Italian city other than the tower, which, while it is an interesting sight, isn't worth the time it takes to get there when you have such a short amount of time in Tuscany. If you are ever able to go back there on a land vacation, then you can check it out, and also take your time enjoying Florence and giving it the time it deserves.

I too prefer to be out seeing the sights in the countryside over being in a city. Enjoy!


April 23rd, 2005, 08:35 PM
I really enjoyed Tuscany and the smaller towns rather than Florence and Pisa. Me, who lives across from a Comfort Inn, Wendy's and K-Mart!!! :-)

I was in Italy for 17 days last fall, we stayed in Umbertide, drove all over and you just can't beat the small towns. Florence was fine but I enjoyed Sienna, San Gimignano and other small places better. I was glad to see David, I felt the Effuzzi (sp) museum was a waste of valuable time, and we paid quite a bit for tickets to get in, waited in line, etc.! Pisa was o.k. but I wouldn't do it again, very touristy and very hyped.