Tuscany is truly a magical place to rent a car and just drive around, and for some to hire a driver. The rolling hills, the hairpin turns, the slamming on of the breaks, the weaving in and out of traffic. It’s enough to make one sick. Literally. Behind a dumpster in Radda-in-Chianti. The tomatoes I had for lunch in Florence seemed a little sour but I didn’t quite realize how sour until or masterful driver of the sprinter van made his way at record speed on curves he knew well. I am prone to being a little green around the edges when I’m not the one behind the wheel and the car gets too hot but these tomatoes finally pushed me over the edge. We had made it all the way into Radda and we were parking when all hell broke loose. Why yes, I did have a group of 16 with me. Thank you for asking.
It was this fateful trip that I discovered TravelGum at the farmacia. I’d tried Dramamine at home before but it didn’t work. I didn’t get drowsy, I still got ill. It was like I took a Tic Tac. The TravelGum helps me a lot more. However, be warned, it can numb your tongue. This isn’t the best thing to be chewing on the way to the winery but it’s better than leaning against a row of vines wishing you had.
For getting directly to Tuscany, you have 2 main options. Florence (FLR) would be your connection from the international hubs and Pisa (PSA) from the budget European airlines. As of this writing, taking the train from Pisa to Florence (or vice versa) is a bit of a pain with luggage. They are reconstructing the track that goes to the airport so you must get off at one stop and take a bus the rest of the journey. Knowing this, I planned on taking one of the bus services from the Florence train station to Pisa. I had planned on booking Terravision and I had checked their schedule. I arrived at the train station and could not find their service window. I asked at the travel agency in the waiting area and she said they went bankrupt. The day before. Terravision’s website currently says “route suspended.” The service I ended up taking was called Autostradale. Plan a lot of extra time if you are getting to Pisa for a flight. The stop was was at the end of track 15, out the door and down the street. I only found it by following other people.
There are an abundance of little train stops all over Italy. Just to make life more confusing, there are 2 stations in Florence. Santa Maria Novella is the usual hub but you could also book a train from Campo di Marte. It all depends on the route, so mind your ticket! The stations are far enough apart to make you miss your train if you’ve made a mistake.
The main bus station of Florence is right next to the train station. Your best bet for getting to Siena is by bus. Yes, they both have train stations but the Siena station is a bit outside of town. The bus will drop you off right in Piazza Gramsci and you walk right on into town.