Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Enjoy the Tuscan Countryside for only Euro 2,40


If you want to enjoy the Tuscan countryside, but didn't rent a car you're in luck.  This is a great option that delivers Bella Toscana without the white knuckle driving that you would otherwise have to endure to see the bending cypress trees or the wise old olive orchards.

Here is how to take a 1/2 day trip from the center of Florence by bus and be back in time for dinner for only Euro 2,40.

1.  Starting with your back to the Duomo facing Via Del Proconsolo with the Museo Dell'Opera del Duomo in front of you walk to your right to the first bus stop you run into.  It is right in front of a little restaurant that will likely be closed during the day.

2.  Wait for bus 23 A Sorgane to come by and pick you up.  Don't forget to stamp your ticket right away in the little yellow box on board the bus.  If you don't and get caught it is a Euro 43,00 fine that must be paid in cash immediately.

3.  Take bus 23 A for about 20-30 minutes to Bagno a Ripoli.  Ask the driver to let you know when you get to the Rodolico stop.

4.  Get off bus 23 A at the Rodolico stop.  It is a small stop with a little cafe right out front.  It will have a circular round-a-bout in front.

5.  You will likely have a few minutes to wait for your small connection bus so go into the cafe and grab a beer, espresso, or a prosecco and sit out front on one of the chairs.

6.  Bus 48A to Villamagna will come soon or later.  Before you get on walk up to the front door and ask the driver, Villamagna?  If yes, hop on and enjoy the ride up the hill to Villamagna. 

7.  The view is amazing.  You'll enjoy the valley around Villamagna with olive orchards, vineyards, amazing views of Florence off in the distance, and enjoy the cooler temperature of the hills only a few minutes from Florence.

8.  Hop off the bus in the piazza a Villamagna.  It's the last stop so you can't miss it.  There is a small cafe in town.  Go there and grab lunch and an espresso.  It is very affordable.  For 2 panini made with artisan cheese, Tuscan bread, and salami, and a bottle of wine you'll only spend around Euro 14,00 (mostly for the wine).  Sit at a table out front.

9.  After lunch wander around town snapping pictures.  Next to the cafe on the left you'll see a small gravel road.  Follow it around.  The view from the hillside is breathtaking.  

10.  If you want to stay for dinner the local restaurant Antico Forno is fantastic.  The Chef Owner is very nice and his lovely wife is the server.  They speak little to no English, but that's ok...you're in Italy.  You can sit outside under a canopy and enjoy some great Tuscan dining at great prices.  If you stay for dinner be sure arrange a taxi or limo to pick you up before you go.  The restaurant can call on your behalf too.  It is better to call a cab and have this arranged ahead of time so you don't have to wait too long or get stuck in Villamagna.

11.  Getting back to Florence is a piece of cake.  Take 48A from the piazza in Villamagna to the  Rodolico stop in Bagno a Ripoli.  

12.  Grab another espresso or bottle of water from the cafe as you wait for your connection.

13.  Hop on bus 23A back to Florence.  Be sure to stamp your ticket!

14.  Get off bus 23A in front of Santa Croce and enjoy my In Situ audio tour of the burial church of the great Michelangelo.

15.  Enjoy the ride and remember to feed your soul!

1 comment:

ilovedogs said...

I loved this! We're planning a trip to Italy, but it won't happen this year - the distance and costs associated with travelling from Australia means that regular trips to Europe are impossible for the average Australian. Every weekend I download the latest podcast from your project and thoroughly enjoy listening to them, you've given me some really good ideas. Good travel podcasts are hard to find, I'm still trying to locate an Australian equivalent. Keep up the great work!