Packed again for our Liguria & Tuscany Road Trip.
This family friendly road trip was made with my sister and her family, who visited from the USA. As we had 2 toddlers and 2 teenagers in our group, it was necessary to plan this trip slightly different. It needed to be a happy itinerary for everybody. It actually went very well.
09 days in June 2018 / 2259km
La Spezia, Liguria /Saturnia, province of Grosseto /Montaione, province of Florence / Mila
Day 1 / Drive to la Spezia
We started our family friendly road trip from home in Valais, Switzerland, drove via the Grand St. Bernard pass down to La Spezia for our 1st night.
There was still a lot of snow at the top of the pass and only 10C. This was quite a refreshing stop for some very quick pictures.
The drive to La Spezia was just a little over 5 hours. We managed with one stop halfway for one hour. Arriving finally at the rental house, we unpacked the cars and decided to head into La Spezia for an ice cream and a wander around.
Ice cream is always top on our daily activities, especially when visiting Italy!
The promenade in La Spezia is very nice. Large yachts are moored on the far side of the famous bridge “Ponte Thaon di Revel”
The kids had their little pedal less bikes with them, which turned out to be perfect. This way they did not need to walk and we covered a large area without any moaning.
Day 2 / Visit Cinque Terre
There is a more detailed itinerary on Cinque Terre on my site, as there is quite a lot of different options and ways to visit.
We took the train to Monterosso where my sister and her family did the hike to the Village of Vernazza.
Our family stayed in Monterossa at the beach. The kids and my husband even went for a little swim. Far too cold for me.
When it was time to join the hikers in Vernazza, we decided to join them with the boat (26 euro). The small village of Vernazza was super crowded, with people waiting for the departure boat and others just siting and having a drink by the port. We boarded the uncrowded boat and enjoyed the cruise all the way to Porto Venere.
The boat still stopped at each of the Cinque Terre villages and it was nice to still see them, even if just from the boat. As it was such a hot day, having the cooling breeze whilst out on the sea was just perfect.
Porto Venere; by the way do not miss it. Perhaps we actually loved it more then the Cinque Terre. There are also boats direct to Porto Venere from La Spezia.
My sister and her family walked up to the castle while we strolled through the beautiful side streets, had an ice cream and just enjoyed the village. Very picturesque with all the colours.
Back on the boat to La Spezia.
Day 3 drive to Saturnia with a stop in Pisa
It was a little over an hours drive to Pisa from La Spezia, so we decided to stop and visit the “Piazza dei Miracoli” the Square of Miracles.
There is a special section about Pisa, how to visit and where to park later on.
We left Pisa around midday and drove down to Saturnia, just a little under 3 hours.
Day 4 / Saturnia and the surrounding
Wow, we knew the accommodation we had chosen for this area would be nice, but in reality it was stunning. Wherever you looked it was all what Tuscany is about. Hillsides as far as you can see.
We all agreed that staying at the house and not going out would have been a satisfactory way to spend our time.
But we decided to make the effort and do some sightseeing. We visited the Saturnia Thermal Waters in the morning and relaxed at the house in the afternoon.
I will let you be the judge of whether you like the thermal waters or not. They were situated only 10min from where we stayed and parking is free of charge. By the springs there is not a lot of shade so best to bring an umbrella. There is also a small restaurant on site.
Day 5 / rest day and Rome
My sister and the family went to Rome for the day. They loved it. We felt that the kids are just a little too small for Rome at the moment.
However if you still would love to visit the City of Rome with your kids then maybe to rent a MiniCar is just the right idea. See how Rosina from the Travel blog “Find the Map” enjoyed a City tour in Rome with kids with a MiniCar.
Instead we had a relaxed morning, went swimming in the pool by the house and visited the nearby village Manciano.
Day 6 / Scenic drive to Montaione via the Val d’Orcia
We left early and headed in the direction of Montepulciano, the great Mediaeval town.
When doing a road trip with lots of scenic routes it is best to make sure you have a map at hand and to not only to rely on the GPS.
I was guiding us through some very small villages, narrow roads and we even had a water crossing on the way. All this made the trip even better and more interesting. We used the Via Michelin Tuscany Road Map.
We stoped at the beautiful mediaeval village of Monticchiello where the famous Tuscany windy road with the Cypress trees is situated. I tried to get a decent shot but you need a drone to make a good photo of it. We tried with our camera, but none of the photos really captured the beauty of this road.
After a stroll through the empty, beautiful village we headed further north direction Montepulciano. The time was flying and we made the decision to skip visiting Montepulciano and just bypass it to reach the Scenic route SP146 which led us to Pienza, where we planned to stop for lunch.
The road passes through forests and hillsides and suddenly, wow there is it. With all it’s towers and it’s beauty, the Village of Montepulciano. Well worth a stop to take it all in.
Honestly, for us, the SP146 to Pienza was not the most scenic route like everyone claimed. It is nice of course, but we had seen nicer even earlier the same day.
We agreed the most stunning part was after Pienza in the Val d’Orcia.
Again it was already a bit late and we decided to take the fast road, the SR2 direction Sienna to reach Montaione. We skipped the whole Gianti region. This is for another time.
Day 7 / Florence.
Another early morning, as we knew it will get too hot in the afternoon to visit Florence.
There are quite a lot of options to park outside the city perimeter. I will explain this on another blog.
We took the tram into the city from Sandicci which is about a 10 min ride. Wow it was crowded at the station. As we had taken our double bike trailer with us so the kids could sit in it when they were tired, it was a bit a struggle to get out of the main station.
We visited the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, quite impressive when you come around the corner and there she is. Just beautiful.
The end of our Florence tour was on the Piazzale Michelangelo, from where you have an amazing view over the city.
A highlight was the Ponte Vecchio just before sunset.
Day 8 / relaxing day
Also very important on a holiday is just to do nothing. We spent the morning by the pool and the afternoon at the playground. Some went and played tennis whilst others went for another ice cream.
Day 9 / Lucca and San Gimignano
Lucca was on our not to be missed list and I made sure we could fit it into our itinerary.
It was an hour drive from Montaione.
The city wall is quite impressive and special. We rented bikes, like a lot of people do and enjoyed a nice bike ride around the whole city wall circle. This was a very nice experience. I have gone more into detail about Lucca on another blog.
On the way home we decided to have our daily ice cream in the popular Mediaeval Village of San Gimignano.
I am so glad we went. This was a perfect place to enjoy one last ice cream do some souvenir shopping before heading back north and then home.
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