Lots of visitors to Tuscany would like to be able to visit the great art cities, especially Florence, but would prefer not to stay there, especially during the hot and crowded summer months. Many also do not wish to drive in Florence because of the limited traffic zones, bus lanes and other tiresome traffic issues. Is it possible to stay in the country and still easily visit Florence without a car? Yes, it is. Read on . . .
There are two ways to approach your stay in Tuscany if you’re planning to reside in a smaller town, in a village or in the countryside. One is to be completely without a car and use public transport to get around, while the other is to use your car to explore Chianti and elsewhere in Tuscany, but not to drive into central Florence. I will discuss these two options together.
If you will have a car, you can stay anywhere in the countryside but drive only as far as the nearest bus stop or to a convenient place on the outskirts of Florence, park there and take a bus or preferably the tram into the centre of the city.
So, for example, if you’re staying in Chianti near Greve or Panzano, you can leave your car in town and take the comfortable SITA bus all the way in to Florence. The buses stop at the SMN railway station or nearby, in both cases only a 15 minute slow stroll from the Piazza del Duomo. This option means you don’t have to care about traffic on the way to Florence, but it also means that you’re limited by the timetable – few buses on Sunday, last bus quite early in the evening.
The other option is to deal with the traffic and drive to one of the suburbs of Florence, park and take public transport into town. If you can find your way to Scandicci, there is plenty of parking at the big Ipercoop supermarket there and you can take the tram right toi SMN railyway station.
If you are staying beyond the reach of SITA in the direction of Sienna – for example, in the vicinity of Castellina – drive along the Chiantigiana as far as Greve and leave the car there, taking the SITA bus the remainder of the distance.
If you will not have a car, then you need to stay within walking distance of the bus stop. This can easily be done either by staying right in town or in rural accommodation not too far away. I have discussed this option in detail and listed my recommended vacation rentals and hotels on the Chianti without a car page.
More information on getting around in Chianti – transport tips for your visit to Chianti.