Getting to Tuscany
Getting around in Tuscany
There are buses and trains around, but they really only connect the major towns and popular areas. If you don't hire a car, you'll be highly restricted to the busiest and most touristy areas, and although you're going to want to see some of the big sights, that's not really what Tuscany is about. So, hire a car. Honestly, driving around in Tuscany really isn't at all scary or difficult, and this way you'll be able to explore all the small out-of-the-way places that make Tuscany so charming and magical.
Before you leave...
Around 1 month before you are due to arrive we'll send you a document with instructions of how to get here along with a few other useful tips. Please do yourself a big favour: print off this document and bring it with you. 90% of those who get lost forgot bring it with them. This page is a summary of those instructions, plus more info, such as travel directions from all the major Italian airports.
Don't forget to hire a car. You'll need it to get to and from Patrignone, and without it you'll miss out on the vast majority of the real treasures of Tuscany, the stunning scenery, the beautiful hill-top towns, the country restaurants and the local wineries of course.
Travelling to Tuscany by air
You should be able to fly directly to Pisa or Florence. Pisa is usually better for the low-cost carriers, though Meridiana and BA have recently dropped their prices to Florence. We are conveniently situated within a short travelling distance of both these airports; the drive will take you around 1 1/4 hours from Pisa, 45 mins from Florence. If you are flying to another airport, don't worry, none of them are that far from us, with Rome and Milan just over 3 hours away. We have listed the travel times, maps and driving directions from all the main airports below.
Hiring a car in Tuscany
We would advise you to collect a car at the airport, and it is generally cheaper to book your car hire online in advance, online.
Recent experience suggest you should avoid the big name hire companies like Hertz and Avis. These companies seem to spend the least on maintenance and have therefore provided our guests with biggest problems. We've had some horrendous problems with these companies in the last couple of years, compounded buy some atrocious customer service.
Please let us know how you get on so we can keep this list updated.
Alternatively, here's a car hire rate calculator we've used for some time that seems to work well.
Here are some other car hire sites we have found (though we are not making any recommendations here):
- Goldcar - actually recommended by guests in 2014, which is rare. Thanks Rod.
- Rhino Car Hire - all inclusive prices
- Car Rentals
- Car Hire Search - search portal, seems easy to use
Maps and directions from the major airports to Podere Patrignone
- From Pisa International Airport, Galileo Galilei - 75 minutes
- From Florence International Airport - 75 minutes
- From Bologna International Airport - 90 minutes
- From Milano Malpensa Airport - 3 hours 50 minutes
- From Milano Linate Airport - 3 hours 20 mins
- From Rome Leonardo da Vinci Airport, Fiumicino - 3 hours 15mins
- From Rome Ciampino Airport - 3 hours
- From Venice Marco Polo Airport - 3 hrs 10 mins
Old fashioned directions to Podere Patrignone
Yes, you have a shiny new smartphone and you're desperate to use it. But if you want to make sure you won't get lost, use these old-fashioned step-by-step instructions, and you won't go wrong. That's a promise.
Step-by-step directions from Pisa Airport
- Exit Pisa Airport, turn right towards Firenze (Florence) and take FI-PI-LI superstrada (free motorway/highway) to Florence.
- Drive for 30-40 minutes on the superstrada, then take the exit Ginestra Fiorentina (not the Monetelupo exit).
- At the roundabout turn right; the signs say Cerbaia, San Casciano and FI-SI (the Florence-to-Siena superstrada).
- You will pass a cantina on the LHS saying ´Mario Borghi´ and eventually come to Cerbaia. Follow the signs to Siena; there is a tricky cross-roads in the town centre like an s-bend: go left then immediately right (effectively straight on) to Firenze-Siena and then head for San Casciano and Siena.
- At San Casciano just after you leave the town take a right turn to the Siena superstrada (a sharp turn on the right without warning).
- ** Drive along the superstrada until you reach the San Donato exit. Turn left towards Castellina and San Donato.
- You are only 10km away now. Do not go into San Donato but stay on the main road and you will by-pass most of the town. The road will lead through a few houses towards a narrow single lane stretch beside a church. Once through this continue along the road. You will pass 2 vineyards on the LHS - Casa Emma and La Ripa. Remember these for later in the week.
- Have you noticed some distance markers by the side of the road? They appear every 100m. The road twists and turns and climbs steadily uphill until you see a sign signalling the end of Florence and start of the Province of Siena. The distance marker numbers change here. Now keep an eye on them.
- 300m later (at distance-marker iii/5) there is an unmade road on the RHS with a sign saying Sante Dame, Marciano and Localita Patrignone. Take this turning. Want to see what the turn-off looks like? Try this link.
- Follow the road slowly for over 1km, past a big villa on your LHS until the winery Sante Dame which has railings on the left. The next turn on the right has a big wooden Podere Patrignone sign, so turn down this road to reach us.
As an alternative to the slightly tricky bit between Ginestra Fiorentina and San Casciano (above) you can stay on the FI-PI-LI until you reach the A1 outside Florence, take the A1 south towards Roma until you reach the IMPRUNETA exit. Leave the motorway, pay the toll (around €1), and when you get to the roundabout, turn 1st right, following the signs to Siena "4 corsie" (4 lanes) via the superstrada. Then follow the directions from ** above. It doesn't work out much further, and might be a little easier, especially at night. However, avoid this route at rush-hour.
Directions from Florence Airport
- If you are coming from Florence airport, take the Autostrada A1 towards Roma and make sure you take a ticket at the toll booth. Then drive down the motorway until you reach IMPRUNETA exit (Certosa).
- Leave the motorway here and pay the toll (around €1), and when you get to the roundabout, take the first exit, following the signs to Siena "4 corsie" (4 lanes) via the superstrada (free motorway/highway).
- Then follow the directions from ** above.
Directions from Castellina in Chianti (or Poggibonsi)
- Get on the SR429 towards Poggibonsi (or Castellina in Chianti) and keep going until you get to mile-marker V/27. Turn up the hill, and when you get to the top after 100m, stay right.
- After another 100m you should see a big wooden “Podere Patrignone” sign on the left. You're here!
Directions from other places
If you are already in Italy and driving to us, your route will depend where you are coming from (of course!). Make sure you have a good map of the area. You should be able to head to Florence, Siena, or Castellina in Chianti, and follow the directions above. Or you can always use one of the Google maps from one of the airports (above) and just change the start point to wherever it is you are coming from.
Tip: avoid cross-country routes, especially at night. Always head to Florence or Siena along major routes first.
SatNavs, smartphones & tablets
Have one? Bring it. It´ll make your life here much easier when it comes to navigating. If you have Google Maps on your device then you can 'cache' the local maps you need so you won't need a data plan to access them while on the move. If you bring your ToTom, make sure you have Italian maps loaded. If you have a Garmin, beware. For some reason these devices can be a bit more temperamental in these hills, so use a backup map.
If you want to add us as a 'point of interest' or Google favourite, the coordinates to enter are:
|D.D||n 43.4957 e 11.2386|
|D M.M||n 43° 29.743' e 11° 14.315'
|D M S|
This will take you to the top of our drive. Just follow the road own to us.
Here's a Google map if you'd like a closer look.
But a good bit of advice is to buy a good local map when you get here, or buy one online. A real map will put places and distances into perspective, and you'll build a better mental picture of where everything is. Plus it'll help you spot when your SatNav is taking you on a detour. Don't think this doesn't happen. We have people spend 3 hours on a 45 minute journey because they relied on their SatNav too heavily.
Travelling to Tuscany by rail
If you are travelling through Europe by rail on your route to Italy, then why not take the chance and stop off at a few different places along the way?
Try this site for timetables and ticket prices - very useful.
Driving to Italy across Europe
If you have decided to bring your car with you, take some time to wander through the breathtaking areas of Europe and Italy. The motorway networks are convenient and easy to use, though be ready to pay a toll on most of them.
Speed cameras and Traffic Limitation Zones (ZTLs) in Florence, Siena and Pisa
Here is a detailed article that says everything that needs to be said on the subject, but some key points are:
- Don't drive though a sign near these town centres that have warning signs and cameras mounted on them. If it looks scary, it probably is.
- You'll find 2 maps of the Florence ZTL here and here. Not great, are they? The Pisa one is worse.
- If you see a large grey camera-like box by the side of the road, slow down. Stop. Ignore the car horns and check. Ditto if you see police cars.
- You can get up-to-date speed camera locations for your GPS here.
Tom, Judi, Trish, and Jim - USA 2014