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Car rental from Florence and getting from Tuscany to the French Riviera

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We're a mature couple from New Zealand, making our first trip to Italy in June 2013. We're flying into Rome, where we've booked four nights and intend to see the ancient city (my husband is a Roman history buff), then three nights in Naples to see Pompeii and Herculaneum. We plan to travel from Naples to Florence by train, pick up a rental car, then drive to San Casciano in Val di Pesa where we are booked for five nights. We want to soak up the charm of Tuscany then head for the French Riviera.

I understand that Florence can be chaotic, is it possible to hire a car near the railway station (and drive it safely out of the city!), or easier to go out to the airport? We'd like to take the car to Nice, if we can take it over the border, and eventually on to Paris. Would this be possible, or outrageously expensive? Plan B is to drop the car in Genoa then get a train from Genoa to Nice. Plan C, we would drop the car back at Florence and train/fly from there to Nice. Any advice would be warmly appreciated.

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