2 Chicks Driving From Rome to Tuscany...

Old Aug 17th, 2009, 09:54 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 251
Are you spending any time in Rome or just flying in and picking up a car? We rented through Kemwel and picked up in Rome at Via Veneto (actual location is Via Ludovisi 38 and happens to be a Europcar franchise). Escape from the city was very easy especially heading toward Tuscany.

Have been to Tuscany several times and have used the following as a base:

Trip 1: Montefollonico (Locanda La Costa) for Montepuliciano, Montalcino and St. Antimo (abbey) and parts south; and Greve for parts central (great restaurant in Ama). Check out Karen Brown.com for places and routes.

Trip 2: Castellina in Chianti as a base -- traveled to Florence (drove to train station in Poggibonsi and took train for a day trip), San Gimiganano, Sienna, and meandered throughout Chianti region.

Trip 3: Badia a Coltibuono as a base. Drove to Montevarchi and took train to Florence for day trip. Also on way from Rome to Badia, stopped in Orvieto -- it really is spectacular.

If you are picking up car at Rome airport (FCO) plan a stop at Ostia Antica, the old Roman port town full of ruins. Have been there twice and will go back again. It can be a full day trip if the weather is nice. If staying in Rome for a few days, there are very simple and easy train connections to Ostia Antica.

moo is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2009, 09:39 AM
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Thanks for all the info...!

Yes, Moo, we are staying in Rome for a few days before heading to Tuscany. We are planning to take some earlier advice and get on a train out of Rome to Chiusi, or possibly Orvieto and renting our car there. Our home base for our several days in Tuscany is still not set.

Do most of the towns in Tuscany have some sort of night life? That would help us to decide. We would like to be able to go out in the evenings... Restaurants, etc...

After Tuscany, we drive to Florence, return the car, and have a few more days exploring there...
pezlie is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2009, 08:35 AM
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They all have restaurants!

Nightlife? Well . . . Of all the places I have stayed, nightlife is really at a minimum, except for the restaurants. There is not really "club" or bar nightlife unless you are in the larger cities(Rome -- yes and Florence -- yes.) I would guess Sienna might have nightlife too but I haven't been there at night. San Gimiganano is so touristy everything stays open late. (Actually best time to visit is after 5 p.m. when all the tourist busses leave).

Tuscany is pretty rural and by the time you have gone all day sightseeing or wine tasting you will be wiped out.

In Italy and in Tuscany. . . there is always great food everywhere (believe it or not even at the AutoGrill!) and restaurants are open for dinner. Staff at the smaller hotels, inns etc. are a good source for locating the local yummy restaurant and will call ahead for you. Often times, they will have a great restaurant on site and always are willing to share their favorite locations to eat. Dinner in Tuscany is their "nightlife."

Unlike the U.S. you can linger at your restaurant table for as long as you like. They are not waiting to turn over the tables and they want you to enjoy that extra glass of wine or after dinner drink after dinner.
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 09:25 AM
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We stayed on a farm but friends we met who stayed in town in Montalcino said that things got pretty noisey each evening in the outside cafe in the piazza. I loved having drinks and nibbles there in the evening but never was there after dark.
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Old Aug 29th, 2009, 07:44 PM
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Hello All,
We are now planning to pick up our car at Termini in Rome, and then drive it in to Tuscany (staying in San Quirico)...After a few days with the car in Tuscany, we plan to make our way to Florence, where we don't need the car. My new query is : Where should we drop off our car? Near San Quirico? Or, Is there a town in northern Tuscany to drop it off before driving into Central Florence? And then we can hop on a bus/train/taxi?
Hard stuff to figure out without good advice!
pezlie is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2009, 06:01 AM
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Drop at the airport in Florence---NW of town and easy access.
Do not drive into the city.
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Old Aug 30th, 2009, 07:54 AM
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For a first time visitor, I heartily agree with dropping your car off at the airport. You can then either take a taxi or the shuttle which drops you off at the train station in the center of Florence. Taxi is about 25 euro and the shuttle is about 5 euro pp.
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Old Aug 30th, 2009, 08:00 PM
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On the other hand, we had no problem at all dropping the car at the Avis location in Florence itself. Saved the taxi fare.
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Old Aug 30th, 2009, 09:38 PM
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Hi Pezlie, since you are picking up the car at Termini, which is where my friend I had problems leaving from, just make sure you have gps or you have them give you VERY good detailed directions on getting out of Rome. You may not have any difficulty at all but better to be prepared.
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Old Aug 30th, 2009, 11:23 PM
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Nightlife in Tuscany? Yes. But only in the larger towns and cities. The smaller towns, not much. Essentially the same as in the US and Canada that way. Look for an enoteca (wine bar), they often will have musicians in for weekends and the food is generally excellent.

Siena like all Tuscan cities has city parking within walking distance of the centro. For Siena I like the Parking garage near the Porto Tufo, from there you can be in the Piazza del Campo in ten or fifteen minutes walking.
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Old Aug 31st, 2009, 11:38 PM
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Thanks JenV --I told my friend very explicitly about your particular experience, but she insisted that we'll figure it out and that it will all be a part of "the adventure", so Termini it is. But, I'm thinking that instead of reserving the car in advance, we'll wing it and see if once we're there we might decide to do it differently.
And, thanks all for the advice about dropping off the car in Florence. I think i'll make my Via Michelin itinerary from San Quirico to the Florence airport!
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 09:00 AM
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You need to reserve the car in advance. If you wait until you are there you will spend a lot more money for the rental. Much cheaper to reserve in advance. Make the decision now and book- kemwel.com or autoeurope.com.

Lately, Kemwel has had the best prices with zero deductables.
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 05:32 PM
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Drop the car at the airport in Florence and then take a cab into the city. VERY EASY both to find the airport car rental return and to get transportation into the city.

In Rome, I personally would not pick it up at Termini. It is a Zoo! Look at a map of Rome. Go on to Kemwel or Auto Europe sites and look at a list of available pick up locations and mapquest them to find the one closest to the A1 going north toward Tuscany. The easiest place we found to pick up the car in the north part of Rome and to get us nearly directly to the highway to go to Tuscany was the Via Ludovisi (also referred to as Via Veneto) location where there are numerous car rental places stationed (Kemwel and Autoeurope book through major rental companies to get you the best deal). It literally was three streets to get to the main road out of Rome to pick up the highway.

Although a cab ride to Termini to pick up the car may be shorter and less expensive, the experienced cab driver is driving familiar streets to get you to the north part of the center of town to Via Ludovisi. The GPS is a great idea, but, when the voice in the box pronounces an Italian street name it is very confusing especially in traffic not to mention Rome traffic which is a breed in and of itself. Plan on using a hard copy map as well.

You must book ahead of time. Once you are there, you are at the mercy of the car rental company, the sky is the limit for charging you a rental fee. Please, if you have never been to Italy before and have therefore never rented a car there before, make it easy on yourself and go through Kemwel or Autoeurope. There are many extra things that you have to have included on your rental in Italy and these companies take care of all of that. With Kemwel, you can book a car and keep checking back to see if the rate drops and if it does, they will honor the lower rate. Many credit cards will not cover your insurance on a rental car in Italy specifically but Kemwel and Autoeurope will cover everything you need.

Once, we pre-rented through Thrifty and when we got to rental counter at Rome airport there was a "Thrifty Representative" they didn't have a Thrifty company in Rome just another rental company who represented them. The clerk proceeded to charge us an additional $600 just in case we "killed someone." After having done a lot of research prior to the trip, I smelled a scam and we were at the mercy of the "Thrifty Representative." We scrambled and canceled the reservation on the spot and a lovely man at Avis helped us to get a rental that matched the price of our original order with no added "just in case you kill someone" charge. So once there, they sort of have you on a hook. Be careful. I learned my lesson on that trip and have never questioned it again.
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 06:28 PM
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This is great advice- take it!
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 09:58 PM
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Moo (and Zoecat, of course , thank you so much! Letting me know the specific name of a good pickup location in Rome makes all the difference in the world. When I was on the Kemwel website, the choices of pickup locations was a tad overwhelming. I did get a voucher # from them, but did not give them a CC# to secure it, thankfully. I'll re-do the reservation with the pickup from Via Ludovisi! You rock.
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Old Mar 6th, 2010, 10:30 AM
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Hi. I was wondering if you already made the trip. I want to do the same I want to know how it was and any other advice.

I will be arriving at Rome on March 24 and be there for three days. Then I want to go to Tuscany just like you. I would really appreciate recommendations.
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 05:02 PM
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Most Italians eat dinner after 8PM,which can take an hour or two. We always try to eat outside,weather permitting.Most restaurants have outdoor seating,which gives you a chance to people watch and possibly hear a nearby musician. Afterwords you have to have a gelato while strolling around downtown(Centro)portion of the city.
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