Jun 9th, 2002, 09:51 PM
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60ish female thinking of a 6 week stay in Tuscany this fall and I want to have a car to do the hilltowns in a leisurely manner. I've driven in other countries-- no problems. But so many posters talk about how importantit is to have a navigator for this area. Am I being unrealistic? I'd love your honest opinions, especially anyone else who has done this alone. Thanks. Pat
Jun 9th, 2002, 11:32 PM
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Hi Pat -- I have not done this alone, but I would. I have driven around Tuscany on 3 separate trips (with a friend), and have found it fairly easy to get around. Of course, get yourself a GOOD map! There are only 2 really confusing things. First, there are blue roads and green roads, and you have to know whether you want the expressway or the local road. (Worst case scenario it takes you a lot longer to get where you are going.) Second, there are some larger towns where you can get really lost trying to get back to the autostrada. This was our worst experience, mostly because it was pretty late at night and no one around to ask directions. If you make only daytime trips initially until you learn your way around you should be fine. And in my opinion, you will have a much more interesting experience with your own car. You will see little villages and grand vistas that you would otherwise miss. You can stay in places like San Gimignano after the tour buses leave -- the town changes completely.
Six weeks -- I am green with envy! Somewhere on this site is posting of favorite small towns in Tuscany. I thought it had great recommendations on it. See if you can find it.
Jun 10th, 2002, 12:54 AM
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Pat,I am in Rome now after just finishing up a few days in Tuscany. I was with a friend and this was the first time I had rented a car. We did get lost but eventually figured things out a little better. I am sure for the length of time you are there that you will have no problem. We stopped to ask directions and generally got what we needed that way. Be sure to book the Ahlbergo Giglio in Montalcino, wonderful rooms for only 52 euro per night. It was my favorite.
Jun 10th, 2002, 08:08 AM
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Hi Pat:
My opinion for what it's worth, having done this many times with a navigator.

If I was alone I wouldn't drive at night except in areas you become familiar with or on the autostrada since signs are often very dificult to see.

Buy a copy of "Atlante Stradale Italia" published by Instituto Geografico DeAgostini map. Well worth the investment.

Opt for an automatic transmission (more expensive) unless you are very competent on a manual transmission. Lots of hairpins, blind corners, super narrow road, mountains, etc.

And lastly, on our most recent trip we had the automatic navigation system in our brand new nissan from Hertz. This was invaluable since we immediately knew when we made a wrong turn and could correct it--something a map can not do!

Have fun!!!

Jun 10th, 2002, 09:23 PM
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To Marilyn, Debbie (especially for the hotel rec), and Cody (can that map be purchased here or only in Italy?) for your terrific ideas and suggestions. Thanks. Still hoping, 'tho, to hear from a female who has driven this alone. (I'm not a wimp--really.) Pat
Jun 13th, 2002, 09:56 AM
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I purchased the map at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, CA at Rand McNally
Travel accessories, Phone: 714 545-9907. Check out "Villa Lucia" at Lucy is a wonderful American woman that moved to Italy. She is a fantastic hostess and her place is beautiful, much, much, more so than the pix on the website. All her rooms have private bath and she also has little apartments for rent longer term. It would be nice to have an advisor close by if you are planning a long stay alone.
Jun 13th, 2002, 11:14 AM
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Hi Pat!

i wouldn't hesitate to drive Tuscany alone. I drove the Loire Valley area alone & didn't get lost any more than I did in Tuscany with a navigator. Most of the roads are very well marked.

go for it, have fun!
Jun 13th, 2002, 11:26 AM
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Hi Pat. Having a navigator who can read maps well and help look out for signs is *always* helpful but I think you'll do fine on your own. You may have a small problem here or there but I wouldn't let that possibility stop you from driving solo and exploring the Tuscan hilltowns.
Jun 13th, 2002, 11:48 AM
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Hi Pat!
Just returned from Italy. Dive right in - the driving is fine! I'm a late 50ish female with US driving experience only. Picked up trusty FIAT at Fiumicino and drove to Tuscany.My only problem - finding reverse drive. Signs are well posted; Italian drivers aggressive but good! Try for pointers on parking, driving etiquette, the autostrada and buying gas.
Jun 13th, 2002, 08:40 PM
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Thanks again to everyone. These ideas really help. Cody: I live very close to South Coast Plaza, so... WATCH OUT ITALY--- HERE I COME !!! Pat.
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