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chrisssy Aug 21st, 2003 10:34 AM

Car and Train Travel in Italy
I am planning to rent a car and drive from Rome to Florence, where I will ditch the car and take a train two days later to Naples, then the train again back to Rome a few days later. Does anyone know whether it is better to book all this from home (Eurorail has a car & train combo special) or should I just rent the car and buy the tickets when I'm in Rome?

BoulderCO Aug 21st, 2003 10:43 AM

You can generally get a better rate on car rental if you make the reservations ahead of time from home. I would not worry about getting the train tickets ahead of time - just buy them when you arrive in Florence for the trip to Naples. You can buy them at a travel agency (CIT Travel is good). They do not charge any commission.

Myer Aug 21st, 2003 11:13 AM

Unless you are travelling at the height of travel I would buy tickets no more than a few days ahead.

What you can do is buy your tickets before leaving Rome either at the train station or American Express office at the Spanish Steps. That will give you a few days lead time.

MileKing Aug 21st, 2003 11:51 AM

We visited Italy last March, not exactly prime tourist season, and traveled by train between Milan, Rome, Florence, and Venice. I had researched train travel extensively while planning the trip and for every person who said buy the tickets and make seat reservations in Italy, there was another who said get them before you leave the U.S.

We bought all our tickets and made reservations before we left the U.S. I'm glad we did. It cost a bit more, but we avoided lines and sold out trains. We ran into two American families, one in Florence and the other in Venice who had not purchased tickets or made reservations beforehand. One family ended up paying for first class seats on the train they wanted because second class was sold out. The other could not get the train they wanted and had to wait a few hours til the next one. Granted, niether of these situations are the end of the world, but they can be disruptive.

My recommendation is to buy before you leave the U.S. You may be able to get away with waiting if you are traveling off-season, but I can't imagine that being the case during the summer.

LeCanard Aug 22nd, 2003 12:50 AM

unless you are travelling back to Rome and Naples on Friday afternoon, you won't have any problem to book all your train tickets in Florence, one or two days in advance.
Train ride from Florence to Rome on eurostar takes 1 hour and 40 minutes, against 3 good hours by car.

ira Aug 22nd, 2003 03:44 AM


Just wondering why you are driving from Rome to Florence. Will you be taking more than a day?

chrisssy Aug 22nd, 2003 04:17 AM

Thanks for all your responses. I will make the car reservation from home, then book the trains from Rome, as I am staying at the Inn at the Spanish Steps.

Ira, I am driving to Florence because I heard the scenery is lovely and I'm planning to take my time and spend two nights along the way in the hill towns of Tuscany (perhaps Sienna or San Gimignano). I have nothing booked for these two nights and am definitely open to recommendations.

I leave NY in two weeks!

emercer Feb 29th, 2004 10:58 AM

My wife and I are planning to spend some time in Tuscany(Montecatini Term)
this spring and visit some of the surrounding areas reachable by train. I was wondering if anyone had any experience doing this kind of sightseeing and just how easily this can be done ! Any recommendations ?

ira Feb 29th, 2004 04:58 PM

Hi chrissy,

Lovely idea. Many people have recommended an overnight in Siena.

You might want to consider dinner at

Cane E Gatto V. Pagliaresi, 6 Tel. 0577-287545
On par with any world class restaurant for service, presentation and food, seating just 24. There is no menu. make reservations abt 60 E /person

JonJon Feb 29th, 2004 11:59 PM

I agree that the scenery in Tuscany is lovely...even more so if you don't have to spend all your time watching the road while driving..but a car will offer more flexibility.
Despite the undoubtedly well-meaning words from the poster above about "you won't have any trouble" getting tickets...and this in the face of another poster's comments about people who DID have recommendation is that as soon as you can after you arrive in Rome make the train reservations..the farther ahead you book the more likely it will be that you get the train and time you really want, and in the class that you want. Please don't wait to do it "one or two days ahead" or you may be disappointed. Have a great trip.

ira Mar 1st, 2004 03:56 AM

Hi chrissy,

You can price the train tickets at or www.railsaver/com

You can get a quote on a car from

You can then see if the raileurope price is better.

You can also buy your train tickets online from Trenitalia. See;tid=34465647

rex Mar 1st, 2004 04:19 AM

Orvieto is an oft-cited, and convenient destination on your way from Romt to Florence. Only about an hour out from Rome, it might serve you well as a "stop" even if not an overnight.

Best wishes,


JennaJ Mar 11th, 2004 10:00 AM

Hi Chrisssy. I plan on doing the same as you. My question to you is, how difficult will it be getting the car from the aiport and driving out of there? I know not to drive in the city, but I am slightly concerned about the airport as well. Still going to do it but wanted to see what your thoughts are! How long do you think it will take to drive to Siena or Florence? I am anticipating at least 3 hours. :)

rex Mar 11th, 2004 10:12 AM

This kind of strange "pop-up" happens here every once in a while. The original poster "chrisssy" asked a variety of questions in Aug/Sep/Oct last year, then never posted again, except for an isolated post on the US forum last month. Someone brings up the post and adds a new comment or question, and then (way too many) other people add answers on, as if s/he is still coming here reading this thread months later.

First, eleven days ago, and now again today! Wothwhile to ask your question again on a separate post, JennaJ - - are you asking about driving away from Rome (Fiumicino?) airport, or Florence? Actually the answer is the same from either - - nothing but autostrada (freeway) driving to get from either airport to any other (distant) destination you want to reach.

I guess I did not comment on the original plan by chrissy - - which was quite weird, renting a car just to drive Rome to Florence - - out of some vague awareness that it was a trip probably long consummated already - - but then I am not sure to whom I was addressing my Orvieto comments!

JennaJ Mar 11th, 2004 10:34 AM

Thanks Rex. I didn't realize I was responding to a ghost. I just figured picking up the car in Rome would be easier than a smaller town. I may rethink this.

chrisssy May 17th, 2004 11:57 AM

Oh... hi there folks. I did check back to this string for awhile, but no one had anything to add so I gave it up. But just to wrap up... driving from Rome to Florence via Tuscany is a great way to see the countryside. We rented a car from Avis way up in the northern part of Rome, and the highway was right next to the place, so we didn't have to drive through the city. We stayed two nights in Tuscany, then drove to Florence, which was very difficult driving (a scooter actually crashed into our rear.. take the insurance). The reason we did this, rex, is we had already booked our round trip to/from Rome, and later were told what a shame it would be to miss Tuscany. Which was good advice, as it was so lovely! The train from Florence down to Naples after was a breeze...

I'll check back again in case anyone posts more questions.

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