Car in Florence?

Old Feb 9th, 2006, 10:39 AM
  #1  
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Car in Florence?

If you have a rental car in Tuscany is it worth taking the train from whatever hilltown you stay instead of trying to drive in Florence? I heard its not easy driving there.
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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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If you are already staying in the countryside - and you can get reasonable train service - then certainly take the train vs a car into Florence. The only time it would be better to take a car is if you are planning on making other stops along the way.

(This is my major issue with train travel. I always end up seeing something out the window I want to go and look and - and then I'm trapped on the stupid train. With a car - you can just go wherever you please whenever you please. But for a basic trip from A to B - train is fine.)
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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 12:06 PM
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I'd drop the car off as soon as you get to Florence. We rented ours on the way out and I would not recommend driving there. Poor signage, vespas everywhere, crowds, not worth it and you don't need a car to get around Florence!
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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 12:17 PM
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Don't even think about taking a car into Florence. Driving within the city is daunting. Parking is also very difficult and garages are expensive. In addition, you will most likely find yourself just paying a high rate to keep your car parked and walk everywhere anyway. I did not find anything in Florence that was not reasonably walkable, and the walks are terrific - best way to see the city. This is from the perspective of a traveler that has seen more than sixty years come and go. It is possible to stay in some very nice places in the countryside nearby and visit the city using public tranportation. Better yet, stay in Florence and then take the Bus (not train!) to Sienna, about an hour ride and a city not to be missed. To see the Tuscan countryside, rent a car from Sienna or use the bus system. It is cheap and the system services most of the hill towns.
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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 12:26 PM
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The only time my children have every heard my husband say the f*** word was when we were trying to drive through Florence! If you can avoid taking a car into the city, please do so!
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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 12:33 PM
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I guess you have 3 options. First--if you can drop it off away from Florence and train in, fine assuming you do not want to see anything on the way in. The train station in Florence is very central and oftentimes within walking distance of hotels. Second--drop it off at the Florence airport and shuttle or taxi into town (15-20 mins. and +-20 euro.) Access to the airport is easy and most rentals have an office but check their hours. Third--drive into Florence and drop it off there, usually Borgo Ognissanti (sp). I've done it many times and have no trouble but have seen white knuckles and fear in the eyes of companions attempting it--but they always succeed. Just do some research and study the route closely. And yes, a car in Florence is worthless so don't bother trying to park it for any length of time. But a car in Tuscany is a key to fabulous adventures. Cheers, Paul
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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 04:31 PM
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Drop the car as soon as you get to Florence and you will be fine. Driving is adventurous getting into the city but with a good map it is totally fine. Allow for about 1/2 hour or so getting lost time on the way to the car rental office. It is actually fun. You will not find train service from many Tuscany towns, nor will you easily be able to drop your car in Tuscany, so the car is the choice
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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 04:35 PM
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We drove in Florence last year. My husband, parents in the back and me driving.

It almost ended in a screaming match and tears. We spent 1.5 hours (I am NOT kidding) driving around and around in circles trying to find our hotel which was near the duomo.

We had maps, directions and three navigators helping.

Sounds easy right! Biggest mistake and nightmare ever. Our little hotel host was standing outside in the cold wringing his hands when we finally showed up.
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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 07:03 AM
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Oh boy! You have all convinced me NOT to take car in Florence. We are first-time travelers to Italy and want to make things as stress free as possible so we want to go back.

We are thinking of staying near San Gimmy or in the town itself. Do you know if there is a train that takes you to Florence from there? We can leave the car at the hotel and just take the train in for the day.
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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 12:10 PM
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hi didi. I did not mean to totally put you off driving in general. Just in the cities, and especially Florence.

One year I did pick up a car on the day we were leaving Florence and followed the easy directions OUT of the city. We had a most magical time driving through Tuscany, stopping at little towns on the way down to San Gimignano. All these towns were easy to drive and had well posted parking areas.

We stopped at Greve in Chianti, and then drove up to Lamole where we had a blissful lunch on a terrace of a beautiful little restaurant there with gorgeous views. It was October and they were bringing in the last of the grapes. At the end of the meal, the waiter ran out and grabbed a bunch of grapes off a passing tractor-load of them, washed them and presented them to us as part of our dessert! I wouldnt want to miss things like that.

The drive to San Gimignano is easy, as was the drive onto and parking in the Cinque Terre, Vernazza. It was just the city center that was the horror!
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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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ira
 
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Hi di,

You can drop your car in Siena and take the SITA bus (6.5E pp).

The bus station in Florence is very near the SMN train station.

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Old Feb 12th, 2006, 08:44 AM
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Best thing is to keep your car for visiting the hill towns, castles, gardens etc plus there are a lot of good restaurants in the country. You could use a train to get to Florence, but if you choose your accommodation near a SITA bus stop the pullman buses are very comfortable and often provide great views of the country. That would mean you could stay outside of town - something that has a lot to be said for it. There's useful info at www.greve-in-chianti.com .
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