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justretired Mar 24th, 2006 02:21 PM

car rental and train questions in Northern Italy
We are a couple renting a car for about 2 weeks in the end of May. Do Fodorites still recommend Auroeurope and Novarental or are there cheaper ways to rent cars?

We are picking the car up at Malpensa and driving through the lakes and the Dolomites before heading to Venice. What is the easiest location to drop off a car in Venice? They mention the airport, which I know is about a 45 minute boat trip into Venice, but some sites say that one can drop off at the train station. Would that be easier if possible? Another possibility is to somehow return the car before Venice itself and the to take the train into the city. Would that save the angst of driving into Venice and how/where could we do this?

After visitng Venice, we are planning on taking the train to Milan. Do we need to reserve that in advance and how do we do that? Can it be done on the web or should we just get the tickets when we arrive in Venice?

This is a trip we had planned for last September, but do to illness, we needed to postpone it. Just a note- for the first time, having trip insurance really paid off. We just had my doctors write a note and the cost of the airline tickets was immediately reinbursed.



Neopolitan Mar 24th, 2006 02:28 PM

In Venice the best place to drop off a car is at Piazza Roma -- most of the agencies are right in the huge parking garage there. You get right onto a boat and go to wherever your hotel is in Venice.
There is no "angst" of driving in Venice although you may be backed up a bit in traffic getting to the garage on a busy day at a busy time. It really couldn't be easier than returning a car there.

After renting from AutoEurope for years, I'm still a big fan of theirs. I trust them and they claim they'll meet any other price.

enzian Mar 24th, 2006 02:38 PM

We found returning an AutoEurope rental car to the Venice airport very easy---it's well signed and the autostrada takes you right in. I'm sure the Piazza Roma dropoff is fine too; we just didn't know about that option. Either way, you don't have to drive "in" Venice.

Neopolitan Mar 24th, 2006 02:50 PM

Yes, if you're going to drive "in" Venice, make sure your windshield wipers work really well!

justretired Mar 24th, 2006 04:28 PM

Thanks. Neopolitan, which is closer to Venice- the airport or Piazza Roma? I guess the better question is whether the Piazza Roma is easy to find? We have driven in Italy before pretty easily, and my husband speaks Italian, but sometimes, getting in and out of cities has been our downfall. One time, when we were trying to exit Rome, we went in the totally wrong direction for over a half hour- needless to say, my DH was not happy. Now, he always carries a compass (yes, he's an engineer), but as the navigator, sometimes, I'd love a GPS.

curmudgeon Mar 24th, 2006 05:23 PM

Piazza Roma is pretty difficult to miss; the causeway from the mainland dead-ends there. Probably the easiest driving of your trip. Dropping at the airport would be much more hassle.

ira Mar 25th, 2006 05:31 AM

Hi J,

As noted, the causeway to Venice dead ends at Piazzale Roma. Drop the car there.

AE and Nova are very good agencies.

>...taking the train to Milan.

If you know when you will travel, you can buy your tickets online as early as 60 days in advance at

Good for you, with the travel insurance. Where did you buy it?


justretired Mar 25th, 2006 05:51 AM

Thanks Ira,

Over the years, we have been inconsistent in buying travel insurance since it is really only the flights that are at risk (you can usually cancel hotel reservations is you give them enough time). Last spring, when we first were booking this trip, we used Expedia for the flights. After we purchased them, they asked if we wanted Trip Insurance- the company that they used was BerkelyCare in Jericho, NY. I don't know if they work only through Expedia.

I have noticed a lot of discussion about trouble using Trenitalia site on line. Is there anything we need to know about it?

Yesterday, when I checked AutoEurope and Nova, Nova was several hundred dollars cheaper for what looked like the same car. Is that usual, and am I missing something there?

Thanks all.

tedgale Mar 25th, 2006 07:17 AM

To re-state what others have said:

Once you get onto the causeway from the mainland to Venice, you virtually cannot NOT end up in Piazzale Roma.

If you want a really REALLY easy time of it, do as we did and rent the Fegalliano apartment near Piazzale Roma -- see my post:

tedgale trip report: Rome, Venice, Tuscany.

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