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Car rental from Florence and getting from Tuscany to the French Riviera

Car rental from Florence and getting from Tuscany to the French Riviera

Jan 8th, 2013, 09:55 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3
Car rental from Florence and getting from Tuscany to the French Riviera

We're a mature couple from New Zealand, making our first trip to Italy in June 2013. We're flying into Rome, where we've booked four nights and intend to see the ancient city (my husband is a Roman history buff), then three nights in Naples to see Pompeii and Herculaneum. We plan to travel from Naples to Florence by train, pick up a rental car, then drive to San Casciano in Val di Pesa where we are booked for five nights. We want to soak up the charm of Tuscany then head for the French Riviera.

I understand that Florence can be chaotic, is it possible to hire a car near the railway station (and drive it safely out of the city!), or easier to go out to the airport? We'd like to take the car to Nice, if we can take it over the border, and eventually on to Paris. Would this be possible, or outrageously expensive? Plan B is to drop the car in Genoa then get a train from Genoa to Nice. Plan C, we would drop the car back at Florence and train/fly from there to Nice. Any advice would be warmly appreciated.
earthsinger is offline  
Jan 9th, 2013, 05:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 255
The car agencies, at least Hertz, are now several blocks removed from the Florence train station. When we picked up a rental car on a Saturday, we waited on a huge line. I don't know whether that situation obtains on weekdays.

Driving out of the center of Florence can be tricky, given that there are now NO DRIVE zones for non residents. We received two tickets for our efforts!

If you want a driving experience, you might consider going to a town with car rental agencies outside the center of Florence, such as Galuzzo. There are public buses to take you there or a cab fare might not be too terrible.

Car agencies might penalize you for taking a car out of Italy. Important to check whether that would be the case...

Trains are swift, clean and enjoyable. Planes are planes...

Una buona vacanza!

carolll is offline  
Jan 9th, 2013, 05:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Do you plan to spend time in Florence before renting your car? If so, consider renting the car at the end of your stay in Florence from the airport. We have never had a problem renting in Florence and driving out but you would have to get clear directions from the rental office for avoiding the resident only zones.

You should consider turning in the car after your stay in Val di Pesa as there is a large drop off charge if you take the car into France.
mamcalice is offline  
Jan 9th, 2013, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Picking a car up in Italy and dropping it in France is going to incur you a whopping big extra fee (someone has to get that car back to Italy). Not a good idea.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 9th, 2013, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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To avoid the steep international drop off fee, take the train from Genoa to Nice and pick up a new car there.
TimS is offline  
Jan 9th, 2013, 09:27 AM
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I was advised by a fellow forum poster to check out autoeurope.com as we will be in Florence for a night to pick up a car and then head to Tuscany. I started checking out options yesterday and there are a few pick up places right in downtown Florence (conveniently near where we are staying and near the train station). I will keep following this thread, though to see where people think it's best to pick up the car. Thanks (and have fun!)
cckoehler is offline  
Jan 9th, 2013, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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You will incur a huge drop off fee if you return the car to another country. Train to Nice and rent a car there; turn it in in Provence and train or fly to Paris or drive to Paris and to turn it in.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Jan 9th, 2013, 11:15 AM
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earthsinger, cckoehler,
I think your concerns are traffic problems and the proximity of the pickup points. However, in case of Florence, the top the list should be the ZTL which I am not sure you know just how expensive it is. It think it is at least 82EU per violation, and it is cumulative; if you get caught 3 times by video cameras in 10 minutes, you have accumulated 3 of these tickets. On top of these, your rental car company will hit you with administrative fees of 10-30EU or whatever they feel they are entitled per incident for supplying the renter info to the local authority. There are ways to exit Florence from rental offices without wondering into ZTL by following precisely the instruction provided by the rental office that hopefully includes any temporary detours. But a wrong turn can bounce you from one ZTL camera to the next.
greg is online now  
Jan 9th, 2013, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,513
The locations are by car vendor. AE is a broker and has several vendors on contract--like Hertz. Your drop location may dictate which vendor to use---make sense?
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 9th, 2013, 03:05 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 597

The only way you know whether keeping the car is worth the drop-off fee is to crunch the real numbers in the context of your own trip. Start by calling the car rental agency and find out what the drop-off fee actually is. Once you pro-rate it on a per-day basis for the length of time you would be keeping the car, you might think it worth the convenience.

However, if there is nothing in particular you are very eager to see between Tuscany and Genoa, it might be a better use of your time to return the car at the Rome airport and fly to Nice, or return the car someplace where it is convenient to take the train to Rome airport and fly to Nice. The cost of that in terms of time and money for air and plane tickets, and enjoyment, would need to be weighed against the cost of keeping the car.

Also, if you are not spending any time in Florence, you can pick up your rental car between Naples and Florence in either Chiusi or Arezzo. The train stops there.

I realize you have booked some of your stays, but if I had your wish list of sights for Italy and France, I would fly to Rome, go directly to Florence by train my first day of arrival, get some rest in Florence, pick up a car to tour Tuscany, get rid of the car in Tuscany, train to Rome and tour Rome, train to the Naples area to sighttsee and fly out of Naples airport to Nice, then ultimately on to Paris.

If that appeals to you, see if you can re-book your hotel stays. You often quite easily can this far in advance, and there are plenty of other lovely accommodations everywhere you are going, including where you are going in rural Tuscany.
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 10th, 2013, 10:49 AM
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Many thanks to you all for such helpful advice. We are not intending to stay in Florence, but we will now investigate picking up a car in Galuzzo, as it's on our way to San Casciano.

Obviously it's not going be economic to take the car to Nice, so I've been looking at ways to get from Florence or Pisa to Genoa or Nice and it doesn't look all that straightforward. It might be easier to drive the car to Genoa as per Plan B.
earthsinger is offline  
Jan 10th, 2013, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
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It might be better to drop off the car in La Spezia, because it is such a confusing nuisance to drive into hectic Genova, and the main train station in Genova is under renovation and therefore a nuisance to use. The ride from La Spezia to Genoa is actually more scenic if you take the train because it runs closer to the sea than the highway does.

Try to time your arrival in La Spezia so you get the best possible train connection to Nice with the fewest changes of trains.
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 10th, 2013, 02:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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i am facing a similar problem in may, only my rental starts near rome... i am using sixt car rentals..

florence is a bit unique because of the restrictions.. for that reason i would pick the car up at the airport or take the train to your first stop and rent from there...

italy requires insurance so that drives the price up.

initially i was going to drop my car off near the border at san remo, but they have now closed that office... sixt is allowing me to drive it to the nice airport for only a 50E drop off charge (same fee as dropping off at san remo)..

i am then renting another bigger car for my time in france..

try using this site: www.carrentals.com

i have been very pleased with them in the past.

sadly your car may cost as much as your flight..

will you be travelling for at least 17 days with the car? leasing from citreon or reneault is an excellent options... you would incur a delivery charge to italy of perhaps $250. but you get a brand new car and full insurance included..
rhkkmk is offline  
Jan 10th, 2013, 04:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 576
What about taking a train from the Naples area to either Orvieto or Chiusi and pick up your car there. Easy to drive up to San Casciano. You can then explore Tuscany to your hearts content and if you want to go into Florence then take the bus which will take 45 minutes and the bus runs all the time.

When you are done exploring Tuscany you have a bunch of options. Depending how much you want to expore and the cost of the Automobile here are a few ways to go on from there.
*Drop the car at the Florence airport and taxi to the train station then train to say Nice and rent another car.
*Drop the car at the Florence or Pisa airport and fly to some town in Frence by using this web site http://www.whichbudget.com/ *If you are more than 3 weeks then you can do a lease buy back picking up in Rome and dropping anywhere in France. The link for this is on Autoeurope.com and it is a Peuguot. You will have a pickup fee in Italy but none in France.

We stayed up by San Casciano for 5 years or so. Great area we have a great restaurant list for this area. If you like that kind of stuff then email me at [email protected]
jnjfraz is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 12:02 PM
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Thanks again folks, you've given us lots of ideas to follow up on
earthsinger is offline  

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