Car Rental in Tuscany

Feb 8th, 2005, 07:07 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 7
Car Rental in Tuscany

Help! I am planning a trip for my wife, myself and another couple. We plan to spend several days in Rome, take the train to Tuscany, spend a week there with a rental car and then take the train to Florence where we will spend several days.

My problem is this. We have been advised to rent as small a car as possible because of the small parking spaces and the narrow roads in the small Tuscan towns. A small car won't carry all our luggage.

I was thinking of staying in one of the Tuscan towns that will have both a car rental agency and a train station so I can pick up the car after we check into the hotel or inn. We could then use that town as a base for day trips out into the Tuscan countryside.

I would love to hear from anyone with a recommendation on a picturesque Tuscan town with both a train station and a car rental agency to use as a base for day trips. Also, if anyone has any advice on what we are trying to do, I would really appreciate it. If you have a better idea, I would be happy to hear that also. Thanks
rosemallowcourt is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 715
We have found that no matter what car we reserve, it is never as big as we thought it would be. So my first advice would be to not even consider a piece of luggage larger than 26". The preference should be 22"-24". They are much easier to maneuver.

The one town that comes to mind that meets your criteria would be Siena. But if you are daytripping to smaller towns, you shouldn't have a problem parking the car. Most of the parking is at the gates or entrances to the city, and then you walk in, so you really don't have to worry about driving inside these small towns.

We actually did drive through a few and, yes, the roads are small and narrow, but we somehow managed. Just park at the entrance to the towns, and you will be fine--after all, you still need a car that fits four people!

Lorac1127 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,126
Overall, don't worry about getting a bigger car. Trunk space is important.
As long as you don't try and (usually illegally)try and drive inside most hill towns, you won't have a problem.
jabez is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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The only town I know of that fits your needs is Siena, like Lorac said. I don't consider Siena to be a small town, though.

Also, like Lorac said, almost all towns I can think of (Volterra, San G, Cortona, Montalcino, San Quirico, Pienza, Montepulciano, & even real small ones like Monticchiello) have adequate parking areas outside of town. In most of these towns, you can't drive in town even if you wanted to.

Don't worry - there is really no problem with driving in small towns because you will have no need to. If your bags & 4 people won't fit in a car, then stay in Montepulciano, and make two trips to the hotel from the train station in Chiusi. Pienza is only 15 mins beyond Montepulciano, and San Quirico is another 15 mins. The station in Chiusi is actually south of town with easy access in/out. There is an Avis rental office there.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Feb 8th, 2005, 10:16 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,190
The four of us rented from Avis a Ford Taurus Station Wagon to insure room for our luggage. We pack light - each with a bag on wheels we carried on to the place and a backpack. With the station wagon, trunk space wasn't an issue. The only problem with the car was that it was a diesel with manual transmission - very difficult to give it enough gas to maneuver up the hills without it dying and rolling back! Good luck & happy travels!
dorkforcemom is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 10:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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> was a diesel with manual transmission - very difficult to give it enough gas to maneuver up the hills without it dying and rolling back! <

Did anyone consider downshifting?

ira is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 367
Cut the luggage. Bring 1/2 of what you need. We had our laundry done in Buenconvento (S of Siena), took a day, cost 8 euro for a ton of sweaty stuff (late June) and got it back ironed and whiter than the day we bought it!
We rented the car as we left Florence, stayed in a small farmhouse 4 nights and explored for 4 days in Tuscany, then turned it back in in Pisa on our way to the coast. Cut the luggage. All Eurpoe cars are smaller and the roads are fine.
Other note: at thehilltowns, park at the bottom adn take the shuttle type bus up. We drove up adn got caught in the tiny streets with people and it was a rush we dont' want to do again! Enjoy!
eroz is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Siena for Tuscany, Orvieto for Umbria.

I totally agree with advice not to drive in hilltowns. We did once by mistake and it was a real adventure. We laugh now, but it was a bit tense in Montepulciano making a 90 point turn in a tiny piazza (where the police station happened to be)! Then, stopped behind the town shuttle bus on a steep and narrow street, trying not to roll back into the eager Italian on our bumper....burning rubber on the cobblestones. This, from an experienced manual driver.....we considered the adventure a success since there was no damage, no tickets or arrests, and no deaths -- although the elderly lady standing next to our car at the time may have had a coronary.
Dayle is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 12:23 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,165
The previous post reminded me of our drive into Siena last spring. The hotel did not inform us there are seven portos or gates into the walled town of Siena. We entered on the opposite side from our hotel and drove through crowds of pedestrians--a nightmare--but we did not run over anyone. some towns will let you drop off your luggage and then it is off to a carpark outside the gates. Remember, these walled towns were never designed for cars.
nini is offline  
Feb 9th, 2005, 12:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 171
Siena is one of those towns that can get very confusing. Cars are not allowed in unless they have a permit or if you are a hotel guest and you need to drop off your luggage. Be warned though, you are only allowed to follow a specific route when dropping off and you MUST get this information from your hotel. They will need the license plate of your car also. When you enter and you do not have a permit there is a machine that will photo your plates. If the hotel gives the number to the police for the correct gate, you will not have a problem, if they do not or if you entered into the wrong gate you will be sent, via your rental company, a ticket.

I have a Hyundai Santa Fe and drive throughout Tuscany daily (I live ijnone of the small villages in the Chianti) and do not run into problems with size but I never drive into an old town. As long as you don't too, get as large of a car as you feel comfortable with.
siena_us is offline  

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