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Car rental pickup for touring Tuscany

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Mar 15th, 2013, 02:16 PM
  #1
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Car rental pickup for touring Tuscany

Helloo, we're a family of four(2 kids age 11 and 9y) going to Italy this summer, I need help with deciding what's the best option: We're staying in Florence at Hotel Casci (near train station) for 2 nights before moving to Montepulciano where I reserved The Politian apartment for a week. Siena is one of the place I want to see this trip. Should I pickup a car rental in Florence airport(i read it's the easiest option) and drive to Siena find parking while we tour the city
Another option is to take the SITA bus from Florence and pickup the car in Siena after we tour the city. But what to do with the luggage? any suggestions? This is going to be on a Monday, so I don't think there is a n issue with car rental place being closed
Another option is to just drive from Florence to Montepulciano and do Siena another day. I thought going to Siena on the way to Montepulciano will make sense since it's on the way.
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Mar 15th, 2013, 02:27 PM
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Opps,I double post ,sorryy!
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Mar 15th, 2013, 03:12 PM
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You will probably not be able to move into your apartment until the afternoon so picking up the car and driving directly to Montepulciano would still necessitate stopping somewhere. A stop in Siena would be logical and there are parking lots--just make certain your luggage is out of sight.

Where to pick up your car? The airport in Florence would be a 20-30 euro taxi ride-make certain a taxi big enough is called. The downtown offices with rental cars would work and they will direct you out to avoid ZTL (no traffic zones). These offices are a few blocks from the train station.

I don't think picking up the car in Siena is a good option--bus w/ luggage, storage, locate the car rental and meet w/luggage--then drive on. Too much change for the day. OTOH, the SITA bus to Siena is an easy way to visit from Florence.

Have fun at Giacomo's-its a fantastic view and atmosphere in MP.
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Mar 15th, 2013, 03:53 PM
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Thanks macanimals!I'm glad to hear the Politian apartment is going to have fantastic view. I hope it makes up not having a pool for the kids. Can't pass up the price! I guess I need to do more research on how to avoid the dreaded ZTL if I'm picking up the car in Florence train station. We drove in Avignon ,Aix ,Nice with no problem but of course no ZTL to deal with!
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Mar 15th, 2013, 04:01 PM
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Indogirl,
You can store luggage at the bus station in Siena.
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Mar 15th, 2013, 04:04 PM
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Good to know Henry, that will give me more option.
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Mar 15th, 2013, 08:03 PM
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The rental agency will give you a map and show you a route that avoids the ZTL. Ask them to outline on the map the precise route.
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Mar 15th, 2013, 11:35 PM
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Siena also has a ZTL. And lots of traffic outside of the zone. You'll need to figure out where you're going to park, and how to get there, before you arrive. Have you driven in Italy before?

Another option is to train Florence-Chiusi (less than 2 hours), pick up the car (office at the train station is closed 12:30-3:30 p.m.), and drive about 30-35 minutes to Montepulciano.

And see Siena another day... It's about the same driving time from both Florence and Montepulciano, but you'll already have the car and can get an earlier start. You'll also be more familiar with where you're going in Montepulciano when you return at the end of the day (possibly in the dark?).
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Mar 16th, 2013, 05:00 AM
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The last time we rented a car in Florence near the train station, we mapped out (Google Earth I think) how we would get out of town heading towards Chianti. I printed the map and then used a highlighter to mark up the map. We did this before we left the States and it worked great. No issues.

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Mar 16th, 2013, 11:19 AM
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Hi Jean, we drove (husband drove,i navigate) in south of France but never in Italy, my head is hurting trying to figure out how to avoid the ZTL when renting a car in Florence, my plan is to just taxi to the airport and rent from there. But i'm so considering getting the car from Borgo Ognisanti place since i've read that it's no biggy.
@Carol, i am contemplating doing this now,instead of picking up at the airport,i guess i'll have to check out google earth,do you happen to have that map on pdf that you can share?thanks
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Mar 16th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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Departing from Borgo Ognisanti isn't terribly difficult. Personally, I wouldn't go to the airport to rent the car. I'd either rent IN Florence or train to Chiusi and rent there.

However, the advantage to picking up in Florence is the option to drive the Strada Chiantigiana (SR22) through Chianti, one of the classic drives in Italy. I wouldn't make all the stops mentioned in this article, but enjoy the scenery and stop if you feel the need/urge to explore, eat, etc. We especially like Castellina.

http://ezinearticles.com/?Iconic-Ita...ana&id=4477322
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Mar 16th, 2013, 01:08 PM
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Jean, that's what I am leaning to do now, I am comparing the ZTL zone map with Google map so I can detail it to the street to get out of the city without getting a ticket. I hope Florence City Planner will make this more tourist friendly so not to discourage people . i 've read that it turned them off and left a bad taste. That's what I am trying to avoid. I think that's the reason I like going to Paris and South of France, since it's pretty easy to navigate and it's tourist friendly.
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Mar 16th, 2013, 01:31 PM
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Leaving from Borgo Ognissanti is not so difficult and the point is: you get a fine if you *enter* ZTL without authorization, but if you are already in the ZTL you cannot get a fine. *Returning* the car is more difficult as for some address you really have to enter the ZTL and you should check that the agency where are returning the car registers the entry with the local administration.
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Mar 16th, 2013, 01:36 PM
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I think people find a place not very tourist-friendly when they haven't done their research/homework. The ZTL concept is becoming ubiquitous (so we might as well get used to it) , and personally I applaud Italy for trying to protect the historical centers of their ancient cities and towns. As you're wandering around Florence, try to imagine sharing the tiny streets in the historical center with thousands of tourists in cars not knowing where they're going.

Once you get out of Florence, you'll find driving around Tuscany very easy with the exception, IMO, of Siena. If you were spending a few days in Siena, you'd get into the traffic rhythm and patterns, but a single-day visit there will probably be the most difficult of your Tuscany plans. But do it anyway. Siena is worth it.
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Mar 16th, 2013, 02:13 PM
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Indo--Pay attention to Jean's and asps' advice. After a dozen trips into and out of Florence picking up cars both in town and at the airport, we feel comfortable either way. The point is, the rental agency downtown will mark a map you will be able to follow without problem and it is not difficult. I am imagining the route as I write this and two left turns and a right across the bridge over the Arno , another right and you are on your way.

I too applaud the protection ZTL gives to fragile historic and congested centros and would suggest you get familiar with the signage designating such zones as they can pop up at any italian town or village (even Montepulciano has them).

We always look for opportunities to explore during our transit days being mindful that some groceries and stock will need to be brought to the new dwelling. Lots to do and see as well as locate the new "digs" on the "entry" day.
Have fun!
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Mar 16th, 2013, 02:15 PM
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Asps,I never thought of that! Entering vs already in,it makes sense! I'm returning the car in Orvieto. I hope I don't have to deal with ZTL there.
Jean, do you think I'll need a GPS? I never.need one in France since there are signs everywhere.
I just look for direction to a city which have the same direction to where I want to go. Is it the same in Tuscany?
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Mar 16th, 2013, 02:24 PM
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Macanimals,I am am! Asps mentioned something that makes me think,aha! With the comment of being in vs entering. re: montepulciano,Giacomo said the apt is located outside ZTL with free parking on the street.
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Mar 16th, 2013, 02:44 PM
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Florence administration has added two lamps, red and green, to each ZTL camera. When the camera is on, the red lamp is on as well (and the lamp is marked in Italian and English). There are only two ways to get fined; either ignoring a red lamp, or ignoring some no-turn signs and entering a lane permanently reserved to buses and taxies.

There is only one ZTL camera near Borgo Ognissanti. Say you are driving along Lungarno Vespucci (going against the direction the river is flowing). As you approach the Vespucci bridge there is a traffic light. Here you can freely turn right on the bridge or left in via Melegnano. Going straight on lungarno Vespucci you meet the ZTL camera. You do not need to go this way when getting out of Borgo Ognissanti (that is one way, in the direction the river is flowing). Unfortunately, in order to access lower street number of Borgo Ognissanti (that include some car rentals) you have to pass the camera, go to piazza Goldoni and turn 180° into Borgo Ognissanti. But this is needed only when returning the car - and not to all the rental agencies but only at those at the low numbers section.
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Mar 16th, 2013, 04:21 PM
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Indogirl1, I'm a paper map kinda girl. Even at home, we call the GPS voice in our car The B!tc#.

No problem in Orvieto. The rental office is below the town near the train station. If you have time and before you turn in the car, take the funicular up to the town for a quick walk around.
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Mar 16th, 2013, 05:47 PM
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Haha Jean, mee too, i prefer maps over GPS,in Orvieto, I probably need to dump the car priot to checking out the town. Do you have any info on luggage storage in Orvieto? i know Fodor member kwren store them in a hotel for a fee . i have to search the name of the hotel .
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