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Car vs. train travel from Rome to Tuscany

Car vs. train travel from Rome to Tuscany

Old Dec 12th, 2001, 02:47 AM
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Car vs. train travel from Rome to Tuscany

My Vacation is based in ROme. But I want to take 3 days to travel to Tuscan Region. Need a car or is train travel sufficent to explore Tuscan Region? I do not want a car in Rome. Is it easy to take Train to Tuscany, rent car to explore there, and take train back to Rome?

Alos, my visit to Tuscan Region will be over a Saturday, Sunday & Monday. WIll I miss out on a lot of "must sees" due to this itinerary?
Old Dec 12th, 2001, 06:28 AM
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You really need a car to explore Tuscany, and I say that as someone who does not own a car and prefers to travel by train in Europe. I was in Rome and Tuscany in late August-early September of this year. We flew into Rome, rented a car at the airport, and drove to Montalcino which was our base for the 3 days we were in Tuscany. We went to Pienza, Montepulciano, and Siena on daytrips and had an amazing time.

If you really don't want to rent a car, you can take the train to Siena and use that as your base, but many of the towns in Tuscany do not have rail service (although many do have bus service).

Alternatively if you don't mind renting a car but want to do so outside of Rome, you could take the train to Orvieto and rent a car there. But we were not able to do this because the car rental companies are closed on Saturday afternoons and Sunday, and since we were flying into Rome around noon on Saturday, we had to rent at the Rome airport which worked out fine.
Old Dec 12th, 2001, 06:56 AM
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Renting in Orvieto is easy. We did it through Auto Europe and picked up the car at Avis, which is very close to the train station in Orivieto. It would probably be just as easy to take the train to Siena and rent there.
Old Dec 12th, 2001, 07:18 AM
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Agreed that it is much easier to navigate Tuscany via car than train...just want to make note of the fact that though trains service many, many smallish to tiny towns in Tuscany, the train stations are often located far from the city center.

For instance, in Siena, you have to take a bus from the train station to the city center. It's doable, but if you only have 3 days, it's a pain. Also, the trains are sloooooooooow when going to smaller towns -- It's faster to drive.

And the earlier poster's idea of picking up a car at the Rome airport might be the quickest way to accomplish everything. Quick train ride there, all the rental companies have offices there.

Have fun!
Old Dec 12th, 2001, 08:36 AM
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I agree with the above comments about needing a car while in Tuscany. The freedom to stop for those panoramic views, or just skip from one hill town to the next, is not possible with taking the train. I was in Tuscany at the end of Oct. this year (based near Poggibonsi) and visited Siena, San Gim. one day, then Calle Val D'Elsa and Castellina in Chianti the next.

One note of caution about car rentals near Rome -- do not drive in Rome unless you have a deathwish. I had to drop off the rental car in Rome due to a mix-up, and would not wish it on my worst enemy (well, except maybe bin Laden). The road maps will not indicate the one-way streets, or the round-abouts, or the taxi/bus-only lanes etc. etc. etc. Not to mention the street names that are on the side of only some of the buildings, and the streets that have one name on one side and something different on the other side of the intersection. I'm surprised my wife and I are still married after the experience we had trying to get to what looked like an easy route to the rental office. But enough complaining. Bottom line is: rent a car through Tuscany, and stop to enjoy the incredible views.

Have a great trip.
Old Dec 12th, 2001, 08:07 PM
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Hi Julie,
We spent some time in Rome a short time ago. We rented a car the day before we departed, as we departed on a Sunday, and the rental agencies were closed near us. We picked the car up at the train station and parked it nearby- near our hotel. This was no problem. The next day, we got directions out of the city from the hotel clerk. The directions were great until the final turn, and it ended up being a one way going the wrong way! We got lost twice and finally found someone who spoke English and marked our map to show us where to go.

We traveled to Tuscany via Orvieto and spend 4 nights near San Gimignano. It was wonderful, and you definitely need the car in Tuscany although we took the train to Siena to avoid parking problems. We drove a few miles to Certaldo and parked the car at the train station. It was about a 1 hour ride to the train station in Siena. There, we took the bus to the city center-no problem. We spent the day and then did the same back to the train station in Siena and on to Certaldo.

Have a great time. We will be back next summer and can't wait! PJ
Old Dec 13th, 2001, 04:38 PM
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Thanks so much for all your imput! You have answered my delima. I knew I did not want to drive in Rome after our Expeience driving in Munich last year! But the country side is so great to navigate in Germany, I assumed it would be same in Tuscany. Thanks again!
Old Dec 13th, 2001, 04:47 PM
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PJ--where did you stay in San Gimigano?

Lisa--where did you stay in Montalcino?

Anyone have imput as to whether Pisa and Florence are worth taking a day away from Southern Tuscany? Remember I only have 3 days!
Old Dec 14th, 2001, 04:35 AM
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A sensible approach that I'm surprized no one has mentioned is to take the train to Florence and rent a car at the rental agencies which are only a short walk from the train station. There's easy acess to Siena, San G. Montalchino etc. This appraoach saves time especially over taking a train to Siena and saves the hassle of driving in Roma.
Old Dec 14th, 2001, 06:45 AM
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We stayed at a LOVELY place in Montalcino called Vecchia Oliviera. It is right at the gates to the town, easy walking distance to everything, with gorgeous views overlooking vineyards and the hills. Our double was 300,000 lire per night (about $150). It is an old olive oil mill that was converted to an inn. There is a nice pool in the backyard. Rooms have air conditioning and pretty hand-painted murals on the walls. The owners are very kind and speak English. I highly recommend it. They have websites at http://www.tuscany.net/oliviera/
and http://www.vecchiaoliviera.com/
We booked directly with the hotel via e-mail.

Also, if you are in Montalcino, our favorite little restaurant was Porta al Cassero. It is very casual and inexpensive, nothing fancy, and service is a bit brusque (and no one spoke English) -- but the homemade pasta is to die for. We liked it so much we ate there twice. It seemed like a popular place with the locals -- we seemed to be the only tourists there. Everything was delicious, especially the tiramisu!

I posted a more detailed trip report on a separate thread (it has Rome, the Amalfi coast, and Tuscany in the title).
Old Dec 14th, 2001, 07:32 PM
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Take a train from Rome to Florence and then rent a car. From Florence decide where you want to go in Tuscany Region. We stayed in Tuscany (near Chianti region) last summer. We had a car because it's pretty essential to seeing the area, but we took a high speed rail to Rome which took under 2 hrs and left the car behind. When visiting Florence it's easy to park in the main train station. Have a good trip!

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