Day Trip to Florence- Train or Car?

Old Feb 4th, 2007, 07:06 AM
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Day Trip to Florence- Train or Car?

My husband and our two teens are going on a cruise to the Greek Isles in august, and we are going to be spending another 6 days in Venice. During that time we want to take a day trip to Florence, and we are trying to decide whether to take a train or rent a car. So far it looks like renting a car will be significantly cheaper, but with gas prices, who knows. Anyway, if we could get some tips on how to go about this whole thing, that would be great.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 07:20 AM
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I would think you'd definitely want to take the train. However, do you realize it's about three hours each way from Venice to Florence? Six hours on the train doesn't sound like much fun and doesn't leave a lot of time to see Florence.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 08:24 AM
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Assuming you haven't already purchased your airline tickets, I have a possible suggestion. Fly from your US home to Athens, then fly Athens to Florence airport (using RyanAir or EasyJet?)since the cruise will probably include some kind of airport transport at the conclusion. Stay that night and the next in Florence, giving you enough time to enjoy the highlights of the city- THEN take the train to Venice (+3 hours, as the previous poster indicated)to finish your trip. Fly home from Venice, with the caveat that most flights back to the US leave very, very early in the morning. If your budget doesn't include the expense of a private water taxi, you might consider staying the last night at one of the airport hotels. Alternately, it's not clear if the Venice "leg" is before or after Greece. If you have the chance to fly into Venice and do Italy first (three nights in Venice, then two in Florence via train, then fly Florence-Athens and Athens- home). Flying into Venice is fantastic- the best tip I ever got from boards like these. When you try muli-city searches you might find that these "open jaw" arrangements don't add that much additional to your transportation costs, when trains, etc are factored in.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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Thanks so much for the suggestion, however the cruise begins and ends in Venice (hence, the reason why we are staying there), and we already have purchased our tickets. We have also already booked our hotel and everything, so we are completely bound to Venice. however, we are trying to figure out the best (and preferably cheapest) way to see Florence in a day. I already checked out possible train fares, and in total, it looks as though it is going to run us at least $500, and for a day trip that's a bit much. Renting a car definately seems cheaper, but I don't know if it is realistic to think we can drive from Venice to Florence and back and still be able to have any time in the city. It would be really helpful if we could get some advice on cheap train fare. Thanks so much again.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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If you go to www.trenitalia.com, you will see that 2nd class fare for an adult is 30 Euro. So for four people, 120 Euro each way, or a total of 240 Euro for round trip. Not sure where you're getting $500. I don't know if you would qualify for a family discount, but if so, it would be even less. Although I haven't checked prices for car rental, it's generally very expensive for a one-day rental, plus then you have to park (don't know if you can park anywhere in Florence for free).
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 09:56 AM
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More information is helpful, from your original question! If you absolutely want to see Florence, I would offer one more suggestion (I've been accused of thinking sometimes very far "outside the box!). Since your hotel and flights are locked into Venice, look again at rental car prices and see if you can get a package that includes a cheap hotel outside Florence. The hotel would probably include some sort of shuttle to the old city. Then compare that to the train and a cheap hotel near the station....yes, you will "lose" the night you pay for your empty hotel room in Venice. But, you have to consider the time you are going to lose getting to and from the stations, etc. that will take away from those already very few hours in Florence, as well. Lastly- from my Italian train experience (we also were there in August and used the trains a lot) they do NOT always run on time. Sometimes they were cancelled for no apparent reason, or considerably delayed. I hope this doesn't sound negative! If I had to choose between Venice and Florence, I couldn't! I'm just saying that if it's a must for your family, and you're spending so much money on this trip already, it might be worth it to stay overnight in Florence...unless (you don't say) there is ONE top sight you all really want to see (the David, for example). Then you might be able to pull it off, with an early enough start, by train...
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 11:10 AM
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Hi S,

You can rent a car for a day from www.novacarhire.com for about 55E + 20E for parking.

It will take about 3 hr each way, by train or car.

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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 07:55 PM
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My mom and I did a mediterranean cruise a few years ago and I rented a car in Venice and drove to Florence. I was quite proud of myself, as I had never before driven in Italy. You can park under the train station and proceed to see "David". Also, I must recommend a most wonderful restaurant "Sostanza". The steak florentine was wonderful and they seat you with others and it is so much fun. My husband had such a good time, he forgot to eat! Good luck, Pat W.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 11:22 PM
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It does take 3 hours by Eurostar to get from Venice to Florence and I would figure close to 4 hours by car since you do not know where you are going and are bound to take alittle more time getting from city to city when everything is new to you. I suspect that once you add up gas prices, rental, parking, highway tolls it will add up to E150+ and 2nd class eurostar fares with a family discount will not be much more than that. I would also not recommend the day trip as we once stopped in Florence on our way from Venice to Rome and stayed about 8 hours and a few years later no one really remembered much about Florence. We later returned for a week. Spend at least one night and preferably 2 to make it a better trip.
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