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Do I need to rent a car in Tuscany if only staying 4 nights?

Do I need to rent a car in Tuscany if only staying 4 nights?

Sep 11th, 2010, 12:37 PM
  #1  
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Do I need to rent a car in Tuscany if only staying 4 nights?

Do I need to rent a car in Tuscany if I base myself in Siena? Right now I know I want to visit San Gimignano and my husband wants to go to Pisa to see the leaning tower, and whatever other Tuscan towns we decide....

We only plan on staying only 4 nights in Tuscany. The first day I would assume we would just stay in Siena and not really venture out. So, technically we might only need a car for three days. I know one of those days I want to do a bike tour through the rolling hills.

Main question - do I need to rent a car in Tuscany since we only have 3 full days?
JillDavis is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 12:44 PM
  #2  
J62
 
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Nobody needs to have a car, but it all depends on what you want to see and where you want to go.

I recommend you familiarize yourself with train and bus schedules - the latter are often more convenient in Tuscany, then weigh the cost versus convenience factor.

Florence might be a better base as you could easily do day trips to Fiesole, Pisa, Siena, and Lucca by train and/or bus.

Siena is better if you want to explore Montepulciano, Montalcino, or Pienza area.

It might be that you could do a few 2 day trips by train or bus, then rent a car for 1 day if you wanted to explore several different hill towns, winery, abbey, etc in a single day without being limited by bus schedules.
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Sep 11th, 2010, 12:54 PM
  #3  
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J62 - We definitely don't want to base in Florence. We want to get that Tuscan countryside experience. I wish my husband didn't want to go to Pisa, so perhaps your point of just using the train on that day and only getting a rental car for two days was a good idea.....

What tuscan towns would you say are a must see? I know I definitely want to see San Gimignano and perhaps Montepulciano or Montalcino for the viewws. Do you know if it is easy to get busses into these towns?
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Sep 11th, 2010, 01:09 PM
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www.sena.it, www.sitabus.it, www.ferroviedellostato.it
if you cannot find buses or trains to where you want to go, then it's time to rent a car.
DalaiLlama is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 01:12 PM
  #5  
J62
 
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I believe this is the website for bus schedules http://www.sienamobilita.it/EN/index.html

and here's a pdf of regional bus schedules.
http://www.trainspa.it/train04/extraurbano.pdf

I believe Siena to Pisa is one of those "can't get there from here" routes, at least not in under a few hrs bus ride.
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Sep 11th, 2010, 01:15 PM
  #6  
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Thanks so much guys! I am going to look into this...

I have heard many people rent drivers...wonder how much the cost of that is? I will have to research that...
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Sep 11th, 2010, 01:24 PM
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Pienza is a lovely town. So is Montepulciano. I would definitely see them being so near to Siena. You'll have a wonderful trip!
catcrazyaf is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 01:51 PM
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Jill, If you really want to see Tuscany then you will need a car--perhaps only for 3 days but that is your minimum rental anyway. I would forget Pisa unlesss you land there--too far.

The alternative is to stay in Siena--bus to San Gim. one day and hire a driver to see the best of the hill towns another day---but that will cost you 300 to 350E.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 02:10 PM
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Luca Garappa of hillsandroads.com is a favorite driver/guide of many on Fodors. He lives near Siena and knows the region well. You'll find sample prices on his website. While his prices may seem expensive for just two people, we thought we covered much more territory in our day out with him than we might have done on our own and therefore thought it was well worth the price.
ellenem is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 02:53 PM
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Thanks everyone! I think we will just rent a car for 2 days. I think we can get a stickshift for around $170. I would assume GPS is neccessary in the countryside, correct? I think the rental car companies tack on about 32 Euro for that.
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Sep 11th, 2010, 03:00 PM
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For your car rental, you may also be required o purchase the insurance. And don't forget to add in the price of fuel.
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Sep 11th, 2010, 04:42 PM
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I have driven in Italy 14 times and never had GPS. It is simple in Tuscany with a good map and some homework.
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Sep 11th, 2010, 04:55 PM
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<>

I have stayed in Siena for a week and explored using public transportation. I have also stayed in the countryside. I much prefer staying in the countryside.

To really enjoy the Tuscan countryside, I suggest staying IN the countryside, south of Siena, at an agriturismo. Rent a car for the entire time and explore. There are so many small villages, churches and abbeys, gardens and beautiful country roads to fill your days.

Many of the agriturismi are located in breathtaking locations and offer beautiful properties to relax. It's also easy to drive from and back to a well located agriturismo. Much easier than into and out of Siena. You can visit Siena as a day trip.

Here are a few, well located agriturismi that may interest (and tempt) you-

http://fontebertusi.com/eng/ (This is where I have stayed 5 times.)

http://www.cretaiole.it/index.en.php

http://www.terredinano.com/pages_eng...o_toscana.aspx

This link will take you to some other options-

http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/vr/list.asp?r=Tuscany South

I suggest a very detailed map for the area. GPS may also be helpful, but a map will show much more detail with regard to the smaller roads.

You may also find this information helpful-

http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/driving/index.htm

One more thing- I've read and have enjoyed your recent trip reports- you will love the Tuscan countryside! If you can manage more than 4 nights for the area, do so.
zoecat is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 05:00 PM
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Well Siena is NOT the Tuscan countryside - it's a small city.

If you really want the countryside then you should rent a car and stay in an agriturismo - not the center of a city - so youo can drive trough the countryside as you like - and stop at town that interest you.
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Sep 11th, 2010, 05:27 PM
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Jill,

I have the same opinion as nytraveler & zoecat. If you want the Tuscan countryside experience, you really, really need to stay in a very small town or village. Siena will surprise you with how big it is and the number of freeways, highways that surround it!

Don't hesitate to get a car for 3 days and drive. Driving in the countryside is a pleasure and so easy. No need for GPS. Just have a detailed map that you have studied in advance and away you go! You follow the string of the names of the towns along your route. Easy!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is online now  
Sep 11th, 2010, 05:35 PM
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I've never been to Tuscany but I have heard that it is like
my beloved Provence.You need a small car to visit the lovely villages
cigalechanta is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 06:49 PM
  #17  
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Everyone brings up really good points and thank you for all the information! So much to ponder over. I am debating over staying in the agriturismi to get the full countryside experience and have to rent a car OR stay in Siena and do busses to some of the towns. I definitely want to do a biking tour through the countryside and I can get my fill of the countryside during the day and then come home to more of a lively atmosphere in Siena???

I don't know if 3 1/2 days is enough to truly experience the countryside. I am sure this region deserves at least 7 days to explore those lovely villages.

I don't know. All of you have bought up really good points. I have a lot to think about....
JillDavis is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 07:29 PM
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Jill,

No matter how many days you do spend in the countryside, any Italian countryside, it will never be enough and you will return. Take what you can get, but please believe those of us who have visited (most more than once), you experience the countryside, you need to STAY in the countryside - very small town, village or agriturismo. It's the evening experience that makes it.
Dayle is online now  
Sep 11th, 2010, 07:42 PM
  #19  
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Dayle,

I definitely hear ya! How would you describle the evenings in the countryside? I would love to hear your thoughts...
JillDavis is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 05:04 AM
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There are lots of bus connections to hill towns from Siena (early morning commuters/schools use the same buses), but not so many on Sundays. It just depends on which towns you want to visit. Some routes seem to take an afternoon break with no service for several hours.

There are many tours (including biking ones) to the countryside you can book once you are in Siena. As for biking, no way I could do those hills, but saw lots of bikers in the last few weeks in Tuscany and Umbria.
http://www.terresiena.it/index.php?lang=en
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