Driving, car rental

Jul 13th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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Driving, car rental

Hi, our planning is going well for our first European vacation. We will be staying in Venice for a few nights, but after that we are thinking of renting a car and driving through some of the countryside. What suggestions do people have for "must sees". My brother-in-law has recommended Cinque Terre and I think perhaps we will give that a go. Where would be the best place to start that?...ie, I know we can't drive through that region and will have to do train/trails, but suggestions for best stays and routes perhaps? Thank you!
Linda_Pestes is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 12:33 PM
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Linda, we would need to know more.
How long?
How many?

The CT is a long way from Venice---you may want to hit Florence prior.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 01:29 PM
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Hi L,

Have you considered a drive through Tuscany?

ira is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 01:38 PM
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Or Umbria?
Jean is online now  
Jul 13th, 2012, 02:02 PM
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Levanto is accessible by car, or was when we were there a long time ago. From there, hikes along the Cinque Terre coast are possible, or taking the train to different towns.
Michael is online now  
Jul 14th, 2012, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Whatever you do, try to stay out of city driving. Italians are crazy drivers in cities.

I've driven in major cities throughout Europe, but won't drive in Rome.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Jul 14th, 2012, 09:08 AM
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linda - do you have a map of Italy?

this isn't a trick question, because if you look at it, you'll see that venice is on the far north- eastern coast of Italy, The CT on the far west. whether the CT is a reasonable destination after Venice very much depends on when you are going, what else you want to do, and how long you've got.

places that you might be interested en route are Bologna, Florence, Pisa, Lucca.

other possibilities are to drive up into the Dolomites, and return to Venice [if that's where your return flight goes from] via Lake Garda and Verona, or to go Tuscany via Verona and Modena, for example.

places where you do definitely not want to have a car include Florence, the CT, and , of course, Venice.
annhig is offline  
Jul 14th, 2012, 10:00 PM
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Hi, thanks to all of your for your suggestions and questions. We will be 12 days in Italy...We arrive in Venice on Oct 1 and fly out on Oct 12, back to Germany. I do know where the places are and that they are a ways apart from each other, but we were hoping it would be worth the trip. I think we would enjoy the CT area more than some others..or perhaps the Tuscany. We will avoid driving in any big city, that's a given! Anybody got any good recommendations for lodging in the CT or Tuscany regions? Any assistance greatly appreciated! Getting more excited daily...We will be in Ireland and German for 2 months total but are trying to not fit too much into our "schedule".
Linda_Pestes is offline  
Jul 15th, 2012, 04:19 AM
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Linda_Pestes - are you flying out back to Germany from Venice - you might consider flying back from Pisa (ideal both for the Cinque Terre or Tuscany) or even from Genoa (on the Ligurian coastm CT is in that region) or even from Bologna to save you a long drive back to Venice.

With 11 days on your hands you can do a nice holiday in Italy in areas you would like to visit.

I agree with you that I would not find accomodation in big city centres, but you can still do day visits, as most towns and cities have huge parking areas outside the city walls, and you will manage to find parking as October is a good month to travel with lesser tourists.

In 2010 we stayed at an amazin agriturismo called Agriturismo Nicolai - Palagetto di Sotto, less than 1km outside the town walls of San Gimignano, an easy walk, but still in the breathtaking countryside of Tuscany.. It is very accessible to reach by car. They have their own winery, and olive oil, and you can book a tour for free around their winery, also tasting some of their wine. It offers good breakfast, the apartments are lovely, and no minimum nights required. They also have hight reviews on their dinners, maybe they do dinners also in October, they didn't when we went in December, but it was a short drive to San Gimignano anyway, and there are plenty of restaurants there, inside and outside its city walls, I never tired of visiting this medieval town. From there you can do many daytrips to Tuscan towns like Florence, Siena, Volterra, Lucca, Pisa etc.

I would be very happy to give my recommendations regarding your itinerary if you inform me from what airport you are departing back to Germany.

But if it were me, I think I would divide the vacation as follows, considering your regions you are interested in:

3 nights Venice

4 nights Tuscany

2 nights Cinque Terre - staying in accomodation north of Pisa but in Liguria (at this time of year it is extremely quiet in that region, so I guess it should be enough to have a full day and two nights to visit the CT), you have the advantage that this area is so close to Tuscany so you won't have too long driving distance between these two regions)

and 2 nights to break the trip from Venice, as another Fodorite suggested, in Emilia Romagna, maybe between Bologna and Ravenna area, (which will be out of season for the tourists as in many coastal towns in Italy) - you might be interested in visiting the beautiful mosaics of Ravenna, the Italy in Miniature, etc.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Jul 15th, 2012, 04:25 AM
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Linda - another idea might be that you combine the nights of Cinque Terre with those of Tuscany by staying in accomodation close to Pisa, maybe just to its north, and from there you can easily reach Cinque Terre and do a day trip there s there is not much distance, and also within reach for a day trip to some Tuscan towns like Lucca, Florence etc, and of course to the lovely Tuscan countryside.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Jul 15th, 2012, 08:26 AM
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Anna, we are flying back out of Marco Polo airport on the 12th..flight already booked on our airmiles and no changes allowed. I have noted your accomodation suggestions, certainly sound good, and will see what is available. It does seem doable in our time allowtment! Any suggestion of where to stay the night before we fly out at 2:35 pm on the 12th. Thanks for all your suggestions!
Linda_Pestes is offline  
Jul 15th, 2012, 11:00 AM
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Linda, if you are locked into flying out of venice, the most efficient use of time is to leave your stay in Venice til last.

you could, for example, get the train to Florence, spend a couple of days there, then train to Pisa, pick up your car, then from whatever base you choose, use that to tour the CT, San Gim, Lucca, etc. then drive back to Venice via Bologna/Ravenna/Parma, returning your car to the piazzale Roma and spending the end of your holiday in venice.
annhig is offline  
Jul 15th, 2012, 11:12 AM
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Anna, we are already booked for 3 nights in Venice on arrival, so would just stay the night before our departure, near the airport. How pricey is train travel...ie from Venice to Florence? I find the sites with timetables etc but still having difficulty deciphering and finding what the fares will be! We would rather pay as we go as it leaves us more flexibility, so advance purchase we will only do if it is a big financial savings. Thanks again for all of your sugggestions!
Linda_Pestes is offline  
Jul 15th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Linda - I'm not anna, but are you locked into your venice stay? if you've used a website like booking.com, you'll probably find that you can change it without penalty. it is definitely a more efficient use of time to put the whole of your stay in Venice at the end of the holiday if you can.

train fares are reasonably cheap in Italy - 2nd class super-economy on the frecchioargento for Venice to florence is €19, and the economy is €29. it only takes 2 hours too, and there are lots of train every day on that route. if you know what day you are leaving, you really don't need that much flexibility!
annhig is offline  
Jul 15th, 2012, 01:16 PM
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annhig, thank you for your assistance. I am locked into the Venice stay as we went with Hotwire this time, so its not changeable. We can make it work, so I'm not too concerned. Thank you for that help with the train, it gives me more to go on. We will probably take the train down to florence on oct 4th and rent a car on the 5th and then do our touring. We're pretty set on going to CT as we've read so much about it and have family recommendations! Any more suggestions are gladly accepted. This is a great site to check stuff out on!
Linda_Pestes is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 03:33 AM
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Linda - that sounds like a decent plan. you can save some money by choosing a train and buying your tickets in advance - 90 days out is the longest lead time you have i think, so the sooner you book ,the more you save. .

for your last night, you could stay somewhere like Padua. with a flight out at 2.35 pm to another european country, you probably don't need to get there until about 1pm [I might get there a bit eariler to return the car]. Here's the link to TA's list of things to do there:


even though you only get 15 mins with the frescos themselves, the chapel where Giotto painted still comes out on top [you have to book].

happy planning!
annhig is offline  

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