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Driving from Florence to Cinque Terre

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May 7th, 2016, 04:23 AM
  #1
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Driving from Florence to Cinque Terre

Dear folks, I along with my wife and son are scheduled to visit Italy around the May end to mid June 2016.
We intend to do a day trip to Cinque Terre (5 towns) starting from Florence. Is it practical to rent a car and do Pisa on the way and then head to Cinque Terre. Night halt will be Florence so have to come back in the evening.
Thanks for your time and valuable feedbacks.
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May 7th, 2016, 04:44 AM
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Parking would be an issue in all those locations (ZTL in Pisa, etc.). Perhaps a tour would be simpler.

How many days do you have in Florence? It's easy to reach Pisa by train from Florence (about 1 hour 8-10€ one way.
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May 7th, 2016, 04:55 AM
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Thank you kybourbon for your reply. We are 3 days in Florence. First day we will be in Florence visiting local sights. Second day we have it for Cinque Terre. Third day intend to do a day tour to Sienna,Sam Gimigano and one of the Chianti wineries. Know that our prog is choc o block but that's how it atm.Thanks again
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May 7th, 2016, 06:25 AM
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I think you are trying to do too much on your day trips (you could use a full day in Siena for example). Have you driven in Italy before? Do you have an international driver's permit? If not, I think it would be frustrating to pick up a car (takes time and might not be open until 9 unless you go to the airport), figure out a route and parking (you really can't drive into most of these areas) and get back in time to return your car. If you park somewhere in CT area, visit the villages, you would then have to backtrack to your car.

Do you have four hotel nights in Florence (to give you three full sightseeing days)?
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May 7th, 2016, 07:33 AM
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Pisa, I'd just skip that and park at La Spezia Centrale if you must drive. Then take the train to the villages.

I would take the train myself the whole way from Florence.

On the return you do stop in Pisa. You could get off, take a cab to see the tower, get back on train and return to Florence for the night.
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May 7th, 2016, 07:51 AM
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There is no road connecting the 5 villages. The road is back inland and up from the coast. The villages are connected by train, boat and a footpath. If you drive, you must pay to park, walk down, then walk up again. Plus renting a car for one day is expensive.
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May 7th, 2016, 10:05 AM
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Any way you arrange it, it's a long day--6 hours on trains [the best way to go] and 4 trips going back and forth from stations.
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May 7th, 2016, 10:23 AM
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We drove to the Cinque Terre from Florence. That in itself is an all day trip. We left early in the morning, hiked/trained to all five towns and got back late at night. We drove to Pisa on another day and combined it with a visit to Lucca. This is what I would recommend. If you try to do Pisa ant the Cinque Terre in the same day, you will not have time to do the Cinque Terre justice.
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May 8th, 2016, 05:26 AM
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Hi letsgeaux (and everyone),

Thank you for the information laid here.

We will drive from Florence to Pisa on a Sunday this May, and we wish to pass through Pisa to see the tower.

Where did you park the car in Pisa on your trip to there, in order to avoid ZTL? and how did you get from the parking lot to the city center and the tower?

Thanks a lot!
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May 8th, 2016, 06:28 AM
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catj, read this: http://www.athomeintuscany.org/2011/...-traffic-zone/
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May 8th, 2016, 09:22 AM
  #11
 
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You will also need to avoid ZTL in Florence when picking up/returning the car.

Caf offers a day trip to CT if you change your mind about renting. I'm sure there are other companies that do also.

http://www.caftours.com/cinque-terre...ith-lunch.html
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May 8th, 2016, 03:29 PM
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No problem parking in Pisa. There is a big public parking lot within easy walking distance to the Tower.
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May 8th, 2016, 05:45 PM
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If you're doing this drive on a Sunday, you'll either have to take the time to pick up the rental car on Saturday and park it somewhere (avoid the Florence ZTL!) or take the time on Sunday to pick up the car at the airport. Then, you either return the car at the airport late on Sunday or park it somewhere in Florence and turn it in on Monday morning (avoid the ZTL again).

Alternatively, you could board a train in Florence early Sunday morning and in about 2 hours you'd be in, say, Vernazza. Head to Pisa in the afternoon (about 90 minutes) and back to Florence after dinner. There are 4 no-change trains from Pisa to Florence that depart after 9:00p. No driving in the dark, no time lost renting and returning a car, no ZTLs, no parking. IMO, going by train is infinitely more time effective and less stressful.

Don't forget you need timed reservations to climb the Leaning Tower.

If you decide to rent the car, you'll need an International Driver's Permit.
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May 8th, 2016, 07:54 PM
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When did they start requiring an International Drivers Permit? We got one once, like in 2000, and no one ever asked for it. Been back three times since then without one. (Last trip was 2011). I guess there may have been some changes due to international security concerns?

Basically all it was, was a translation in French, Italian and Spanish (?) of the information on your US (or Canadian) license. Can you still get them at AAA, in the US?

Personally, I wouldn't do just a day trip for Cinque Terre, but I guess it is doable.
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May 8th, 2016, 08:55 PM
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>>> Been back three times since then without one. (Last trip was 2011). I guess there may have been some changes due to international security concerns? <<<

It has been for quite a while (Italian law). Just because no one asked for it, doesn't mean it's not the law (rental companies seem to ask about it more now than they used to).
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May 9th, 2016, 06:43 AM
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Hi letsgeaux,

Thank you for your indication on a big parking lot nearby the leaning tower.

Do you remember the name of the parking lot or the address?

Was it easy to get to that parking lot without getting into ZTL?

Thanks a lot!!
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May 10th, 2016, 06:26 PM
  #17
 
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As you approach Pisa from the main highway, signs direct you toward the Field of Miracles. Before reaching the city walls there are pay parking lots as well as on street pay parking. I do not remember the name of the lot but the signage directing you to the parking is clear. It was outside the city center so I don't think you will have a problem with ZTL. It was a short walk to the tower.
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May 10th, 2016, 09:59 PM
  #18
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Thank you so much folks for the valuable feedback. Yes as for my program, have kept 3 days in Florence. Now need to cover Florence city, then intend to take a day a Tuscan day trip which will cover Sienna, Sam Gimigano and Chianti. And then have kept third day for CT and Pisa.

Given the less number of days (3 only) I have, what would be the best advice?

Thanks for the time and insight, once again.
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May 11th, 2016, 08:31 AM
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Siena, San Gimignano and a Chianti winery in a single day won't give you much time anywhere. Depending on where the winery is located, it's probably 4 hours on the road. Are you taking an organized bus tour?

And you're only spending one day seeing Florence? I hope it isn't a Sunday or Monday when many sights are closed or have reduced hours.

May I ask what comes before and after Florence in your itinerary? And how old your son is?
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May 11th, 2016, 09:23 PM
  #20
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Hi Jean, thanks for the reply. Yes, intend to do a day tour of Sienna, Sam Gimigano and Chianti. Just came across this tour offered by Viator, there are few others in trip advisor too.

We are there from 3rd to 5th of June which is Sunday - Tuesday.
We will be heading from Bologna (doing Ferrari over there at Maranello and Modena) to Florence. After Florence we are scheduled to go to Sorrento via Naples. My son is 10 years old.

Once again thanks for your time and suggestions.
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