Driving from Rome to Florence?

Aug 26th, 2016, 08:54 AM
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Driving from Rome to Florence?

My wife and I are traveling to Italy in early October. We are starting out in Rome, going to Florence, then ending up in Venice. We fly into Rome and out of Venice. I am thinking that I might like to drive from Rome to Florence instead of taking the train, just so we can spend a day going through the hills of Tuscany. We might also stop at Civita De Bagnoregio. But I've never done this, so I don't know if this will be too long of a day trip and make it not worth the trouble. We are staying very close to Ponte Vecchio, so we would likely have to drive to Firenze Santa Maria Novella and then get a cab/Uber to where we are staying.

Does this make sense, or should we skip this idea and just take the train? We've planned for a full day to get from Rome to Florence, so we won't be missing anything else on our itinerary. Just wondering if getting out of Rome / into Florence will be a nightmare.
MikeinMN is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 09:12 AM
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A couple of years ago we decided to rent a car IN Florence (at Hertz) so we could drive to our accommodation which was literally in the olive grove "sticks" and down a rutted road which had undoubtedly claimed a lot of shock absorbers in its time.

A whole BUNCH of people here told me I was crazy; that it was impossible to drive into "that part" of Florence without getting a ticket; that finding the Hertz office (it is a few blocks from SMN) "is almost impossible" and on and on.

Well, using my phone's GPS (I have unlimited data in Europe) mad finding the Hertz office pretty easy. I did not get any tickets, anywhere, and for us, it was worth it.

Sure it can be done but I think you need to plan carefully.
Dukey1 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 09:17 AM
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I presume you are assuming the issue driving in Rome or Florence has to do with the traffic? They have that, but something more painful you probably don't have at home

From the posting provided so far, it appears you are not aware of the ZTL, the limited traffic zone, existing in practically any city/town you will visit on your route. There is a severe financial impact if you wonder into these zones. Florence is the worst. If you plan to return the car to SMN, there is a way to do this, but if you miss the correct turns, you will be greeted at home with a souvenir from Florence in a form of a stack of expensive fines PLUS processing charge(s) from your rental company.

If you are imagining you can just drive into a hill town, park, look around and get out, it doesn't work that way. Because of the ZTL guarding most of these place, you need to park outside the center, make your way up into the city center, then reverse the process to go back to your car. Because of this, unless you are vising smaller towns, visiting two larger hill towns is probably all you have time for even if you are not making a long trek like Rome to Florence.

Additionally, when you have luggage in the trunk, you need a car capable of hiding your belongings while parked.

A one day rental (?) like this is very expensive for the use you get out of it. I recommend you actually do a trial booking, paying special attention to the insurance requirement peculiar to Italy, to see just how much it costs just for the rental part.
greg is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 09:17 AM
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Of course it is doable.
Whathello is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 09:38 AM
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I rest my case. Enjoy your trip, Buddy.
Dukey1 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 09:45 AM
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I'm sure lots of people do this, but there are issues to consider.

We've found renting and returning a car takes longer, esp. if there is a line at either or both ends. It's important that the agent at each end check the car for damage, and you can take photos with date and time for your own peace of mind. You should investigate the cost of a one-day, one-way rental and make sure you're considering a car that will hold your luggage out of sight.

The drive entirely on secondary roads to CdeB and then through Tuscany and the heart of Chianti would take at least 7 hours, not counting for any stops. The more you hop on the autostrada to save time, the more you lose the point of the drive.

Since you'd want to make the most of the day, you might want to return the car at the Florence airport where offices are open late into the evening. Driving to an airport is also easier than trying to find your way into Florence in the dark. (Sunset is at little after 6:30p at that time of year.) I would taxi from the airport to your hotel.

If it's raining, I would toss the plan and take the train.
Jean is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 09:55 AM
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If you drive on back roads, the drive can be very pleasant. However, it takes a lot longer than the train, and there is also the time involved in picking up and dropping off the rental car. I might want to drop it off at the Florence airport, to avoid taking the car into Florence. Not everyone is as lucky as Dukey.
bvlenci is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 10:06 AM
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Right, so I am aware of ZTL, and would avoid them. But you make good suggestions about where to return the car (at the airport instead of in the city center) and that would certainly make things a bit less dicey. We are staying just south of the Circus Maximus in Rome (toward the Tiber) which appears to be outside of the ZTL. And I could pick the car up at Termini and make my way to our hotel and then out of the city without getting into a ZTL.

I think the idea is to get the charm or the hills and not be on a timeline, and just be allowed to go through the scenery on our schedule. the cost is not a real issue - it is roughly $120 US to rent a decent sized car that will hold our luggage. Add gas on top of that, and yes it is more expensive. But the goal would be the experience.

So...thank you for the responses. With the above information, does this change anyone's perspective?
MikeinMN is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 10:20 AM
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If this is something you really want to do, then the cost does not bother me. I think it's doable. Good idea to drop the car at the airport.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 10:27 AM
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It sounds like you know what the issues are and can make an informed decision for yourself. People here do feel compelled to tell posters asking such questions about the ZTL issue, as so many people traveling to Europe know nothing about it. They end up with a stack of tickets and charges from the rental car company and come back to tell us about how they are being ripped off by the rental car company and by the cities where they violated the ZTL.

Only you can decide if this is what you want to do. Personally, I'd take the train, but it's your trip, not mine.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 11:46 AM
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We have driven from Florence to Rome and enjoyed it very much, although actually we rented our car in Orvieto rather than in Rome. I think we took the train to ORvieto, spent the night there, went to Civita de B and then drove on to Florence.vIt was a pleasant drive.
Saraho is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 02:33 PM
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We had a similar itinerary on our first trip to Italy. We picked up our rental car on the Via Veneto and left Rome heading to Florence. We stopped in Orvieto, toured the town and had lunch there. Then we continued on to Florence mwhere we dropped off our car. After Florence, we picked up another car. The rental car agencies were not in a ZTL and it was easy to get on and off the autostrada from their locations.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 04:12 PM
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I would just rent a car from Florence and take a full-day excursion from there.
DebbieDoesDulles is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 04:50 PM
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You need to make sure the $120 includes a drop off fee (sometimes doesn't) and CDW which is mandatory. You also need a international driver's permit from AAA (legal requirement in Italy).
kybourbon is offline  
Aug 26th, 2016, 05:01 PM
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Just take your luggage with you to Termini when you rent the car. Don't add a step by then driving to your hotel (in the opposite direction of your destination) before leaving Rome.
Jean is offline  
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