COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Stay up to date with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.   Learn More >

Driving Germany to Italy

Old May 11th, 2012, 04:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 402
Driving Germany to Italy

Greetings all. I'm going back to Spannocchia in Tuscany in June, driving from home near Landstuhl, in Germany. I'll be renting a car in Germany (mine being 12 yrs 200km+) for the trip. I considered flying to Pisa or Rome but would still have to rent a car in Italy. Although driving thru the Alps is not way up on my list, I thought what the heck; I'll be alone, it'll be scary, sounds like a plan. I'd like some info on two things:

Car: For quick maneuvers and steep roads, what's the best size engine in rental car (just that, no horror stories, pls - previous posts alarmed me enough). And I don't want to feel like I'll never get there b/c the car is so slow. Since it will be just me, I don't need much luggage space, but tiny cars scare the pants off me, so I'd need some place to put them. Price is obviously important, but isn't a deal-breaker. Any thoughts on best vendor for car rental?

Route: They should be open in June, right? I'd rather not spend a lot of time getting stickers for different countries. I've found two (google) routes, one thru Switzerland, one thru Austria. Any idea which would have the less scary routes? I'm really not interested in the view; my eyes will be glued to the road. Google says about 11 hours, Landstuhl to Siena. Does that seem right? I'd prefer not to underestimate my time and end up who knows where in the dark. Is gas available everywhere? Restaurants? Toilettes?

I know I'm a big sissy. I truly appreciate any thoughts or advice.
Shanna is offline  
Old May 11th, 2012, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,061
Hi Shanna

There is no reason to be scared.You will not be driving over an Alpine pass.If you can drive the autobahn you can easily make this trip. Take the route through Switzerland. You will be driving through the Gotthard tunnel(Free)under the Alps. Get the size car you feel safe in.Use an Agency that is convenient to where you live.

You will need a "sticker" for Switzerland and tolls in France and Italy.. Perhaps you can get a car that has one. Ask the rental agency.

In Germany, France, and Italy you will find restaurants and gas stations on the highway. In Switzerland next to the highway.

I made this trip in 2010. It was easy. Have a nice trip.

The trip will take about 10-11 hours plus stops.

I like the website viamichelin for routing.
dugi_otok is offline  
Old May 11th, 2012, 05:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,378
Get a diesel car, as it has considerable torque (low-down power), so ideal for hilly roads. I would get something like diesel Golf - a fine car in anyone's book, with firm but controlled ride, good handling and precise steering with a lot of feedback. Many rental companies won't allow you to take executive cars like BMWs and Mercedes-Benz into Italy (because of high theft risks), but Golf should be fine. Sixt is a good German rental firm with competitive prices and plenty of branches.
From Landstuhl, take A6 and A5 down to Basel, get your vignette (40 SFr; you can pay in euro but change given in SFr) and go via Lucerne and St Gotthard tunnel and enter Italy near Como. From there it's to Milan, Florence and Siena. You pay toll at toll booths as you drive along. Credit card is taken.
You need one overnight stop, either in Switzerland or Northern Italy. There are some characterless motels along and near highways, and more charming inn or pension in villages.
Alec is offline  
Old May 12th, 2012, 02:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 402
Thanks for the advice, esp. the toll business which I knew but forgot. I'm feeling more assured about this trip. The Alps seem to be intimidating but I drove the Rockies so maybe I'm over-thinking the whole thing.
Shanna is offline  
Old May 12th, 2012, 04:08 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,214
You drove the Rockies but the Alps scare you? Allright, that is nonsense.
If you stick to the motorways, the drive through either Switzerland or Austria will be as scaaaary as to drive I-70 from Denver to the West. I would be more scared to drive 11 hours. Traffic can be dense and the only real threat of your itinerary will be that you won't be able to concentrate after 8 hours or more on the road. That is not because of scaaaary roads but because you don't rest.
The motorway/tunnels route has no steep sections to talk about. Any car can do that, so just rent what you like.
If you don't bring back the rental car to Germany, you will pay a royal sum for cross border drop-off.
Gas stations and rest areas with restaurants exist in short intervals, maybe every 30-50 kms.
As you won't be crossing the Saharan desert, you can leave the motorway at any exit for a bite at the next town or village nearby.

Considering costs for gas and tolls, I guess that it will be more expensive than to fly to Pisa and rent a car there. Especially as the scenery does not interest you.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old May 14th, 2012, 12:12 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 364
I'll add on to Cowboy's other thought about flying since you aren't driving for the scenery...Have you checked out Ryanair availability?

Frankfurt-Hahn is just a hop and a skip from Landstuhl, and with a mere hour and half flight, you could be in Pisa. Even without an early-bird purchase, I think you would still be way ahead in cost, time and sanity to fly vs driving as a single driver.

Pisa airport is just outside the city towards the south, so you would already be well on your way from the airport. Renting a car is very easy at this small airport. We have rented from Hertz as part of the Ryanair deal, but they aren't my favorite company; there are several car rental companie to choose from at that location.

Thanks for all the good information from other posters, we may be moving to Italy and were asking ourselves the same questions as Shanna.

Happy Travels!
klondiketoo is offline  
Old May 14th, 2012, 04:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 402
Thanks all! Nope the Rockies didn't skeer me, so I was overthinking. And Yep, I checked out Ryanair and they do have a very cheap flight into Pisa. But their website doesn't like my billing address for the credit card (APO); I've encountered the problem before but always managed a work-around. Not this time. Plus I'll have to drive, park, pay, pray; either rush back to Pisa or overnight there. A lot of details. But I'll reconsider; 11 hours would be a pain - still I could tote as much as I wanted.

Also, I'm thinking I'd stop overnight on the way back at Villefranche-sur-mer and have dinner at La Mere Germaine (my late dad's hangout). It's on my list but the area is otherwise of little interest to me, so I don't want to invest a big trip just for that.

Klondiketoo - where might you go in Italy? I'm thinking I'd love Italy next - but Germany and the Germans are so great I'm also thinking retirement here in the Pfalz.
Shanna is offline  
Old May 14th, 2012, 09:29 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
You won't be driving over Alpine passes unless you want to - they have built tunnels through them. Just be prepared for the tunnel and fill the car with fresh air before entering, then close windows and outside air vents - or the car will be filled with hideous fumes from all the truck traffic (tunnels vary from about 9 to 11 miles in length). Also, be sure you tell the rental agency you will be taking the car to Italy -since they may require extra insurance.

We always get a midsize car, sporty with extra power where possible (Audis seem reliable) - since we enjoy drivig fast cars fast, something you really can't do in the US where many highways have a 55 mph limit.
nytraveler is offline  
Old May 14th, 2012, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 266
When I investigated the drop off charge for a car rental Munich to Florence, I was quoted a price of $ we are taking a train instead for less than $140. Of course if you are returning to Germany with the rental car, no problem.

carolll is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Jan 7th, 2017 10:14 AM
Aug 16th, 2012 11:06 AM
Jul 25th, 2012 02:27 AM
Apr 18th, 2012 12:03 AM
Sep 4th, 2007 11:13 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information