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Driving in Rome and Florence - are we crazy to try?

Driving in Rome and Florence - are we crazy to try?

Mar 27th, 2001, 11:30 AM
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Driving in Rome and Florence - are we crazy to try?

We are working on our car rental reservation for our trip to Italy in September. We plan to pick up the car in Rome, work our way up through Umbria and Tuscany and then turn the car back in Florence. The cheapest rate is picking up at Rome train station (convenient to our hotel) and dropping off at Florence train station (again convenient to our hotel). I have heard horror stories about driving in these cities. Would it be wiser to spend the extra time and money to pick up and drop off at the airports? Since it is usually easier to drive out of a city rather than into a city, would it make sense to pick up at Rome train station and drop off at Florence airport?
Mar 27th, 2001, 11:35 AM
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the horror stpries you heard are true. we've been there and did similar trip to what you mention. the problems with the airports is they aren't that close to the city itself. If you have a patient driver and good navigator, you'll manage. getting out of rome from the train station isn't as bad as some of the other locations. getting into florence is confusing but not as bad as rome. i don't know where the florence train station is but they tend to be not in the heart of things. you can probably manage. the airports may be very inconvenient.
Mar 27th, 2001, 11:54 AM
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Terminis Roma and Firenze are both very near the city centers. However, if you pick up the car on your way out of Rome and drop off upon arrival in Florence, the traffic situation would be worth the time you'll save by avoiding the airports. It will be an adventure you can tell your coworkers about.
Mar 27th, 2001, 12:10 PM
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I know people who have done this... and survived. Just make sure you coat your nerves with steel and make sure you are not trying to drive out of Rome directly after taking an International Flight. Be well rested.
Mar 27th, 2001, 12:29 PM
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Let's put this in perspective.

Horror? The holcaust was a horror. Tens of thousands of Italians, perhaps hundreds of thousands, do it every day. Most live.

Is it easy? No. But then millions of Americans drive every day into LA, Chicago, New York City, etc.

Does it make any sense to have a car in Rome to get around to the sights? Not only no but heck no.

Does it make a lot of sense to pay a surcharge to pick up at the airport? Not only no but heck no.

Can most drivers make it out of Rome successfully with a car and in to Florence? Of course.

Obviously you'll avoid rush hours. You and your navigator will brush up on the routing ahead of time before getting into the car. You'll be sure and bring your sense of humor with you of course.

Enjoy. You'll have a fine story or two to tell when you get back home.
Mar 27th, 2001, 01:03 PM
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We drove in Rome and, yes, it's an experience you can relate years later. As someone else mentioned, try to avoid rush hours and have a trusted (and calm) navigator with you. When I drove there, our 22-year-old son navigated while my wife sat in the back seat.
Fact is, I had fun with it, but I should mention that I learned to drive on the streets of Boston.
Mar 27th, 2001, 02:01 PM
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Driving in Florence is like a smoothly executed dance. You have to be agressive and not wait for other people too much, if you see a chance you take it and everybody moves at once. I love driving in Florence, but my poor wife loses about 2 years for every mile I drive. If you are a good driver and want an adventure, go for it. If you are not use to driving in heavy city traffic, you may want to get a few extra cabs.

The train station in Florence is located just a few blocks from the heart of downtown, a very convient spot.
Mar 27th, 2001, 04:32 PM
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Bebe. It only makes sense to drop off your car at an airport if you are ready to leave the country. Or picking up the car at the airport if you have an immediate departure to another city when you arrive. It is costly to pick up at airport locations in Italy. Get directions from the rental offices. Check out a city map and locate your rental return location on a street map. You'll be fine.
Mar 27th, 2001, 05:26 PM
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Do it. You'll survive and have great stories to tell. I've driven everywhere in Europe, and while Roma drove me nuts (not because of the other drivers or their failure to heed traffic laws, but because it seemed I had to go 20 miles before I could make a left turn), in retrospect I loved every minute of it. Besides, I learned some wonderful, colorful language (from other drivers) I might not otherwise have learned. If you need to drive from Rome to Florence, you'll dredge up the resources to do it.
Mar 28th, 2001, 02:58 AM
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Just returned from driving in Florence and all we can say is: Go For It! Very hair-raising, but we had a blast. I don't read maps and my husband has always driven like an Italian so it was just fine, really. The road signs are easy to read and while drivers are agressive, road rage just doesn't seem to exist. Our best advice is to take a quick taxi ride before you start driving so you can see how they do it. My husband said that made all the difference in the world to how he was able to take to the road. Have fun. Some of our best stories are about driving.
Mar 28th, 2001, 08:38 AM
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Re: Driving in Rome and Florence

If you decide to, plan your route BEFORE you get in the car. Otherwise, they'll run you down! Drive aggressively and hope that you don't hit pedestrians or scooters. They're everywhere and are as fearless as the drivers.
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