Driving through Tuscany for Two Days

Jul 5th, 2014, 08:51 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 24
Driving through Tuscany for Two Days

Does anyone have any suggestions for a two day driving trip through Tuscany? We are picking up a car in Salerno and we will drop it in Florence two days later. We would like to spend the night somewhere in the heart of Tuscany. We would like to stay on the less traveled roads, see some quaint small town and visit some wineries.
Thanks,
Penny
pennypie is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 12:11 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Getting from Salerno to the southernmost scenic areas of Tuscany will take you nearly 5 hours. For a somewhat off the beaten path experience of Tuscany consider making your first stop in the area of Pitigliano (and consider stopping en route at Montefiascone for exceptional view at the top of the hilltown and the delicious white wine, Est!Est!Est!)

After an overnight in the Pitigliano area, head up to Montalcino for lunch and a winery in the vicinity, then head over to one of the Chianti towns to spend the night. This route actually takes you through the most famous, the most iconic and the most touristed part of the Tuscan wine country, but as much as I like off-the-beaten track travel, you might not want to miss your chance to see the historic scenery.

If you really do want an off the beaten track Tuscany, go from Salerno to Magliano in Toscana and spend the night in an agriturismo in the Morellino di Scansano wine country. Next day, visit Massa Marittima and then head on to winery visits and spending the night in the wine country of Bolgheri.
sandralist is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 09:46 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 24
Thank you! Great information. Are we foolish to drive from Salerno? Would we be better to take the train to Florence (or somewhere else) and rent the car from there?
pennypie is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 10:26 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
If you already have a car rental in southern Italy, it might make sense to keep the same car and drive to southern Tuscany, even though the first part of the drive will be highway driving without much scenic reward. But if you are picking up a car in Salerno just to drive to Tuscany, then it might make sense to get on a train instead and pick up the car in Orvieto -- provided you are not traveling on a weekend, when the Orvieto car rental offices would be closed.

Devil is in the details, but I would try to avoid going all the way to Florence to pick up the car.

Which days of the year specifically will you be making this 2-day jaunt (and can you drive a stick shift?)
sandralist is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 05:01 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 24
Luckily I can drive a stick shift, although it's been a few years.

After spending a week in Positano, we are taking the ferry to Salerno and then picking up the car at the Avis on Saturday July 26. Then we are scheduled to drop the car in Florence late Sunday July 27. Possibly we need to delay our Florence lodging so that it doesn't start until Monday night, however that then only 3 days in Florence. Decisions decisions! Too little time and too much to see

Thanks for the continuing input! It's very helpful.
pennypie is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 05:19 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 168
I can recommend the San Savernano agriturismo which is just across the A1 from Greve in Chianti. It is a great base for either traveling around the small towns of Chianti, Siena, San Gimignano, and Orvieto. There are plenty of vineyards that offer tours in that area. The agriturismo is delightful and has beautiful views. Breakfast and dinner are served on the terrace.
palatino82 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 01:58 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Traveling on a Saturday means your only options for picking up a car rental are Saturday morning, since after that the offices close for the remainder of the weekend (except at airports). So no chance of taking a train to Tuscany and picking up a car there. You'd arrive too late -- unless you went to the Florence airport, and then you'd have put yourself in a poor position to begin a tour of scenic Tuscany that ends in Florence.

If you can afford it, you might cut your travel time to Tuscany by getting a car transfer from Positano to Naples airport and renting the car there. The trip from your Positano lodgings to the airport car rental offices is a bit over an hour, which might be quicker than leaving your Positano lodgings and going to the ferry dock, and then getting from the ferries to the car rental office in Salerno. And of course the drive time from Naples airport to southern Tuscany is shorter by about 30 minutes.
sandralist is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 07:04 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,004
If you were able to get yourselves to the Naples train station in time for a 7:30a train to Orvieto (via Rome), you'd arrive at 10:15a and could possibly be driving away by 11:00a. The Hertz office in Orvieto is a few blocks from the train station and is open until 1:00p on Saturdays.
Jean is online now  
Jul 7th, 2014, 07:51 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
THe travel time from Positano to Napoli Centrale is 1 hour and 15 minutes, and you would need to plan to arrive at the station at 7.15 at the latest.

Horses for courses, but if I were at all tempted by the plan to try to catch that 7.30am train, I would simply go the night before and spend the night in Napoli -- or Rome!

However, others might consider a 5am wake up call in Positano enchanting, so maybe that would work for you. (My husband would feel like it just annihilated the whole point of relaxing for a week.) But I will also point out that if anything goes wrong and you fail to pick up that car in Orvieto by 1pm, you are effectively stuck until rental offices open Monday morning or you get yourself to an airport rental office (and hope they have a car for you).

It's not the riskiest plan I've ever seen, since trains along that line are generally reliable, but for multiple reasons, I'd opt for something different than getting up at 5am and having my first day in Tuscany be that kind of a day, with a risk of not getting anything I wanted for that short 2 period of toodling through Tuscan scenery.
sandralist is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 11:58 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,004
pennypie, you just have to weigh the +/- of all of the options and decide what fits your travel style and goals. Some people don't mind early starts if it means they have more time to explore/sightsee, and others aren't "morning" people esp. on vacation. Some would prefer to keep expenses down where possible, and some will splurge for the sake of convenience. It's all for you to decide.

Have you made a list of what towns or areas in Tuscany you'd like to see? Do you have lodging reservations anywhere? Or will you play it by ear and just see whatever is along the way?
Jean is online now  
Jul 7th, 2014, 12:10 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
pennypie,

I don't think I'd want to be setting off from Salerno mid-way on a saturday morning.

I think that i might leave Positano a day early, use that day to get myself to Naples, spend the night there, and then get the bus/taxi to the airport and pick up my car there. You could do that super-early in the morning and escape the Bay of Naples area before all the drivers have woken up.

you can i think get a ferry straight from Positano to Naples which would cut out some of the driving at the worst time of day to be doing it.
annhig is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 12:10 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
But I also think you have to factor in what are the consequences if something goes wrong.

If you were traveling mid-week in July and you missed getting to the car rental office in Orvieto by 1pm, the worst that would happen is that you had to have a long lunch in Orvieto. Not much of a hardship!

On a Saturday in July, if you miss picking up that car, your options for solving that problem would be pretty unpalatable. One option is to get on another train to Rome or Florence if you were able to find an airport car rental office with last minute car rentals available, and then proceed from there to your booked lodging -- on top of having been up since 5am in the morning.

Or you will have to find last minute lodgings in Orvieto -- an awfully popular tourist destination with not an overload of lodgings. Or some other town on the train line.

Like I said earlier, risk of the trains being delayed by 90 minutes are not high -- but not unheard of either.
sandralist is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 12:52 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,004
So, if you think relying on trains is risky, forget trains. Take a taxi to Sorrento and pick up the car there (Hertz is open on Saturdays from 9:00a-1:00p). It would be about a 5-hour drive from Sorrento to, say, Montepulciano. I would have lodging for at least Saturday night already booked so that no time is spent looking for availability. I would also pre-book Sunday night somewhere too, but some people don't mind exploring without a fixed plan.
Jean is online now  
Jul 7th, 2014, 12:56 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
you can i think get a ferry straight from Positano to Naples which would cut out some of the driving at the worst time of day to be doing it.>>

having written that, I thought that I'd better check it, and it turned out to be wrong. Sorry. but you can get the ferry from Positano to Ischia, [one a day at about 9am,] and then from Ischia to Naples [quite a few every day so you would be able to get to Naples by about lunch time]:

http://www.alilauro.it/orari-e-tariffe

depends how much you like boats - my DH would be in 7th heaven with two boat trips in one day!.
annhig is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 03:47 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
>>Take a taxi to Sorrento and pick up the car there (Hertz is open on Saturdays from 9:00a-1:00p).<<

Driving from Sorrento is actually longer than driving from Salerno.

If you hire a taxi from Positano, the time-efficient thing to do is go to Naples airport, and then it doesn't matter what time you arrive because the rental offices are open all day.

If you end up hating the thought of the long drive from the south and want to take a train from Naples to cut the driving, take the train to Florence and go to the airport to pick up a car. It won't matter when you arrive. From the airport, drive to the Chianti region to spend your two nights. The next day, take a loop through the val d'Orica and le Crete Sinese. Have lunch somewhere.

Final option would be to take the train to Rome and switch, not to Orvieto, but to the airport exrpess and get a car at the Rome airport. Drive to Pitigliano or Magliano in Toscana (see above).
sandralist is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 03:49 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
In case it wasn't clear about spending two nights in Chianti:

Pick up car from Florence airport, drive to Chianti lodgings

Next morning, go touring in the val d'Orcia and le Crete Sinese, Return for 2d night in Chianti

Next morning, spend whatever time is left visiting Chianti before returning car to airport and heading into the city.
sandralist is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 06:15 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,004
pennypie, maybe annhig's suggestion of leaving Positano sometime on Friday would make this easier. If you caught a 4:40p train at Naples Centrale (either by way of the ferry rides or by land), you could be in Orvieto in time for dinner and a stroll around the town. (There are later trains if that sounds too early.) Then pick up the car the next morning.

Leaving Positano on Friday would certainly give you more time to explore Tuscany, but only you can decide if you're willing to cut an afternoon and evening from your time in Positano in order to simplify the car rental logistics and maximize your time in Tuscany.
Jean is online now  
Jul 8th, 2014, 02:09 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 24
Wow! You guys are a wealth of information!

We are pretty much locked in with our lodging on either side of this Tuscan weekend, so we don't have any options to take an extra night to get north somewhere so that we start our day in Tuscany earlier. So, with that said, it's going to be an early wake up call for a Saturday morning. I guess the long pole in the tent with that, also, is to see what the earliest very is that leaves positano.

We are not trying to do this trip on the cheap, but we don't want to spend €200 on a driver to take us to the Naples airport to get the rental car. I'll check into that and see if I can find any reasonably affordable options.

I will also check sorrento to see if Avis has a rental office there. I get a huge corporate discount with Avis so I'm trying to stick with them.

Jean we don't have lodging yet but we are thinking we will stay in montalcino. My friend is buying a B and B there and it still had availability today. She has several places in that area. Bagnio Vignoni is all that I can recall now. She has a book with the scenic driving route from Montalcino to Montepulcino and about 6 other towns.

I will digest all this and go over it with my friend I'm traveling with, and post back with our intended plan, and post again later with what really happens!

Thanks again everyone!
pennypie is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 02:17 PM
  #19  
ekc
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,645
The earliest ferry that leaves Positano for Salerno is 10:00 am, getting you into Salerno at 11:10. The earliest ferry from Positano to Sorrento leaves at 12:00 and gets you into Sorrento at 12:50.

So your best bet is either an early bus (yuck) or a driver. The driver we always use when visiting Positano charges 100 euro to take us from Positano to the Naples airport. His name is Sergio Rianna and his email is [email protected]
ekc is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 04:18 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,004
pennypie, a couple of Google searches say the charge for a one-way private transfer (1-3 people) from Positano to Sorrento is 55 euros. A taxi might be half that.

There is an Avis office in Sorrento on Corso Italia, about a mile east of Piazza Tasso.

Your friend's lodging location in/near Bagno Vignoni is a great for exploring southern Tuscany (Montalcino, Pienza, San Quirico, Montepulciano). Or you might decide you'd rather see Siena and drive through Chianti on your way to Florence. You don't have much time, so you'll have to make a tough choice.
Jean is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:23 PM.