Driving through Tuscany for Two Days

Jul 10th, 2014, 08:25 AM
  #21  
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Well, with everyone's help, we have a plan! We do have tough choices to make with so little time in Tuscany. And as was pointed out we also have choices with the actual travel route, and our decision is to go with what has the least risk. We dont want to risk missing a train connection, or wait for a mid day ferry (thanks for that - i thought the ferry was early in the AM, so we would have been in trouble there.)

And so, the plan. Saturday morning, early, we will take a taxi from Positano to Sorrento. http://www.taxiautofare.com/it/Defau...ento&Time=1640 and this shows the fare to be about 20 Euro.

We have an Avis Car in Sorrento, and they open at 9 on Saturday. From Sorrento we will head towards Montalcino where we will stay Sat and Sun night From Sorrento, we will take SS145 North to A3 through Naples. It looks like that ties in to A1, which we will take all the way North to Chiusi-Scalo. Then west on SP40 to Montalcino. Best way to get there??? Do we need to do something different to avoid traffic in Naples and Rome?

We have 2 nights booked in Montalcino at Palazzina Cesira http://www.montalcinoitaly.com/en-71

We found a scenic driving tour with 16 stops (3 days!! And we have 2 days!) through this part of Tuscany. We will probably use SOME of this as our actual route. Some of the stops are La Foce, Bagno Vignoni, Abbazia Santatimo, Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano, San Giovanni D’Asso. Then we will hope to see Siena, Chianti, San Gimigiano on our way to Florence. We will need to choose carefully, so that we can relax and enjoy, instead of rush through everything!!

EKC – a question on the ferry schedules. Is this an accurate site to use: http://www.theamalficoast.net/amalfi...t_ferries.html ?? From some other things I have read, ferry schedules may change frequently, and not always be accurate, so I want to make sure I am looking at a good site.
Thanks again for all of this great feedback!
pennypie is offline  
Jul 10th, 2014, 08:39 AM
  #22  
ekc
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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I can't get the website to load, so can't tell you if it has the most up-to-date schedule. I always use the websites of the companies operating the ferries. www.travelmar.it and www.coopsantandrea.com

The ferry schedules rarely change during the summer. In June they added a few additional runs, but it should remain the same for the rest of the season.

I would be Shocked if the taxi fare was only 20 euro from Positano to Sorrento, considering one of the taxis in Positano charged me 20 euro to get from Piazza di Mulini to the Chiesa Nuova bus stop (all in Positano itself) two years ago!
ekc is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2014, 08:37 AM
  #23  
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We are back from Italy, and I can report on how things ended up working out, and it was mostly as planned. We took a bus from Positano directly to Sorrento, where we had the Avis rental car reserved. Taxis were indeed 100 euros, so I don't know what in the world http://www.taxiautofare.com is talking about. We should have given the Sorrento bus driver the address of the Avis office, and he would have stopped to let us off near there, but we didnt, and ended up getting off at the main Sorrento stop. Everyone we asked said the Avis office was "very close" so we did not take a taxi. Big mistake! it was actually about a mile and a half, which would have been ok to walk if we weren't dragging our suitcase with us.

We picked up the car at 9AM and that was a good choice because traffic was not very busy in Sorrento that early on a Saturday. Later in the day would have been much worse. The GPS did a good job of navigating us, but we also had a print map which was fun to refer to and verify that we were actually on the right course. We followed the signs to Naples, then to Rome, and then to Florence, and that kept us on the Autostrada the whole way, until we exited at Chiusi-Chianciano to enter Tuscany. This exit is maybe 20 km or so after Ovieto.

We let the GPS direct us to Montalcino and I cant say which roads we were on, but it was a lovely drive. We arrived fairly intact at Palazzina Cesira http://www.montalcinoitaly.com/en-71. We had to ask for directions because the B and B is on a very narrow cobblestone street and was hard to locate. We were able to park for a short time while we checked in, and we had free parking for the rest of the time in the city parking lot.

Palazzina Cesira was lovely, and I highly recommend it. The living room and dining room are beautifully appointed and available for guest use. Our room was fairly spacious, nicely decorated, quiet and comfortable. The bathroom was very modern and quite large. The breakfasts were generous and delicious. We enjoyed talking with the owners, Robert and Luilla and they were a wealth of information about the Montalcino area. Robert put together a driving itinerary for us that included: the Abbey at Sant Antimo, Castiglione d'Orcia (and the Rooco d'Orcia tower), S. Quirico d'Orica, Bagno Vignoni, and Pienza. I liked wandering the local areas of Catiglione d'Orcia the best because there were not many tourists there. The whole drive was a very nice day, and took us from about noon to 5 to drive and make leisurely stops. Unfortunately we were doing this on a Sunday so the wineries were closed.

We left Montalcino on Monday to return the car in Florence. We took the small roads to drive through San Gimigiano and Chianti and it was a lovely drive. It took much longer to drive than expected, so we didnt not have enough time to stop anywhere, and I was sorry for that. We had to drop the car in Florence by 6, so at a certain point, we had to make a mad dash to find the A1 to get to Florence. Driving on the A1 Autostrada was fine, and there were nice gas stations/rest stops conveniently located on the highway. Driving to drop the car off in Florence did not go smoothly and I will give recommendations for what I think would be better. First off, the Avis printed reservation had the drop off street printed as Borgognissanti, and the GPS could not locate that at all. The street was actually Borgo Ognissanti. The GPS navigated us thru narrow streets filled with people in the old town, and we may have gone through some ZTL areas (only local cars allowed) and may get a fine for that. I have to say it was incredibly frustrating and stressful.

I think it would have been easier to have dropped the car at the Avis at the airport, and then take a taxi (25 euro) from there to our apartment near Ponte Vecchio. OR, it would have been good to have a better driving route recommended by Avis for driving to their city drop off. I suspect that if we had routed over Ponte A.Vespucci instead of Ponte Santa Trinita it would have gone much more smoothly.

Once we FINALLY found the Avis, they man working there very kindly called a taxi for us, to take us to our apartment. The taxi picked us up inside the Avis garage which was very convenient and it was about 15 euro for the drive to our apartment at Via Romana 1. So, 15 euro for that short ride, compared to 25 euro to taxi from the airport Avis to the apartment is not much different, and would have been so much easier.

Cost for the rental car for the 2 nights/days was 296 euros, and that includes the GPS and about 600 kilometers over the free 300 km on the contract. This rate was with my corporate discount. Gas was about 100 euros.

Our rental car was a stick, and we chose that because of availability and cost. I had not driven a manual transmission in about 20 years, and although the feel came back quickly, it would really have been more relaxing to have had an automatic transmission.

All in all, I was very glad that we chose to rent a car and drive because we saw so many things that we would have never seen with a day tour from Florence, or a Tuscany multi-day bus trip. If you are adventuresome and patient, I would highly recommend it.
pennypie is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2014, 10:07 AM
  #24  
 
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thanks for coming back so quickly pennypie - it's good to have such swift feedback!

I'm glad that you enjoyed you driving part of the holiday and that it worked out reasonably well despite a few frustrations. How long did it take you to drive from Sorrento to Cesira, BTW?
annhig is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2014, 11:33 AM
  #25  
 
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>>> We had to drop the car in Florence by 6, so at a certain point, we had to make a mad dash to find the A1 to get to Florence.<<<

Surprised you went all the way over to the A1 if you were in San G or Chianti. Seems like you would have taken Firenze-Siena highway which is between San G and Chianti or the 222 from Chianti.

>>>The GPS navigated us thru narrow streets filled with people in the old town, and we may have gone through some ZTL areas (only local cars allowed) and may get a fine for that.<<<

If your license plate got snapped for crossing into ZTL, your first clue will be a charge from the Avis in a few months for providing your info to the police (the amount they charge for this is in your rental contract). You later get a ticket in the mail from a company the city of Florence contracts with to collect fines.

Taxi from the airport is a set fee of 20€. The shuttle bus is 6€, but drops you at the main train station.

http://www.aeroporto.firenze.it/en/p...port/taxi.html

http://www.fsbusitalia.it/cms-file/a...bus_2014_1.pdf

Hope you had some time in Montalcino to try some of the Brunellos.
kybourbon is online now  
Aug 19th, 2014, 11:22 AM
  #26  
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annhig: it took us about 5 hours, but we took our time. Our route was very similar to this from google maps. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Sorr...2!2d43.0551015
We did take a wrong exit in the Rome area, but ended up back on route just fine.
pennypie is offline  
Aug 19th, 2014, 11:26 AM
  #27  
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kybourbon: My case of Brunello should be delivered by tomorrow! i cant wait!

As for our route through Chianti and ending up on the A1 - I agree that was not ideal at all, but it just ended up happening And i still have not gotten anything from Avis regarding ZTL violations and tickets, but i heard from someone else that he got his surprise about 3 months after his trip! I guess I will relax in 2015!!
pennypie is offline  
Aug 19th, 2014, 12:14 PM
  #28  
 
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well, that's quite a drive, pennypie, but you obviously lived to tell the tale!

I suppose that the $64K question is - would you do it that way again?
annhig is offline  
Aug 19th, 2014, 01:23 PM
  #29  
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annhig - I think we would do the same. Other than the little blip around Rome, it all went smoothly. And it was pretty fun to drive on the AutoStrada. Gas was easy to get at the big service stations, and the bathrooms were clean. We were mostly interested in getting to Montalcino as quickly as possible. And, once we exited at Chiusi-Chianciano it was just gorgeous, and got better with each mile as we neared Montalcino. BUT who knows, maybe we missed the most beautiful road in the world since we didnt take A12 route closer to the coast, west of Rome. I think I had better just retire and go back and try ALL of the Italian roads!
pennypie is offline  
Aug 19th, 2014, 01:39 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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penny - i'm glad that your experiences haven't put you off. There is so much of Italy to explore, isn't there, and so little time to do it.

i hope that the ZTL tickets don't catch up with you!
annhig is offline  

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