First Trip to Italy - 11 Nights

Feb 3rd, 2015, 05:57 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,648
>>>It's never really bothered me, although sometimes I doze on the train. It's certainly better than planning a museum visit or a guided tour on the arrival day. <<<

The train is more comfortable than flights and I tend to doze there a bit too. Since May 1 is a holiday and pretty much a waste, makes sense to use it as a travel day. I always travel on somewhere on arrival day because I know I won't remember anything I see that day, but I don't nap on arrival day.

>>>so IMO there isn't much point in getting to Rome right away<<<

It doesn't have to be Rome, it could be Florence which is much closer.

>>>I have counted my itinerary in hotel nights, and I realize we're moving around more than some people recommend. This is how we usually travel.<<<

As you said in your OP, you have not been to Italy. Moving around that much can be complicated. You have to deal with ZTL's in the cities/towns when you rent a car (yes, even tiny hill towns have ZTL).Things close in the afternoons (businesses, churches, etc.) or entire days (you must plan around closure times/days for things you want to see). Whether you rent a car in Siena, Chiusi, Orvieto, etc. they will be closed in the afternoons for several hours. They also will be closed around noon or 1 on Saturday and all day on Sunday so that can complicate a pick up or return. In Italy, you need to allow extra time for these types of things (you may also discover that person at the rental company is on Italian time, not tourist time and isn't there exactly at the hours stated). You should also watch for strike notifications in case you need to make a plan B to make your flight (strikes are posted in advance).

A one day car rental in Italy can cost as much as a three day. You must have an IDP from AAA (Italian law). If you book in advance, be sure it includes all insurance (most credit cards that offer insurance do not cover Italy).

>>>Sandralist, I think we want to see Siena, Lucca, and San Gimignano, but we haven't nailed that down yet. That's why I thought maybe Siena would be a good place to get the car.<<<

If you want to see the Tuscany you see in many pictures or on postcards, you need to pick your car up in Orvieto or Chiusi and drive through southern Tuscany/val D'Orcia area (Montepulciano/Pienza/Montalcino). If you picked up in Siena, you would have to backtrack if you wanted to see this part of Tuscany. You would have to depart Rome early to get to Siena before the rental companies closed (it's 3 hours to Siena by bus from Rome plys time to get to Tiburtina in Rome to catch the bus). Orvieto is about 1:15 by train (may be a bit more - depends on train) from Rome and Chiusi is about 1:45. That makes it easier to get to the rental place before they close for the afternoon. If you pick up in Orvieto, do take the funicular up to the town and visit.
kybourbon is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 01:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,486
Thank you, everyone. I appreciate the practical tips!

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
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