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Florence-Pisa-Rome and Rail and Drive Passes

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Jan 22nd, 2013, 07:44 PM
  #1
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Florence-Pisa-Rome and Rail and Drive Passes

My family and I are going to Italy for 2 weeks. Within those days, I am staying in Florence for 4 days. Do you think we can go from Florence to Pisa (stay for a couple of hours) and straight to Rome on the same day? Or would that be crazy?

If it's doable, what would I do with our luggages? Is there a place to store your things at the station in Pisa? Should I take the eurail back to Rome, or the eurostar?

Also, we would be staying in Venice, Florence and Rome (flying in one city, out the other). I will travel via train to those main cities. Should I purchase a 3 day train pass or is it better to purchase point to point?

I was also reading a little about the rail and drive pass. What's your opinions or tips on this pass? When in Florence, I would like to rent a car one day to explore the Tuscany area. Other option I was told was to hire a driver.

Now, I am thinking I won't get to see much of Florence in 4 days if planning on seeing Pisa and Tuscany. Should I skip Pisa? I love the countryside. Any recommendations for a day trip here?

I was planning on traveling to Rome either on Saturday (the day before Easter), or on Easter Sunday. What's Rome like on those days? My husband wants to go to a mass on Sunday, but I heard it's crazy crowded and won't enjoy it.

And lastly, is Assisi and Orvieto ok to see in a day trip? I've seen tours for both those places in a day trip but not sure if it's too rushed.
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Jan 22nd, 2013, 08:26 PM
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>>>Do you think we can go from Florence to Pisa (stay for a couple of hours) and straight to Rome on the same day? Or would that be crazy?<<<

You would have to store your luggage.

>>>Should I take the eurail back to Rome<<<

Eurail is a company that sells passes, not a train.

It would make more sense to visit Pisa while staying in Florence (7€ by train - 1 hour).

>>>And lastly, is Assisi and Orvieto ok to see in a day trip?<<<

Orvieto is an easy day trip from Rome by train (7€ - 1 hour). Assisi isn't so easy from either Florence or Rome.

>>>Should I purchase a 3 day train pass<<<

No. You should book point-to-point tickets on Trenitalia in advance (look for early purchase discounts as cheap as 9€ for the fast trains). Depending on ages of your children, you might qualify for the family discount.

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...003f16f90aRCRD

I would book trains Venice/Florence and Florence/Rome on Trenitalia. If you don't see any discounts, try the new rail line Italo.

You could take a the train to Pisa for a few hours one day. You could also book a day tour out of Florence that includes some hill towns if you don't want to rent a car. Something like this one that includes Chianti, Siena and San G.
http://www.caftours.com/excursion-to...andscapes.html

You could also just take the local buses to Greve or some other town you want to visit. Buses serve the hill towns more than trains.

Without knowing your family size, it's hard to say whether the rail-n-drive would be feasible.
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 05:19 PM
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Thank you kbourbon!
It would be my husband, my 15 year old and I.
You say I should store my luggage, but is there a place where you can other than the hotel?

I will look into the tours.
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 07:13 PM
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Your son is too old for a family discount on train tickets, but you still might find early discounts.

If you list the places you would like to stay overnight, we can help you put together the transport. The faster trains don't stop at small stations, only bigger cities. The slow trains are pretty cheap. You have to validate tickets for the slow trains before boarding the train. Any train that you don't have seats listed must be validated before boarding. Validate your bus tickets on board.

If you are flying into Venice, you would take the fast train to Florence (walk up price is 45€, early discount as cheap as 9€).

I would not go to the hassle of Pisa on the way to Rome. It's not on the way and would take a lot longer (down the coast) or you would have to go back to Florence to change trains. It's not practical. If you took the route down the coast, you would have to store your luggage at Pisa Centrale. If you had to go back to Florence, you would use the luggage storage there. There can be lines to store luggage so plan extra time.

You could stop in Orvieto for a night or two on your way to Rome (if you don't go down the coast). About 15€ for the train from Florence to Orvieto.

If that doesn't interest you, you would take the fast train from Florence to Rome (90 minutes). I doubt you will find discounts for Easter weekend. Walk up prices are 43€, but I would buy these in advance because of the holiday.

The faster trains are all sold with assigned seating so they can sell out. The slow trains don't have assigned seating and don't sell out.

The other train company in Italy, Italo uses some stations that are not the same as Trenitalia. They might have some discounts for the holiday weekend as they are newer.
http://www.italotreno.it/EN/discover.../overview.aspx
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 10:19 PM
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Assisi is a 2.5 hour train journey (through surprisingly hideous exurban sprawl) from Florence. Trains, often changing at Arezzo or Cortona) average every 90 minutes.

It's very easy to do a daytrip to Assisi from Florence. If you start early enough you can squeeze a bit of Arezzo in as well
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Jan 25th, 2013, 08:30 PM
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It would be so useful for me getting some help with the train planning. I greatly appreciate it!

I am going to summarize my itinerary just in case and so you have a better idea:
March 24 Arrive Venice in the morning. Cruise the canal, St Mark's Square, Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. Overnight Venice
March 25- Galleria dell' Accademia, Doge's Palace, Bell Tower. Shop, wander around. Overnight Venice
March 26- Frari Church, tour Scuola San Rocoo or Rialto Market, Dorsoduro. I was thinking leaving maybe in the afternoon towards Florence. If the slower trains have nice scenery, I am willing to take that one, but if it doesn't, then I'd rather get to Florence faster. Overnight in Florence.
March 27-Bargello, Duomo, Church of St. Maria Novella, Uffizi and Ponte Vecchio (Overnight Florence)
March 28- Explore Tuscany Area. Train or rent car? (overnight Florence)
March 29- Accademia, Medici Chapels, Baptistery, Campanile, Duomo. (overnight Florence)
**March 30- open:Not sure if to stay in Florence or travel to Rome. Next day is Easter.
**March 31- Easter Sunday. Depends on March 30
April 1- There's a tour from Rome to Assisi and Orvieto. (overnight Rome)
April 2-Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trastevere
April 3- National Museum of Rome, Baths of Diocletian, Dolce Vita Stroll
April 4- Scavi Tour, Vatican City
April 5- Borghese Gallery, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain
April 6- Fly back home

Like I mentioned, I greatly appreciate help with transport, and would like to know what's your opinions on March 30/31.
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Jan 25th, 2013, 08:58 PM
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>>>leaving maybe in the afternoon towards Florence. If the slower trains have nice scenery, I am willing to take that one,<<<

You will either have to arrange for your hotel to store your luggage (and go back and retrieve it) or store it at the train station (means trekking to the station early that morning to store it so you can sightsee).

The scenery won't be better on the slow train from Venice. Take the fast train as most of the slow ones are IC trains which aren't very comfortable (takes an hour longer).

If you rent a car for one day in Florence, I would pick it up at the airport to avoid the ZTL.

I would probably stay a night in either Orvieto or Assisi on the way to Rome so you can experience an overnight in a hill town.
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Jan 25th, 2013, 09:03 PM
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Marcast, for Tuscany, I can highly recommend a day trip with Luca Garrapa of Hills and Roads. Here is the website: http://www.hillsandroads.com/

He will pick you up in Florence, if you wish, or meet you at the bus station in Sienna (one hour bus ride from Florence to Sienna- do NOT take the train).

If you set up a private tour (my preferred choice), he can customize your tour to what you most want to see. Pienza,Montelcino, Montepulciano, abbeys, wineries, etc. Whatever you want to see. Loved spending a day with him. And we didn't have to drive.

Buon viaggio! You will love Italy!
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Jan 25th, 2013, 09:19 PM
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Sarge56, Thank you! I have thought of the private tour. Paid for one when I went to Greece and it's so worth it! You learn so much this way. I am super excited about this trip, especially for my daughter which is her birthday present; her first time to Europe.
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Jan 28th, 2013, 08:09 PM
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Marcast, one other note. You might not want to so tightly plan your Rome days. You will have to take into account that not every place is open every day, and you will need to make note of what hours they are open, also.

Caveat- some guide books might say "open 2-4pm" and you get there at 3 and they are closed. This is a way of life.

So, plan your "A" list for Rome and get those days/hours down pat.

PS Do NOT take the "slow" (Regional) trains between Venice/Florence/Rome. There is not enough scenery seen from the train to waste that much time. Take a direct train (look for trains beginning with "Freccia").
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Jan 29th, 2013, 10:36 AM
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thank you sarge56. I am working on making a plan a and b. I am adjusting my schedule to be more loose. I am brain washing myself that i wont see everything so i don't get frustrated because there is so much I want to vist.

My husband booked the venice-florence train in Italo. It was half the price of Trenitalia. I believe it's 1.55 hrs. to Florence from Venice.

Should I book day tours in advance or wait until I get to Italy? I am afraid they sell out, but at the same time, if I wait, I can decide to take one or not depending on weather. On the other hand too, it will also change what I've already scheduled to visit.
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