Florence to Rome Driving Advice

Apr 10th, 2004, 01:30 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 17
Florence to Rome Driving Advice

My fiance and I will be spending 5 nights in Florence and 5 nights in Rome for our honeymoon in August. I have been to Rome before, she has never been to Italy. We had initially thought about taking the train from Florence to Rome. However, since we have 5 nights in Florence we wanted to explore some outlying areas of Tuscany, perhaps the Chianti region, we definitely want to go to Pisa to see the tower, and perhaps Lucca and Siena. We were going to look into trains/buses for these trips. However, we have seen very reasonable car rental rates and are thinking about just renting a car in Florence for the last couple of days then driving it to Rome and dropping it off there. (We will be arriving in Rome on Sunday August 8, 2004). We arrive in Florence on Tuesday August 3rd, and had though about renting the car on Friday August 6th and then dropping it off in Rome on Sunday.

We are wondering about parking in Florence. We are staying at the Astoria Boscolo Hotel near the train station. The hotel has no parking but I read that the train station has a large parking garage. I was wondering if anyone has prices on this parking area, or suggestions for others.

Also, we are wondering about driving times from Florence to Rome, interesting towns to see along the way, etc. And also about times from Florence to Pisa, Florence to Siena, etc. Any other good areas to explore around Florence, etc.

Thanks
forbwj2 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 01:48 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 250
Florence to Rome, 3 hours
Florence to Lucca, 1 hour
Lucca to Pisa, 1/2 hour
cyberUK is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 02:54 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 17
Thanks.
forbwj2 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 03:06 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 37
Just did a similar thing last month. We rented a manual Fiat from autoeuropa in Firenze. It was 58 E per day with parking included at the Villa Medici, 3 blocks from the train station.
Firenze to Pisa was roughly 2 hours, Auto Strade all the way. Firenze to Siena took us about 3 hours on backroads with numerous stops. From Siena we drove again on backroads to Montalciano (in my mind, a must see, especially on a honeymoon, try the Hotel Giglio, room 7), where we spent the night. The following day we drove to Fiumicino to return the car by way of Grosetto and Civitivechcia. I think that was about 4-5 hours. Enjoy.
autoeuropa: Via Borgognissanti, 100R , Firenze, tel. 055.213333
Pierre_Kodak is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 03:15 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 37
Montalcino, sorry.
Pierre_Kodak is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 07:12 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 17
Thank you Pierre_Kodak, we are also looking at a manual Fiat from autoeuropa. Was the parking automatically included or did it cost extra?
forbwj2 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 07:19 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 37
Parking at the Medici was included in the price - 58E. Drop off at the airport in Rome was an extra 35E one time fee.
Pierre_Kodak is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 08:03 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 556
I would not bother to rent a car only for a one day drive Florence to Rome. Nor would I stay five nights in Florence is my intent was to use 2 or 3 of them touring the countryside since getting in and out of Florence in a car would be a pain.

I might take a day trip out of Florence to Siena or Pisa, but I think more than two day drips vis bus/tour out of Florence could get tiresome.

Also, personally, I would not stay near the train station in Florence, but instead stay somewhere central in between the Piazza della Signoria, the Piazza della Republica and the Duomo. (The area of the train station is just not as nice or as central).

What I might do is spend the 4 nights in Florence, taking an organized day tour by bus to Pisa and Lucca. Then go to Siena city SITA bus and stay one night. Then on to Orvieto by train, see Orvieto, have lunch, then continue on to Rome by train from Orvieto.

Alternatively, you could leave Florence after 3 nights renting a car for three days and touring Pisa, Lucca, Siena and Orvieto over the course of the next three nights, returning the car to Rome or even returning the car to Orvieto and training to Rome. If you could give up Lucca and Pisa (since they are a bit out of the way) you could instead see other hilltowns more or less enroute to Rome, such as Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pienza, Abruzzo. To me, Siena and Orvieto are the two not-to-be missed hilltowns.

Have a great trip!
LeslieC is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 08:17 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 17
LeslieC thanks. Already booked the trip, so going to be in Florence for five nights at the Astoria Boscolo near the train station. We weren't that interested in being near the train station either but got more hotel for our buck and 5th night free, which is why we are spending 5 nights in Florence instead of 4.
forbwj2 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2004, 04:07 AM
  #10  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,144
Hi for,

I do not recommend a motor trip in a foreign country on a honeymoon.

Which of you will drive and who will navigate?

How well do you know the roads and the signage?

What maps do you have?

Will you have a cell phone for emergency calls when something happens to the car?

What are each of your tolerances for getting lost?

What if you can't find a nice place to stay that night?

I suggest that you take the SITA bus to Siena (13E RT), the trains to Lucca and Pisa (13E RT).

On the way to Rome, you could stop off in Orvieto as Leslie suggests.

Down forget to take the no.7 bus from the train station to Fiesole to watch the sun set.

Have a lovely honeymoon.
ira is offline  
Apr 11th, 2004, 04:41 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 37
While I agree with Ira's advice 99.44% of the time, on this one I beg to differ.
A bus is the last place I would want to be on a honeymoon. Puhleez.
Driving in Italy was a blast! OK, there were several instances of doubt as to whether we were headed in the right direction, two turnarounds solved that. I made a mistake in the first post, Firenze to Pisa is not by Auto Strade but by a highway called Fi-Pi-Li (Firenze-Pisa-Livorno). I found the drivers in Italy to be very good on the highway and country roads. Yes, they drive fast and pass whenever they want to, but unlike driving in the US, they pay attention.
I didn't see anyone lollygagging or hogging the whole road, oblivious to everyone else while talking on the cell phone.
In 3 days we put on 1300 km while visiting Pisa, CT, and Tuscany. Without the car we would have missed great photo oportunities, frequent stops for cafe and panini,
browsing in local stores, rubbing elbows with locals and the seredipity that goes along with traveling at your own pace and whimsy. The maps will be provided by the rental agency and just like in the US they will mark out a route for you. Rent the car, listen to Italian pop on the radio and have an memorable honeymoon.
This is my opinion, of course yours may be different.
Pierre_Kodak is offline  
Apr 11th, 2004, 05:57 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 125
The train/bus would be a far superior method to driving for your trip. Don't believe anyone who says that driving in Italy is easy or fun. It's not, especially anywhere near a big city like Florence. And Rome is probably the worst city in the world for driving.

Further, public transportation is faster. Rome-Florence by train is 1.5 hours. Florence to Lucca by bus is 50 and Florenceto Pisa by train is 1 hour. Pisa-Lucca by train is 20 min.

Lastly, I don't know what you mean by a reasonable rate. Renting a tiny car, plus gas plus tolls plus international drivers licence plus parking will likely be $125/day, a bit less with a weekly rental. If you want anything approaching a real car, the price is much higher. This is reasonable?
platzer is offline  
Apr 11th, 2004, 07:55 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 17
Getting it for 203 US dollars including theft and collision waiver insurance, just have to pay gas. Pick up Friday morning in Florence, drop off Sunday evening in Rome. I think that's reasonable.

We spent a week last summer driving through Scotland, and I have driven around Ireland too. We got lost sometimes but that was part of the fun. I have driven pretty much everywhere in the US, I have no problem with New York, California, D.C., etc. We know it will be different, but we loved driving around Scotland last summer and think this would be fun. We are going to be based in Florence so are more interested in day trips from there. I agree with Pierre_Kodak talking about seeing the place stopping where you want when you want, we like the freedom of that. I don't mind trains, buses, etc., but another thing we were interested in was going to a winery, seeing the little hilltop towns, etc.

forbwj2 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2004, 09:09 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 37
Driving is fun and easy in Italy. If you don't believe it you've never driven the minor roads through Chianti and Tuscany. There is much beauty to unfold turn after turn.
Getting out and back in to Firenze is only mildly irritating. I never suggested anyone drive in Roma. Fiumicino for the car drop off is 30 miles out of Roma right off the Auto Strade, real easy. Once you set foot in either of those cities, you'll realize you would rather not drive in city center.
If you are a timid driver or in a hurry take the bus or train.
I don't want to turn this into a spitting contest, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and to do their vacation the way that works for them.
Pierre_Kodak is offline  
Apr 11th, 2004, 11:06 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 556
forbwj2: Since you've already decided to rent the car, I just searched for info on your two principal questions, parking in Florence and driving times.

From another post, this info was given by a poster named Gino on parking at the Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence:

"Parking at or near the train station is no problem. There are many parking areas within Florence. The large one at the station is: La Stazione
Via Luigi Alamanni 3
Tel: +39 055284768
There are others: Majestic-Via del Melarancio 1;Tel: +39 055264021
and Faenza-Via Faenza 46;Tel: +39 055284685
You should ask the place that you choose to stay which is closest."

As to driving times, try www.viamichellin.com

You'll have most of Friday, all of Sat. and most of Sunday. As I said, this would be more leasurely if you didn't have to return to Florence every night, but it should be doable if you use one day to see Siena, one day to see Lucca and Pisa and the third day to drive Florence to Rome with a stop in Orvieto.

I've never tried driving into Rome to return a car. Just get really good directions. Or, again, consider returning the car at Orvieto and taking the train.

I do agree that driving together through Tuscany can be quite enjoyable. The A-1 autostrade is a dream.

Just be careful in the hilltowns to no go down any streets that are narrower than your car. We had some harrowing experiences when the street narrowed, or a parked car forced us to back out and (the worst) when we banged up the rental car in a pedestrian way in the Umbrian town of Spello. Get the EyeWitness guidebook and study the photos of Italian street signs so you know what the pedestrian-only sign looks like! Also, for Siena, study how/where to park as you cannot park in the city center unless you have a hotel booking there, and you don't want to waste time getting in. Last, as to driving and honeymoons in Europe, may I suggest you rent the old movie called "Two for the Road" with Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn. It's absolutely charming.
LeslieC is offline  
Apr 12th, 2004, 02:43 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 27
You guys seem to know a lot about driving in this area, so perhaps you would have some helpful advice for me? I will be traveling with my husband and two kids (teens). we are leaving Rome to go to Chianti. It was suggested that we take the train to Florence, and pick up a car there for our 5 days in Chianti. At the end of our stay, we have to get back to Rome for a noon flight to Malta out of FCO. How do-able is this? Would it be better to forget the train and do all the driving? How easy is it to get from the Florence Train station to Chianti (Greve specifically) without a car? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
lprasz is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 04:16 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,126
lprasz
You really will need a car to get/be in Greve area. I recommend that you rent a car in Rome or Chuisi (taking train to there)and enjoy the beautful area.
You'll be able to see a little of southern Tuscany.
The Florence train station is near the old town and it's possible that you might get a bit lost getting out of town, but even with a little confusion you should be able to be in Greve in about 90 minutes.
Where would you rent a car in Rome? If it's from the airport,I think it's the best option for 5 traveling together. Make sure and get a car with enough trunk space.
jabez is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 07:41 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 10
Anyone know how long of a drive it is from Rome to the Greve?
pudge is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 07:57 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 27
Thanks for the info. I'll admit I am a little concerned about getting lost. To take the train and then rent a car is going to cost me double. The train is expensive for four people to take, and the car rental price seems to be the same whether I pick the car up in Rome or Florence. If I get the car at FCO, is it easy to get on the main road from there and avoid scarey city traffic? I know that Greve is an hour south of Florence, so I am estimating about 2 1/2 drive to get there. Does that seem about right?
lprasz is offline  
Apr 14th, 2004, 03:55 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,126
Figure on 3 hours to Greve.
If you get the car at FCO you can stop at Montepulciano for lunch.Or you can takr a route to orvieto and then to Greve. If you leave early,you can break up your drive with some great possibilities. Have a great trip. I'll be back in Greve in 18 days.
jabez is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:47 PM.