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DanielleK88 May 11th, 2014 05:53 AM

Florence/Venice Car Rental vs. Train
My husband and I and 8 months old son are planning to Tour Tuscany June 6-9, and end up in Venice. It will be a short trip, probably only 2 full days... sadly

Looking at the train schedule from Florence to Venice, costs are equating to about 60 Euro/ 2 Adults. This is not including a car rental.

Alternatively, we rent a car June 6 from the Florence Airport, dropping it off at the Venice Mestre Station- costing about 88 Euro.

We will be arriving in Florence at the Santa Maria Noveta Station (from Cinqre terre), so we will have to find our way to the Airport (as I found no car rentals from the Noveta Station). We do not plan on staying in Florence.

My question to you:
- what makes more sense? Train to Venice or, from a cost perspective, rent a car the whole time and drive 2.5 hours to Venice?

-How are the roads? Is that even an option? I heard there are a lot of 'local only roads', would this be a problem renting a car? And, are these roads easily identifiable?

- If the above is true, what is the best way to get from the Santa Maria Noveta station to the Florence Airport (to rent the car)?

I really appreciate your help.

Thanks in advance,

Michael May 11th, 2014 06:04 AM

Is it 60€ per adult or for both?

At any rate, the rental does not include the cost of fuel and potential tolls, or the cost of transportation to the Florence airport. If you do not intend to make tourist stops between Florence and Venice, the train makes more sense.

for travel costs, try

bobthenavigator May 11th, 2014 06:25 AM

I agree---forget the car in this scenario.

Dukey1 May 11th, 2014 06:32 AM

There are at least two car rental agencies within a few blocks of the Santa Maria Novella train station Florence. However since you say you aren't planning to stay in Florence but rather are going to "tour Tuscany" and end up in Venice.

Your post sounds like the only reason you may want the car is to get from Florence to Venice and if that IS the case I would agree the train is going to be much easier, faster, and in the end probably cheaper.

But you did say "tour Tuscany" but I am unclear about that aspect of things. I've driven a car around Tuscany and for visiting some places I am glad I had it but am not sure it would benefit you.

PalenQ May 11th, 2014 06:50 AM

Try Florence Rifredi station - a main station a few miles north of the Santa Maria Novella in town main station- I think Rifredi may have car rentals and being outside of Florence a bit easier to drive out of.

You can take the tram from central Florence to the Rifredi station.

suze May 11th, 2014 09:15 AM

I'm also not sure I understand exactly the intent. If it is getting from Florence to Venice, then most definitely just get on the train. That's by far the easiest.

But if you want to "tour" around the countryside, I guess you would need the rental car (sorry have never done that so can't help further).

DanielleK88 May 11th, 2014 09:50 AM

Thank you so much for your replies...

The intent to rent the car was to go through Tuscany. We were going to return the car from the pick up location (ie. Florence) but when I looked at the cost to rent a car for 4 days PLUS train to Venice, it seemed ridiculous - hence why I was thinking of just keeping the car for 4 days, tour Tuscany then drop it off in Venice.

I had completely forgotten about the costs associated with the highways. Thank you.

Coming from Cinqure Terre, I found a train through Pisa going to Siena. After more research, this sounds like a better tuscan town to make home base? Maybe stay there a night, rent a car on the Monday since its closed Sunday (maybe- might do a day trip) and stay at a farm house?

So many options...

kybourbon May 11th, 2014 10:10 AM

>>>Alternatively, we rent a car June 6 from the Florence Airport, dropping it off at the Venice Mestre Station- costing about 88 Euro<<<

I would be very surprised if that is the price unless you mean 88€ per day. Even at 88€ per day, that might not include the insurance (mandatory in Italy). What rental car company?

>>>I found a train through Pisa going to Siena<<<

AFAIK, a train from CT to Siena would require changes (multiple changes most likely). Even a train from Pisa to Siena would require changes. There is a once daily bus from Pisa airport to Siena (travel time is about 3 hours I think).

>>>? Maybe stay there a night, rent a car on the Monday since its closed Sunday (maybe- might do a day trip) and stay at a farm house? <<<

One day car rental prices in Italy tend to be as much as a 3 day rental.

nytraveler May 11th, 2014 10:36 AM

The centers of almost all towns of any size are pedestrian only. So wherever you decide to stay you will either need to stay outside the center or park outside the center and take local transit - or walk - to your lodging.

If you stay in the deep countryside you can typically park your car on site - but then you either have to find a place that provides dinner or drive to a nearby town for dinner - problematic with an 8 month old not used to 8 pm dinners.

If you want to tour the countryside a car is really necessary - if not and you just want one day to a town by train or bus then train Firenze to Venezia makes much more sense. But you go to Venezia Santa Lucia - not Mestre - which is the mainland, not Venezia.

Peter_S_Aus May 11th, 2014 11:28 AM

For me, I would take the train. Tickets are about 40 euro, less maybe if you book ahead. No hassles in Venice returning a car, and the trip takes two hours - the train travels at 170 km/hour, making only two or three stops.

If booking, you need tickets to Venezia Santa Lucia, or Venezia SL, which is the train station in actual Venice, right on the Grand Canal.

asps May 11th, 2014 12:14 PM

There are several rentals in Borgo Ognissanti, three or four blocks from S. Maria Novella.

A car may be useful to tour the Tuscan countryside. For a single trip, Florence to Venice, train is much more practical and faster.

Ackislander May 11th, 2014 02:35 PM

If you really want to tour Tuscany for several days, you will need a car.

If you only want to drive through Tuscany on you way to Venice, you neither need nor want a car. Besides, most of the good stuff is in the opposite direction to Venice.

If you look at a Google or other map, you will see that the direct route (A13) from Florence takes you through Bologna and Ferrara, both attractive cities. However the land between them is the dead flat swampy valley of the Po River. The farther north you get, the more industrial it is. Not attractive until you are north of the A4.

bvlenci May 11th, 2014 02:38 PM

If you book well in advance, you can get tickets from Florence to Venice for as little as €19. These Super Economy tickets are not refundable and can't be modified, so you should be sure of your plans before buying them. The somewhat more expensive Economy tickets can be exchanged for a full-price ticket, paying the difference, through the day prior to the scheduled departure. If you want flexibility, buy full price tickets at the last minute.

I hate the drive on the autostrada between Florence and Venice, especially the part between Florence and Bologna. There are only two lanes, the truck lane and the speed maniac lane. If you try to overtake one of the former, you'll attract one of the latter to your rear bumper. There are tunnels and heavy truck traffic on a road that is a bit too curvy and hilly for the speeds maintained. The train is usually cheaper and faster, and a lot less stressful.

DanielleK88 May 12th, 2014 05:36 AM

kbourbon... the site I used was Auto Europe. This morning, its quoting me $147 CAD (98 Euro) for two days, including insurance. I have heard of a number of people pay the price, only to find out its much higher later.... How has your experience been? (This was renting a car from Florence... I cannot find a pick up location for Siena) Also, thank you so much for the bus idea- I will certainly look into that more.

All your comments are so helpful. I am beginning to think renting a car is pointless- especially for the intended purpose. I also didn't know that the drive from Florence to Venice was a 'boring' one... thanks again.

So, from Levanto (5Terre) to Florence, we will train =; same with Florence to Venice. If needed, will rent a car for a day, or two, to drive through Tuscany.

So, would the most 'ideal' place to stay, would be in Florence and skip Siena (and only visit this town by car?)

kybourbon May 12th, 2014 09:50 AM

>>> I cannot find a pick up location for Siena<<<

There are several rental locations in Siena as well as La Spezia (close to Levanto). When selecting pick-up/drop-off locations on Autoeurope, you must select addresses that are for one brand of company (Hertz location in Siena and Hertz location in Venice or Avis to Avis, etc.). If you don't, Autoeurope will say not available. You can't select a Hertz pick-up address and an Avis drop-off.

>>>kbourbon... the site I used was Auto Europe<<<

I can't think you are using AutoEurope anyway as they don't do two day rentals. They have a three day minimum.

kybourbon May 12th, 2014 10:04 AM

Sorry. Autoeurope does seem to now allow 2 day bookings. Past years, they only had 3+. I'm not finding the site very user friendly though or able to complete a booking walk-thru.

DanielleK88 May 12th, 2014 01:42 PM

Would it then make sense to take a train to Florence (SMN) from Cinqre Terre, get to the outskirts, rent car there and drive/stay in the country side for 3 nights?
- what would be the best way to go from SMN to the outskirts to rent a car? I am guessing a shuttle may do that, or another train/bus? (If this is an option, where's the drop off location ,is it close to a car rental, or would the rental agency bring the car to us?)

Upon returning a car rental, where would we drop it off to get to the SMN station before catching the train to Venice? From what I read, we can't drive to SMN because of all the 'local only' roads?

Or, better yet....should I not worry about, book a agriturismo, get off at SMN and hope to find a bus?

Thanks again

PalenQ May 12th, 2014 01:50 PM

- what would be the best way to go from SMN to the outskirts to rent a car?>

Tram or regional stopping trains - again Florence Rifredi station is well out of town with good access to the main roads via Pisa - trams and shuttle trains go there.

Many trains from Pisa stop at Rifredi before SMN I believe. Rifredi is a large mainline station with car rentals, etc.

DanielleK88 May 12th, 2014 02:06 PM

I think I found my answer.... Bus into SMX, take shuttle to the Florence airport and rent from there for a few days to tour the country side-greves, chianti region, Siena . And, when visiting Florence, park at either Fiesole or Scandicci.

Return car to the airport and take the shuttle to SMN train station before going on to Venice...

Is that correct, or am I out to lunch? I believe reading it's a shuttle we can take to and from SMN to the that accurate?

DanielleK88 May 12th, 2014 02:08 PM

Thanks PalenQ. From th Florence Rifredi station, I assume we can easily take another train to the SMN station. .... I will look into trains out of th Rifredi station to Venice instead,

Thank you so much

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