Florence/Venice Car Rental vs. Train

May 12th, 2014, 04:03 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,915
I suggest picking up the car in La Spezia (just outside of the Cinque Terra) and drive to your base from there. Take a taxi from the La Spezia train station to the car rental office in La Spezia (usually just a 10 minute ride). This will save you a 2-3 hour train ride and train costs that day. The drive from La Spezia to the Chianti region is easy and direct.

You can return the car at the Florence airport or the Siena or Arezzo train station. If you return at the Florence airport, there is a rental car shuttle bus that takes you to the airport terminal (2 minute ride) and then an airport express bus to the SMN station. I think the bus is 6-7 euro and takes about 15 minutes. If you return at the Siena or Arezzo train stations, you will probably change trains at SMN. I think this is what I would do. It just seems like much less hassle than returning at the airport.

I always use kemwel.com for car rentals in Italy.
zoecat is offline  
May 12th, 2014, 04:24 PM
  #22  
 
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I agree - La Spezia and head to Greve (not a fave of mine), Chianti area or Siena area. You might even consider traveling to Volterra/San Gimignano on your way to Siena from CT if you pick up your car there. Another option would be pick up at the Pisa airport and return to Florence airport. Pisa airport is just 5 minutes from Pisa Centrale train station (normally a train, but there is construction so might be a shuttle bus - 1€ or so).

No point in finding parking to visit Florence when you can do that after you return the rental. You can store your luggage for the day at the train station and take a late train onto Venice.

Florence Rifredi station doesn't serve the fast trains, only slow regional trains, so you would still have to get to SMN.

I think the only car return near the Siena train station is a Hertz. Other brands are more central Siena.
kybourbon is online now  
May 12th, 2014, 06:40 PM
  #23  
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Thank you everyone,..I am back at the drawing board!

Kybourbon, what are your most favorites spots?

Also, you say the road from la spezia to chianti region is easy and direct...so, there should be no problems., I haven't looked yet but...are there tolls to be paid? I guess I am a lotto nervous renting a car... I haven't heard many good stories!

And, when booking trains (a little off topic), there isnt a section to include children under 1. If I book two adult tickets, will we have a problem bringing our child on board?

Again, a million thanks
DanielleK88 is offline  
May 13th, 2014, 06:03 AM
  #24  
 
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>>>Also, you say the road from la spezia to chianti region is easy and direct.<<<

That was zoecat's comment so she can address that, but it's about a 2 hour drive if you take the shorter route (with tolls). I was mentioning a route south of Pisa if you picked up there which went through Volterra/San G areas (hill towns you might enjoy visiting). You can also take the FI-PI-LI road instead of the toll road if you head south from La Spezia to Pisa and then towards Greve (skipping Volterra/San G).

I like the areas south or southeast of Siena, but perhaps you don't really have time to go that far. I'm not a big fan of the Chianti area.

As for your children, it depends on their ages whether they need tickets. There is also a family discount, but the supereconomy or economy tickets may be the better deal.
kybourbon is online now  
May 14th, 2014, 05:16 AM
  #25  
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Thanks again so much, I may post another topic "Driving through from CT to the Chianti Region"... I will see what I find first.

As for my child, we only have one - 8 months old-. When booking the trains, there is no section to put 'baby'. I know they travel free. I just had a panic attack that, without any documents, they won't let him board. I keep searching an come up empty handed. Even looking on the train webpages is a little vague. I don't believe there will be an issue-- just need to put myself at ease.

Zoecat- how have your experience been driving from Cinqre Terre to the Chianti/Siena/Florence region?
DanielleK88 is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 05:27 AM
  #26  
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This is what I found about infants on trains:

"Seat, couchette and other reservations must be made even for a child traveling for free and still requires a reservation fee"

This applies to children... not infants. So, i assume there is nothing I need to do to purchase him a ticket (as long as I have my adult ticket?)


Thanks again,
DanielleK88 is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 06:06 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,915
The drive was very straight forward, all highway until the turnoff to the Chianti region. Signage is good. Be sure to have a good map and perhaps GPS, although I did not use GPS. I believe it took me about 2 hours. I don't remember the tolls, but if there are any, the process for tolls is simple- you get a toll ticket at one end and turn it in at a pay booth and pay the attendant. I think you'll be fine. I drive every year in Italy, usually solo, and have had no issues (knock on wood).

Here is a link to helpful info on driving in Itsly, including a guide to road signs-

http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/driving/index.htm

Have fun!
zoecat is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 06:54 AM
  #28  
 
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>>>I know they travel free. I just had a panic attack that, without any documents, they won't let him board.<<<

I don't know where you are looking, but children under 4 travel free (they do not have a seat). The trains in the CT are old regional trains and no one has an assigned seat (simply not possible on regional trains). Find a seat and sit down. If you don't find a seat, you stand. Really that simple like getting on a subway.

Faster trains do have seat reservations (mandatory and comes with your ticket purchase from Trenitalia or if you buy in Italy). Children under 4 still ride free, but they do not have a seat. I suppose if you wanted a seat, you would need to buy a ticket for a child (select 2 adults and one child). Currently, Trenitalia is running a promo (Bimbi Gratis) that kids (ages 4-15) travel free. This is for the fast trains (not regionals). You can't combine it with other discounts so you may find another promo is cheaper and just hold your child in your lap. On the first screen on Trenitalia where you enter your cities, enter two adults and one child. When you select a train, you should see the offer in the list (it can sell out) with base/economy/supereconomy selection. If you add a child later (after the 1st screen) Trenitalia often defaults to 1 adult (happens if you hit a back screen too so doublecheck everything).

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...008916f90aRCRD
kybourbon is online now  
May 14th, 2014, 08:16 AM
  #29  
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Thanks again for all your much appreciated help. It has been very helpful
DanielleK88 is offline  

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