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Help! 1st timer Italy Train and Itinerary??

Help! 1st timer Italy Train and Itinerary??

Jan 13th, 2004, 08:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 8
Help! 1st timer Italy Train and Itinerary??

We are trying to organize a nine day trip to Italy and leaving in just three weeks. So far we know we are flying into Florence and home from Venice.
Itinerary so far:
Arive in Florence 9:00 AM, rent car, drive to Siena, 3 nights in Siena (visit hill towns, Chianti etc.)
Drive back to Florence, drop-off car, train to Rome
3 nights in Rome
Train Rome to Venice
3 nights in Venice
Travel home

I'm reading so much my head is spinning. I have just a few questions

Is this a "reasonable" itinerary?

How early can we catch a train from Florence to Rome? Based on my understanding of the schedules the earliest train from Florence to Rome is 2:00 PM. I'm guessing there are earlier trains and I'm not reading the schedule correctly? We'd like to be in Rome by 10:00 AM.

We've slotted three nights in Siena. However, I'm wondering if we'd be better off staying in Florence the third night if we want to take an early train to Rome?

How early do you need to be at the train station prior to departure time?

Our tentative accomodations:
Siena: Palazzo Ravizza
Rome: Albergo Del Senato
Venice: Locando Orseolo

A big thank you to others on hotel suggestions!

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

NicoleM is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 09:02 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Yes, you certainly mis-read something - - did you use www.tremitalia.com - - perhaps you didn't notice that it defaults to the CURRENT time to start its search.

Anyhow, there are numerous early AM departures, on the Eurostar (and additional slower trains) - - here are three:

Depart 06:40 from FI.SMN
Arrive 08:30 at ROMA TE

Depart 07:53 from FI.SMN
Arrive 09:30 at ROMA TE

Depart 08:19 from FI.SMN
Arrive 09:55 at ROMA TE

Your itinerary seems sound to me - - though I have never driven a car into Siena and used it as a "base".

If you don't want to return to Florence for that third (day/)night, you could simply drive to Rome the fourth morning. Won't consume any extra time - - compared to packing up and unpacking to re-install yourself in Florence!

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 09:08 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 8
Thank you for your reply. I Hadn't thought about driving to Rome. I guess that makes sense instead of driving North to Florence to take a train South to Rome. Do you know how long a drive it is from Siena to Florence or Siena to Rome? The only problem is I'm not sure my husband wants to "risk" driving in Rome..I've heard it's very confusing. Might be a silly question but is it hard to find a rental company that will let you pick-up your car in one city and drop-off in another? Also, looks like all the rentals are manuals..Is this the norm in Italy?
Thanks Again.
NicoleM is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 09:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,793
Is there some reason why you are not allowing time for Florence? If not, in the short time you have, and considering the locations of your flights, I'd skip Rome for this trip. Instead you could spend the additional three nights in Florence. (Or maybe you'd like to spend more time in other parts of the Tuscany region and possibly in the Umbria region, and if you're driving, also in other places in the Emilia-Romagna and Veneto regions on the way to Venice, or possibly another day in Venice.)
cmt is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 09:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Easy to find a car company that will allow Florence pick-up Rome return with no drop charge. Start with www.autoeurope.com

Also note my ealier typo: treNitalia.com

For driving info - - both Siena-Florence or Rome - - but also for your countryside rambling in Chianti, you should familiarize youself with one of the good "map/route" websites like www.viamichelin.com or www.mappy.com

While I share the "concern" about your leaving Florence "shorted", there are always difficult choices to be made - - and unlike a lot of folks, you are giving yourself a bit of less "urban" Italy, instead of just the "standard Big Three" intro!
rex is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 06:23 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 8
We would love to go to Florence but time is an issue. With only nine days we know we are going to miss some "can't miss" areas. After some extensive debate we decided that we would rather miss seing Michaelangelo's David than Siena. (And that is really saying something because I minored in art history in college) We traveled to Paris a few years back, also a short trip. Our only regret was we didn't get out of the city. As such, with this trip we want a taste of both. I've heard wonderful things about Siena and most books say it deserves more than a day trip. Is it truly a worthy replacement for Florence? We planned on touring Siena, Chianti etc. for two full days.

I'm still not sure we are comfortable with driving the Florence/Siena/Rome route. Anyone done that and survived? Are we better to back track a bit and take the train route? Any insight would be most appreciated.
Thanks again.
NicoleM is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 06:38 AM
Posts: n/a
First of all, stay out of the "justification trap" that exists here, i.e., justifying your decisions to do this and not that...entirely unnecessary. As to your "driving" question:
You do not say why you are feeling uncomfortable...worried about getting lost? in an accident? finding and guying gasoline??? Italian roads are as good as any...but I wouldn't drive without a map and the traffic isn't any worse than some areas in the US NOR are the drivers..over here they pretend to care about you as they whizz by...over there they whizz by and act like they couldn't care less!
Anyway, it seems your Tuscan exploration is what is driving this got to have a car thing and that's OK....I think you can do Siena in a day and then another town or two. You can easily turn the car back in in Florence and get a Eurostar down to Rome in less than 2 hours...and then backtrack through Florence to Venice on the return...so you backtracked a little..who cares??? If that is what makes you feel comfortable then do it.
A lot of us here who will tell you, "Oh, this or that...are easy" probably comes from the fact that we've already DONE it and NOW it seems easy...emphasis on NOW. But this is new for you...go with your gut on this one and then you can get more adventurous when you return to Italy, and Florence (yes, it will STILL be there LOL) on another trip.
Have a wonderful time.
Jan 14th, 2004, 06:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,118
Hi nicole,

A couple of things:

There is more to Florence than just "David".

You can drop the car off in Orvieto and take the train to Rome.

You can purchase your Orvieto/Rome and Rome/Venice ticket at the train station in Orvieto. Since you will be in Rome for 3 days, you should have no trouble getting the tickets you want.

You can now purchase train tickets on line at www.trenitalia.com

See http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34465647
ira is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 07:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 607
Driving into Rome from Siena is not difficult - it is highway until you get to cental Rome. If you wanted to stick to highway driving you could return to Fiumicino airport and then take the Leonardo Express into cental Rome. It is quite easy to take the ring road west to the airport. Driving into Florence to return a car is not much easier than driving into Rome. I did like the other poster's suggestion of turning the car in Orvieto and train from there. Much easier than doing the same in Florence.
BoulderCO is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,155
If you are trying to avoid driving you can turn the car in at Siena(Avis, Hertz, and Eurocar are located there), and train to Rome (train to Chiusi then Rome).
Henry is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 03:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 21
I would not miss Florence for the world...

To be honest, I would much rather spend time in Florence than Siena if I had to choose, but of course this is only my opinion.

I have to agree with Ira in that there is MUCH more to Florence than The David.

That being said, My husband and I drove from Siena to Rome with no problems driving in the city at all.
We picked up our car in Siena and dropped it off in Rome without an issue.

jessmartino is offline  

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