Help!

Old Jan 9th, 2008, 06:20 PM
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Help!

We're looking to try and see as much of Italy in 2.5 weeks as possible and were hoping to do most of it by car. From Venice to Florence to Rome to the Amalfi Coast, we want to see it all. Is this trying to accomplish too much in that time period?

Also, I had heard that renting a car in Germany or Switzerland and driving in is preferable. Anyone have an opinion on that??

All advice is most appreciated.

Thanks
dskiddo is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2008, 06:30 PM
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You could probably do it depending on how well you want to see each of the cities. For me it would be a bit pushed as I like to factor in quite a bit of down time for just wandering around, having a coffee, shopping etc.
Personally I'd drop Venice. Others may have different ideas and suggestions for you.

With the car if you mean hiring in Germany or Switzerland and driving over the border into Italy and leaving the car there, I wouldn't suggest it. Year before last I was wanting to get a car in Italy and drive into France as there was a train strike and I was told not to do it by my business associate who lives in Genoa. Apparently there are very high fees to pick up in one country and leave in another. I can't remember what the fees were but it really wasn't an option.
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Old Jan 9th, 2008, 06:33 PM
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Why would you go to Germany or Switzerland to pick up a car?

For Venice (no cars allowed), Florence (center no cars allowed) and Rome (many areas in the center no cars allowed) a car is a hindrance. Maybe rent a car for the Amalfi coast, but use the train between the other cities.
kybourbon is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2008, 06:42 PM
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I agree with kybourbon about using the train. You really don't need nor want to drive in any of the cities you've mentioned, except of course for the coast.

The Italian countryside is beautiful, but it looks the same out a train window and far less stress and headache involved. My family of five did drive, but if I had it to do all over again, I'd definitely stick with the train.

I agree with baysidegirl in suggesting you skip Venice. IMO it's terribly over rated. I'll probably catch flack for saying that, but notice that it's just my opinion.
mkdiebold is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2008, 06:44 PM
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Please do not post a mesasge here with a message header "Help!" or other meaningless, total-absence-of-information-to let-others-know-what-information-you-are-seeking utterances.

Imaginer if everyone did that! If messages 1 through 50 were ALL titled "Help!"

We know that you are new, and I know that my advice to you likely sounds rude - - but you really should re-post this question...

...even though you scarcely can come up with an appropriate message header that succinctly describes the aadvice you are seeking.

"Seeking advice on a driving trip in Italy, with the main goals of traveling from Venice to Florence to Rome to the Amalfi coast".

That's going to get you the answer you've already received from kybourbon.

Perhaps in a separate question, you can elaborate on why you were thinking that a car is vital to seeing these three most-often-visited major cities of Italy.

Best wishes,

Rex

rex is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2008, 06:47 PM
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Plan your itinerary and rent the car just for the portion that fits best. You don't need a car to sit useless while you are visiting cities.

For example, fly to Venice. Train from Venice to Florence. After visiting Florence, rent car a drive through Tuscany/Umbria visiting hill towns. Drive to Rome--get rid of car. Train to Amalfi Coast.
ellenem is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2008, 06:55 PM
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How many days are we talking about specifically? In 17 days, you can definitely visit Venice, Florence, Rome and the Amalfi Coast.

Why do you want to travel by car? As everyone else has said, a car is useless once you get in Venice, Florence or Rome. You can't get around the city in the car, you will go nuts trying to do so.

I agree with kybourbon: if your goal is to see the "big 3" cities of Venice, Florence, and Rome, then use the train to travel from one to the other. When you are ready to leave Rome for the Amalfi Coast, rent a car and drive to Positano or Amalfi, and drop the car off once you get back to Rome.

I don't understand why in the world you would travel to Germany or Switzerland to rent a car to visit Italy. That's nutty. If the idea is to travel through the Alps, then you are talking about a different trip entirely.

Whatever you do, fly open jaw to maximize your time. For 17 days, I would fly into Venice (4 nts), train to Florence (4 nts, with maybe a day trip to Tuscan countryside), train to Rome, then immediately on to Naples, hydrofoil/bus to Positano (or Amalfi or Sorrento) (4 nts), then back to Rome (5 nts), and fly home from Rome.
cheryllj is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2008, 07:46 PM
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Apologies to everyone if my subject heading was as inappropriate and offensive as Rex has has been so quick to point out. I sincerely appreciate your the feedback and will be more mindful of future posts.

And Rex, it isn't kind to belittle and berate a stranger for a mistake, let alone something you don't agree with. And signing your email "best wishes" doesn't make you any less rude. But, I suspect you know that.


dskiddo is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2008, 08:02 PM
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dskiddo,

Please don't go away because of Rex's answer. He was a bit wordy, a bit tongue in cheek (which doesn't always read well), but his intentions were to be helpful. The title of the thread is what will attract people and generate answers. Virtually everyone who asks a question is seeking "help" and we do want to help you.

In that vein . . .

Some people might suggest renting a car in Germany or Switzerland because it may seem cheaper at first. Car rentals in Italy include mandatory insurance fees which drives up the price. However, taking a car across borders and returning it in a different country also drives up the price.

I like Cheryl's suggested itinerary that uses the car for the Amalfi portion as well as the timing she suggests.
ellenem is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2008, 08:07 PM
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If you really enjoy driving and want to drive all the way from Florence to the AC, here is another suggestion:

Fly into Venice, 3 nights.
Train to Florence, 3 nights.
Rent a car in Florence, drive to Orvieto, 1 night (photo stops in Siena, Montepulicano).
Drive towards Naples, stopping at another town, like Cassino for 1 night.
Drive to Positano (or Amalfi or Sorrento), 4 nights. (Day trips to Capri and Pompeii, if you wish.)
Drive to Rome, drop off car, spend 5 nights.
Fly home.

If you wanted to see more of Tuscany, subtract a night from Rome or the AC, or juggle as you like. But don't keep the car when you are visiting the big cities b/c that would be a waste.
cheryllj is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2008, 08:41 PM
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We did that 2 years ago, in 16 days.
We covered a lot of territory but did not feel rushed. The pace was just right for us.

Here's the itinerary:

Fly into Milan. pick up the car

2 days Varenna/Bellagio

drive to Venice stopping in Verona for a few hours, with lunch at Dodici Apostoli, see Piazza Erbe and dei Seniori, walk within the city walls.

2 days Venice. We stayed at the Lido where you can park the car at the hotel, having taken the Tronchetto ferry, with the car, to the Lido Eu18 each way. Car parked for 2 days, our hotel was next to the last vaporetto station (Lido). 12 min to St. Mark's square.

drive to Tuscany, spend 4 nights in a villa near Florence. Day trips into Florence, San Gimigniano/Volterra, Vinci, Chianti region/Greve.

Drive to Rome. (only two days, car parked. DH and I spent several months in Rome before, but we wanted to show a few main sights to our teenage daughter)

Drive to Positano, 3 days, visit Ravello and Amalfi

leave Positano for Naples early AM, spend the day in Naples. Drop the car.

Leave from Naples or Rome.

We actually took the overnight train to Milan and spent another night there before flying from Malpensa. I got a great deal for a round trip to MXP and we saved a hotel night by taking the train. In Milan we went to La Scala, had dinner and took Maplensa Express train from Cadorna station in the morning.

If it weren't for airfares, of course, the better alternative would have been to spend two nights in Milan in the beginning and fly out of Naples or Rome.

Hope it helps,

-e

enroute is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2008, 09:38 PM
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We spent about 2 weeks doing this trip and we did rent a car, AFTER we left Venice. I know some have said to train between Florence and Rome but honestly that's where we enjoyed having the car the most. There was nothing like being able to drive the backroads in the countryside and stop anytime we saw something interesting, especially in Chianti where you can do a little winery hopping and stop in a little road side cafe. But, they're all right, you won't need or want your car in Rome so I agree with Cheryl, save Rome for the end so you can drop it off when you get there.


loves2sing is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2008, 05:18 AM
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I forgot to mention the daytrip to Siena out of the Tuscan base (you can't miss the Cathedral, inside).

Loves2sing, I agree, if your trip is focused on big cities, I would seriously question the need for the car for the length of the trip, but we spent only about a third of the time in large cities, at most 2 days in each, and the balance in the Como triangle, rural Tuscany and AC, so it wasn't worth dropping off and picking up the car.

Other times when I was in, say, Milan and Lugano only, no car was necessary.
enroute is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2008, 04:52 PM
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Thanks to everyone for their input. As you can imagine, my trip is changing quite a bit. Back to the drawing board. I may have a few more questions!

Thank you again for the help!!
dskiddo is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2008, 02:24 PM
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BTW, there is one instance where renting a car iin Switzerland is OK. That's if you will RETURN it to Switzerland. We have done this, flying into Milan, train to Lugano, stay overnight, pick up a car, then do the Italy trip, ending up back in Lugano to return the car.

But otherwise, forget it. Especially since you can do the Venice-Florence-Rome-Amalfi thing by train.
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