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jLiddy Dec 28th, 2017 08:31 PM

Italy
 
Hello, my partner and I are looking to travel parts of Italy next March. We are currently looking at driving from either the Amalfi Coast - Florence area or the other way around (we aren’t fussed). We were going to do this over 2 or so days and stop at some places along the way and enjoy some scenic routes (if they’re an option).
I would like to know if it would be worth driving or if we should just stick to trains and busses?

Thanks,

Sassafrass Dec 28th, 2017 08:38 PM

In March, I would stick with trains, but I would probably not go to the AC in March anyway.
I would certainly not drive once in the AC, but ferries aren't that much fun in rain either, should you encounter it.

What do you enjoy seeing? How long is your whole trip? Where are you coming from?

massimop Dec 29th, 2017 04:23 AM

I think it would be quite wonderful to drive in March. Be flexible about your plans, and cancel the car and take the train if it turns out a huge rainstorm rolls in on the days you want to drive -- but otherwise plan to drive.

Look up information about the scenic areas of Tuscany south of Siena (le Crete and the val d'Orcia) and also the Sabine hills, which are beautiful and less touristed than rural Tuscany, and might be a bit drier at that time of year.

If the weather is dry and sunny in the Amalfi you might want to keep the car if you don't mind driving on cliffs on narrow roads. Otherwise drop it off in Sorrento or Salerno (and think about whether you want to see Pompeii or Paestum before you get rid of the car).

PalenQ Dec 29th, 2017 07:50 AM

If you only have two days you have little time to take back roads and visit hill towns, etc so takes trains - lots on Italian trains: www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. Booking long-distance trains early can result in prodigious discounts.

bvlenci Dec 29th, 2017 09:11 AM

Driving is the way to go if you want scenic routes. In a few days, you can see lots of scenery, but you won't have much time for exploration.

jLiddy Dec 29th, 2017 10:05 PM

Okay thanks guys, so our trip is for two weeks we were planning on starting in Rome then heading to Tuscany or AC then driving from one to the other (depending on whether) after that, train to Venice where we will most likely end our holiday. We havent got a whole heap planned so any suggestions are more than welcome as weve never been to Italy before only heard great things.

We are coming from Australia, we are keen to experience the culture and enjoy a scenic route or two along the way if that helps with your question @sassafrass

Peter_S_Aus Dec 29th, 2017 10:38 PM

I know about trains in Australia, and so never use them. But in Italy, that is our preferred mode of travel. Fast, like 300 km/hr on some routes, punctual, with a bar on many trains. Easier than driving.

Sure, in Aus, you can drive1000 km in a busy day, like Melb to Sydney, but in Italy you would struggle to do half that, even if you are on a pretty boring autostrada / freeway.

massimop Dec 30th, 2017 04:40 AM

Most people have no difficulty fitting in enjoyable scenic driving from Florence to the Amalfi area in two days, especially if you that includes two nights. There is a scenic route that goes south from Florence through the Chianti hills, where there are many lovely places to stop for lunch, and then in the same day you can drive a scenic route though the le crete sinesi area and onto the Val d'Orcia, and be there well in plenty of time to check into lodgings in a lovely town.

The next day, you can either spend time touring the val d'Orcia towns and Orvieto, or you can press on into Lazio or the Latium for some off the beaten track small towns, and spend another night. Or you can drop off the car in Orvieto, spend the night there, and take public transportation the rest of the way to the Amalfi.

If you want to see rural scenery, you can't do that from trains, nor is it easy to deal with luggage if you are trying to go town-hopping using trains alone. If you want to go from one somewhat major town to another in Tuscany on your way to the Amalfi, then trains are fine and preferable obviously if you don't like to drive.

But if you want to see scenery -- and most people agree that the reason to go to rural parts of Tuscany is to see the scenery, not to visit towns -- then rent a car and drive. You can have a perfectly fascinating trip behind the wheel in 2 days time driving between Florence and the Amalfi area if you plot a route that makes detours off the autostrade. These roads are not dificult at all to drive.

PalenQ Dec 30th, 2017 08:08 AM

2 days seems short if really wanting to drive thru rural Tuscany where roads can be slow-going.

bilboburgler Dec 30th, 2017 08:39 AM

2 days= 1 night maybe. No time at all, Tuscany deserves at least 3 nights.

bvlenci Dec 30th, 2017 10:11 AM

If I understand you, there is already time planned to spend in the Amalfi Coast and Tuscany, and you just want to find a scenic driving route between the two. The train is fine for getting to Tuscany or the Amalfi Coast from Rome, and for getting from Tuscany to Venice. You'd see almost no scenery on the train between the Amalfi Coast and Tuscany, so driving is the way to go for that part of the trip.

Since you're thinking of ending in Venice, it would be better to visit Rome first, maybe for four nights. Then, depending on your base for the Amalfi Coast, you could take the train to Naples or Salerno. (Precise directions would depend on where you're staying.)

Then you could rent a car and drive to your Tuscan destination, stopping for the night somewhere along the way. I would keep the car for the duration of your stay in Tuscany, then turn it in (maybe at the Florence airport, to avoid driving into Florence), and take the train to Venice.

Two weeks isn't a lot of time for what you want to see, but you should be able to plan an enjoyable visit. The following is a possible way to divide your time.

Rome 4 nights.
Amalfi Coast 3 nights
Drive to Tuscany 1 night
Tuscany 3 nights
Venice 2 nights

That's 13 nights. If you have another night, put it where you think you'd enjoy it most.

A possible stop on your drive to Tuscany is the Lazio hill town of Sermoneta, one of Italy's prettiest towns (in my opinion) where you can visit the beautiful and well-preserved Caetani castle. There are other possibilities, such as Castelgandolfo in the Castelli Romani area. You would have time the next day to explore the area suggested by massimop.

Along the way, there are numerous places you could stop: one of the two towns I already mentioned, if you didn't stop there for the night; Bracciano, on the lake of the same name, where there's another great castle to visit; or Orvieto, a very nice Umbrian hill town, although with more tourists than the other places I've mentioned.

PalenQ Dec 30th, 2017 12:43 PM

Bracciano, on the lake of the same name, where there's another great castle to visit>

And venue of Tom Cruises and Katie's wedding! if going that way Viterbo is a natural too -I did both by train one day from Rome and especially loved Viterbo. Orvieto awesome too. And from there Montepulciano would be a natural stop.

jLiddy Dec 31st, 2017 01:25 AM

Thanks heaps for the info and tips guys, will definitely take it all into consideration!
Appreciate it.


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