Italy/ or train? Best ways??

Dec 12th, 2005, 11:53 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 46
Italy/ or train? Best ways??

Planning a trip in April. Rome-Pisa(?)-Florence-Venice-Vienna-Saltzburg. 15 days. 4 people (2 adults, one 15yo, one 13yo.

I love to drive because of the side trips that can be taken on the whim. I am considering the train because of the speed and fatigue factor.

The main consideration will be cost. I have not put pen to paper yet but I would like to hear some of your opinions.

What is the best method to rent a car? Through the US office or wait until I get there? Where have you received a good deal from? Is there unlimited mileage? What is the current price of gas? diesel? Are diesel rentals readily available? Do they have much better mileage than gasoline? Can you rent in Italy and return in Austria?

What would the best train package be or would it be best to buy individual tickets? Do the passes work in both Italy and Austria?

I know that I will have to do a lot of homework but I'm hoping you guys can point me in the right direction. Thanks in advance.
saiguanas is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 12:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,118
Hi S,

Too much traveling for 2 weeks.

Either visit Italy (Rome-Florence-Venice is excellent for 2 weeks), or visit Germany/Austria or visit Austria/Hungary/Czech Rep.

In Europe, in general, if you are visiting the cities, the most efficient and cheapest method is the train.

If the kids want to visit Pisa, I think it would be easier as a 1/2 day trip from Florence.

You can enter your rail itinerary at to see if a RailPass would be cost effective.

For car rental, see and

>What is the current price of gas? diesel?

It won't matter in April

>Are diesel rentals readily available?


>Do they have much better mileage than gasoline?

We got 40 mpg in Peugeot 307 Diesel. You could carry the 4 of you, 1 large suitcase and 2 carryons comfortably.

>Can you rent in Italy and return in Austria?

Yes, but it will cost about $300 more in drop-off fees.

ira is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,509
With 14 nites in Europe and 4 people traveling you will want to limit yourself to a max of 5 destinations. I would do it all in one country and mix driving and the trains. I would also spend more time in rural venues. My 5 would be Rome,Florence, Tuscany,the Dolomites, and Venice--in that order. The middle 5 days would be with a car. Have fun !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 01:31 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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I know it's a lot of traveling but the beauty of the way we travel (which is why we would prefer driving) is that we don't limit ourselves to a solid itinerary. I know that we could spend a month in Rome and not see everything. If we get to Florence and think that it is just not for us we'll leave. If we get to a tiny village in between and want to stay for 3 days we will. Italy will always be there next year. We saw so much in Spain last year that we never planned on which turned out to be the highlights of the trip. We just use the itinerary for a guideline which is why we never do guided tours.

Thanks for the websites. I'll check those out right now.
saiguanas is offline  
Dec 12th, 2005, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Any particular reason why you are finishing in Salzburg instead of Vienna? The train trip Venice-Salzburg is shorter (about 6 hours vs 9 for Venice-Vienna) and the train Salzburg-Vienna is about 3 hours; as it stands you are doubling back from Vienna to Salzburg, and adding 3 hours to your total time. Or are you trying to work it so you can fly Ryanair (I think that's the discount airline that flies out of Salzburg, although only as far as London as a rule.)

Seriously reconsider Pisa on this trip. You will have to detour from Florence in a direction that will take you off your main Rome-Florence-Venice axis. (I suppose you could always make it a daytrip from Florence if the spirit moves you.)

This trip sure spells "train" to me. An added feature of trains is that most come with an on-board WC, and sometimes food as well. A handy thing when travelling as a group.

You sound like you've travelled without a fixed plan before, but just bear in mind that April is quite a popular time to travel to Italy, and accomodations in Venice in particular can get tight - especially if you're trying to arrange for 4 people.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Dec 13th, 2005, 06:26 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 46
I'll have to look at which airline is flying us out of Salzburg but yes, that is the reason. The flights were cheaper out of Salzburg.

Pisa will be a day trip, if we make it at all. Basically snap a few pics and get out.

I used that site that Ira suggested and it said that a pass was not recommended and that our total ticket price for trains would be $700. I found that I could rent a car for about that much but then I have to figure in the $300-$400 drop off fee to Austria plus gas.

Now I have to decide if the freedom of a car is worth $500, $600, $700 or more. I do love being able to stop at those little towns that you don't find in any guide books.

I told my wife that we would be traveling during the holy week time period and that it would be hard to find rooms but that was the only time that everyone can get away. Atleast we'll be out of Rome before it gets absolutely crazy.
saiguanas is offline  

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