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Itinerary help/renting a car out of Siena/Florence to visit Tuscany?

Itinerary help/renting a car out of Siena/Florence to visit Tuscany?

Old Jun 14th, 2014, 12:01 AM
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Itinerary help/renting a car out of Siena/Florence to visit Tuscany?

We are planing on training into Tuscany from the Amalfi Coast this July. Where should we get off the train?

Can anybody suggest an itinerary for 4-5 nights in Tuscany with two small children (age 4-6?) They are pretty good travelers, but we don't want to spend all day in the car... Budget is about 200Euro a night for a triple or quad if you know of any great places.
We have to end in Florence the last morning to catch our train to Venice.

I was thinking of starting in Siena, SG and one or two other small town visits....

Any car rental recommendations? Or, should we skip the car and do big towns with stations?

Sorry for all of the questions but you all are the best I can ask for!
nextexit is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2014, 06:21 AM
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What day of the week (makes a difference where you can pick up a car)? Are you planning to spend some nights actually in Siena (you might want to get your car there instead)?
kybourbon is online now  
Old Jun 14th, 2014, 06:48 AM
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You need to decide where to "get off the train" in light of a couple of things, IMO.

Coming from the south you can get directly to Siena but you'd need to change trains in Rome as well as in Chiusi, otherwise I think you'd have to route yourself through Florence.

Couple years ago we rented a car IN Florence despite a whole bunch of people here saying it was not a good idea. We had to find the rental office (Googlemaps was helpful in planning) and then walk to it from the Florence SMN station.

People had said it would be difficult to drive IN Florence, beware of the car-restricted zones, etc. We rented an additional GPS and that helped us get in and out of Florence without problems.

It might be easier to rent a car in Siena although that city has its own restricted areas in terms of driving.

For San G I would most definitely want a car to get to and from there and since you have a car I think you'll find simply tooling around the countryside can be quite satisfying.

I would make sure I had a LOT of coins for parking machines.
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Old Jun 14th, 2014, 07:47 AM
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Couple of things regarding your small kids (and sorry if all this sounds too negative, but bear with it for a moment):

There are mosquitoes in Tuscany, and not a lot of window screens. July can be incredibly hot throughout Tuscany, and despite whatever you hear about Renaissance-era buildings always being cool, you might need air conditioning against both mosquitoes and heat at night.

The winding roads that go to hilltowns in Tuscany can be very difficult for backseat passengers, especially small ones, who might be subject to motion sickness. Also check to see if you need child car seats for a rental and their availability from your pick up office if you do need them.

Most Tuscan small towns pretty much close up for the middle of the day in summer due to the heat. So unless you get there before noon, there is not much to do or places to go inside except restaurants. Plus, the later in the day in gets, the hotter it gets (and most Tuscan villages are hilltown, which means climbing steep grades). So if you are going to day trip in a car, pick towns that are close by.

Were it me, I would go to a mainly pedestrianized flat town with plenty to do in case you don't feel like going anywhere. Arezzo would be my first choice, renting an apartment. I would take the train there. There is a car rental office in Arezzo. You would need to learn the ropes about getting in and out of town (it has a busy outer ring, but the center is pedestrianized). I would skip San Gimignano in favor of closer-in towns in the Chianti or untouristy places like Loro Ciuffeno. You can take the train from Arezzo to Florence.

Early in July Arezzo holds jousts, but you might be going later.

sandralist is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2014, 03:25 PM
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Orvieto is a good place to pick-up or drop off a car. We actually took train from Rome to Sienna. Had to change trains once. easy and pleasant. stayed in sienna Nice place just up the hill from train station. can't remember name. had a yard and pool. It was about a 15 minute walk to the center of sienna, or easy to take bus. we rented a car through Hertz(near train station)and then drove to montepulciano. stayed there and toured the surrounding areas, then dropped car off at hertz in Orvieto(across street from train station), and then train back to Rome. If you are interested I'll see if I can come up with the name of the place we stayed in Sienna. But as I recall there where many places around there
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 02:23 PM
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Thanks for all of your amazing advice! (Dukey1 and sandralist for the kiddos)

We found a lovely base just north of Siena.

I was thinking a direct train from Naples to Chiusi, rent a car and do very short trips. Any suggestions on renting a car in Chiusi? I will also check out Orvieto per Leuk2.

If anybody knows of other very drive to and child friendly day trips, please let me know. Perhaps Cecina?
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 03:01 PM
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My suggestion is: go by fast train Napoli-Firenze, take in Firenze your car and go to visit Siena, San Gimigniano, Pienza, Monteriggioni, Val d'Orcia ecc... At least one day before (better two) take off your car in Firenze and visit it by walk or public urban bus: a car in Florence is a snag, save your money. Firenze is very rich, only one day isn't enough.

Avoid regional/slow train, who often give a bad service and use railroad only to reach "big" city (Firenze-Venezia is okay).

To book tour train you can choose "freccia" by trenitalia ("Inter-city" train is worse, but it can be acceptable) or "Italo":



I'm sorry for my english, I hope it's pretty clear (I'm Italian...) ;-)
Enjoy your trip!
ecovanavoce is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2014, 03:03 PM
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If reveal exactly where just north of Siena you will be then people could probably help you out with some child-friendly day trips. You might want to focus on farms with farm animals and horses, cheesemaking demonstrations, maybe a picnic by a river or some of the hot springs towns (that have cooler streams that would not be too hot for some toe dipping by a young child). Your children will be doted upon in the open-air markets and food shops, so you might want to make a morning ritual of visiting the one closest to you. In the evenings, they will be welcome in the piazza by the other children and invited to play, even if they don't speak Italian. You might really enjoy settling into your own nearest Tuscan village and living the life as an Italian family, rather than commuting to other towns.

I think I have only driven past Cecina (I think that is where they have the huge geothermal plants, which can smell quite sulphurous at times), but unless you are staying very far west of Siena, it is almost a 2 hour drive -- one way! That is way too long for any day trip in Tuscany, and totally unnecessary. If you take any two hour drive to a destination in Tuscany -- or even any one hour drive -- you are driving past dozens of beautiful Tuscan places to see just so you can see -- ? A beautiful Tuscan place?

I'm sure you will want to go out and see things but don't miss this other side of being in Italy, which is to enjoy what you've got!
sandralist is offline  
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