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Keep car from Tuscany to Bologna to Venice - with 6 people?

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Oct 27th, 2015, 11:39 AM
  #1
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Keep car from Tuscany to Bologna to Venice - with 6 people?

With 6 people on our next trip to Italy, I'm leaning towards keeping our rental van after Tuscany - to avoid the logistics of getting 6 people to & from car rental return to trains to hotels... I could either return the car in Bologna, or at our final stop, Venice. I've heard the main route from Tuscany to Bologna has lots of tunnels, sharp turns, & maybe trucks? Not sure I have this right. I just thought having the car to do our own balsamic vinegar-prosciutto tours around Modena might be more economical. But I don't want to stress out the drivers either.

So I was wondering what the Fodor experts thought about this.

My plan was: After a few days in Rome, we'll get a car at the Rome airport, then use it to explore Tuscany for several days. From there we'll drive to Bologna for a couple nights (do some tours, perhaps on our own since we'll have the car), then drive to Venice where we will return the car. We fly out of Venice.

My Italy driving experience: just once, in Tuscany, from Pisa through Tuscan hill towns to Orvieto - so not a lot of highways.
Thank you - again !
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Oct 27th, 2015, 01:19 PM
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I should add I realize it is hard to judge what someone might find as a difficult driving experience. I am used to Boston driving - so I didn't find any of the dire warning about Italian drivers an issue on my first Italy trip. But I just got back from a California trip and the incessant 4-way stops were harrowing! Go figure...
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Oct 27th, 2015, 02:16 PM
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Parking will be the biggest issue with a van. In order to accommodate six people and the luggage, will will need to rent one of the larger vans, the Renault Traffic 9 passenger van and Mercedes Vito are available at the Rome airport and should hold both passengers and luggage.

Unless you are used to driving a large van, I would look at renting two smaller sedans and drop them off when you no longer need them.

As far as the roads go, it will depend on what part of Tuscany you'll be driving to Bologna from. The road from Florence to Bologna isn't too bad, but the train is quicker and easier.
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Oct 27th, 2015, 02:19 PM
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We just drove from San Gimignano (Tuscany) to Bologna and the autostrada route could not have been any easier. Smooth roads and good driving conditions. Yes, there are tunnels but so what? Its an autostrada and while there are reduced speeds in areas, there are no "sharp turns" or significant traffic hazards.
We were in Italy for a month and drove over 1800 miles. I would have to say that the driving conditions were exceptional, especially most of the road surfaces for the main highways---smooth. Just don't get freaked when the locals seem to want to join you in your backseat--tailgating!
Have fun!
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Oct 27th, 2015, 03:37 PM
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Some of my American cousins recently rented a 9-passenger van (for six people, so they could spread out a bit). I was dubious about the wisdom of this, but they drove it from Paris to Rome, with stops in Piemonte, Venice and rural Le Marche (to see their favorite cousin). They really had no problem with it. They parked outside the centers of the cities, of course.
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Oct 27th, 2015, 03:44 PM
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Bologna has a ZTL, so the issue there isn't just parking but where you'd be staying. Our hotel was inside the ZTL and had parking available (nearby), but I would not have wanted to drive in/out of the city multiple times mostly because of how time-consuming that would have been.

Personally, I'd rather hire a guide/driver for the balsamic/prosciutto tours.
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