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Patty Feb 19th, 2000 10:39 PM

Large family,1st time Italy,van or public transportation?
I'm traveling to Italy (first time) in July. I'll be traveling with my husband and four children so we need a van and large accommodations each place we stay. I have reserved a villa at Calcione estate near Siena, (8 days) a house in Florence (4 days),and our last night,a hotel in Rome that will put three of us in two rooms. I still want to find a reasonable place for six to stay in Rome. Can you help? I had a travel agent arranged the car and here are my chioces. <BR>1. 7 passenger van: $1,800 USD for 13 days <BR>2. 9 passenger van: $1,400 USD for 13 days <BR>Wow! Expensive. Do I really need the van in Florence? I certainly will need it the whole time I'm in Calcione for day trips. I'm wondering if due to the millions of tourist that will be in Rome for the Jubilee, is it practical to take it to Rome? Where are we going to park a 9 passenger van? My agent warned me that train and public transportation for the six of us will be cost prohibitive. Is this true? Do I need the van in Rome? Thanks for your consideration. <BR>Patty

Karen Feb 20th, 2000 02:49 AM

You will be much happier in Rome and in Florence without the van. There are many apartments available in Rome, which would be my choice for a family of six, but I'm not sure what will be available for this July. A search on this form will yield many websites to get you started! Have fun.

broekann Feb 20th, 2000 09:58 AM

You will also probably have to pay for parking the van - which I have heard can be quite expensive. Second class train tickets (which is a fine way to go) and public transit in Italy is not very expensive. The cost of the van and parking looks to be over $20 a day per person - which is probably more than you would spend on public transit. You can get rail scheudles, and I think prices too, on the internet. Check for the actual schedule or links to sites with schedules. Public transit in Europe is much better than it is in the US.

Ed Feb 20th, 2000 10:21 AM

I'd ditch the van after Calcione. Kilometric ticket will cut the cost of Florence-Rome by train. Getting between Calcione and Florence might be best by van if you can drop the van there. <BR> <BR>Ed

Cheryl Z. Feb 20th, 2000 10:40 AM

<BR>Patty, not only do you not need the van (or any car) in Florence and Rome, you absolutely won't want to drive anything in either place. Plan the trip so those cities are last and turn it in, and use the trains. We parked our itsy-bitsy little rental car when we arrived in Florence, not only was very expensive but very crowded and low ceiling-ed parking spaces for cars and I remember wondering how and where bigger vehicles parked. Streets (more like very narrow alleys) are crowded and virtually no parking spaces for bigger vehicles. Don't even think about it. Rome was our final destination and we turned the car in immediately upon arrival.

Patty Feb 20th, 2000 03:32 PM

Thank you all very much for your wisdom regarding the van rental. We will use the public transportation. Have any of you hired a driver to take you round Rome or Florence? Would this be good for late in the day when feet are tired? Thanks <BR>Patty

Karen Feb 21st, 2000 02:49 AM

In Rome last March (four of us), we hired a car for transport to and from Fiumicino (through Insight Rome on the web) and thought that was a very worthwhile expense. They were waiting for us, even though our flight was delayed many hours, and it was great to know they would be there to pick us up right at our apartment to take us to the airport for the flight home. At night, we walked everywhere, mostly (if you are located in the Centro Storico, this is not a problem), but we also took cabs whenever we got tired. An advantage of travelling in a group is that this is fairly cost effective. A cab for 4 doesn't cost much more than bus fare for 4, if you are doing a fairly short trip within the city. Rome doesn't lend itself well to car or bus touring, IMO, and neither does Florence. But a Roman taxi ride can be an experience in itself!

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