Need Advice on Best Use of Train/Car

Old Feb 16th, 2005, 07:06 AM
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Need Advice on Best Use of Train/Car

Thank you all for helping travelers like me on this site! My husband and I are traveling in Italy this July, and are trying to finalize plans. I am looking for advice on the train/car plan for our itinerary. Our travel agent has made some suggestions that I have listed below, but I value all of your expertise! My concerns are these - we'd like to have the car while in Tuscany but don't really want it anywhere else. Is it best to return it before heading south to Positano, as our agent has suggested below, or use it to get to Positano and return it near there? We realize it is a long trip and might be returning it late in the evening which could be a problem. I would appreciate your help!

VENICE 3 nights at La Calcina
train to Florence

FLORENCE 3 nights at Residenze Johlea I
train to Pisa to change trains
train to Monterosso(Is there a better route?)

MONTEROSSO 3 nights at Villa Steno
tain to Pisa - pick up rental car
car to San Gimignano

SAN GIMIGNANO 3 nights at Hotel Pescille
car to Pisa - drop off rental car
train to Rome to change trains
train to Salerno(Is there a better route?)
bus to Positano

POSITANO 4 nights at Villa Rosa
bus to Salerno to get train
train to Rome

ROME 4 nights at Best Western Mondial
Arrivederci Italia!
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Old Feb 16th, 2005, 11:01 AM
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T,

If you are planning to return the car late at night, you will probably need to do it at an airport.

If not, Orvieto is very easy to drop off. Rental agencies are closed Sundays in Orvieto, but the office is very near the train station.

Personally, I love traveling by train when it makes sense. You know it's going to take you to the city you want and you don't have to worry about navigating!

Buon viaggio!
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Old Feb 16th, 2005, 11:08 AM
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Yes, I assume you're returning the car to Pisa to avoid a one-way drop charge. Makes more sense to drive south and drop it off in Rome or (maybe better) somewhere along the main train line between San Gimignano and Salerno. That way you could get a peak at Southern Tuscany.

Check the different car rental agencies. Maybe you can find one without a drop charge. Might vary according to where you actually drop it.

At airports, yeah, you pay the surcharge, but the offices are open long hours and there's good travel options into town.

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Old Feb 16th, 2005, 02:50 PM
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Thank you for the response!
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Old Feb 18th, 2005, 04:35 AM
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As other posters have pointed out, returning the rental car to Pisa is good that it avoids the one-way charge and has good train connections with Rome and Naples [Pisa is on the primary Mediterranean Coast line between Genoa and Rome. However, as other alternatives, what about returning the rental car to Arezzo, Chiusi, or Orvieto, all three of which are moderate or major stops on the Rome-Florence line? Or returning it to Grosseto?

For sheer sightseeing reasons -- just to take a scenic drive through the country -- I would recommend returning the car to Chiusi. The drive to Grosseto probably would be scenic too, but I don't know enough about the Maremma area of Tuscany to say for sure.

Getting from Florence to the Cinque Terre will require at least one change of trains, in Pisa, Viareggio, and/or La Spezia. There is no "better way" than that. I was able to take a train in 2002 from Florence to Pisa, and then board a "diretto" from Pisa to someplace in Liguria, that (a) did NOT require a change of trains in Viareggio or La Spezia, and (b) stopped in Riomaggiore. The diretto from Pisa to Riomaggiore took about 75 minutes, if I recall.
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Old Feb 18th, 2005, 04:53 AM
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Hi tra,

Check www.mappy.com and www.viamichelin.com

It is a 7 hr drive from Monterosso to Sorrento. You could drop the car there and take the SITA bus to Positano - 0:20 hr.

Will the extra day with a car + drop off charge be more expensive than the train?

Train schedules and prices at www.trenitalia.com.

>...train to Rome to change trains
train to Salerno(Is there a better route?) bus to Positano<

I suggest taking the ferry from Salerno to Positano. It's 0:70 hr compared to 0:40 hr by bus, but you don't have to change in Amalfi. The docks are about 2 blks SW of the train station.

Salerno (P.zza della Concordia) Positano: 70 min 5E
08,40 09,40 - 11,30 14,10 15,30

You can also train to Naples and take the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento (leaves from the same station) and then bus to Positano.




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Old Feb 18th, 2005, 05:00 AM
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I am surprised to hear mention of a "one=way charge". I have never encountered any such charge for picking up (anywhere) IN Italy and returning (anywhere else) IN Italy.

Some people see a car as a way to get from point A to point B and use sparingly while they are staying somewhere; others view it as an enjoyable "accoutrement" (I am closer to the latter). I would pick it up on leaving Florence and return it on arriving in Rome.

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Feb 18th, 2005, 07:01 AM
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Thank you all for your suggestions! After looking at the trenitalia site, it seems much cheaper to simply get point to point tickets, even in first class, than train/car combo pass. We were really only wanting the car for the S. Gimignano area (day trip to Siena, wine tasting in Chianti, etc.)and possibly for the drive south from there. After more thought, train might be less hassle to Siena and we don't want to drive while wine tasting anyhow! Although we'd like some of the freedom of the rental car, I'm just not sure it's worth it for this trip. Our revised plan is below (without car). I went by trenitalia for stations we would have to change in. I'd love a little more input if you don't mind.

1. Venice to Florence

2. Florence to Monterosso (change in Pisa)

3. Monterosso to San Gimignano (change in Pisa and Empoli) - or into Siena if it makes more sense, then bus to S. Gimignano?

4. San Gimignano (or Siena if better) to Salerno (change in Chiusi and Rome) Ferry to Positano

5. Salerno to Rome

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Old Feb 18th, 2005, 08:32 AM
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Hi tra,

The train to San G takes you to Poggibonsi. You need a bus to get to San G.

You can also bus from Siena to San G.

Bus schedules to/from San G are at http://www.sangimignano.net/bus/

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Old Feb 19th, 2005, 08:40 AM
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Thanks Ira for the info on Salerno ferry and Poggibonsi - I hadn't realized that's the location of the S. Gimignano station. Also, Dayle - I like your idea of dropping the car in Orvieto if we rent one because we wanted to spend some time there anyway. Wow - this is tough! Just when we think we've made up our minds, we change our itinerary! If we combine a few of the suggestions, we end up with the itinerary below. Love to have your thoughts on it again! I am concerned about making it cost effective - our travel agent suggested a 4 day train/2 day car pass (adding one extra day of each). She tells me that in 2nd class, that would be $260US per person plus extra for each extra day. I feel like I could do it much cheaper by renting the car separate and purchasing each train ticket separate. Am I wrong? Thanks again for the input! It is VERY appreciated!

1. Sun. July 3: Venice to Florence - train

2. Wed. July 6: Florence to Monterosso (change in Pisa) - train

3. Sat. July 9: Monterosso to Pisa - pick up rental car and drive to San Gimignano

4. Tues. July 12: San Gimignano to Orvieto by car - return rental car, train from Orvieto to Salerno (change in Rome), then ferry to Positano

5. Sat July 16: Salerno to Rome - train

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Old Feb 19th, 2005, 09:56 AM
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Hi tra,

Looks nice.

Remember that you have to get back to Salerno.

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Old Feb 22nd, 2005, 05:05 AM
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Thanks. I'm still wondering about prices. In this case, do you think it's cheaper to do a pass for a train/car combo, or point to point tickets for train and rent car separetly? It looked to me like doing it separately would be much cheaper on trenitalia, but my travel agent still suggests the pass.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2005, 07:49 AM
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ira
 
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>It looked to me like doing it separately would be much cheaper on trenitalia, but my travel agent still suggests the pass.<

I assume that you have added up the prices at www.trenitalia.com/en and compared it to the pass.

If it is less, then (a) your TA is not as informed as you are and/or (b) the TA gets acommission selling you a pass.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2005, 04:53 AM
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Unfortunately, you might be right about the commission. I will compare them again and speak to her. We are only using a TA because my husband won a gift certificate to the agency; I am doing most of the planning (through the help of this site and all of you!)Thanks again!
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