Northern Italy road trip advice

Apr 25th, 2010, 06:18 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2
Northern Italy road trip advice

This summer, my wife and I and our two kids (18,14) are going to Italy for the first time. We will be there for two weeks. The last week of June and the first week of July.

We have already purchased rountd trip airfare to Rome and also have reserved a very nice aprartment for the week we will be staying in Rome. This part of the trip we are quite comfortable with.

We then want to rent a car and go out on a road trip with our other 8 days, see some of the major landmarks like PISA, Venice, spend a couple days in Florence, and possibly even into Zurich and Southern Germany for a day or two. I had originally thought we would buy Eurail passes, but doing the math for 4 travelers, it seems quite overpriced. I'm finding good prices on renting a car, but am unsure how difficult it would be to find hotels in these areas in that first week of July.

I'm sure we will have network connectivity, iphone, gps, with us. Is it reasonable to think I could be very flexible in our hotel reservations, maybe even book one or two of them at the last minute or will there be no availability anywhere? I'd like to have some flexibility for this week and not have everything planned out.

If that isn't realistic, I'll then plan that other week out better. From what I can tell a car trip from Rome to Munich would be about 9 hours, and am OK with doing that.
Any advice on how to spend 8 days leaving rome and returning to rome, and the best or most convenient places to stay would be appreciated. We are total novices.

southpath25 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2010, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,683
Since this is your first trip and you only have 8 remaining day, personally, I would stick to just Italy and split the days between Venice and Florence. I would skip the car and just take the train between the major cities - you do not need to have a Eurail pass, just purchase individual tickets. From Florence you could go to Pisa and also suggest sometime in Tuscany - Siena probably being the easiest.

We have rented a car and driven through Italy, but I don't think you have enough time to head all the way to Germany or Switzerland. If you are only doing the major cities - Rome, Venice, Florence then you wouldn't want a car. Daytrips to Pisa or Siena can be done by bus.
jgg is offline  
Apr 25th, 2010, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,683
BTW our kids are the same age and we will be in Italy at the same time as you for our 3rd trip there. We will be in Northern Italy (Bologna, Lake Como, Dolomites). I promise your kids will LOVE Italy!!!
jgg is offline  
Apr 26th, 2010, 03:35 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422
At the risk of sounding like i'm insulting your intelligence, let me just ask if the "good price" for the rental car is for a car big enough to comfortably carry 4 people your size plus all their luggage -- since you plan to be spending a lot of time in the car.

If you want to spend a couple of days in Florence, and see Venice and Pisa, you really don't have as much time as you think. How about leaving Rome by train to Florence, spend a couple of days there with a daytrip to Pisa, head off to Venice by train for as long as you like. Rent a car there for your Swiss and German foray (if it's doable), then come back down through Italy, seeing either Lago di Como or Lago di Garda, and then heading for the Mediterranean? If you target towns other than the le Cinque Terre towns, you'll can go without hotel reservations. Traveling down the Mediterranean coast to Rome you can also make some zigs and zags to nearby historic hilltowns or agriturismi.

If your family doesn't like the beach so much, but might like farms and horseback riding, switch the last part of your trip to the farm country of Tuscany around Siena. If you'd like more art and chocolate, make the last part of your trip Umbria and visit Assisi, Perugia and other hilltowns before heading to Rome.

If you are determined to drive for 8 days, your best bet for winging it in places like Venice, Florence and Pisa is to sleep outside the towns -- in places like Mestre, Prato, Impruneta -- where you will find last-minute accommodations much more easily. But that means you will be "daytripping" into the towns you want to see during the peak tour bus hours, never experiencing them at night when the crowds have thinned.
zeppole is offline  
Apr 26th, 2010, 04:45 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 506
Euorail passes may be pricey.Point to point tickets amy not be as bad.

Rome to Florence 2nd class eurostar 44 euro

Florence Venice 2nd class eurostar 42 euro

Plrence Pisa roundtrip around 12 euros
notbob is offline  
Apr 26th, 2010, 07:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,512
First, pick your destinations. Only then can you decide about the best transport options. If Florence and Venice, then trains are best. If rural Tuscany then you will need a car. Forget CH and DE--that is another trip.
bobthenavigator is offline  

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