Opinion on car rental in Italy

Old Mar 6th, 2002, 12:39 PM
  #1  
Alice
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Opinion on car rental in Italy

Hi all,

I’m flying into Rome for my Honeymoon on June 4th, and was planning to take a bus or train straight to Siena, which is where we’re staying first for one week. We then spend a week in Rome.
Anyway, the train thing was stressing me out, so I JUST got it into my thick head to look into renting a CAR and driving to Siena from the Rome airport. Other posters say this is a good idea. I got a rate from Avis for $214 for the entire week, which seems good. The only trouble is that we have to return it to the airport, then get ourselves to our hotel (Casa Howard) near the Spanish Steps.

Does it seem stupid to go all the way to the airport to return a car? I’m thinking the extra cab-ride back to Rome center isn’t bad, considering all the trains we’re avoiding by renting a car.

Just curious about what others think.
 
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 01:05 PM
  #2  
Chrissy
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You DON'T want to drive through the heart of Rome, so return your car at the airport and pay for the cab to your hotel. Make sure you rent a decent car as well. We went purely for economy/size and we couldn't get it past 70mph, while others were flying by. Enjoy!
 
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 06:56 PM
  #3  
train
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Alice: why is the train thing stressing you out, it's a lot simpler than the car thing.
 
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 08:19 PM
  #4  
aLICE
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I think the train thing stresses me out because it was a HUGE hassle the last time I did this in 1991, when the train from the airport was under construction and I had to walk about a mile with my bags to find it.

We're now trying to decide between the car rental, the train to Tiburtina, then bus 3 hours to Siena, or train to Rome, then train to Chiusi, then train to Siena.

HELP, PLEASE!

- Alice
 
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 08:21 PM
  #5  
lois
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Actually your idea of renting a carfrom Rome Airport to Siena is a good one. It's a beautiful, probably 3-4 hour drive, but since the airport is outside of Rome, you would otherwise have to go from airport into Rome to catch the train. On the return, dropping the car at the airport is actually convenient, and to my understanding there's easy transport into Rome, either by train, bus or taxi. Get yourself a good Michelin map so you can follow the most expeditious route to Siena (also ask your hotel to suggest how to get there). I also recommend you call the Italian Tourist Office for some advice because it seems to me you have not looked at any maps nor read some solid travel books to get a better sense of the territory you're covering. One other suggestion I would make, if you think you'll be too tired upon arrival to drive the distance to Sienna, stay the first night in Orvieto -- only an hour or so north of Rome airport and lovely. That's how we handled it and it allowed us to drive to Siena the next morning, rested and able to stop in charming hill towns along the way. It's your honeymoon - don't rush!
 
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 08:23 PM
  #6  
loisp
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one other thing...make sure that price from Avis includes all taxes, theft insurance, Collision Damage, etc. They pile on top of the price quoted and can be quite a surprise. So far, for this year, I found Thrifty cheaper than Avis (to my surprise).
 
Old Mar 7th, 2002, 08:11 AM
  #7  
gregg g
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I drove from florence to sienna in 99' and it was the most memorable part of the trip. sienna is a great town. if you like wine, go to the fortress in sienna and see the wine collection. you cam sample various varietals from all over italy. if you are in sienna a week you must make side trips and to do this you will need a car. get the car!!! visit montalcino, san giminano (sp?), lunch in panzano over looking the tuscan countryside, radda in chianti has a winery called castello vichiomaggio (sp?) making great tuscan wine. in sienna don't miss seeing the duomo! caio!
 
Old Mar 7th, 2002, 08:12 AM
  #8  
gregg g
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I drove from florence to siena in 99' and it was the most memorable part of the trip. siena is a great town. if you like wine, go to the fortress in sienna and see the wine collection. you cam sample various varietals from all over italy. if you are in siena a week you must make side trips and to do this you will need a car. get the car!!! visit montalcino, san giminano (sp?), lunch in panzano over looking the tuscan countryside, radda in chianti has a winery called castello vichiomaggio (sp?) making great tuscan wine. in siena don't miss seeing the duomo! caio!
 
Old Mar 7th, 2002, 09:26 AM
  #9  
Joe
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Aloice: Gregg is right on. Get the car. If you are staying a week in Sienna, you will want to take day trips to San Gimigano, Chianti, Montalcino, etc. The countryside is glorious. The suggestion to spend a night in Orvieto is a good one. A car gives you so much more flexability. There are Avis offices outside of Rome. When we drove down from Florence (stopping wherever we chose which a car allows you to do), we arranged to drop our car outside of Rome and took a cab in. Good thing! We would never have found our hotel near the Spanish Steps. Congratulations and best wishes.
 
Old Mar 7th, 2002, 09:58 AM
  #10  
Lorenz
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As others have said, DON'T drive in Rome
made that huge mistake last year.
This spring I am dropping the car off at the airport & taking the hotel shuttle from there to the hotel. So find a hotel with a shuttle service.
I'm using Holiday Inn Parco this spring.
free shuttle to/from airport & free to/from hotel-city center.

I would rent a car to see Tuscany, gives you much greater freedom to see all of the hill towns in Tuscany . Plus it creates a lot more time too see the sites instead of wasting time on train schedules. I also found tuscany to be well marked, not by US standards but great for Italy.
ENJOY !
 
Old Mar 7th, 2002, 12:39 PM
  #11  
laura
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Alice,
Where did you get an Avis price for $219 for the week?? I'm going in October and all I can find is about $90 a day. I need help on cheap car rates!
 
Old Mar 7th, 2002, 01:41 PM
  #12  
Alice
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Thanks for all the advice everyone! We got the price online, then called Avis. Naturally, the price didn’t include the $35 aiport fee, the 14% service fee and 20% tax. All of that brought the total for the week up to $285. So... we hemmed and hawed about how that’s getting a little pricey. We simply can’t decide between the car, the bus, and the train!

I DO know the area quite well (ahem
I have plenty of books and maps, just wondered if people had strong opinions about any of these travel options.

I’m thinking I might fork out the money for the car, full week, and surprise my fiance.

Another note... Casa Howard quoted us E60 to have a car pick us up at the airport in Rome. Www.limoservicerome.com quotes E37! What a deal!

- Alice
 
Old Mar 7th, 2002, 01:48 PM
  #13  
Rex
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Sometimes, the same car, from the same company might be $90 for the day, $219 for the week (though that is an extreme example). Still, I have seen rates of over$100 for the day, and well under 400 for the week, and under $300 if reserved in advance.

Trying to get a one-day rental at a bargain rate is VERY difficult in Europe. If that's what you really need - - you might want to check out the Rail'n'Drive options from www.raileurope.com - - they start at over $200 - - but for two one-day rentals you might well pay that anyway - - and it's like getting the train thrown in for free.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Old Mar 8th, 2002, 07:02 AM
  #14  
marie
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Alice,

If you do return the car at the Rome airport, the train service bck into the downtown is WONDERFUL..easy, efficient and it will connect you in with the trains in the city. Fro there, it will be easy to get to the Spanish Steps. I found Rome very easy to travel by public transport.

We did a similar thing - renting the car and driving back from Siena. We returned the car in Rome and it was actually not as difficult as we had imagined it would be to navigate the streets - but we come from Boston and cut our teeth in a similarly aggressive setting!

Have fun and good luck!
 
Old Mar 8th, 2002, 12:09 PM
  #15  
Alice
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Marie,

I’m from Boston, too! I’m SUCH an aggressive Boston driver, that I can’t imagine being intimidated by Rome ;-)

- Alice
 

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