Rental Car Question for Tuscany

Old Feb 26th, 2012, 05:53 PM
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Rental Car Question for Tuscany

We will be flying into Rome and heading directly to Tuscany for our one week stay. We are thinking of picking up the rental in Rome Fiumicino and head directly to Tuscany. We need an automatic so I think the Rome airport is a good bet (will reserve through autoeurope or kemwel). Google maps indicate it is a 2 hour and 40 minute drive which we are fine to do after a flight (yes, have taken into consideration of driving after a long flight but have done it many times and find it ok). For those who have driven this route, how was the drive?

At the end of our one week in Tuscany, we will head to Florence to begin a 4 night stay. Where is the best place to drop off the rental? Is the Florence airport a good location to drop-off? We would rather take a taxi or public transport to our hotel in Florence, rather than trying to navigate the crazy traffic in Florence. What are your thoughts?

Many thanks!!
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 05:59 PM
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I drove from Tuscany to Rome and the trio was fine Roads were not hard to navigate.

We actually picked up in Siena. You might think about someplace like that and then take the train to Florence. I would avoid Driving into Floence due to the LARGE fines if you go the wrong place.
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 06:13 PM
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The problem is not that traffic in Florence is crazy - it's not especially. The problem is that you many wander into a pedestrain only zone - which is VERY expensive. (These zones also exist in many other cities - but sure to check - and follow signs carefully to avoid this - since they will catch you on camera and send yuoa big fat fine.)

I would drop it at the airport and grab a cab to your hotel.
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 07:03 PM
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Thanks for your responses.

Yes I have read about these pedestrian-only zones with extortionate fines! Would you suggest to drop off the car at the Florence airport or the train station? My hotel is very close to the train station but if that proves to be a hassle (ie: having to navigate around pedestrian-only zone), then we would prefer to drop it off at the airport and take a taxi to our hotel. Suggestions?

Has anyone had any issues with booking an automatic at the Rome airport?

Thanks again.
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 07:24 PM
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I don't have specific experience with automatics, but I would suggest you reserve a car as far ahead of your trip as you can.

Come to think of it, I believe I was able to rent an automatic in Florence, whereupon we drove to Paestum, Tuscany and Umbria.

Are you aware that an automatic will cost much more than a standard--perhaps double what a standard would cost?
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 08:55 PM
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Where is your Tuscany rental?
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 10:34 PM
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Jean - Our rental is near Pienza.

Pegontheroad - Yes, am aware of the more expensive rate for an automatic vs a manual.

Has anyone returned a car to the Florence airport? If so, what was your experience like?

Is it esy to navigate out of Rome Fiumicino? Has anyone had experiene driving out of Rome Fiumcino to Tuscany? Your advice would be greatly appreciated!

PS: We have our own GPS (a TomTom) for navigation so I hope that would make driving a lot easier. The TomTom was a god-sent when we were in France last year.
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 11:54 PM
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We always rent an automatic and always at the Rome airport. Our experiences have been mixed, dependent upon which car rental company we use. Last time we chose Hertz over our usual Avis and the service was much much better. It is easy enough to travel out of the airport and onto the autostrada towards Toscana. We do it without a GPD but if you have one it would be even easier. I agree that you should not drive in any of the big cities and definitely return to an airport. I have always returned back to Rome airport so cannot tell you about others. Since some people (like me and apparently also you) cannot or do not want to drive a stick, there is sometimes no choice but to pay a bit more and get the automatic. I don't know HOW much more it costs, but if you don't have a choice, it is immaterial right? Have a great trip.
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Old Feb 27th, 2012, 12:05 AM
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Flame123 - You're absolutely right for us non-manual drivers not really having a choice re: the price of an automatic. I'd rather pay more than stress myself out over driving a manual in a foreign land (or any place for that matter)!

Did you use AutoEurope or Kemwel to rent with Hertz/Avis? I've never rented with Hertz/Avis in Europe before. I've only used Europcar or Sixt.

Also, what kind of insurance package did you opt for? I usually go for the zero deductible and will likely do the same when I rent this time in Italy.
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Old Feb 27th, 2012, 04:04 AM
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Random responses:

Don't think about returning the car at the railway station in Florence. Leave it at the airport.

Understand how and be prepared to pay tolls.

Driving around Pienza is very easy. Enjoy it.

If you really are not bothered by jetlag, you can take a more scenic route to that part of Tuscany than the motorway. There are many options.
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Old Feb 27th, 2012, 04:09 AM
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If you use AutoEurope or Kemwel, you must select a return place that offers the same company as the pick up or it will say not available. The airport in Rome will have most rental car companies, but your return selection might not.
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Old Feb 27th, 2012, 05:53 AM
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Returning at the Florence airport is easy. From the Pienza area, take the SR2 north, past Siena, until connecting to the A1. There is a gas station to top off the tank after exiting the A1 highway and about 1 mile before you reach the airport.

If your hotel is near the train station, you could take the bus from the airport to the train station. I think the cost is around 5E. Very easy.

If you want a more scenic route from the Rome airport to Pienza, exit the A1 at Orvieto and cut over to the SS2/SR2 and take that north.
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Old Feb 27th, 2012, 12:32 PM
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There is a Hertz office near the Siena train station. We returned our car there, walked to the train station (although some people think it's a longish walk with luggage), and took the train to Florence (7,70 euros pp). We considered returning the car at the Florence airport but decided returning in Siena as we did was less expensive overall and took less time. The only snag was my fault. I failed to note the hours the rental agency office was closed for lunch, and we had to wait about 30 minutes for it to re-open.
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Old Feb 27th, 2012, 07:14 PM
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Thank you for everyone's comments - you've all been very helpful. I will definitely look up the scenic route from Rome to Tuscany.

Another question that's slightly off tangent - after 4 days in Florence, my friend and I will part ways with me heading to London while she is heading to Rome. Flying out of the Florence airport for me does not work well in terms of time and cost whereas the Pisa airport works well (ie: I can combine the Pisa - London leg to my long haul ticket; good flight times). So my question is - should I fly out of Pisa or Rome (ie: head to Rome with my friend)?

If flying out of Pisa, is there a direct bus or train from Florence city center to Pisa airport?

Thanks again!
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Old Feb 27th, 2012, 09:18 PM
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There is train service from Florence S.M.N. to the Pisa Airport. Only 7,10 euros in 2nd class. Some options are direct (about 60 minutes), but more options involve a change at Pisa Centrale (about 75 minutes). There may also be bus service, and perhaps someone else will chime in.

Florence to the airport in Rome would take 2:25-2:40 hours, but you'd have to add a generous time cushion to cover any possible train delays. (Most here would probably advise heading to Rome the day before your flight.) All options involve a change of train in Rome, most often at Termini. Fare is 53-59 euros in 2nd class.

Unless you want to spend more time with your friend, IMO this is a no brainer. Pisa in a heartbeat.
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Old Feb 27th, 2012, 09:22 PM
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There is bus service from Florence S.M.N. train station to the Pisa airport. It seems to be cheaper, more frequent but not faster.

http://www.terravision.eu/florence_pisa.html
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Old Feb 27th, 2012, 09:58 PM
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Jean - thanks so much for the link. Pisa is definitely the way to go.
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Old Feb 27th, 2012, 10:10 PM
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Be prepared to pay out the nose for tolls.
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Old Feb 28th, 2012, 03:56 AM
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I have always used the direct car company, Like Avis or Hertz, to book my rental cars. Never the broker agencies, or whatever they are called.

And like you, always opted for the maximum insurance coverage and zero deductable, etc. Thank goodness never had to use it, but if ever would, it is better to have good coverage.

Re other questions on flying out of which airport. Be advised that the smaller airports may have more delays, cancellations, etc.
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Old Feb 28th, 2012, 05:51 AM
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If you book directly with Hertz, you need to pay in advance as they do DCC if you don't.
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