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Scenic Route Between Rome and Florence as Alternate to High Speed Train

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Scenic Route Between Rome and Florence as Alternate to High Speed Train

Old Jan 31st, 2013, 01:14 PM
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Scenic Route Between Rome and Florence as Alternate to High Speed Train

Three of us will be travelling from Rome to Florence in March. Is there a reasonable alternative to the High Speed Train that will allow us to see more of the countryside? We were thinking of train but perhaps bus? Car rental just for that trip doesn't seem viable. If we travel by train, for example to Pisa then to Florence or to Siena to Pisa to Florence, what would we do with luggage while stopping to see the city? Can it be done in a relaxed day? It would certianly be easier to take the fast train but what would we miss that we could take in?
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 01:17 PM
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Additionally, we do not know the Italian train system so if you recommend a slower route by train, we would welcome advice on navigating that system such as understanding the schedule, flexibility in schedule, changing trains, etc. Thanks!
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 01:33 PM
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Train travel = relaxation vs. car rental = stress!! Parking, directions, etc., etc., no thanks. The last two trips to Europe we did no car and travelled by train exclusively-- easy to navigate, schedules online, and most cities offer lockers at the train station (but you will have your valuables w/ you!) for luggage. But you must examine the route and see if the trains go where you wish to go.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 02:07 PM
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"car rental = stress!! "

For crying out loud. Have you ever actually driven in Italy? Or have you just sat in a train designed to look like a plane, staring out at the horrors Italy's inept and corrupt planning regime have imposed on the landscape along the entire Milan-Florence-Rome corridor, gullibly deluding yourself that's the best Italy's got to offer?

Hire a car in Rome. Follow the Via Francigena (not a Roman road, but the medieval name for the road system between Canterbury and Rome: http://www.viafrancigena.com) through Viterbo and Siena. Cover your eyes through Poggibonsi, the caravan capital of the latin world, but drive on to Florence, realising you've been following the route travellers have taken for over a thousand years.

Most cities, BTW, do not offer left luggage facilities at railway stations.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 02:31 PM
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You can take the Sena bus from Rome to Siena (3 hours - 20€). There are multiple departures (it's better than taking the train from Rome to Siena which requires a change).

http://www.sena.it/Home/78-1-en.html

There aren't any lockers anywhere in Italy that I'm aware of. Larger train stations have left luggage rooms where you can store your luggage (you'll need to show passport/ID and there can be long lines at times).

The bus from Rome to Siena drops you at Piazza Gramsci which is at the edge of the historical center. There used to be luggage storage in the ticket office underground. I don't know if there still is or the hours.

From Siena you can take the Sita bus on to Florence (7€ - 1 hour). Last bus or train is probably around 8 pm.

There are some trains from Rome that go up the coast to Pisa (46€ - 3 hours). There is luggage storage at Pisa Centrale. You can take a train from Pisa Centrale to Florence (1 hour - 7-10€) or a bus from Pisa Aeroporto (5 minutes from Centrale).
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 03:48 PM
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There is a slow but very beautiful alternate itinerary by car, driving through Siena (the zone south of Siena is very scenic). But this itinerary is not possible by train. The fast train is fairly scenic, and slow trains run a different line but in the same landscape. Then there is the coast line to Pisa but I frankly do not see the point. All other train lines are extremely slow and frankly interesting only to train buffs. For example you could do - by train - Rome-Grosseto-Siena-Empoli-Firenze, but it would take 6 or 7 hours mainly in small commuter trains.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 05:14 PM
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You could also take the UNRESERVED regionale veloce train from ROme to FLorence along the TRADITIONAL rail line, which allows more time to enjoy the scenery. Cheap fare (19.25 euros), and MODERNIZED railcars on Trenitalia's flagship regionale trains. The trip take over 3.5 hours, and the train makes about 16 stops.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 05:29 PM
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IMHO for wandering around Tuscany a car is really the only thing that makes sense. Otherwise you are restricted in terms of locations and schedules.

Trains are fine for getting quickly and cheaply from one major city to another - but sightseeing from many is illusory.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 06:15 PM
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KDin Chicago,

Something you might consider is taking the fast train to Florence, but during your stay in Florence, take the bus that goes from Florence to Siena (without your luggage). The bus travels a very scenic road through the Chianti. At the end of the trip, you get to visit Siena. You can take the train back to Florence. One of the nice things about this option is that you can pick a day with beautiful weather to do it.


aliced,

What flannerUK isn't telling you is that being religious and taking the via Francigena is just a hobby horse he rides on Fodor's, among other rants. Apparently he did it once. Don't take it personally! I live in Italy and take the train all the time in Italy and, like you, in Europe in general, when I absolutely don't need a car so as to avoid the hassles.
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Old Jan 31st, 2013, 06:20 PM
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>>>The bus travels a very scenic road through the Chianti.
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Old Feb 1st, 2013, 04:10 AM
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There are both Rapida buses between Florence and Siena running the highway and buses doing the old SS2 itinerary... scenic but so curvy that you risk seasickness
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Old Feb 1st, 2013, 05:13 AM
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What bus would that be? The Sita bus, both rapid (131R)and ordinaire (131O), take the divided highway. The only difference is the slower bus exits and stops at Poggibonsi (halfway to Siena) and takes a slower road for bit to make a few stops, but it's not particularly scenic. It then rejoins the divided highway.
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Old Feb 1st, 2013, 05:35 AM
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Don't know if this is still current info, but this scenic bus routing is what asps was thinking of (and it would not allow for any time in Siena, unless perhaps one took the train back)

http://www.tripadvisor.ie/ShowTopic-...e_Tuscany.html

Now that I see that the travelers are doing this in March, I withdraw my suggestion, because I was recalling limited service that has run only in the summertime.

http://www.panzano.com/getting_to_pa...anzano-eng.htm
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 08:14 AM
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Thank you all for your varied input. All the different perspective point to one thing of practical value it would seem. We all carry baggage as we travel through life which constrains us and does not allow us to do what we are otherwise capable of doing. It is no different traveling through Italy. The suitcases we choose to take along do constrain my wanderlust. Goldenautumn’s advice seems most practical given the shortness of time. If more time were available, in agreement with nytraveler, wandering, even getting lost, by car would be the most satisfying but for a half a day to a day it doesn’t seem to be a wise choice.
Thank you all for your very friendly and helpful advice! Grazie e Ciao!
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