Suggestions for renting a car in Tuscany

Old Apr 29th, 2009, 11:13 AM
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Suggestions for renting a car in Tuscany

We will be flying into Florence or Rome and spending 5 nights in southern Tuscany. Should we train it to Siena and rent a car there?
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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I'm not sure I see any advantage to this. The major car rental places are some distance from the station (As far as I remember). I might be tempted just to rent from Rome airport as it avoids the city centres.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 12:05 PM
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We flew into Florence last year and rented a car at the airport from hertz.it. It was quick and easy and the drive (we went to Montepulciano) was very easy and beautiful. Like the Rome airport, you do not have to navigate the city center of Florence when leaving the airport car rental.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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If you pick up a car at the Florence airport, you are likely to be in Siena before you would be on board a train. The drive from FCO is longer, about two to 2 1/2 hours, but it would take you at least an hour to get to the Termini station in Rome and then some three hours on the train. Add waiting time to that.

At last check, if you rent the car for 5 days from Kemwel, you are eligible for a "free" gps. The car would be picked up and returned at Europe Car and the gps will cost $40 for the FedEx round trip shipping.

Finally, the airport surcharges are far less costly than the round trip taxi to a train station.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 12:37 PM
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It's unanimous to pick up the car at the airport.

If you specify your destination in S Tuscany, people can give you more concrete advice.

It would also be helpful to decide whether you will fly into Rome (presumably FCO) or the tiny Florence airport -- a world of difference.

One thing to beware: the apparently ceaseless road construction on the Gran Raccordo Anulare (ring road) around Rome.

I have not been on it for over a year but found then that it could really slow you down and tire you out.

Those with more recent experience than mine can better advise you. It might even be preferable to take the coastal motorway to Tuscany, rather than the A-1.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 12:46 PM
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So, which is it?
This may help.

DRIVING IN ITALY & SOUTHERN EUROPE

Q. SHOULD WE DRIVE IN ITALY?
A. Of course you should if your driving skill & confidence would allow you to drive a rental car in Vermont, Colorado or California. But, be advised of these tips:
* Avoid driving in the major cities except for picking up or dropping cars
* Have good maps—study them in advance—and have a GOOD NAVIGATOR.
* Stay in the right lane except when passing and use your rear view mirrors

Q. WHAT CAR SHOULD I GET AND WHERE DO I GET IT?
A. It is best to rent your car before you leave for Europe. The best source we have found is www.autoeurope.com [800-223-5555] who is a broker for several car vendors. They will quote you prices to include the variables that are often omitted by others, such as unlimited mileage, mandatory insurance coverage with some deductibles, and VAT taxes. It is wise to compare prices and coverage with their sister company at www.kemwel.com. Autoeurope will match any comparable quote, and are famous for their customer satisfaction if problems do arise with the vendor. The best model will depend on your needs, but for best value we suggest you select a compact car with manual transmission. Automatics are available but will cost you about 30% more and may limit your model options & pick up locations.

Q. ARE ITALIAN DRIVERS AS CRAZY AS I HAVE HEARD?
A. Yes & no! They are certainly aggressive, but they are also more skilled than many USA drivers—both are a function of necessity. Italy is one of the most crowded countries in the world and the drivers have evolved these characteristics
* They are notorious tailgaters. If that bothers you, pull over and let them past.
* On the AUTOSTRADE they will drive fast, but will stay in the right lane except when passing and will use their blinkers when passing—YOU SHOULD TOO !
* They will often pass on 2-lane roads with traffic coming. Frankly, they expect you, and the oncoming car, to adjust to the shoulder and make 3 lanes of traffic.

OTHER ROAD TIPS FOR YOUR DRIVING SANITY:
1. Learn the meaning of the sign “ SENSO UNICO” and take heed [ONE WAY ].
2. Be sure to get your ticket when you enter the AUTOSTADA system & be prepared to pay the toll when you exit it [ rule of thumb—300 km=15 Euro]. You can use your credit card in the VIA lane at the toll both, or buy a debit VIACARD in advance.
3. Do NOT attempt to follow road numbers—that will frustrate you. But, do pay attention to the directional signs that point to your destination [ TO MONTALCINO]. And, be aware if that road leads eventually to a larger city [ ROMA—SIENA ETC.]
4. Unless you have a diesel car, you will want to fill the tank with benzina from the green pump. Most stations will pump gas for you and will take credit cards.

NOTE: As of 2005, an International Drivers Permit[IDP] is required in Italy.
You can obtain them from your local AAA office. You will need a valid US driver’s license, two passport photos, and $15. The photos can be taken at the AAA office.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 03:00 PM
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Fly into Florence and rent a car there (here). Getting out of the small airport b car, immediately at first traffic lights turn right and start the motorway A11 direction west, the only possible direcion. You do not have to go through Florence city at all, wich is in the opposite direction (east). After 5 minutes on this A11 you find the intersection with A1, southbound towards Roma/northbound towards Bologna. Take the toll tcket here and turn on this A1 following the direction Roma (southbound). Take the exit Firenze Certosa, where you pay the toll ticket, I think about 20-30 cents, for a connection to a free highway to Siena.
You may find some traffic on A1 due to some roadworks with reduced lanes from 3 to 1, but despite of this it is an easy drive. It would need too much time to go from Florence airport to central station and then getting a slow local train to Siena.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 03:04 PM
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On the free highway from Florence to Siena you will see Monteriggioni walled city on the hill and you may exit the hwy there for your first stop !
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 03:05 PM
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We have driven in Europe about 20 times and each time have used Auto Europe. They are extremely dependable and prices are good, if not much better than the others. I've given up on Kemwell....Oh. Auto Europe will better any rate you've already received.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 11:41 AM
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I also usually use auto-europe for my car rentals, they are very competitive.

Are you flying from the US ? If yes, as alternative to Florence, you may consider to fly the Delta non-stop flight New York JFK - Pisa (PSA), Tuscany, and then driving from there.
Fabio is offline  
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