Tuscany Car Rental

Old Dec 15th, 2010, 02:08 PM
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Tuscany Car Rental

We would like to rent a car for part of our 2 week trip. We are going to spend a 2 nights in Florence and 4 nights in Cinque Terre where we don't want a car. Next we want to spend a week touring Tuscany/Umbria by car. We're still trying to decide where to make our base(s). We want central locations where we can do day trips. We ultimately fly home from Rome. My question ... Can you rent a car from somewhere in northern Tuscany (maybe Lucca or Pisa) and then return it to Orvieto where we could take the train to Rome? Is it much more expensive? Are all the usual car rental companies there?
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 03:09 PM
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There's no additional fee for renting a car in one city and leaving in another - only if you pick up in one country and drop it in another. Yes, all the usual ones will be in most towns and all cities.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 03:15 PM
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You have 3 options to rent after the CT on your way to Tuscany:
La Spezia
Lucca
Pisa
Pisa may give you more car choices, and the trains run often.
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Old Dec 16th, 2010, 01:12 PM
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We are leaning towards a base of Pienza after CT. My initial thought was train from CT to Lucca and pick up rental car. Explore Lucca for an hour or two and then drive to Pienza but that's quite a distance. We'll be staying in Pienza for 4-6 nights and do day trips from there. Is that day from CT to Pienza unrealistic?
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Old Dec 16th, 2010, 04:51 PM
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Yes, that is quite feasible. I would plan 3 hours from Lucca via the Siena superstrada. Pienza is great, but do not overlook San Quirico as a great location as well.
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Old Dec 16th, 2010, 05:47 PM
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Thanks, Bob. If I'm reading the map right, San Quirico is just 7 or so miles from Pienza. We like to bicycle and thought that might be a good ride from Pienza one day if we can find a place to rent bicyles. Are you suggesting San Quirico as a base? If so, I'd be interested to know what factors would make you chose one over the other?
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Old Dec 16th, 2010, 06:30 PM
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Yes,I do prefer the village. It is much less toursty and is not on the tour bus route. It is about as cute and authentic as it gets in Tuscany, and like Pienza, it is easy flat walking. It has at least 2 good ristorantes and my favorite hotel in the area---Palazzo del Capitano. Another budget option is this agriturismo just at the edge of town. Both towns are car free.
www.poggiolo.info/
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Old Dec 16th, 2010, 06:54 PM
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Old Dec 16th, 2010, 06:58 PM
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This may be helpful a well:

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 Dec 22nd, 2010, 01:18 PM
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