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Venice-Siena-Orvieto-Rome trip itinerary -- any help or thoughts appreciated

Venice-Siena-Orvieto-Rome trip itinerary -- any help or thoughts appreciated

Jan 6th, 2006, 07:38 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2005
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Venice-Siena-Orvieto-Rome trip itinerary -- any help or thoughts appreciated

We will be traveling to Italy in March. I have been to Europe a few times, but this is the first trip with the kids.

Our group consists of my husband (who has a bad back and can not carry heavy luggage -- I have learned this the HARD way, trust me -- our two girls ages 8 and 10 and me (who is moonlighting as a travel agent these days it seems.) As I plan this trip I am now longing for my younger travel days doing the hostel/backpack/NO itinerary route and am now asking myself "What has happened to me since then -- and WHO is this "travel general" that I have become!"

Anyway, what improvements can I make on our itinerary?

Arrive Venice 3/11
Hotel -- Locanda Orseolo for three nights on a quad room (any thoughts on how to easily get from airport to hotel -- luggage issues to keep in mind?)

Depart Venice on 3/14

Pick up rental car from Autoeurope in Venice on morning of 3/14 and drive to Siena (how far away is rental car pick up place from San Marco?)

Arrive Siena 3/14 in afternoon
Hotel: Palazzo Ravizzo (again, I have the luggage question in my head -- where do you park the car in Siena?)

Explore Siena and another town (need ideas of where to go from Siena) on 3/15

Depart Siena on 3/16 and drive to Orvieto (parking near town ideas?)

Drop rental car in Orvieto in afternoon after checking out town

Train to Rome on 3/16 afternoon
Hotel: Albergo del Senato

Return to US on 3/20 from Rome

Help with either hotel suggestions or rental car/driving/drop off suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks.
hesn is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 08:16 AM
  #2  
 
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The easiest way to solve the luggage problem in Venice is to use a water taxi: probably about 80-90 Euro from the airport and 40-50 to Piazzale Rome for rental car pick-up. Otherwise, it's ATVO express bus to Piazzale Roma and vaporetto from there to Locanda Orseolo; vaporetto to Piazzale Roma when leaving. I think Locanda Orseolo is relatively close to Valaresso vaporetto stop, but it would still be a bit of a walk with the luggage. Years ago, there used to be porters at the main vaporetto stops; I don't know whether there still are. You could ask the hotel; also, you might be better off to book water taxis, if you use them, through the hotel.

Palazzo Ravizza in Siena has its own free parking lot just outside the walls. You only need to drive into Siena to deposit your luggage and then to pick it up.

You can do a day trip to Montalcino, the Abbey of Sant'Antimo near Montalcino, and Montepulciano.

Drop the car in Orvieto before you explore the town. You don't need the car in Orvieto.
Eloise is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 08:22 AM
  #3  
 
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You have planned a very nice trip.
To answer some of your questions and offer some suggestions:

* From Marco Polo airport in Venice, the quickest way and, IMHO the best way, is to take a water taxi to your hotel. The driver will lift your luggage onto and off of the boat so you and your husband do not have to life anything. They will also bring you to the closest canal to your hotel. Of course, this is the most expensive way into Venice, but it is quick, easy and a wonderful way to enter the city.

* Depending on the time of day you arrive, you will really have just two full days in Venice...my preference would be three days.

* There is an AutoEurope location at Marco Polo airport which we used and it was effortless. Check with your hotel because there may be a location that is more convenient for you.

* Siena is a great city. We also stayed at the Palazzo Ravizza and liked it very much. Best of all, they have their own parking lot behind the hotel...so no need to worry about parking.

* From Siena, you are very close to so many wonderful towns in Tuscany, but do spend some time exploring Siena. San Gimignano is a great day trip. We also adored the drive through the Crete from Siena on S438 down to Montalcino or the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore or Montalcino, Abbazia di Sant’Antimo, Greve...depending on your interests of course.

* Orvieto is a lovely town. However, I would probably drop the car off in Rose, just to avoid unpacking the car and dragging the luggage onto the train and off the train. From the car drop-off point in Rome, you could then taxi to your hotel, thus avoiding all that heavy lifting.

You will have a great time.

Carol

Lorac1127 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 08:22 AM
  #4  
 
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I think your itinerary is fine. Palazzo Ravizza in Siena has its own parking, although it's not right there at the hotel. They will give you directions after you drop off your luggage to check in. Apparently it's not the easiest thing to find. I wasn't driving, but I heard 2 or 3 different people talking about how they had trouble finding it.

In Venice, the easiest but most expensive way to get to your hotel is via water taxi. However, if you don't want to spend that much and have rolling suitcases, it really is quite easy to take the ACTV (orange) bus right outside the airport door to Piazzale Roma and then take a vaporetto to the stop closest to your hotel. I was a bit concerned about getting my luggage onto the vaporetto, but it couldn't have been easier, as the landing platform is at the same level as the floor of the boat, so you just roll it on. The only time there would be one small lift of the luggage is getting it on the bus (just one step up). Also, the ACTV bus is included in the 3-day vaporetto pass if you plan to get that.

(Note that there is another bus from the airport to Piazzale Roma, a blue ATVO bus, that is not covered by the pass.)
SusanP is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 08:24 AM
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Guess we were all posting at the same time!
SusanP is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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<< Locanda Orseolo . . . any thoughts on how to easily get from airport to hotel -- luggage issues to keep in mind? >>

We stayed at the Locanda Orseola in November, and took the vaporetto to the hotel. Doing so requires a combination of taking a bus, then the vaporetto, and some walking (including climbing steps over some footbridges). It's very easy to do -- but we had only one small carry-on each.

Since there are four of you and luggage is a concern, I would recommend taking a water taxi.

The Locanda Orseolo is on a small canal. As I recall, some hotel guests were able to take a water taxi right to the hotel.

Woody
Woody is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 08:47 AM
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Why are you renting a car to get from Point A (Venice) to Point B (Siena) when you could rent the car in Siena once you arrive...unless you are doing so as a matter of convenience/economy?

I ask this because you are apparently not planning on stopping along the way to see in-between towns, etc.

Just curious, that's all.

And how "heavy" is "heavy" anyway?????
Intrepid1 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 08:58 AM
  #8  
ira
 
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Hi H,

Are you sure you need a car?

You are picking it up in Venice on 3/14 and dropping it off in Orvieto on 3/16.

You can train from Venice to Florence, walk 2 blocks to the SITA bus station and take the bus to Siena (plenty of lugggage storage on the bus) and get off in town.

You can take the bus from Siena to other towns in the area and then a bus to Rome.

You can visit Orvieto (highly recommended) from Rome.

See http://www.sangimignano.net/bus/
http://www.senabus.it/
www.trenitalia.com

>...my husband...has a bad back and can not carry heavy luggage <

Don't take heavy luggage.
But seriously, you can have laundry done for you for less than the cost of renting a car.

There are family rates on Trenitalia - 2 adult and a child, and also children's rates. Buses also have reduced fares for kids.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 09:13 AM
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You can most definitely take a water taxi directly to Locanda Orseolo. Call to let them know you're on your way and they'll greet you at the water door. With jet lag and kids in tow, that's definitely what I would do (and did!). It will be about 80 euros. It's not a super long walk to the vaporetto stop, but if you aren't familiar with where you're going, it's a bit tricky to find. Once you have your bearings, you can always take the vaporetto to Piazzale Roma if you want to save $.

In Orvieto, there's a parking lot very close to the city center. (To get to it, go beyond the first parking lot that's across from the funicular.) With luggage, I agree with your plan to return the car at the end of Orvieto visit. It's easy to drive from Orvieto to Rome, although by training, you get right into city center without the hassle of navigating the car return there.

Sounds like a GREAT trip.
Carmen is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 09:17 AM
  #10  
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Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful posts -- especially Eloise -- who suggested the hotel in Siena on an earlier post.

Our reason for renting the car is to get from Venice to Siena directly and quickly in hopes of having even an extra hour there in Siena -- vs. waiting for train or bus connections --and to cut down on potential kid complaining. My experience in the US is that the kids get a bit restless in times like that. Also, although my husband can not lift much, he is a good driver and this could be his MOMENT in Italy.
hesn is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 09:20 AM
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Hi H,

Your itinerary sounds just great for the time you have. My additional comments are,

Make sure the rental office is open on the day you want to return you car. Orvieto is closed Sundays and part of Mondays. Also remember they are closed during the "lunch" hours.

PACK LIGHT, PACK LIGHT, PACK LIGHT! One 21" rollaboard for each person - NO more! If you take more, it won't fit in your rental car anyway, to say nothing of having to lug it everywhere.

If you plan one day for seeing Siena, you won't have time for more than one other town that same day.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 09:26 AM
  #12  
ira
 
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Hi he,

>My experience in the US is that the kids get a bit restless in times like that.<

You will be in Italy. Give them a gelato.

ira is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 09:43 AM
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I doubt very much you'll save any time in driving to Siena. In fact, I would bet a few euros the train will get you there faster.

What sort of "times like that" do kids get restless in? Mine were always more restless in a car than on a train. Not sure what you mean by that.

And what sort of "luggage issues" exactly are you anticipating? None of you should need anything more than a 22" rollaboard for such a short trip.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 10:02 AM
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hesn, besides backing light and taking small luggage because of your husbands back the comment about getting luggage for four people in a rental car is something to consider as my experiences with rental cars in Italy is that there is not a lot of storage space. And with two children you will probably not be able to store much if anything in the back seat.

I would consider the price of the private watertaxi money well spent.

Have a fun and healthy time in Italy!
LoveItaly is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 10:14 AM
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Dear St. Cirq,

I am planning on taking the roller bags.

From other travels with the kids in the Virgin Islands and going between islands and also doing family trip to Nantucket once without the car (once was enough) with cobblestone streets I can already predict who will be rolling and carrying it all after about 3 minutes... Any tips for rolling three or four rollerbags at once?

Trenitalia quotes 4 hours and 44 minutes to get from Venice to Siena and Mappy quotes 3 1/2 hours to drive.

Which did you do when you went to Italy with the kids? Train or car?
hesn is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 11:32 AM
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I'll repeat the mantra too: Pack light! Pack light! Pack light!

When I travel alone, I always travel by train and, if necessary, bus. But I was traveling with someone in Tuscany and we had a car. The Palazzo Ravizza (and its parking lot!) are NOT that hard to find.

The car in your case seems called for: Venice to Siena involves at least one change of train (which means dragging luggage on to two trains) and then a ride (by taxi or bus) from the train station to the town itself.

You can definitely do more than one Tuscan hill town on a day trip from Siena. These places are within a few miles of each other. The roads are two-lane roads, but there is relatively little traffic on them.

If you keep the car for Orvieto, you might as well keep it all the way to Rome.

If you still want to take the train to Rome, there is, according to Trenitalia, a left-luggage service at the train station. If so, this is new; if not, I've seen posts about a hotel near the station that will keep your luggage for a small fee. There is a funicular from the train station up to the town.
Eloise is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 12:03 PM
  #17  
dcd
 
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As I suspect you know, the Italian cars available for rent tend to be quite a bit smaller than what we can get here in the States, making luggage storage a potential problem. Also, the car you think you rented may not be available when you go to pick it up, based on some stories we heard while travelling last March. In fact, one horror story was that there were NO cars available as promised and the couple had a long wait, which caused all sorts of other problems. I think the train might be your best bet.

Dave
dcd is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 12:19 PM
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Hi, hesn: We've done both cars and trains all over Italy and other countries. It's not that I have a general preference for one or the other, but rather that in your particular circumstance I do think taking the train would be easier and quite possibly faster. It will take time to get to the rental agency with two kids and luggage in tow, time to pick up the rental car (fill out the forms, inspect the car, figure out how to put it in reverse, etc.), time to get out of Venice and get your bearings, and then time in Siena to locate your hotel (it's not exactly the easiest place to navigate). Whereas, you can hop on a train right in Venice. Just my two cents, that's all.

When my kids were the ages of yours they each had a very small (maybe 16"or 18") rollaboard plus a backpack for snacks and disposable cameras and books and stuff, and they were responsible for carrying it all, getting it on trains, etc. I don't recall any major issues with that. At those ages they're old enough to do that.


And as others have mentioned, you'll definitely need to keep the luggage small in order to fit it into a car rental.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Hi, hesn

Without question, I would keep the car and drive to Siena. The roads are great, the scenery lovely, and you are free to stop as you wish.
I've had a car at least 5-6 times in Italy and love the freedom to "get lost" and see small towns or villages that aren't on the map.
When I dropped my car in Venice, the rental agency was across the street from the main waterbus stop.
As far as dropping a car, in Italy, all the insurances are required anyway, as a result, many of the car rental agencies allow you to drop the keys in a box at the rental site. I've done this several times, including FCO.
Have a wonderful trip! It does sound great!
designergigi is offline  

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