August 21, 2013, 09:36 PM
Renting a car in Florence to drive to Chianti. Please help with rental location!
Hi again, Lourdes and fellow forum members:-)
Let me start by saying that this site has been invaluable in helping me plan for my trip! I am going to Tuscany, Rome and Venice next month, 15 September-2 October. I'm getting really excited! It's been a lot of work but thanks to this site, the information has been easy to access:-)
However, there is one thing that I am having a hard time figuring out: renting a car in Florence to drive to Chianti and the other countryside towns. There is sooo much information out there and it can be really confusing when you factor in the ZTL. I definitely do not want a $150 violation! So, here is my question:
Where is the best place to rent a car in Florence to drive out of the city? We are staying at Hotel Ambasciatori in Florence which is supposed to be close to the train station. I had planned on renting from the train station but after reading all the info on the ZTL, would it be better to get a taxi and rent from the airport? Also, what is the best website for renting cars in Florence?
Also, I have a place booked in Chianti (Bosco ai Marzi) but I just found a fantastic deal on a place in Pisa (Bagni di Pisa Palace Palace & Spa) and I'm wondering if I should book there instead? We will be traveling to San Gimignano, Volterra, Siena, Chianti, Montepulciano, to name a few places. Is Pisa too far of a drive from these other towns? Should I just stay with my original reservation?
Ok, one more question? I read somewhere on here (but now I can't find it) that the Dept of Tourism or some official place is offering a discount on wine tours and also organizing them. Anyone have any information on that? Anyone have a favorite wine tours/tasting places they would like to share?
Thanks sooooo much again for all your help:-)
August 23, 2013, 11:32 AM
Glad to see you back here and see the plans have taken shape
As far as the car rental places in Florence that are close to the train station and within the ZTL - they are cars WITH access (permits) to get into the ZTL so feel completely comfortable in renting from them and then driving out of the center and back in to return them No need to head out to the airport, you are just a few block away - the Hotel Ambasciatori is right in front of the train station to one side, you are very central.
All of the car rental places are about 2 blocks away in the Borgo Ognissanti area - take a look at this article since there is a map on there that marks the area where the car rentals are nearby:
Use the seach box on this page - it is a search box for ALL of the car rental agencies, so it let's you search across the various many companies such as Hertz, Avis, etc.
Once you're at the car rental place, just ask them directly to show you on a map the streets to take to drive out of the center as well as to return to them. It is in their interest that you get back to them following the best routes!
As far as your itinerary, I'd definitely suggest sticking with the place in Chianti you already have as it is very central to all of your planned destinations.... that hotel north of Pisa is beautiful but definitely far enough away to make day trips to Siena and Montepulciano long drives.
If you're looking for something similar to the one near Pisa as far as experience - more of a resort and spa experience - you can definitely look into one of the following which are all in Chianti:
Castello del Nero
Hotel Villa Campomaggio
That way you can a similar place but in Chianti.
As far as the wine tours organized by the city of Florence - those were a few years ago and was a temporary initiative, they are no longer offered unfortunately. But some tours can actually be quite affordable - just take a look at those offered here.
Also, your accommodation will also likely know and be able to recommend nearby wineries that are open for tour and tastings that you can visit on your own and not on a tour. Tastings are generally pretty affordable but it really depends on the tour they offer - from 5 euros to 25 depending on what is included.
Your trip is almost here! Can bet you're excited, lots of months in the planning Let me know if you need more help in finding info, I know it can be overwhelming given the amount out here on the internet. You will both have a great time in Tuscany and Italy!!