February 9, 2015, 07:02 PM
Tuscany discovery between Bologna and Rome - advice needed
My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy in May 2015 after attending a wedding in Vienna. I was thinking that we could take the train from Vienna to Venice, and then train to Bologna for a couple days (do a food tour and possibly a cooking class). From there, after reading some posts on this forum, I thought that it would be nice to drive through Tuscany for a couple days on our way to Rome where we would spend a few days before flying home. We are trying to do the Italy portion in about 10 days. My questions are:
1) I'm having trouble locating an automatic transmission car out of Bologna (that allows drop off in Rome) from a reliable rental company. RentalCars and AutoEurope are only giving options to rent from vendors who have horrible reviews and everyone says to stay away from. Are there other resources or other locations that we can easily get to from Bologna to rent a car from a more reliable vendor? After spending the last 45 minutes reading about other people's horrible car rental experiences, I'm wondering if we should rent a car or go via other means... Also, with our schedule, it makes most sense to depart from Bologna on a Sunday - are do car rental companies normally open on Sundays? If it means getting more reliable service, I would be ok postponing until Monday...
2) Where should we go in Tuscany if we have a car? We are not big into art museums, but love eating, learning about how things are done (e.g. factory tours) and history/culture, and hiking. We are not wine aficionados, so wine tasting isn't a priority but if there was a tour that went through the wine making process, we would be interested in that.
3) What are the options to get from Bologna to Rome through Tuscany if we didn't rent a car, and still be able to enjoy some of the countryside (and maximize our interests as listed above)?
Thank you in advance for any advice you may have! This is my husband's first time to Italy, and my second time (though the first time was many years ago and to Rome only).
February 10, 2015, 09:20 AM
Picking up a car
Have you looked into picking up the car in Florence instead of Bologna ? You could train it to Florence Sunday - enjoy the city for one day and then pick up a rental car in Florence for a trip into Tuscany before heading to Rome.
The other option, instead of a drop off in Rome, is to drop it off in Florence and train it to Rome (fast and no hassel)
There are several place that I like in Tuscany - but it sounds like with your affinity for good food you might enjoy staying at http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/...nti-house.html
she has a great location, close to a small town and she holds cooking classes using her own grown produce and olive oil.
February 11, 2015, 07:10 PM
I've personally used the car search found on our site here -
which is through RentalCars.com to rent car myself and always ended up with one of the major rental companies, such as Avis (in the US) and Hertz.
I'd also second the suggestion to train from Bologna to Florence, pick up car here, return it here and then train to Rome. All car rental agencies not at airport locations are closed on Sunday, so knowing that, you'll likely avoid major hassles with the local companies.
Candida's House is very nice, you could also look into Palazzo Malaspina if you want to stay in a medieval village: http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/...malaspina.html
or into Casolare di Libbiano (http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/...-libbiano.html) if you want to do a cooking lesson directly there at the B&B.
If you want to stay in the beautiful, quiet countryside of Tuscany, I'd also recommend this B&B:
February 23, 2015, 07:35 PM
Thank you for the information and suggestions! Having done more research, I've revised the itinerary to: Venice (2 days) - Bologna (1.5 days) - Cinque Terre (2 days) - Florence/Tuscany (2.5-3 days incl time to get to Rome) - Rome 2.5 days).
My dilemma is still with the time in Florence/Tuscany. I am debating between:
Option A: Sunday - Train from La Spezia to Florence (stopping in Pisa if there is time), stay in Florence and arrange to do a cooking class and a vespa tour of "Tuscany" with a wine and olive oil tasting while we are there. Then train to Rome on Weds.
Option B: Sunday - Train from La Spezia to Florence, pick up car before they close at 13:00 from Hertz near SMN, put our luggage in car, drive to a parking lot outside of the ZTL, then get out and explore Florence. Then drive to a B&B/Farm location in Tuscany before it gets dark. We could then spend the next 2 days exploring the area, and do a cooking class perhaps with the host or have it arranged with the host. Then on Wednesay drive to Rome and drop off car there (or drop off at Orvieto).
Option A is the "safe" option as it doesn't involve renting a car, and I think gives us more flexibility in case we need to switch the order of things if the weather in Cinque Terre is not forecasted to be nice when we are there. However, it would be a limited view and experience of Tuscany with only the Vespa tour.
However, for Option B, I haven't quite been able to plan out what we should do with 2 days in Tuscany with a car. I would prefer to stay in one location as a base. I know there are many, many options out there but it's almost too much information to filter through. As noted before, we are not big into art museums, but love eating, learning about how things are done (e.g. factory tours) and history/culture, and hiking. We are not wine aficionados, so wine tasting isn't a priority but if there was a tour that went through the wine making process, we would be interested in that. Olive oil tours also sound like they could be interesting. Any thoughts to a 2-day itinerary for this? Also what area would be a good place to stay to reach these? Should we venture into Umbria on the way to Rome? Please help - I'm getting overwhelmed with all the researching and planning!
Last edited by sunnymonkey; February 23, 2015 at 07:55 PM.