July 13, 2015, 06:01 PM
Sightseeing Tour or Car Rental?
Hi! We are looking at booking a trip to Italy next year and I'm wondering if you have any recommendations for us. We are planning to go to Venice for 2.5 Days, Florence for 4 days, and Rome for 3 days. While we are in Florence we would like to explore around Tuscany. I know we're in the early stages of planning the trip but I'm wondering if the best idea is to do a Sightseeing tour or to rent a car. I have been looking a the recommendations for the 3-day and 5-day trips around Tuscany. I have found a sightseeing day tour that visits Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa. Is it better to do this day trip or to rent a car and visit these places on our own? If we go on our own we were thinking about: 1 Day + 1/2 Day in Florence (and in the evenings since we will be staying in Florence for those 4 days/5 nights), 1/2 Day in Pisa, 1 Day in Chianti/San Gimignano and 1 day in Siena. How is driving in this part of Italy? I've heard that Rome is pretty difficult to drive in... is Tuscany more relaxed? Thank you!
July 13, 2015, 10:53 PM
Suggestions in Tuscany
That sounds like a pretty good time frame - though you will probably find that 2 days even a day & a half will be enough in Venice. I would apply the extra time to Florence / Tuscany. Florence alone could take up 2 - 3 days...there is just so much to see and enjoy. And Tuscany could easily be stretched in to several more days ;-)
Your day trips while in Tuscany look perfect with the time you have allotted. I do suggest you pick up your car in Florence - and leave it in Florence. Rely on the trains to move you the larger distances (Venice & Rome). If you wanted you could even train it over to Pisa (Lucca might make a nice addition) and even Siena is very easily visited with public transport. If you did that then you could budget a nice private tour of Chianti and its many small towns - enjoying a vineyard or two and not worrying about the driving!
July 13, 2015, 11:08 PM
Thank you for the tips! Maybe I'll cut back some time from Venice and then arrive in Florence earlier in the day. Do the trains take much longer than driving ourselves (not including getting lost. Haha)? I just want to maximize our time in each place.
My plan was to fly into Venice, train to Florence then train to Rome, so I wouldn't be driving the entire time, it would just be in Tuscany. I'm not sure how keen I am at driving there at all!
July 14, 2015, 12:43 PM
The trains between the big cities do not take much longer than driving, taking into consideration how convenient it is that they take you right into the heart of the city and close to wherever you might end up staying. No driving or parking worries! So definitely agree with the plan to just train between Venice, Florence and Rome, with car just in Tuscany.
Read our tips here for renting car in Tuscany:
and this one for renting out of Florence:
I agree on spending more time in Florence and Tuscany ;-)