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to drive or not to drive????

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Tampa, Florida
6 posts
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to drive or not to drive????

We will be vacationing in Italy this May and have heard all the horror stories regarding driving around the Country! We will be arriving in Rome (staying for 5 days), heading to Naples for 4 days, Florence for a few days and then Heading to Venice which is where we will be departing from. I got a good deal on a Rental but now am rethinking this deal! I know the trains are a good alternative but really dont cherish carrying all our luggage around from station to station. Any imput or ideas???????

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
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83,132 posts
13 reviews
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1. Re: to drive or not to drive????

A car will be nothing but an expensive nuisance in Naples and Florence. Traffic in Naples is chaotic, and we have many posts from people who have accidentally driven into a prohibited area in Florence and have been hit with multiple E100 fines.

To travel by train, it is essential that you do not have more luggage than you can *comfortably* handle by yourselves.You should be able to manage with each of you having one bag of around 20 kg (44 lbs) and a carry-on.

Norwich, United...
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17,792 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: to drive or not to drive????

Unless you'd use it for more than just those relocations, there'd be very little to gain from having a car.

Down here for example, Naples recently doubled the size of their ZTL, making it - apparently - the country's largest now... and a real pain for drivers, resident or not!

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g187785-i421-k51…

A situation that's hardly helped by secondary rules like these - which apply at different times on different days of the week...

…napoli.it/flex/…12063

Although the days when there were porters everywhere are long past, if in need of some assistance with your baggage, Trenitalia offer a service that might work for some of your journeys...

www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp…

... otherwise perhaps arrange for a limo and driver to be waiting at the station to assist you?

Exercising some restraint when packing wouldn't go amiss - as I'd have told these ladies, if only they'd asked before leaving home....

www.pbase.com/isolaverde/image/126274003

Peter

Bay Village, Ohio
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886 posts
24 reviews
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3. Re: to drive or not to drive????

We use a car almost every time we travel to Italy and really enjoy the flexibility it gives us in traveling from place to place. Just research ahead and you should have no problems with ZTLs. We usually fly into Rome, then begin our travels from there. The one time we drove back to Rome for a week before flying home, we made sure we arrived on a Sunday where we could unload our luggage at our apartment without worrying about the ZTL and then we immediately returned the car. In Florence, we stayed in an apartment by Santa Croce with a small parking lot in the back for 8 cars - gated and only for the apartments where we were staying. In Venice, we left the car in a parking garage for the 3 days we were there. We stayed once in Positano for 5 days and parked our car right in front of our apartment. Our last trip which was this past October, we spent 10 days in Tuscany and the car was essential. Two years ago, we flew into Rome and spent the entire week there. Of course, then we did not rent a car but took the train up to Florence for a day. We are very comfortable driving in Italy and actually enjoy it. Of course, it is not for everyone.

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
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37,414 posts
28 reviews
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4. Re: to drive or not to drive????

I live in Italy and am certainly not afraid of driving here. I drive all over the place, from autostrada to mountain roads. Not one of the places you're going is car-friendly, so the train is your best option. If my husband and I go to any of those cities, we travel by train, and we use public transportation at our destination. Of course, if we want to spend time in the countryside, we drive. You have a pretty full itinerary with four cities, and you won't really have time for any rural exploring.

The key, as Peter has hinted, is to pack light. The hallmark of a novice traveler is excessive luggage. It sounds as though your entire trip will be two weeks or less; I can easily travel for two weeks with just a carryon bag. And I don't wash clothing in the sink, either. You don't need any elegant or dressy outfits; you don't need a different outfit for every day. What you both need is basic mix-and-match separates that can be worn more than once. You need several pairs of comfortable walking shoes or sandals; leave the dress shoes at home.

Tampa, Florida
6 posts
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5. Re: to drive or not to drive????

thanks for all the feedback! I'm starting to think the high speed rail is the better way to go! Does anyone know what the best way to sightsee once we get to our destination?

Saint Marys, Ohio
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8,150 posts
30 reviews
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6. Re: to drive or not to drive????

All the cities you mention are either very walkable or have buses, metros, taxis, etc., to get around. Venice is small and very walkable as is the Centro Storico of Florence.

Chicago, Illinois
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23,510 posts
76 reviews
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7. Re: to drive or not to drive????

we drive in Italy all the time -- had a car for two weeks there this fall -- BUT the trip you are describing is not one that would be enhanced by having a car -- you would have an expensive car in an expensive parking lot most of the time.

A car is perfect for touring the countryside; it is an impediment in the city. You are going from one city to another each of which has good transport e.g. Rome or is small and walkable e.g. Florence or Venice. Venice of course also has no streets and Florence is off limits to tourists in rental cars.

Driving in Italy is NOT a nightmare; it is mostly quite easy. But cities are mostly off limits to driving tourists and so having a car there is expensive and annoying.

Tampa, Florida
6 posts
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8. Re: to drive or not to drive????

Peter,

thanks for your advice. We will be starting out in Rome, heading to the Sorrento Coast, then to Florence for a few days and then heading to our final destination to Venice. I assume what you are saying is that we take the rail the whole time we are there? Is there a certain web site that I can go to find out which trains to take. (sounds really confusing for someone who never rides the rail or bus!)

tony

Saint Marys, Ohio
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8,150 posts
30 reviews
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9. Re: to drive or not to drive????

Go to www.trenitalia.com and then click on ENGLISH at the top. You can enter your origin, destination, and date and time of travel. It will show you schedules and prices.

However, don't put a date in that is more than 60 days out or you wil get no or limited results. Put a date in that's about 30 days ahead of the date your're putting in the information to get a good idea of the schedules and routes. Taking the train is very easy and comfortable, and you stop right in the center of the cities.

Saint Marys, Ohio
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8,150 posts
30 reviews
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10. Re: to drive or not to drive????

You might want to refer to these sites:

http://www.seat61.com/Italy-trains.htm

roninrome.com/transportation/buying-a-train-…