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Rent a car to drive to Perugia/Asissi OR take a train??

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Illinois
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Rent a car to drive to Perugia/Asissi OR take a train??

My husband and I plan to fly into Florence; stay two nights and then pick up a rental car at the airport and drive to Asissi. My question: Would it be more practical to take a train from Florence to Perugia and THEN rent a car to drive to Asissi? I am not knowlegable AT ALL about the train from Florence to Perugia. Would it be difficult to travel on that train with each of us toting a carry-on and one larger piece of luggage? Where is the train station in Florence? PLEASE HELP!!!

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Rent a car to drive to Perugia/Asissi OR take a train??

The main train station in Florence is central, just at the edge of the historic centre. The amount of luggage you have would be manageable on a train.

However, from Florence to Assisi by road is only 175 km (110 miles), and the drive would take only 2 hours. I can't see the point of spending 2.5 hours on a train to get to Perugia, and then driving from Perugia to Assisi.

By the way, it is fine to pick up a rental car in central Florence and drive straight out. The rental agent will tell you what route to take to avoid the restricted areas. Problems arise when tourists try to drive into Florence.

Olympia, Washington
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2. Re: Rent a car to drive to Perugia/Asissi OR take a train??

If you wish a more scenic drive you can take Rt 222 south out of Florence through the heart of the Chianti region driving through Greve, Castelina and pick up the Siena/Perugia freeway just west of Siena. You could stop for a couple hours in Siena if you wished, and then about 90 minutes to Perugia (and Assisi is another half hour past Perugia). More scenic than taking the Autostrada, but an hour or two longer drive. Or you could take the auto strada, have lunch in Cortona and then pick up the freeway to Perugia again just south of Cortona. We drove Rt 222 in September and it was well worth it.

Edited: 07 December 2011, 07:32
Montepulciano, Italy
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3. Re: Rent a car to drive to Perugia/Asissi OR take a train??

Hire a car, it's far easier especially with luggage. It's a lovely drive even taking the direct route via the A1.

Bedfordshire...
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4. Re: Rent a car to drive to Perugia/Asissi OR take a train??

Having read all the horror stories about the ZTL and people being caught out even though they 'knew' what they were doing, (paranoid, moi?) I still think it might be worth getting a taxi to Florence Airport (20€) and picking up your rental car there.

Edited: 07 December 2011, 18:04
Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Rent a car to drive to Perugia/Asissi OR take a train??

Driving out of Florence from a rental office is just a question of following the road out of the city.

Driving in to return a car or to get to a hotel, the one-way system is confusing and many people take a wrong turn.

Illinois
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6. Re: Rent a car to drive to Perugia/Asissi OR take a train??

Sydneynick: When you say driving from "central" Florence do you mean picking up the car at the Florence airport and driving south to Asissi? Just not sure what you meant when you say "central".

My husband is nervous as all get-out to drive at all so I'll be the one to get behind the wheel. I'm assuming if I take the southern route (autostrasa) that goes around Florence down to Asissi, it would be rather uneventful...no huge traffic problems, etc..., right? THANKS!!

Illinois
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7. Re: Rent a car to drive to Perugia/Asissi OR take a train??

Also, we are planning on returning the rental car to the Perugia office and taking a "fast" train to Rome for our next leg of our vacation.

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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8. Re: Rent a car to drive to Perugia/Asissi OR take a train??

By central Florence he means the city centre rather than the airport. It is true that if you get instructions from the rental company on how to leave the city, then you should have no problems with the ZTL, it is just if you accidentally take a wrong turn (or drive in a bus lane) that the potential for getting fined comes up. For that reason, I always taxi or bus to airport and pick up a car there, thus eliminating that possibility.

Of course central Perugia also has a ZTL so make sure your drop off point is outside that too.

Olympia, Washington
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9. Re: Rent a car to drive to Perugia/Asissi OR take a train??

In September we picked up our rental car from the Hertz office by the train station and the most difficult thing was getting out of the Hertz garage (they really park them in there tightly.) Once on the road OUT of Florence it is not a problem to find either the Autostrada or Rt 222 to Greve and the Chianti. I do suggest you read the blog on TA about driving in Italy if you have not already and you might want to practice up on a manual transmission if you have not driven one for awhile, but it soon comes back.

Montepulciano, Italy
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10. Re: Rent a car to drive to Perugia/Asissi OR take a train??

To answer post 6 "no huge traffic problems", etc, like any other Inter State / Motorway in the world, it's simply impossible to predict what the traffic conditions will be like on the day you make the journey. It depends hugely upon the day of the week / time / weather conditions, etc. Generally speaking, due to the volume of traffic on the A1 autostrada around Florence (for if you look on a map you'll see it acts as a type of ring road to the west of the city), it's slow going from Pistoia to Firenze Sud and sometimes even a bit further (as far as Incisa) as the road climbs steeply into the Chianti hills and heavy vehicles, trucks, etc have to slow. Like any other road, if you hit an accident or road works, you could be delayed for 30 mins. Hit unexpected snow, and you could be there all night. Generally speaking, once you're beyond Incisa the road is usually pretty good (I drive this stretch sometimes twice a month). You'll be turning off the A1 at Val di Chiana, a huge exit that is sometimes congested, to join the Siena / Perugia road. This stretch is usually clear though it's a rotten road in need of resurfacing. The traffic is always slow around Perugia as it's invariably heavy and you'll also need yours wits about you finding your way into the city and the best car park. To be honest, if it were me, I'd give it a miss for although there are some lovely buildings up in the old town and an excellent art gallery, I find the urban sprawl and general unpleasant feel to Perugia today most off-putting. Personally, I'd continue on to Assisi.