4 Days with and without car

Shaney

New member
Thank you for all the useful information! Being my first time to Europe, it can all be a bit overwhelming. I was planning on picking up a car at the Florence Airport; but after reading your ZTL post, I'm having second thoughts. We will be starting in Paris and ending in Rome, so we definitely look at the Tuscany portion as our more "relaxing" part of the journey. We are also from California Bay Area but are currently living in Bermuda so miss my wine country!

My current thoughts ... looking for validation (or not) and specific recommendations ... we are flying in from Paris, likely to Florence. Spend one night (?) in Florence and explore 1.5 days, then rent a car and head for countryside and/or other small towns, etc., for a couple more nights. Arriving Florence was sometime on Friday and driving to Rome (and drop car, yes I know extra fee) on Monday evening.

I saw your 3-day tour and 5-day tour and am just not sure how to modify. Mostly concerned about the best places to go and be able to drive and park once we get car and head out of Florence. Also re accommodations as there will be four adults (my husband and 21/23 year old daughters so can share a room but ??)

Thanks,Sharon
 

DonnaDenise

Well-known member
Car in Florence

Buongiorno,

I would pick up the car the day you start to head towards Tuscany. When you first arrive, you can catch a bus or a tram to the city center and your hotel - and, yes, definitely plan for a day and a half in Florence, there is just so much to see!!

I would then pick up the car - it is easier than most people think to get OUT of the city from a car rental agency than to drive in for returns :cool:

Head south: I would consider taking in Arezzo, Cortona, Montepulciano and Orvieto before ending up in Rome.

This route will minimize your driving time, and maximize the time you spend appreciating the towns and landscape of Tuscany

Be sure to book your museum visits first, so as not to lose precious time waiting in line.

Buon Viaggio,

Donna Denise
 

Shaney

New member
Suggested itinerary / Overnights in Tuscany

Hi again, Donna! Thank you so much for your input. I am getting really excited but still don't have a good handle on timing, route, etc. Of course, it depends on our interests, etc., but we have such a short time (can tell already will want to return to Tuscany!), I'm not sure, for example, how much to cover in a day and best towns for overnight stays.

Specifically, we will depart Florence in the afternoon (or mid)on Sunday and want to arrive in Rome by dinner Tuesday. With that in mind (knowing there is just too much to see), would you suggest Sunday night in, for example Arezzo, then Monday night somewhere else? Or is there a good area town where we should stay both nights?

I think once we head into Tuscany region, we will be less interested in museum-type visits but more interested in enjoying exploring small towns and wineries ... in other words, just enjoy the environment. Again, I just don't have a good sense for how much we can get done driving and visiting in a day. Thinking arriving Rome later than dinner Tuesday will probably be better idea?

Thanks you!
 

DonnaDenise

Well-known member
Arezzo & Pienza Area

Buongiorno -

I definitely would suggest a night in Arezzo. It is a great small (enough) town to really enjoy a diverse evening life, ranging from wine shop to excellent and authentic Italian cuisine.

I suggest you read through this itinerary for some ideas on driving to Arezzo and enjoying the landscape:
https://www.discovertuscany.com/itineraries-in-tuscany/setteponti-in-valdarno.html

You might also want to read about the wine in the area:
https://www.discovertuscany.com/arezzo/arezzo-wine-tasting.html

From Arezzo, you could travel down towards Cortona (about a 30-minute drive and half-day visit) and then visit Montepulciano (about a 30-minute drive from Cortona and half-day visit) or Pienza (15 -20 minutes from Montepulciano - spend the night?).

If you stop at Montepulciano then I suggest you keep to the Autostrada for your drive the next day and go to Rome with a stop at Orvieto.

Instead, if you go on towards Pienza, you could consider taking the via Cassia towards Orvieto and enjoy a more leisurely drive before picking up the autostrada in Orvieto towards Rome.

The only thing I would definitely try to avoid is bringing the car into the city center (or even the outskirts of the city) - even the Romans don't like to drive in the city. Find a drop-off point, and outside and then use a taxi or public transport to get to your hotel.

Buon Viaggio,

Dona Denise
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Shaney,

Glad to hear the articles on the site have been helpful! I fully agree on skipping the car in Florence, you don't need it and would just pay needlessly for a rental and parking...without adding in the extra worry of the ZTL area.

Whereabouts from the Bay Area? I'm also from CA, from near Santa Cruz and went to Stanford so spent lots of time in the city too ;)

Tuscany is perfect for wine, no doubt about that! Since you only have 2 nights out in Tuscany, I'd suggest finding one spot and sleeping there the two nights so that you don't waste time on the 1st full day checking out and driving to your next place.

I'd suggest staying in or around Siena. Was Siena in your plans? You can rent the car out of Florence, take a leisurely drive down through Chianti wine region as you drive down (take the Via Chiantigiana road), with stops in Greve or Panzano and Castellina, then arrive in Siena by the evening to check in and sleep.
Spend the next day in Siena, you really should spend some time there exploring the city. The Palazzo Pubblico (+ climb up the tower) and Duomo alone merit the time there. The next morning you can drive down into the Val d'Orcia to San Quirico and to Pienza, heading toward Montepulciano and then head south towards Rome.

I definitely recommend planning on coming back, this will be just a taste of what Tuscany (and Italy) offers!

Just remember, that while things look close on a map, there is lots of concentrated history and culture in each place and you will appreciate taking it slower than you think, giving yourself some extra time at each place, so that you're not in a hurry and get the chance to soak in what you see. Enjoy the sights, food and wine!
 
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