Driving in Tuscany

Jev

New member
Hi,
We are coming for a vacation to Tuscany in September. We are renting a car and want to drive all around the countryside. Just wanted to ask if any type of car was suitable to driving in the Tuscan countryside? We are thinking of renting a mini car, like a Fiat 500 Mini, or Economy Peugeot 107. Will a mini car be okay to drive around the Tuscany countryside roads?
 

Micaela

Member
Ciao Jev,

yes, the cars you mentioned are very ideal to drive in tuscan countryside because they are small and cheap. When you will be in Tuscany, you'll see that these cars are much used by the people.

However, if a day you want to do a particular experience or a romantic trip, you can also consider that many accommodations in Tuscany offer to rent luxury cars or vintage cars.

One of these accommodations is Casale Poggio alle Fonti at Terranuova Bracciolini between Arezzo, Florence and Siena, but also the hotels of the Ross Hotels Group in province of Siena offer this option.
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Jev,

For most of the driving you'll be doing on countryside roads, those smaller cars are perfectly fine. Actually will feel like the right size, considering how some roads can be quite narrow!

And, of course, if you want to try the experience of a tour in a vintage car, there are those too, from either Florence or Siena: http://www.partner.viator.com/en/8357/search/tuscany vintage

Enjoy your time in Tuscany :)
 

flushhushed

New member
Hi,
We are coming for a vacation to Tuscany in September. We are renting a car and want to drive all around the countryside. Just wanted to ask if any type of car was suitable to driving in the Tuscan countryside? We are thinking of renting a mini car, like a Fiat 500 Mini, or Economy Peugeot 107. Will a mini car be okay to drive around the Tuscany countryside roads?


Driving is stressful, especially when you're on holidays and would like to just relax and enjoy the locations. I suggest you take public transpo.
 

Jay

New member
Driving from Siena to the Tuscany Hot Springs

Driving is stressful, especially when you're on holidays and would like to just relax and enjoy the locations. I suggest you take public transpo.

Hello, my wife and I will be taking a bus from Florence to Siena the morning of Nov. 6. Our plan is to rent a car from Siena the moment we arrive and then drive to one of the hot springs - Petriolo or Saturnia or San Filippo - most likely Saturnia, given that it is apparently the best of the three. We we will drive back the same day to Siena and enjoy that evening and the next morning there before we catch a bus to Rome.

Would you recommend driving from Siena to the hot springs? Or is it possible to take the bus from either Florence or Siena straight to the hot springs and back? If so, will the bus be a convenient option schedule wise? How about the distance from the bus stop to the hot springs?


This is our first time in Italy and we're really looking forward to it!

Thank you for any help you can offer. Love the website. :)
 
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Jay,

Just got back and might be able to offer some thoughts.

The folks trapped in the busses missed out on some of the best countryside drives on the planet.
Tuscany is about the landscape and getting swallowed up in it, between stops.

Bus trips stay on bus friendly roads, and they dictate how long and where you stop.

At one point on our trip, the wife had me stopping a dozen times within an hour, just to get out and look, take a few pics, and breathe.
I dunno how many times we simply drove "That way" just to see what could be found, and were rewarded with breath taking countryside.

The best roads are steep, winding, narrow, and feature sheer cliffs with no guard rails to obstruct the views. They force you to slow down, and soak in the place. Italians are sneaky that way.;)

Take the car, take your time, and plan on getting lost and enjoying it.
Folks that take the bus, or stay on the main roads, miss the point.

Have an awesome trip!!!
 

Jay

New member
Jay,

Just got back and might be able to offer some thoughts.

The folks trapped in the busses missed out on some of the best countryside drives on the planet.
Tuscany is about the landscape and getting swallowed up in it, between stops.

Bus trips stay on bus friendly roads, and they dictate how long and where you stop.

At one point on our trip, the wife had me stopping a dozen times within an hour, just to get out and look, take a few pics, and breathe.
I dunno how many times we simply drove "That way" just to see what could be found, and were rewarded with breath taking countryside.

The best roads are steep, winding, narrow, and feature sheer cliffs with no guard rails to obstruct the views. They force you to slow down, and soak in the place. Italians are sneaky that way.;)

Take the car, take your time, and plan on getting lost and enjoying it.
Folks that take the bus, or stay on the main roads, miss the point.

Have an awesome trip!!!

Thanks a ton for your response Dingeryote! We'll be driving :) Hopefully though, driving a manual car on steep and winding roads is lesser of a challenge than I am anticipating.
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Jay - I actually recommend the Bagni San Filippo, stopping at Bagno Vignoni as well (both have free springs). In Bagno Vignoni you have to head down the cliff to get to the waterfall/river.
It is closer, both are still pretty impressive and you'll be driving through BEAUTIFUL countryside. A day might not be enough!!

Maybe I'd suggest doing Siena first, then heading down toward Val d'Orcia and then keep on going to Rome!

Saturnia is definitely too long of a drive to do for a one day outing, returning to Siena... I'd only recommend it if you kept heading south, as it is practically on the border with Lazio. The difference between Bagni San Filippo and Saturnia is 1 hour vs 2 hour drive just one way from Siena.
 

Jay

New member
Jay - I actually recommend the Bagni San Filippo, stopping at Bagno Vignoni as well (both have free springs). In Bagno Vignoni you have to head down the cliff to get to the waterfall/river.
It is closer, both are still pretty impressive and you'll be driving through BEAUTIFUL countryside. A day might not be enough!!

Maybe I'd suggest doing Siena first, then heading down toward Val d'Orcia and then keep on going to Rome!

Saturnia is definitely too long of a drive to do for a one day outing, returning to Siena... I'd only recommend it if you kept heading south, as it is practically on the border with Lazio. The difference between Bagni San Filippo and Saturnia is 1 hour vs 2 hour drive just one way from Siena.


Thank you, Lourdes, for your expert opinion! I am considering the option of driving to Saturnia or the Vignoni/San Filippo combo and then driving south to Rome from there. My only concern is that I'm not comfortable driving in Rome. Could you please recommend a town/city just outside of Rome, where I can return the rented car and then catch a bus/train to the historic city?

Finally, now that I'm planning to drive south to somewhere near ROme, would you still recommend the Vignoni/San Filippo springs combo OR the Cascate del Mulino in Saturnia?

Can't wait :D
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
You're welcome! I know a lot of people recommend using Chiusi as a good place to rent/return cars to when combining train/rental as a solution to NOT driving in or out of Rome. Other options would be Viterbo or Orvieto, although I don't know how many car rental agencies have offices there. But definitely places to look into!

I would still recommend Bagno Vignoni/San Filippo over Saturnia in this particular case as I just realized you're coming next week! There were floods all over Maremma just 2 weeks ago and all of Saturnia was flooded, everything covered in mud, particularly the "paid" thermal area and hotel. While I am thinking the outdoor waterfall is not affected overall by the flooding, I am pretty sure the area all around is still not at its best. And thus the drive down the Val d'Orcia will also be more pleasurable overall.
 

Jay

New member
You're welcome! I know a lot of people recommend using Chiusi as a good place to rent/return cars to when combining train/rental as a solution to NOT driving in or out of Rome. Other options would be Viterbo or Orvieto, although I don't know how many car rental agencies have offices there. But definitely places to look into!

I would still recommend Bagno Vignoni/San Filippo over Saturnia in this particular case as I just realized you're coming next week! There were floods all over Maremma just 2 weeks ago and all of Saturnia was flooded, everything covered in mud, particularly the "paid" thermal area and hotel. While I am thinking the outdoor waterfall is not affected overall by the flooding, I am pretty sure the area all around is still not at its best. And thus the drive down the Val d'Orcia will also be more pleasurable overall.

Lourdes,

You are a saviour! Thank you so much yet again for the sound advice. We will avoid Saturnia this time and I will check out one of the three cities you listed near Rome.

I'm amazed at your ability to provide such detailed, well-researched and practical advice to the members of this forum, while also incorporating local current events that may not make it to the international media. I only wish I had started picking your brains earlier ;)

Cheers.
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Thank you for the compliments, I do my best to offer as much info as I can. :eek:

Sometimes I spend too much time here on the forum but it is nice to help out individually and offer suggestions on a particular trip. I really should dedicate more time to writing the same things on the main site so that this information is more easily found and shared. I'm trying to work on that ;-)!
 
Thanks a ton for your response Dingeryote! We'll be driving :) Hopefully though, driving a manual car on steep and winding roads is lesser of a challenge than I am anticipating.

As a Suggestion.

Opt for the compact or larger car, and NOT the Fiat 500 or little Peugot, unless they are automatic.

If you are a typical American that is awkward with a manual, the winding roads, switchbacks, off camber and blind turns, and wonderful 12% grades found in Tuscany, might be really awkward.
The Italian car market and rentals are geared towards fuel economy, and smaller motors that are taxed less, so they take some fairly aggressive inputs as well as finesse.

The little Fiat 500 can BARELY get out of it's own way, and needs it's little motor wound up to an uncomfortable level, before making any power.
I own several Manual vehicles by choice, and a manual truck or two, but none so hopelessly underpowered, so it took some adjustment. I can see why so many pay extra for the automatic.

Stops on severe grades, and some parking garages in basements for that matter, are "Sporty" even if you are an enthusiast or drive a manual by choice. The hand brake is an essential tool, that we ignore here, so don't forget that it's there.
If you like to drive, and live for the corners and challenge of off camber and steep, you'll LOVE the Tuscan back roads. ;) Go easy at first though.:cool:

One other thing.
Make sure your credit card that will be used for the rental, has RAISED embossed numbers, and is not just printed like many of the new cards are in the states.

We ran into a hassle over the issue.
Over there, credit cards have raised numbers and name.
The debit cards and bank cards, have printed numbers and name.
Some rental car office employees wont risk the difference, or have a company policy against using the new printed number Credit cards.
One agency we tried, used the old carbon copy slider, so it was just a no go.
 
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You're welcome! I know a lot of people recommend using Chiusi as a good place to rent/return cars to when combining train/rental as a solution to NOT driving in or out of Rome. Other options would be Viterbo or Orvieto, although I don't know how many car rental agencies have offices there. But definitely places to look into!

I would still recommend Bagno Vignoni/San Filippo over Saturnia in this particular case as I just realized you're coming next week! There were floods all over Maremma just 2 weeks ago and all of Saturnia was flooded, everything covered in mud, particularly the "paid" thermal area and hotel. While I am thinking the outdoor waterfall is not affected overall by the flooding, I am pretty sure the area all around is still not at its best. And thus the drive down the Val d'Orcia will also be more pleasurable overall.


I wholeheartedly agree!

I wish I had asked, before our adventure in returning a rental in Rome.
With the help of Siri and a navigation Ap, getting through the traffic and finding the airport was only slightly nerve wracking.

Actually driving around the airport, to the Rental car parking garages, was just stupid.
The place is a zoo. There is minimal direction, or any semblance of order to it.

Once found, the actual process of returning the car relies upon you having ESP, as there is no one there, and no direction other than a security guard that will give a general direction.
From there it's a long walk with all your bags to return the keys, where you stand in line forever.
I have never before seen such a thing, and hope never to again. It's just swamped with renters, and understaffed.

If I had known, I would have chosen to return the car ANYWHERE else, as long as it was near a train station.

Avis ended up billing us for returning the car to the wrong parking ramp, despite the sign and security guard indicating it was the correct one. At least it wasn't mangled...no sense of humor I guess.:cool:
 
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