We (four of us) need to travel from CT to Rome. I was thinking of renting a car so we can stop in some of the small towns and Pisa on the way down. Can you rent a car in CT or should we take the train to Pisa and rent there? Also, can the car be turned in in Rome or do I need to go to the Airport?
Autoeurope.com, a major broker for European rentals, shows 4 locations in La Spezia - which is linked by rail with the nearby Cinque Terre villages, and over 30 locations in Rome. You'll have no problem.
No car rental agencies in any of the 5 CT towns. As Tom points out, there are several in nearby La Spezia. However, none appear to be at the train station so you might have to take a taxi to the nearest office. If you are driving in Pisa or maybe Florence, watch out for the dreaded ZTLs (Zona Traffico Limitado). These are restricted zones. As you enter the zone, a camera will snap a picture of your license plate. Very expensive tickets. Almost all of the Florence historical district is in one. Pisa has some as well. There are safe ways to get to and from the Leaning Tower without entering a ZTL but be careful. The signage is all in Italian. Here's a link to an article that shows what these cameras look like. http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/driving/traffic_cameras_speeding.htm Note that you can also get speeding tickets from highway cameras.
Hi Marc. It isn't clear if you are going from CT to Rome in one day, or over several days. If several days, you can rent in La Spezia; there should be several choices; try Hertz or Avis web sites. If one day, a car seems like extra hassle. You can take the train to Pisa or other towns, take whatever time you want to tour, then take another train to Rome. Enjoy your trip!
There are rental agencies in both La Spezia and Pisa, both easily reachable by train from the Cinque Terre. As mentioned above, they aren't walking distance from the train station. You'd need a taxi or bus to get there. Most of Pisa's rental agencies are at the airport. The airport can be easily reached from the Pisa Centrale train station with trains that take you inside the airport. If you rent from a major company you can return the car in Rome (either airport or downtown locations) at no extra drop off charge. If you decide to train all the way to Florence, there are several rental agencies also in Florence within 10 min. walk from the central station. Don't be terrorized by the ZTL, they recently installed major light signals that make it very visible when you are about to enter it. I would rent in La Spezia. Just take a taxi from the train station they are all within 2 miles from the station and La Spezia is easy to navigate. That way you can stop on the Apuane Alps near Carrara on the way to Pisa and see the marble quarries. It's very interesting, and you might decide to take a slab home and have a new kitchen counter top.
Wow, Thais is great information. Thank you
If you decide to rent in La Spezia, call the rental company that morning, tell them you're coming in on the train, and ask if they can send someone to pick you up. Not infrequently, they will. At least that's been my experience in smaller Italian cities. Nothing to lose by asking.