Driving or train from San Gim to Venice

We will be traveling from San Gim to Venice for three days and then back again. We will have a rental car as we are starting our trip in Tuscany and will be there for six days before traveling to Venice. After our three day stay, we will be heading back to San Gim for three more days (flying home from Florence.) My question is should be take the train to Venice (is it possible from Poggibonsi?)
The reason for the back and forth is that we are visiting and staying with friends in San Gim. I've also researced the posts about parking in Venice. If we drive is it Tronchetto or Mestre? Since it is a rental car, I'm obviously worried about theft, etc. People seem to have varying opinions about parking in or near Venice.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3314 posts

By car is faster than by train from Poggibonsi (train change is Florence). Cost depends. Parking is probably 25 euro/day in Venice (Piazzale Roma). Add gas and tolls to get there and back. If you park at one of the parking structures in Piazzale Roma the car will be reasonably safe. For sure a rental car for the three days you are in Venice is a waste. It will be parked for the 3 days (whether in Venice or in San Gimignano if you go by train) yet you still have to pay for the rental car. It would have been better to fly to Venice, visit Venice, then go down to Florence by train, rent the car in Florence (rentals are all near the station) and drive to San Gimignano to your friends. Then return the car in Florence upon departure. If you return the car in Florence, please check the rental car opening times if your flight is very early in the morning. I know AVIS at Florence airport opens at 8:00 am, not sure if you can return the car prior to opening hours (never rented from the airport).

Posted by camille
point pleasant beach, nj, usa
470 posts

Thank you, Roberto. Actually, visiting Venice was an afterthought. My husband had enough frequent flyer miles for rt to Florence. Wouldn't have worked otherwise. Also, thought our friends might need a break from us after six days. That's my assessment, not necessarily theirs. I guess it makes sense to utilize the car to its fullest by driving to Venice and parking it there.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1960 posts

We stayed at an agriturismo outside San Gimignano in April, and decided we'd hit Venice. It's a long day, but a do-able 170 mile each way day trip. Since we'd already been to Venice 5-6 times, we are familiar with the terrain. The drive from Florence to Bologna is uphill and somewhat crookedbut a controlled access highway for about an hour. It was congested with heavy trucks and general traffic. Otherwise, the drive into Venice looks like Arkansasflat and boring. They have huge modern parking garages on the right as you get into Venice, and vaporettos stop outside the garages. My only suggestion is to be very careful driving on the causeway that takes you over to Venice. They have radar operated cameras. Upon our return, we were charged for a ticket and a $44 service fee from Hertz.
But the trip was worth every cent, including the $9 per gallon gasoline.

Posted by camille
point pleasant beach, nj, usa
470 posts

Thanks for the tip about the radar cameras. We might park in Mestre and take the train to Venice.