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First trip to Italy

I'm going to Italy for 10 days and not quite sure where to stay and whether or not to rent a car or take the train: My friend wants to rent a car after we leave Rome:3 nights,thenwe're going towards Siena,Cianti,Cinque Terre, Florence and finishing in Venice 2 nights. How should we split up the time? Car or train?

Posted by
1003 posts

Are you sure you want to try to go to that many places? If you do, just be aware that you will be on the move all the time, etc. I had 4 nights in Venice, 5 nights each in Florence and Rome, barely took any day trips, and still didn't have enough time in any of the places - keep that in mind. You don't want to drive in Florence, it is just as bad as Rome, I feared for my life taking a short taxi ride and there's little parking. you CAN'T drive in Venice and leaving it in a lot is expensive, so forget that. I don't see why you can't take buses and trains between all the other places too, so I would say forget the car and use trains and some buses. I skipped the Cinque Terre on my trip and wish I had seen it, but I also now have it to look forward to on my next trip - and there WILL be a next one! So, for where to stay, how long, etc., the opinions will be as many as people reply, but I rarely see anyone recommend a car in Italy unless you want to go way into the country. Have fun!

Posted by
864 posts

I'd train from Rome to Florence (there's no way you want to drive in either city). Pick up a rent-a-car to tour Siena and say Cinque Terre (don't try and do everything), return the car and train to Venice (no use for a car there either). I have picked up a rent-a-car in Florence near the train station (Avis I think) but if this is your first time I recommened getting a rental at the airport (more expensive but much less hassle). Make sure you reserve an automatic if you can't drive a stick. Train back to Rome and fly home. Give yourself lots of slush time before your flight. Local Italian trains strike frequently so make sure you get reservations for one of the high speed trains (also more expensive but well worth the time saved, no strikes and headaches avoided). The high speed trains in Venice have their check-in windows around to the side on the left in the terminal. Don't waste your time waiting in the very long regular lines.

Posted by
705 posts

I agree with Debra you are trying to pack a lot in for your first trip. Personally I would do Rome, Florence, Siena and Venice and leave the others to another trip.

I would also take trains and buses - far less hassle and as the others have said driving has its drawbacks. As it's your first trip plan in some down time and take it easy. There is so much to see and do in all the places you plan to visit. Give yourself time to absorb it all.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for your advise...now I just need to convince my friend as well not to rent a car and slow down and not try to cram too many places in one trip

Posted by
32244 posts

Shannon, I most definitely agree with the others, in that you're trying to fit too much into a 10 day trip! With only 10 days to work with, I'd suggest Rome (4 days), Florence (3 days) and Venice (2 days). Leave one day open for "travel days". Is there any way you could extend your trip somewhat.

I also agree that it is NOT advisable to rent a Car!!! The transportation is so good, there's really no need. Use trains between cities, the Subway in Rome and Florence and Venice just walk. Do NOT drive in Rome! With a car you'll have to contend with CDW costs, parking (they use "the Boot" in Rome!), potential for theft or vandalism and tolls on the motorways. It certainly wouldn't be my choice!

The Cinque Terre is a great area and definitely worth seeing, but it's on the opposite coast to Venice and a bit of a trip from Florence. The only way you'd be able to see it would be to drop one of your other destinations.

Good luck!