3 couples will be in Venice. Do you advise renting a car to get to Florence area or taking train? We are studying whether to stay inside Florence and take train to Sienna and perhaps Lucca or stay outside Florence and take train into Florence. Two couples have never been to Florence or Tuscany before. What about staying in Lucca and taking trains? We fly home from Florence. My mind is boggled. Helpful suggestions needed.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
6699 posts

Train is faster and more comfortable than driving. Also 6 people would probably need to rent 2 cars, therefore negating any savings of sharing the cost. There are plenty of high speed trains from Venice Santa Lucia station to Florence (one per hour on average). Travel time by train is about 2 hours (well over 3 hours by car). www.trenitalia.com If you don't have a car, it is best to be based in Florence, which is the transportation hub for Tuscany. From there you can take trains or buses to wherever you like. A rental car would not be advisable to visit Florence (where you won't need it at all and would need to stay parked at the hotel). However it would be useful for visiting the countryside. But there are 6 of you and the problem is that you'd need a van (which isn't cheap to rent). Siena, Lucca, Pisa, Arezzo and other similarly big towns are relatively easy to reach from Florence using public transportation (bus and/or train). I wouldn't use Lucca as a base. It's not a good choice from the transport logistic point of view to travel to other places (such as Siena and Florence itself).

Posted by Gordon
Portland, Oregon, United States
336 posts

Train from Venice to Florence, its easy and best. Train to any larger town is easy. We trained between Florence, Montecatini, Viareggio, and even 5 Terre from Lucca. We have stayed in Florence, Lucca, and Montecatini Terme. All are good, I like the central hotels of Florence the best, more to do in the off hours.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
6726 posts

For longer trips, trains are best for several reasons: 1. You won't get lost. 2. You won't get a ticket in the dreaded ZTL. 3. You won't have to find parking. 4. You get to stand up and walk around. 5. You can use the restroom without losing time. (Take handiwipes.) 6. You can enjoy the scenery.
7. You can get ridiculously low fares (as in 9 euros) if you purchase the Super Economy tickets that are made available four months in advance. That said, for some local trips, the bus makes more sense. Siena to Florence and Lucca to Pisa are perfect examples.