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Rental Car v Train for a leg between Cinque Terre/Sorrento/Rome...

All-
My wife, another couple, and I are going to Italy in the second half of April. Our 2 week trip consists of landing in Rome, going immediately to Venice, then to Florence, then to Riomaggiore/Cinque Terre, then to Sorrento, and then back to Rome. For the majority of the trip, we are planning on booking individual train tickets. However, on the portion of our trip from leaving Riomaggiore/being in Sorrento/to arriving in Rome, we were considering renting a car. We figured renting a car in either Riomaggiore or Pisa would allow us to get into the Tuscan countryside and to Siena, would get us all the way down to Sorrento, allow us to get up to Pompeii and maybe around to some other towns on the Amalfi Coast, and then up to Rome.

We are trying to determine if the potential hassle of driving and finding parking for essentially 3 days would be outweighed by the cost savings of having all 4 of us in one vehicle and not having to pay for all those train ticket legs and the convenience of getting into the Tuscan countryside on our way down and around places on the Amalfi Coast?

Appreciate any thoughts? Also, if the rental is the option we do go with, would Pisa be the most convenient/cost efficient place to rent from in relation to Cinque Terre?

Thanks in advance!!!

Posted by
11447 posts

t is at least 7 hours of driving time from Riomaggiore to Sorrento. More than 6 from Pisa. You won't have time to explore the Tuscan countryside, much less Siena if you need to do it all in one day. You do not want a car on the Amalfi Coast/in Sorrento, IMO.

Posted by
11354 posts

Are you planning on driving from the CT to Sorrento in one day or are you staying overnight in Tuscany?

Posted by
21 posts

Our intention was to leave early morning from Cinque Terre to be in Sorrento by the evening...

Posted by
15419 posts

If you were stopping overnight in Tuscany for a few nights, roaming around the countryside, I would have suggested a car. But since you are driving it all in a day, I’m not sure it’s worth it. You won’t have time to visit anything because from La Spezia (the closest city to Riomaggiore with rental offices) to Sorrento is over 400 miles, and even if you drive at top speed on the freeway, you need at least 7 hours (plus pit stops) to get there. It’s up to you but the driver is going to be pooped at the end of the day.

Posted by
11391 posts

Finding parking on the Amalfi Coast is difficult and expensive.

Taking the Circumvesuviana from Sorrento to Pompeii is super easy. Paying for parking and wondering what might happen to what is obviously a 'tourist' car is not my 1st choice.

Driving from CT to Sorrento in one day leaves you very little time to stop and do any real tourist stuff. If you want to do Siena, you should plan to spend an overnight there, not just stop for a couple hours on your drive to Sorrento.

Posted by
7209 posts

That's a rather ambitious schedule, and you won't have time to stop and see anything along the way. The train from Riomaggiore to Napoli Centrale is 6.5 hours. Then you still have to catch the little Circumvesuviana and take it all the way to the end of the line into Sorrento.

Depending on how much you actually want to stop and see along the way you probably need to rethink your schedule.

Posted by
1829 posts

When you don't have overnights to spare and need to make a drive from say Riomaggiore/La Speiza all the way to Sorrento you really should not add in stops out of your way to Siena, Tuscan Countryside, etc...
Such a long trip really needs to be done taking the highway using the quickest route possible.
Stops at roadside gas and food only unless you are taking it over multiple days.

For most of the Amalfi Coast town visiting the bus is far more convenient than trying to drive and park in each town.
For a Pompeii trip probably a little easier/faster by car but by no means is a car needed to reach Pompeii when the train makes it easy to reach.

You should know that leaving luggage in a car even mid day most anywhere in Italy is usually a bad idea. Much higher rate of such theft than in the US so another thing to keep in mind / worry about.

So my answer is no car UNLESS you are planning on multiple days for your Riomaggiore to Sorrento leg in that case a car would be handy and would rent from La Spieza if your hotel was in Riomaggiore. No car rentals in RioMaggiore and no reason to go to Pisa, you have to go to La Spieza anyway.

Not knowing your entire plan you seem very pressed for time and I think would be better if you skipped Sorrento entirely.
Then maybe you could rent a car and drive between La Spieza and Rome stopping for 2 nights along the way in Tuscan enabling you to see the countryside and Siena. Going down to Sorrento for only a couple of nights is not really enough time to see the Amalfi Coast well so seems better to me to save that for another trip.